Chipping Sodbury Chamber of Commerce has hired its very own Town Crier to help to promote the town and the businesses located here. The Town Crier first appeared to support the Farmers Market on the 18th June and his next scheduled appearance is on Thursday 29th July 2010.

The Chamber of Commerce have organised a welcome for the Town Crier to celebrate his arrival. This also coincides with the Chipping Sodbury Farmers Market.

The Welcome will take place in the main High Street close to the Farmers Market at 10am, after which the Town Crier will be in full voice for the rest of the morning.

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Source: Chipping Sodbury Chamber of Commerce

Town Crier History

In England, the first recorded use of Town Criers was in the year 1066, when following the Battle of Hastings, William the Conqueror had men go out and announce his victory in all of the local towns.

Way back in medieval times, it was not unusual for most people to be illiterate. The nobility of the time had their own heralds, who announced proclamations and laws. Citizens were kept informed of matters of both local and national importance – anything from Royal events, wars, executions and taxation down to lost dogs and minor misdemeanours could be announced by the Town Crier.

Usually people of standing in the community were chosen as criers, for they had to be able to write and read the official proclamations. Often they were a husband and wife team with the wife ringing the large handbell and the husband doing the shouting.

Often the role of Town Crier was passed down from father to son for many generations, and it was seen as a position of some standing in the community.

Today, many cities and towns are reviving the position of Town Crier as a visible link to the past. Today’s criers work for whoever appoints them, they will often hire themselves out for private functions and will also promote their hometown in competitions across the globe.

Town Crying is not exclusive to these shores, many other countries including Australia, New Zealand, America, Canada, South Africa, Bermuda and some European countries have Town Criers.

There are about 220 Criers in Britain representing Towns and Cities and in some cases Lords of the Manor. Some Towns have kept up the tradition of having a crier through the ages, others such as Crewkerne have now got one for the very first time.

So whenever you hear the ringing of a bell and the ancient call of “OYEZ, OYEZ, OYEZ!” Stand still, pay attention and listen. The Town Crier just might have something to say!!