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Rochester Town Crier

Could you be our next Town Crier?

 

Shout it from the rooftops – oyez, oyez, oyez! Medway is looking for a Town Crier!

Since Ancient Greek and Roman times, it has been necessary to have a trusted person with a clear, loud voice to deliver news and instructions to the population. 

 

However, it was not until the early Middle Ages, during the reign of William the Conqueror, that a more formal system of Town Criers was recognised.

"Oyez, oyez, oyez!"

"Oyez, oyez, oyez!" is the call or cry of the town crier. Now usually only heard at ceremonials, fetes and local events, it would have been a common cry on the streets of medieval England.

'Oyez' (pronounced 'oh yay') comes from the French ouïr ('to listen') and means 'Hear ye'. The town crier would begin his cry with these words, accompanied by the ringing of a large hand bell to attract attention.

The cry would then end with the words, 'God save the King' or 'God save the Queen'.

It was the job of the crier or bellman to inform the public of the latest news, proclamations, by-laws and  other important information, as most of the population could not read or write.

Having read out his message, the town crier would then attach it to the door post of the local inn thus 'posting a notice'. This is the reason why newspapers are often called 'The Post'.

The key requirements of the role were the ability to read, a loud voice and an air of authority.

Town criers were protected by law. Anything they did was done in the name of the monarch, therefore to harm a town crier was an act of treason. This was a necessary safeguard as the town criers often had to announce unwelcome news such as tax increases!

Role of Medway Town Crier

Medway is steeped in history and is keen to keep the traditional presence of a Town Crier to serve the local community and welcome visitors from around the world. 

If you are 'articulate, diplomatic, temperate, civic-minded, reliable, dignified and approachable', possess audibility and clear speech, and have a good knowledge of local history, then we would be interested in hearing from you. 

In return you will be rewarded with a Regency-style uniform, bell and scroll, fully-paid membership to the Ancient and Honourable Guild of Town Criers, and a £500 annual payment from Medway Council to cover miscellaneous expenses you may incur at special events and functions. In return, the town crier will be required to perform a minimum of 25 'cries' per annum for Medway Council in his/her role of Town Crier, with a cry lasting between 2 to 4 hours. 

There is also an opportunity for the successful applicant to seek financial reimbursement from external organisations for his/her services at the recommended hourly or daily rate advised by the Ancient and Honourable Guild of Town Criers. This is currently around £200-£300 per day (for further details visit http://www.ahgtc.org.uk/). 

The Medway Town Crier will be required to attend events, festivals and functions at various town centres throughout Medway and not just Rochester.

 

 

How to apply

Applications to be made in writing detailing reasons for applying for the position to medway.matters@medway.gov.uk

Closing date for applications is Friday, 27 October 2017.