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Video - Watch as 13 town criers from around the country take part in historic contest





THE streets of Alcester echoed to the sound of ringing bells and plenty of Oyez as the Court Leet’s annual town crier competition took place on Saturday in Malt Mill Lane.

Thirteen criers from around the country took part in the Heart of England Town Criers Competition hosted by Alcester Court Leet which sees them make two cries and are judged on their diction, inflection, volume and clarity of voice.

Such was the interest in this historic competition a Polish film crew based in London turned up to capture the event because they wanted to record for their audience back home one of those intriguing and charming traditions in our midst which are so very British.

The overall winner was John Griffiths from Sleaford, Lincolnshire, who was back to defend the trophy he won last year and there were also debut performances from Sonya Hauxwell from Henley and Adrian Smith from Studley.

The Heart of England Town Ciers Champiuonship took place in Alcester on Saturday. Photo: Mark Williamson
The Heart of England Town Ciers Champiuonship took place in Alcester on Saturday. Photo: Mark Williamson

Vaughan Blake, organiser and committee member of the town crier competition said:

“The weather was good and at least the cries weren’t lost in the wind and rain. Each competitor had two cries. The first is a home cry where the town crier praises their hometown and the second is a specially chosen subject which changes on each occasion and this time round it was a cry about leap year.”

In centuries past the town crier’s was employed to make public announcements in the streets so people could hear the latest news.

The Heart of England Town Ciers Champiuonship took place in Alcester on Saturday. Photo: Mark Williamson
The Heart of England Town Ciers Champiuonship took place in Alcester on Saturday. Photo: Mark Williamson

Alcester’s town crier – David Parkes – made a cry on Saturday but it’s not counted or judged in the overall competition.

David said: “It was a good mix of criers who attended on what we call Holy Saturday. Alcester’s is viewed as one of most popular competitions and we celebrate with a lovely meal for the criers and their partners in the town hall afterwards. The term ‘I’ll keep you posted’ is thought to originate from the role of the town crier because once they’d finished their proclamation the scroll from which he had read was then nailed to a post outside a church so those that could read would re-read the news and pass it on to others.”



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