Could you be a town crier?

It is a tradition that dates back to Medieval England.

Thursday, 15th June 2017, 3:37 pm
Updated Friday, 16th June 2017, 12:18 pm

But even today, town criers can be seen, in their striking outfits, bell in hand, sharing public announcements in streets and marketplaces.

One community group is hoping for a revival of the custom in Pontefract - and is calling on people to put themselves forward for the post.

Pontefract Heritage Group is holding ‘town crier trials’ during Civic Day at Pontefract Castle on Saturday.

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Byron White co-chairman and secretary of the group said: “The whole idea is to have a town crier that will be present at all the big events in Pontefract, at the liquorice festival, at heritage days and other community celebrations to announce the events that are going on throughout the day.

“We thought it would be a nice addition to the town which is going through a regeneration and revival period at the moment.

“One of the elements that seemed to be missing on the heritage side was a town crier.

“We are hoping that introducing this will bring more people into the town centre and let people know what is going on.”

The group helped to introduce a town crier for the year in 1995.

Before that, Mr White said records held at Pontefract Museum show the last town crier was appointed on January 14, 1899.

He said: “It gives a little bit of extra flavour to the town. A lot of coastal areas have a town crier and a lot of people go to listen to them. Often, when they have finished speaking, the crowd disperses into local shops and businesses, so we hope they will benefit from this too.”

Saturday’s trials will take place from 11.30am, while the town crier finals will be held on July 8 during the Picnic at Pontefract Castle event.

Those auditioning will be provided with traditional outfits and will be asked to read a speech.

Heritage group members will judge them on how far their voice travels, how they deliver the speech, how loud it is and how they deal with the crowd.

Mr White said: “It doesn’t cost anything, it’s a bit of fun. Come along and give it a try.”

The town crier’s first outing will be Yorkshire Day on August 1.