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Bidford-on-Avon Parish Council

Bidford-on-Avon Parish Council

Village Crier

Village Crier

The Village Crier in action

Rory Duff was appointed Crier to Bidford-on-Avon Parish Council in October 2006 after moving into the village earlier in the year.

Rory had previously been Town Crier in Alcester, and is a member of The Ancient and Honourable Guild of Town Criers.

The appointment is entirely voluntary and its purpose is to proclaim local news in a traditional manner in Barton, Marcliff, Broom and Bidford as well as 'crying' a welcome to visitors to Bidford and the surrounding communities as occasions demand.

Rory is very happy to be contacted by any voluntary, public or commercial organisation in the Bidford area to promote their events.

He normally 'cries' at Barton, Marcliff, Broom and Bidford (High Street, opposite Frog and Bullrush and Budgens) at 11.00am on Saturdays.

Enquiries: Mr Rory Duff
8 Tower Close, Bidford-on-Avon, Warks, B50 4EA.

Town Crier Youth Corps Programme

The proposed Town Crier Youth Corps Programme aims to provide the opportunity for fun and civic engagement in Bidford and District.

After brief and enjoyable training participants will become Town Crier Youth Corps members. As such, they will help to organize and carry out various public activities aimed at enhancing awareness of local events and opportunities.

Aims:

  • Provide Bidford young people with an opportunity to learn about and contribute to the local community
  • Help develop communication skills whilst enjoying themselves
  • Enhance awareness and appreciation of the Town Crier tradition

After providing 6 months of service Corps members will receive a certificate of appreciation from the local Council.

Interested? Why not give it a try? What else gives you the opportunity to ring a Bell and shout your head off in the street? Girls and boys welcome from Bidford and District so let your friends know about it and bring them along.

Can we make this work? It will, so far as I know, be the first in the Country so lets see if we can do it.

Village Crier Update - October 2008

A Bidford Bellman or Crier!

Oyez! Oyez! Oyez! old French for 'Hear Ye'. The call made by a public Crier to attract attention to a proclamation. The Crier might also have held the office of Beadle charged with ceremonial duties and to bring miscreants before a Court.

However, whilst Criers came to prominence following the Norman Conquest of 1066, Heralds had been used from biblical times and in ancient Greece they were required to proclaim the severing of official relationships prior to a declaration of war and to bear proposals of truce.

The essential requirement to be a 'Crier' was a loud voice and the capacity to read and write. Even through to the 19th Century news was still proclaimed to a largely illiterate population and the Crier would 'post' his or her Proclamation by nailing it to the door post of the local inn. Hence our Postman, 'The Daily Post' as newspapers were named and more recently 'Post-its' without which we could not remind ourselves and others of outstanding tasks!

The system, if it can be called a system, of Town Crying was a consequence of Norman rule imposed on Saxon England. Bellmen were appointed by Manorial Lords to proclaim Royal news and as such enjoyed Royal protection. It was a treasonable offence to heckle or otherwise disrupt the Bellman in the discharge of his duties.

As yet I have not researched the history of Bidford's Bellman but I feel sure that I am not the first. We know that a Court Leet existed in the Manor of Bidford. The last official Ale Tasting was held in about 1832 and it is unlikely that such a Court existed without a Crier. We also know that Bidford has a Charter to hold Markets on prescribed days which would have been proclaimed. Those Markets required policing and who else than the Constable to report offences against the 'common good' and the Bellman/Beadle to bring miscreants before justice?

Is any of this relevant to our times? I believe so. In a period of such rapid development of information technology with global communication at our finger tips the ancient form of proclaiming news serves as a reminder of times past and of the freedoms which we now enjoy.

I receive a warm welcome in Marcliff, Broom, Barton and Bidford (not least Budgens), when 'crying' on Saturdays and in the summer months frequently meet visitors who at worst regard me as quaint and at best give me a cheer.

Marcliff often has walkers on the Avon enjoying the hamlet. Beggarly Broom invited me to open their Fayre and Barton did likewise for their Christmas Market whilst Drunken Bidford provides an excellent Tavern on which to Post my Proclamation.

Thank you for your support and keep giving me news to proclaim.

More Information

For further information please contact Rory Duff on 01789 491064 or 07836 550395 (Mobile) or by email.