Oyez, Oyez!

Think back to a time before the Internet, before TV, radio and regular newspapers. At that time the job of getting a message to people was in the hands, or rather lungs, of the town crier. “Oyez, oyez!” they would shout while ringing a big bell. Once the townsfolk’s attention was gained they would share the news. With all the advancement in communication, you might be surprised that town criers haven’t disappeared entirely.

If something is ‘in the spotlight’ it means people are talking about it.

If we say something was ‘lost on’ someone, we mean they didn’t understand it or care to learn about it. The author used the phrase in this way: a fact lost on the media at the time.

The profession was recently in the spotlight when Prince George of Cambridge was born and the town crier Tony Appleton made the announcement. Appleton didn’t have Royal approval, a fact lost on the media at the time. Many journalists, especially in the US, wrongfully reported the crier was there on official business when in fact he was there on his own.

While Buckingham Palace might not make use of their services, criers still find work. Their activities range from private functions to local events to the larger national arena. The Word contacted Robert Needham, Chairman of the Ancient & Honourable Guild of Town Criers, to get a better idea of what criers do today.

“Today’s Town Crier can typically be seen at the head of a carnival procession, opening a village fete, promoting a commercial venture such as the opening of a new or refurbished store and leading events such as Christmas light switch-ons. In fact any event where a splash of colour and a touch of tradition will bring illumination to the venture,” Mr Needham said.

We tend to think of town criers as a British institution. In fact criers’ guilds exist in Europe, the US, Canada and Australia. Mr Needham’s Ancient & Honourable Guild of Town Criers was started in 1978. Their goal is to ensure high standards among town criers and promote in their own words ‘prestigious public announcements’.

‘Pick it up,’ as used in this sentence, means to learn something on your own, by doing it.

“Town Criers come from all walks of life and of course include ladies! There are no particular characteristics or attributes needed. But I would say that one has to be very outgoing, have lots of breathing capacity and prepared to be on the streets in all weathers! Most set out on their careers without any training and seem to pick it up as they go along.”

In their distinctive uniforms, town criers seem to be holding back the modern world, preserving not only the look but the atmosphere of the early modern age.

“I think tradition is strong amongst Town Criers. Whilst some may have adapted only slightly to the modern world, styles of dress and words used in scripts still tend to hang on to the tradition established by our forebears. Despite this, I have heard of one organisation that requested a Crier to deliver his message as a rap,” Mr. Needham said.

Audio Button Oyez-Oyez-Audio.mp3

Original article by Ryan Scott – Sydney, Australia. Text edited by The Word’s methodology team

Word List Bubble

Oyez, Oyez! Quiz: Medium

Start
Congratulations - you have completed Oyez, Oyez! Quiz: Medium. You scored %%SCORE%% out of %%TOTAL%%. Your performance has been rated as %%RATING%%
Your answers are highlighted below.
Return
Shaded items are complete.
12345
End
Return

Before the Internet, before TV, radio and regular newspapers, the job of getting a message to people was in the hands, or rather lungs, of the town crier. “Oyez, oyez!” they shouted while ringing a big bell. With all the new technology, you might be surprised that town criers didn’t disappear entirely.

If something is ‘in the spotlight’ it means people are talking about it.

The profession was recently in the spotlight when Prince George of Cambridge was born and the town crier Tony Appleton made the announcement. But he was not there officially.

Criers activities range from private functions to local events to the larger national arena. The Word contacted Robert Needham, Chairman of the Ancient & Honourable Guild of Town Criers, to get a better idea of what criers do today.

“Today’s Town Crier can typically be seen at the head of a carnival procession, opening a village fete, promoting a commercial venture such as the opening of a new or refurbished store and leading events such as Christmas light switch-ons. In fact any event where a splash of colour and a touch of tradition will bring illumination to the venture,” Mr Needham said.

We usually think town criers are only British. But in fact criers’ guilds exist in Europe, the US, Canada and Australia. Mr Needham’s Ancient & Honourable Guild of Town Criers was started in 1978. They want to make sure town criers keep high standards.

In their distinctive uniforms, town criers seem to be holding back the modern world, preserving not only the look but the atmosphere of the early modern age.

“I think tradition is strong amongst Town Criers. Whilst some may have adapted only slightly to the modern world, styles of dress and words used in scripts still tend to hang on to the tradition established by our forebears. Despite this, I have heard of one organisation that requested a Crier to deliver his message as a rap,” Mr. Needham said.

Original article by Ryan Scott – Sydney, Australia. Text edited by The Word’s methodology team

Word List Bubble

Oyez, Oyez! Quiz: Mild

Start
Congratulations - you have completed Oyez, Oyez! Quiz: Mild. You scored %%SCORE%% out of %%TOTAL%%. Your performance has been rated as %%RATING%%
Your answers are highlighted below.
Return
Shaded items are complete.
12345
End
Return

Set your mind back to a time before the Internet. Now go further to an age before TV, radio and regular newspapers. At that time the job of getting a message to the masses was in the hands, or rather lungs, of the town crier. “Oyez, oyez!” they would shout while tolling a heavy bell. Once the townsfolk’s attention was gained they would relay the news. With all the advancement in communication, you might be surprised that town criers haven’t disappeared entirely.

If we say something was ‘lost on’ someone, we mean they didn’t understand it or care to learn about it. The author used the phrase in this way: a fact lost on the media at the time.

The profession was recently in the spotlight when Prince George of Cambridge was born and the town crier Tony Appleton turned up to announce the arrival of the boy. Appleton didn’t have Royal approval, a fact lost on the media at the time. Many journalists, especially in the US, wrongfully reported the crier was there on official business when in fact he was there of his own volition.

While Buckingham Palace might not make use of their services, criers still find work and their activities range from private functions to local events to the larger national arena. The Word contacted Robert Needham, Chairman of the Ancient & Honourable Guild of Town Criers, to get a better idea of what criers do today.

“Today’s Town Crier can typically be seen at the head of a carnival procession, opening a village fete, promoting a commercial venture such as the opening of a new or refurbished store and leading events such as Christmas light switch ons. In fact any event where a splash of colour and a touch of tradition will bring illumination to the venture,” Mr Needham said.

To snap: To take pictures on a camera

We tend to think of town criers as a British institution, something to snap a pic of along with double-decker buses, red telephone boxes and bobbies – the nickname for English policemen. In fact criers’ guilds exist in Europe, the US, Canada and Australia. Mr Needham’s Ancient & Honourable Guild of Town Criers was started in 1978 with a mission to ensure high standards among town criers and promote in their own words ‘prestigious public announcements’. Despite the existence of guilds, criers are something of a mixed bag.

“There is no set routine for becoming a Town Crier. Some who are in the position are virtually self-appointed. However, the most common way is for a local authority or possibly a Tourist Board to decide that having a Town Crier to promote the locality would be a good idea. They then might possibly advertise the position. From that, a selection competition might be held and the role given to the most satisfactory performer,” Mr Needham said.

To ‘earn a crust’ is slang for making (earning) money. Bread can be used as slang for money – crust is the outside of a loaf of bread.

Mr. Needham sees membership to the guild as an important means of protecting criers because membership includes coverage for public liability. How the crier earns a crust varies. Some are freelance while others are employed by a local council. As a profession, criers are open to many different types of people, though certain qualities are recommended.

“Town Criers come from all walks of life and of course include ladies! There are no particular characteristics or attributes needed. But I would say that one has to be very outgoing, have lots of breathing capacity and prepared to be on the streets in all weathers! Most set out on their careers without any training and seem to pick it up as they go along.”

Standing there in their tricorn hats and red justacorps, the town criers seem to be bulwarks against a modern world, preserving not only the look but the atmosphere of the early modern age.

“I think tradition is strong amongst Town Criers. Whilst some may have adapted only slightly to the modern world, styles of dress and words used in scripts still tend to hang on to the tradition established by our forebears. Despite this, I have heard of one organisation that requested a Crier to deliver his message as a rap,” Mr. Needham said.

However, Mr Needham says town criers remain firm in one aspect of their profession.

“Using any form of mechanical amplification is absolutely taboo amongst Town Criers. The only relaxation of this might be the use of a microphone if one is hosting an event over a long period of time. Then using a mic becomes acceptable.”

Given the diverse activities in which town criers are asked to participate, we asked Mr Needham what was his proudest personal moment as a town crier. He said it was the opening of the London 2012 Olympics when he stood in the gardens of the Houses of Parliament.

“As Big Ben struck 8 o’clock, its mechanism was set to ring continuously for the following three minutes. I understand that this was only the second time in the history of Big Ben that this has happened. In tune with the nation’s major bell, I rang my Hand Bell for the whole three minutes. The Speaker of the House and other members of Parliament were my sidekicks!”

Ryan Scott – Sydney, Australia

Word List Bubble

Oyez, Oyez! Quiz: Spicy

Start
Congratulations - you have completed Oyez, Oyez! Quiz: Spicy. You scored %%SCORE%% out of %%TOTAL%%. Your performance has been rated as %%RATING%%
Your answers are highlighted below.
Return
Shaded items are complete.
12345
End
Return

Leave a comment





two + = 6