Penarth Town Council is appointing a new town crier – especially for this year’s Christmas Festival.
The appointment is being made following a recommendation by members of Penarth Council’s “Strategic Review Group” – and a formal report submitted to councillors by the Town Clerk .
Penarth Urban District Council – the powerful predecessor of the current Town Council – had secured the services of a town crier in the 19th century.
Over a century later, in 1996, a Penarth Town Crier competition was held in the Kymin to find a new town crier at which would-be criers were auditioned and awarded points on the basis of “volume, diction and poise”.
As a result Mr Peter Hill was appointed Penarth’s Town Crier and held the post for 12 years.
When Mr Hill retired, Mr Dave Horgan was appointed his successor in 2008 and held the post until stepping down in September last year .
The council’s report says that “historically town criers – or bellmen as they were sometimes called – were the original newsmen“. The tradition – the Town Clerk explains – dates back to the Spartan Runners of the early Greek Empire and goes on to say that the cry “Oyez-oyez” is French for “listen“.
In order to “lend an element of pageantry” the services of the new Town Crier for the 2016 Christmas Festival have been obtained by arrangement with Mr Taunton of the Loyal Company of Town Criers.
Mr Taunton and his wife have been engaged at a cost of £300 will both attend the Christmas Festival dressed in authentic 1770s attire.