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WATCH: Cornish town searches for deputy town crier

WATCH: Cornish town searches for deputy town crier

Published by the Pirate FM News Team at 5:50pm 9th February 2018. (Updated at 10:16am 12th February 2018)

Can you ring a bell?

Do you like wearing a 'distinctive' uniform?

Are you used to people heckling you?

If you just answered yes to the above questions, then this might be the role for you.

Penzance is looking for a new deputy town crier - to stand alongside the town's long-serving crier, Phil Rowley.

And the job isn't as easy as it sounds.

Recruiters are looking for someone who can climb unaided the parapet at the front of St John's Hall and walk one mile briskly... as well as swing a large brass bell vigorously (but not both at the same time!).

Oh, and you also have to be under 100 (and over 18) to do it.

The lucky person to land this job will work alongside Phil, a striking figure in the community at the head of any parade as he swings his bell and cries his 'Oyez' at events from Mazey Day to the Mayor Choosing and even outside the Houses of Parliament.

He's been the Penzance Town Crier for over 25 years, and, while he's definitely not retiring, he does need a deputy to take on some of his duties, particularly while he suffers a broken leg (not sustained while swinging a bell).

So what are the great things about being a town crier?

  • You would have a central role in all Penzance civic events
  • You get to wear a distinctive uniform and equipment (hand bell) provided by the Council.
  • There are creative opportunities to sartorial experimentation (eg Phil's 'pasty sporran!')
  • You have a readymade outfit for the next Penzance Pirate Day!
  • You get to exercise your exhibitionist tendencies.
  • Being a big mouth is a definite advantage.
  • And there are entreprenurial opportunities (invitations to perform at weddings and social events etc)

Are there any downsides to this job? Well there are just a couple...

  • The pay is minimal (there is a small honorarium for attending events)
  • Weekend working is definitely required
  • You might get heckled (but it's usually quite friendly), so quick wit and a robust personality is a definite must

Watch Phil do his stuff...

 

Back in days of ye olde, the town crier was an iconic part of the community, and the tradition dates back to the Middle Ages, when the Town Crier, or Bellman, would announce the news of the day in the market square and then "post" it on the door of the local inn (which is why so many newspapers have "Post" in their title).

He also originally acted as a law enforcement officer, walking the streets at night and arresting miscreants, and even reading out the misdeeds of criminals at hangings.

So important was the crier's role considered that it was an act of treason against the monarch to harm him.

A spokesperson for Penzance Town Council said: "Modern day town criers have a ceremonial role and fortunately don't have to attend executions.

"But even the most energetic of criers needs to think of the future, and Penzance needs a deputy to take on some of the many events the Crier is invited to attend.

"As well as a loud voice and a lot of energy, a town crier needs to be a great communicator, and to love talking to people and helping them.

"He or she (and there are many female town criers in the country) must have a good knowledge of the town, its people and its traditions.

"They must be able to deliver their scripted 'cries' effectively but also be prepared to answer questions on the town, give directions visitors and locals and be an ambassador for the local area."

This official post is appointed by the town council and, although a voluntary role, there is a small honorarium paid for attendance at events, and the official costume is supplied by the Council.

Application forms are available from Penzance Town Council Office, or can be downloaded here.

The deadline for application is Friday 2nd March and shortlisted applicants will be required to perform their 'cry' in the town centre on Saturday 10th March at 11am, when the successful candidate will be selected.

For more information or to arrange an interview with Dick Cliffe, Mayor of Penzance, contact Vanessa on info@penzancetowncouncil.co.uk or phone 01736 363405

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