Learn more about the Town Crier

Town Crier

Appointments to the role of Town Crier are made by the Mayor, Deputy Lieutenant and High Steward. Candidates must live in the borough and have strong links with the community.

After a period of silence, the honour of this ceremonial role has been bestowed upon Michael Seigel, a former headmaster.

Michael has lived in the borough for over 33 years and has record of community involvement dating back just as far. He is currently Chair of the Kingston Tour Guides and was the first Chair of the Canbury Area Residents Association (CARA) established in 1991.

The history of Town Criers

The position of Town Crier was originally that of ‘Crier of the Town Court’ and dates back to medieval times. ‘Oyez’ (pronounced ‘oh yay’) means “hear ye”. The Town Crier would begin his cry with these words, accompanied by the ringing of a large hand bell to attract attention. It was the job of the crier or bellman to inform the townspeople of the latest news, proclamations, bylaws and any other important information, as at this time most folk were illiterate and could not read.

Besides proclaiming the news, it was commonplace for a Town Crier to carry out other essential duties. They were known to patrol the streets after dark, acting as peacekeepers and escorting people to the stocks, and making sure fires were damped down for the night after the curfew bell.

Kingston did away with its Town Crier in 1914 but it was re-established in 1984 by the present Royal Borough and combined with the position of Tipstaff.

Invite the Town Crier to an event

Today, Mr Seigel’s duties centre around supporting the borough’s civic and community events and strengthening ties to Kingston’s historic past. If you would like the Town Crier to attend your event, please use our online form to check his availability.

You will be asked to provide the following details:

  • to state if it is a community event, fundraising event or commercial event
  • the date and time required at the event
  • full details on what the town crier's role would be (if he is available) 
  • the event organiser's contact details

Please note: if you would like the Town Crier to support a commercial activity, we ask for a donation to be made to the Mayor's Charitable Trust. For further information, please contact the Mayor's Office. 

Last Modified: 19/11/2020 12:09:12