History Society AGM followed by The History of the Town Crier
by Wickhambrook History Society
At the AGM, the present committee was elected to serve for a further year, and we were delighted to have a volunteer to join us. Thank you, John Norton. The Chairman, Secretary and Treasurer reported on a successful year with excellent speakers and outings.Mike Wabe,
the Town Crier of Watton was the speaker for the evening. He arrived dressed in livery, with his tricorn hat and bells. There have been criers since the time of the Spartan runners, there are still 200 in Great Britain today and we learned a lot about them
- The word stentorian, meaning a loud voice is from Stentor, a famous spreader of news.
- In 1066, William the Conqueror appointed criers to spread information translated from Norman French
- In Tudor times, the news was first cried, then the paper was nailed to a post for those who could read. There is a post with nail holes visible in Thetford, at the Bell Inn. The word ‘Post’ in the name of a newspaper comes from this.
- In Clare, from 1612-1711, each cry was recorded in a book, still kept in the Record Office.
- During the First World War, Florrie Clarke was the crier and billposter in Thetford, having taken over from her father.
Mike had many tales to tell, and the evening ended when one of the members asked if he could measure the decibel count of Mike’s fearsome ’Oyez’ by using a phone app. It was 106 decibels and nearly raised the roof of the WI Hall!
Our May meeting is on Tuesday 15th ‘Country Life in the Time of Gainsborough, Constable and Austen.