Chester is the only place in Britain to have retained the tradition of regular town crier proclamations at a fixed place and time: at the High Cross, Tuesday-Saturday, June-August, at noon (11am on Race Days).
This event is amusing, interactive and FREE! Husbands of over-spending wives may even volunteer their spouse to be detained in the stocks until after the shops have closed.
Located at the pedestrianised intersection of the four main streets of Chester, the High Cross has been the site of proclamations since the Middle Ages. As one writer has said, “At the Cross we are upon ground hallowed by as long a succession of civic incidents as any spot in our kingdom.” The crowds that gather at the heart of this popular tourist destination are drawn from many nations, which is why the Town Crier greets visitors in as many as fifteen languages.
The proclamation is fun and interactive: special visitors are welcomed by name, anniversaries announced, and prizes are often to be won. At least one unsuspecting visitor is usually detained in the stocks. So, if you have a visitor to be welcomed, an anniversary or birthday to celebrate, get in touch with the crier.
Proclamations at other times may be specially arranged. And the crier is not confined to the High Cross. He may be booked to proclaim a ‘criergram’ in any other location, such as office or restaurant. A criergram is a memorable way to surprise someone on their birthday, anniversary or retirement. The crier has even been booked to make surprise marriage proposals, and so far has a 100% success rate.
Chester’s town crier, David Mitchell, is also available as an after dinner speaker. Of his costumed presentation, the following is typical feedback:
‘It was certainly very different from anything we had heard, or seen, before. Several people told me it was the best ever at the Club: as we have had some very good speakers that is a unique compliment. For us it was an unforgettable afternoon of brilliant entertainment.’
The Manor Gatehouse Club