In recent years, the Town Crier has been a voluntary role filled by a person nominated at the annual general meeting and mayor making ceremony.
Some Town Criers of recent years have included George Weaver (Freeman), for 10 years; Clive Emberton, 4 years; William Orme, 11 years. The present lady Town Crier, Sue Blower, has performed this role for 16 years to date.
The historic role of Town Crier was one of “deliverer of news”, be it Royal Family news, deaths, births, marriages, local events, Council announcements, or even plague or war! In the 16th century, the earliest records of this ancient craft identify Town Criers as royal messengers.
The phrase “donʼt shoot the messenger” originated as Criers had royal protection to deliver any news, good or bad, and were protected by their own Guild from accusations of treason. Especially in a society where many people couldnʼt read, they were the earliest form of a newspaper.
Part of the role includes carrying an item to make noise and to be noticed, drawing attention to the proclamation. This is most often a bell, but can also be another method of drawing attention such as a trumpet, hunting horn or wooden clackers. The one non-negotiable requirement is a loud voice! “Oyez!” is shouted three times prior to a proclamation, and comes from the French greeting of “Hear this”. A proclamation always ends with “God save the Queen”.
Town Crier costumes are distinctive, flamboyant and in-keeping with the colours of the local Councils, as most Town Criers are appointed by the Town Mayor and Council. Montgomery’s colours are blue and gold. The present costume worn in Montgomery was made by a local seamstress and funded by a locally held coffee morning.
Two National Town Crier competitions have been held in Montgomery in recent years and the Town Crier hopes to plan more in the future.
Susan Blower was re-appointed as Town Crier for a 16th year at the annual general meeting and mayor making ceremony of 2018. In nominating Sue, Cllr Jill Kibble said, "Montgomery is exceptionally fortunate to have had a master of this craft for 15 years; someone who has probably done more to promote the town, welcome visitors and make residents feel part of the community than anyone else, and who never fails to give above and beyond, whatever the occasion and at the drop of a feather.
Since imitation is the sincerest form of flattery: 'Over Hills, Over Valleys, Over Mountains and Dales God Bless our Town Crier'."
Montgomery Town Crier Sue Blower explains, “My personal reason for achieving this position is for the love of my home town. I was actually born here in 1953 in the family house attached to Bunnerʼs shop; my father at that time was the firm’s General Manager. I feel this role for me assists in promoting the Town to visitors and to publicise its important role for Tourism value.
This is my service to my home town and enables me to give something back, through using my voice to share news, being a personality within the Town, and being instrumental in binding the town together. This has been paramount to me each and every day. I love the role. Long may it continue.”
Sue is involved in many community groups and events in the town including leading the Remembrance Sunday parade, chairing the committee for the Annual Street Fair and competing in the annual horticultural show.
Sue enjoys public speaking and is often engaged by clubs and organisations to deliver talks about her life and experiences which include her role as lady Town Crier alongside her work experiences within health care and her charity work in Romanian orphanages and hospitals. Recently, Sue has been in attendance at local weddings, as meet and greet person at the church or as master of ceremonies at the reception.