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Meeting Guildford town crier David Peters

PUBLISHED: 12:07 05 November 2019 | UPDATED: 12:07 05 November 2019

David Peters, the Guildford Town Crier, pictured in the High Street, Guildford

David Peters, the Guildford Town Crier, pictured in the High Street, Guildford

© 2019 Douglas Kurn All rights reserved

For David Peters, Guildford's town crier for 29 years, a booming voice runs in the family

The lowdown: No celebration in Guildford is complete without a bellowing cry of "Oyez!" from the town's traditionally-bedecked crier.

In Guildford, those dulcet tones belong to David Peters, who has been the town crier and beadle for 29 years and counting. It's a role that runs in the blood too, David is the fourth generation of his family to be Guildford's town crier. He took over from his father and hopes that either one of his daughters or grandsons will take on the role after him. Although, he jokes that he has "a few good years in him still."

Also the secretary of The Ancient and Honourable Guild of Town Criers, which represents official town criers all over the world, David has taken part in competitions in Australia and Canada. But he loves nothing more than taking part in events in his home town of Guildford.

"The job has been around since the 13th or 14th century, and I just love being part of Guildford's heritage," he says. "When it started, the town crier was the only method for getting news out to the town. "Before the days of television, radio or even newspapers, it was the best way of getting information around. But now it is more of a heritage and ceremonial role. Some town criers around the country still do something every day, but most of us just do council and town special events."

David also holds the position of town beadle, a role that traditionally involved enforcing the law. For this role he carries a beadle stick as well as the bell he uses for his town crier duties.

When asked what makes a great town crier, David simply says: "A good voice." But anyone who has seen him in action will agree that it takes a little more than that.


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