(Image courtesy of Chuck Kendrick © chuckkendrick.com)
The town of St. George’s is one of the biggest attractions for tourists in Bermuda, especially because it is a Unesco World Heritage site and because it was the first town built on the island by the colonists in 1612.
There are many things to see and visit in the former capital of Bermuda such as the replica of the Deliverance on Ordnance Island, one the ships built by the first settlers who shipwrecked on the island. Amongst the many attractions available, the Town Crier of St. George’s is one that many visitors remember long after their time here.
The tradition of the town crier of St. Georges is inherited from the old British tradition of town crier, an officer of the court in charge of making public announcements such as market days, government proclamations, bylaws, adverts and so on.
As in many other cities all around the world, St. George’s has kept alive the tradition of town crier and has made it an attraction for tourists. The town crier of St. George’s is part of the folklore of the town and is usually playing his part in the Town Square of St. George’s every weekday at noon.
One of the role of the town crier was to announce the specific punishments that was going to be administered to those who had broken the law. In Bermuda, the traditions consist of consign criminals to the stocks and leave them here for several days exposed to the public, or to be pilloried and whipped, to be submitted to ducking stool sessions, or even executed. These sentences were announced and led by the town crier of St. George’s and they are today reenacted for tourists.
On King’s Square, there are replica of the ceddar wood stocks and whipping posts to show how the punishments were inflicted and everyday some tourists are locked into the stocks for diverse punishments. Just before noon, the Town Crier of St. Georges enters the square and chose some tourists to form the ducking crew before announcing the start of the trial. Some tourists are chosen by the Mayor to be the jury and to judge others tourists usually found guilty. Some of them are locked into the stocks while others are being dunked up to five times in the water as a punishment.
The current town crier of St. Georges is Mr David Firth who has held the position since 2004. He once won the top prize at the Armada Cup, the English international town crier competition. In this type of competition, the town criers are judged on their diction, the clarity of their voice, their consistent pitch and volume as well as their appearance.
The former town crier of St. George’s, E Michael Jones, also won the Armada Cup back in 2000, while the most famous town crier of St. George’s is Major D.H. Burns, MC, who in the mid 1980′s became the holder of the Guinness World Record for the loudest human speaking voice. His was recorded at 113 decibels.
Town Crier of St. George’s
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Town Crier of St. George’s in Bermuda – Part of Elbow Beach Cycles’ Things To Do in Bermuda series!