Oyez! Sheringham town crier to ring the changes after being given louder bell

Sheringham's crier Andrew Cunningham Brown with his old bell. Picture: KAREN BETHELL

Sheringham's crier Andrew Cunningham Brown with his old bell. Picture: KAREN BETHELL - Credit: Archant

It is a role that is all about grabbing attention - so when the tinkle of town crier Andrew Cunningham-Brown's bell proved a touch on the subdued side he decided it was time to ring the changes.

Sheringham town crier Andrew Cunningham Brown (left) with his predecessor Tony Nelson (right) and Cr

Sheringham town crier Andrew Cunningham Brown (left) with his predecessor Tony Nelson (right) and Cromer town crier Jason Bell. Picture: KAREN BETHELL - Credit: Archant

Now Mr Cunningham-Brown is looking forward to creating a ding-dong next time he announces an oyez on the streets of Sheringham.

Town councillors agreed to provide £45 for his new bell at a meeting this month.

Insurance broker Mr Cunningham-Brown stepped into town crier Tony Nelson's shoes when he retired last summer after nearly 30 years in the role.

He is now looking forward to tolling the bigger bell for the first time at next month's Sheringham Viking Festival.


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'I am pleased that this has been agreed as I wanted a bell with a big chime,' said Mr Cunningham-Brown.

'I had an old school handbell, which was not really want I needed to do the job and was not that loud when I rang it.'

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Mr Cunningham-Brown restored civic pride when he was proclaimed in the role last summer after it was tentatively suggested that Sheringham could share a town crier with neighbouring Cromer.

Mayor David Gooch said: 'Andrew's bell was one that was given to him, but there was not enough volume or oomph.

'Some people came to visit just to see Tony - he was part of the Sheringham. Everyone understands it is important to continue the tradition of town crier.'

The bell and most recent uniform used by Mr Nelson have been donated to The Mo Museum, where they will form part of a display on the tradition of the town crier.

'The secret of a good bell is being a real crowd stopper, it needs to be loud enough to shut everybody up,' said Mr Nelson. 'Some criers have enormous bells but you have to carry them around and they can get heavy.'

Town criers, or bellmen as they were sometimes known, were the original newsmen. Usually people of standing in the community were chosen as criers as they had to be able to write and read official proclamations.

Announcements are preceded by the cry of oyez, oyez, oyez, which is French for listen, and concludes with God save the Queen.

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