Bedford's Town Crier
Before the arrival of the internet, television and radio, the
daily news was to be found in newspapers. In centuries gone by,
many citizens could not read so there was a need for someone to
spread the news. This was the official Town Crier employed by the
Council. He would have to be able to read and have a strong voice.
He would ring a bell to gain attention and shout “Oyez! Oyez!”
before reading the notices. The crier would end by adding “God save
the King (or Queen)!”
In Bedford, there is no detailed record of the Town Criers
although the last one has a reputation.
He was John Stock, whose large, framed photograph in his uniform
and top hat is outside the Mayor’s Parlour. He became Town Crier in
December 1875. John Stock was well built and no doubt impressed
those who stopped and listened to his news. He lived in Commercial
Street and had nine children. As well as town crying he was also
responsible for collecting money from the market traders on the
town square for posters that many displayed. Apparently some of the
money went into his own pocket and he was sacked in May 1901. He
started Bedford Poster Service Co Ltd in July 1899 and no doubt
this conflicted with his Council employment. The post of Town Crier
was discontinued in June 1902.