The City of Chester is the only place in Britain to have retained the tradition of regular midday proclamations at a fixed place and time – Tuesday to Saturday, May to August, at noon, at the High Cross (10.30am on Race Days).
Located at the pedestrianised intersection of the four main streets of Chester, the High Cross has been the site of proclamations since the Middle Ages. Indeed it was on this very spot in 1646, following the Great Siege of Chester, that King Charles I was proclaimed a traitor. As one writer has said, “At the Cross we are upon ground hallowed by as long a succession of civic incidents as any spot in our kingdom”.
Chester’s Town Criers, David and Julie Mitchell, have been appointed to continue the tradition of historic proclamations from the Cross. The crowds that gather at the heart of this popular tourist destination are drawn from many nations, which is why the Town Crier greets visitors in as many as fifteen languages. The proclamation is fun and interactive: special visitors are welcomed by name, anniversaries announced, and prizes are often to be won. At least one unsuspecting visitor is usually detained in the stocks. Public marriage proposals have been made during the midday proclamation, and the Chester Town Crier currently boasts of a 100% success rate – every lady has said “Yes!”.
So, if you have a visitor to be welcomed, an anniversary to celebrate, a villain to punish, or a marriage proposal to make, get in touch with the Crier.