Each year in April or May, Town Criers come from far and wide to keep up the ancient tradition of crying and to compete in the annual Yeovil Town Criers' Competition.
The Criers, who are members of the Ancient and Honourable Guild of Town Criers (AHGTC) provide a colourful spectacle by entertaining visitors throughout the day as each competitor performs their home town cry and a cry of their own choice in the Town's Open Air Entertainment Area in Middle Street - in the presence of the Mayor and Mayoress of Yeovil.
In Medieval England, Town Criers were the chief means of news communication with the people of the town since many could not read or write. Royal proclamations, local byelaws, market days and adverts were all proclaimed by a bellman or crier throughout the centuries.
Town Criers often dress elaborately, by a tradition dating to the 18th century, which includes a coloured robe, breeches, black boots and a tricorn hat. They carry a handbell to attract people's attention, as they shout the words "Oyez, Oyez, Oyez!" before making their announcements.
This annual event is organised by Yeovil Town Council and is hosted by Yeovil's own Town Crier, Bruce Trigger (pictured right leading the Parade of Town Criers and their Escorts). The event is supported by the award-winning Yeovil Town Band, who perform in the Entertainment Area between the two rounds of the competition.
Trophies are presented to the winner and runners up in the competition, and awards are also given for the best dressed Crier and Escort. All competitors are awarded a certificate and presented with a memento of the event.
Next year's event has been provisionally arranged to take place on Saturday 23 April 2016, and everyone is welcome. Admission is free and seating is available at no charge.
For more information about the AHGTC, click on the following weblink: www.ahgtc.org.uk