At the first speaker evening meeting of the year 2013, the Probus Club of Basingstoke saw and heard Jonathan Jones giving it loud in his guise of the Town Crier of Farnham.
Arrayed in his splendid regalia Jonathan outlined his various roles to the audience of retired professional and business men who were fascinated to learn that the position of Town Crier goes way back to the Norman Conquest. In those days few people could read and the Town Crier had to impart the latest legislation and news to the populace. The well known opening phrase of “Oh yez, oh yez” can be traced back to Norman French.
The position of the Town Crier of Farnham was resurrected a decade ago when the council set up a competition for the post which carries on honorarium of £500. Having been declared the winner, Jonathan Jones has the security of the position for life or until he resigns.
The Town Crier has specific civic duties in supporting the elected council of Farnham including attending the full council meetings fully attired in his uniform. He is also involved in supporting some local commercial activities and charities. He explained that the uniform can be very hot on some occasions especially outside in the summer where he is often mistakenly identified by young children as a pirate. Although he has a tricorn hat he carries a bell rather than a cutlass.
At the conclusion of his talk Jonathan Jones gave an example of a shout which clearly demonstrated why he won the competition.
The Probus Club of Basingstoke has a full diary of events and interested potential members should initially look at their website http://www.probusbasingstoke.wordpress.com or ring their secretary Bryan Harvey for an informal chat on 01256 321473.