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GREAT HARWOOD

Joe "bellman" Hindle
Joe Hindle

Bob Rayton
Bob Rayton

 

Town Criers

 

At the baptism of his daughter, Ann, in 1845 John Lord's occupation is "Bell Ringer" but this may refer to church bells so George Slater, "bellman and chimney sweep" in the Barrett's Directories of 1900 and 1903, is the earliest Town Crier we've found to date. Joseph Hindle is the next in the 1905 Directory as just "bellman".

Jack Quinn
Jack Quinn

Frank Saynor
Frank Saynor

Val Austin writes:

Joseph (Bellman) Hindle cried the fairs before, between and after the 1st and 2nd World wars. Fairs were not cried during the two world wars so exact dates are not known. It is known that he cried the fair in 1949. He was taken ill at the beginning of August 1950 and Samuel Mattinson stepped in to cry the fair. I do not have the date of Joe Hindle's death but Samuel Mattinson also cried the fair in 1951. Following Joe Hindle's death Sam Mattinson's nephew John Sim took on the role and held the job for four years with Cranborne Davis crying the fair on one year when John Sim was ill. (do not know which year)

In 1956 a crises arose when, following the death of John Sim no Town Crier had been appointed and on the morning of the fair day a small crowd gathered outside the Town Hall waiting for the annual ceremony. Council officials were desperate. Anxiously they went up to one of the crowd, an old-age pensioner named Mr. Ezra Westwell, thrust the bell in his hand and pleaded "ring the bell and say the words". He did and the tradition lived on.1

Gerard Birch
Gerard Birch
Photo Blackburn Citizen

 

Joseph Baron
Joe Baron

 

Name

 

Their first fair

Their last fair

Bob Rayton

Jack Quinn

Frank Saynor

Gerard Birch

Joseph Baron

Peter Cornwell

Rawden Kerr

1957

1975

1984

1989

1996

2004

2011

1974

1983

1988

1995

2003

2010

- - - -

Peter Cornwell
Peter Cornwell

Rawden Kerr
Rawden Kerr

 

1 Taken from a newspaper cutting printed when Bob Rayton was appointed.
Ezra Westwell was born 1872

 

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