Update on Wednesday, March 11: Uckfield town councillors have rejected the idea of employing a town crier.
From our original story on Wednesday, March 4: Town council clerk Ashley Serpis has investigated the costs and presents his findings in a report to full council which meets on Monday, March 9.
He says: “It appears that very few towns now provide a crier and many of these are historic towns or those with a long tradition of civic ceremony.”
Some towns directly employ a town crier, others contribute to a private individual and use their services as required, and in some places a crier appoints themselves and charges fees for their services.
Civic regalia can cost from £100 to £1,500 and can be funded wholly or partly by the council, or paid for by the individual.
Payment for the crier also varies. One council pays £525.17 as an honorarium plus travel expenses. That one also paid some of their crier’s expenses to travel to Canada for Town Crier World Championships where he did well.
Another council pays only expenses, travel and subsistence and gown cleaning which last year amounted to £89. Other amounts quoted included honoraria of £980, £500 and £450 with expenses while another, in theory, gets a ‘firkin of ale’.
Mr Serpis adds: “As can be imagined there is a great deal of background support that can go with the appointment of a town crier, including membership of the Ancient and Honourable Guild of Town Criers, competitions and dealing with their engagements.
“However, should members wish to consider simply using the services of a town crier the nearest crier is at Burgess Hill.”