Chris Brown is the town crier of the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead
Before Chris’ appointment in 2012, the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead last rang with the sounds of the Town Crier’s bell in 1892. Maidenhead’s last crier was Mr Mark James Taylor who was not replaced when he retired from his role.
This photo from the RBWM Council archives shows Mr Taylor bedecked in a fairly simple town crier costume of a dark coloured tricorn hat with a contrasting edging, but no feathers or cockade visible. He is wearing a double breasted overcoat with a trimmed collar and wide turned back sleeves, again trimmed (although the trim is narrow). Since his death in 1922 the post has been vacant.
In Windsor, according to the Ancient and Honourable Guild of Town Criers, the most recent references to a town crier date back to 1883 when a George Gibbons was crier in that year. George apparently retired in 1892. After that things went a bit quiet for a while.
Then in late 2012 Following a round of interviews and a public cry off, Chris Brown a resident of Windsor, was appointed the official Town Crier of the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead. His appointment was made on 5 November 2012 and his first cries took place on Saturday 8 December at Windsor Guild Hall and (appropriately enough) The Bell in Maidenhead.
The actual bell used by Chris Brown to start each cry is the original Maidenhead Town Crier’s bell which was last used in 1922.
Many town criers around the country wear red liveries, but our town crier wears a purple livery for three reasons:
- being a royal borough, a bit of royal purple is deemed entirely fitting.
- as we are a barracks town it was felt that wearing military scarlet should be an honour reserved for the troops who are stationed in the town.
- Chris says purple suits him!
The town crier’s duties are to escort the Mayor and Deputy Mayor at civic functions, to act as a goodwill ambassador for the Borough and to promote the good name of Windsor and Maidenhead as widely as possible.
In October 2013 Chris attended the national Town Crier Championships at Hastings and came back to Windsor with the Championship trophy, having won this prestigious competition with cries on the topics of ‘The Royal Borough’ and ‘Prince George.’
The following year at the same competition Chris was awarded the accolade of ‘Best Dressed Town Crier’.