Powys Digital History Project

The Town Criers 

  Now hear this
The photographs on this page show two of the official Town Criers who have performed the ancient duty of ringing the bell and proclaiming the announcements of the day at various locations in the town.
The larger picture is of John Whitaker, who was a Chartist and a great student of history. He became Town Crier in 1897, and his portrait below was taken around 1905.
Photographs by
kind permission of
Llanidloes Museum
Town crier, 1905Billy Hughes, Town Crier 
  The smaller picture on the right is of William Hughes, who was the last official Town Crier for Llanidloes. Billy "Darkie" Hughes left school at the age of nine to work in the coal mines of south Wales. His job included looking after one of the pit ponies called "Darkie", hence his nickname by which he was known throughout his life.
It was widely known locally that Billy was illiterate and was rehearsed by his grand-daughter in learning the proclamations he had to "cry" through the town. She would follow him around and hide nearby in case he forgot his lines and needed prompting.
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