I was researching (alright procrastinating) yesterday and found a great nugget of information on a German website. It reported that in our twin town of Goslar, they definitely used to have town criers and one of their roles was to help ensure the purity of the beer the town brewed.
To do this, the crier would remind the citizens of Goslar not to despoil the water supply on the day before it was used make beer. Much like brewers of the past in Windsor and Maidenhead, water from the river was used as a main ingredient.
Throughout our history, the river Thames, the wells close by and so the local beer was likely to be contaminated through the ‘actions’ of the local populace, but in Goslar this was less likely to happen because of the town crier’s efforts.
He (or she) walked the streets proclaiming the following:
“Hiermit ward bekannt gemaket, dat kaaner in die Gose kaket, denn morgen wird gebraut.”
Which roughly translated from the local Low Saxon dialect means.
“Let it be known, that nobody should take a dump in the Gose (river), because tomorrow we will be brewing. “
(Thanks to Stavros Dritsos from the Hotel Goldener Stern in Goslar for the original story and Brigitte Mitchell of Windsor for help with translation.)