One of the less well known roles of Town Criers past was to test the quality of local ales and wines. Medieval Sherrifs and later Town Mayors were legally obliged to ensure that publicans sold a good pint. This responsibility was delegated to the Town Crier who (often unwillingly) took on the role of  ‘Ale Conner’ and actually tested the beer. Following due process, the proclamation that a public house’s offerings were ‘fit to drink’ was an important assurance of quality.

The ceremony also became important to local taxation after the first tax on beer was introduced in Britain in 1643. The Ale Conner (or ‘Kenners’) used their palates to tell the difference between strong and weak beers, each being taxed at a different rate. So a clear head was a requirement and the Ale Conner was required not to ‘“fill their bellies (or drink overmuckle) in the time of the tasting“.

Charity Fundraiser Evening

If you would like to revive this noble tradition and host an historic Assize of Ale at your local pub, please get in touch. There is some good natured teasing (mostly of the landlord), the Town Crier deputises two Ale Conners who get to wear official hats and pronounce on the quality of the beer. Basically it is a lot of silliness that is, above all else, a fun event that can get quite a bit of media attention and help raise money for local charities. If you would like to nominate an assistant Ale Conner for the evening, then so much the better.

ale taster

Contact your Town Crier and revive this ancient and noble tradition in your local.

Blog Posts

  • Good to be back

    After a long long absence it is great to be back on duty. I will be attending this weekend’s Remembrance Event on Sunday (14th November) in Windsor High Street. Hope to see lots of familiar faces. The  outdoor service will be held at the war memorial outside the Parish Church of St John the Baptist. …

  • Town Crier Championships

    windsor championships 2018

    On Saturday the 4th August 2018 The Town Crier Championships of the Ancient and Honourable Guild of Town Criers was held in Windsor. After a year of planning the day had finally arrived. I was worried that the heatwave would cause problems for the 40 or so criers from across the UK (and a couple from…

  • A sunny day in Windsor

    Matt Allwright

    21st April 2018 was very hot.  The crowds were out in force and I delivered cries either side of the changing of the guard to inform everyone about the cannons being fired at noon to celebrate her majesty’s birthday. In between there was a chance for a quick chat and do a little filming with…

  • Something special for 2018

    Crier at Windsor

    An announcement On Saturday 4th August 2018 we will be holding a Town Crier Competition in Windsor.  Members of the Ancient and Honourable Guild of Town Criers will descend on the Royal Borough on 4th August 2018 for a day of friendly competition in Windsor Town Centre to see who is the best crier on…

  • Twice the noise at Holyport.

    With Bill

    When Bill Wallace, Town Crier of Lane Cove, New South Wales contacted me to say he was coming over from Australia to visit his family in the Royal Borough I was happy to agree to him joining me for a few events during the summer. Today was my first opportunity to see Bill in action…

  • 1000 Jaguars

    We had a great day in Windsor on Saturday with a procession of 250 Jaguar sports cars through the middle of town and another 800 Jags lined up down the Long Walk.  The event was raising money for The Prince Phillip Trust which supports various local good causes.  A huge thanks to all the owners…

  • Ten signs that you would make a great Town Crier

    1. If your close friends all seem to have gone prematurely hard of hearing. 2. If your first thought when looking at shoes in shop windows is that the buckles are too small. 3. If “polish my bell” doesn’t sound like an innuendo to you. 4. If you can order a pint on a Saturday…

  • Lions in Maidenhead High Street

    Chinese Lion

    Yesterday’s Chinese New Year was celebrated in Maidenhead with a dance by five traditional Chinese Lions. The Dancers from the local Eagle Claw Kung Fu group herded their Lions up and down Maidenhead’s high street in a loud, colourful acrobatic display that brought out a large crowd of onlookers from the local community. There was a…

  • Maidenhead knows how to party – Lantern Parade 2016

    Norden farm parade

    I had a lovely Saturday evening in Maidenhead town centre on the 10th December at the Norden Farm Lantern Parade. Close to 500 people took to the streets to follow a Samba band through town. Everyone carried beautifully crafted handmade lanterns, illuminating the procession to create an ever changing glowing ribbon of light. It really…