We all know that Wm. Shakespeare wrote a play set in our borough, namely “The Merry Wives of Windsor”.
What I find particularly good is that in act five, scene five of the play the following line appears.
“Crier hobgoblin, makes the fairy oyes”.
The line is spoken to some Windsor folk who have disguised themselves as woodland spirits, in a scheme to make a fool of Sir John Falstaff.
So here is a direct connection between town crying, Windsor and Shakespeare. (Result!)
Crier hobgoblin is the herald of the fairy world and so we can see that in Shakespeare’s day, the oyes oyes oyes we still use today were understood to be how a herald should start things.
On pronunciation, Shakespeare rhymes oyes and toys, but this is not clear cut evidence that his was the common way of speaking “oyes”. There are too many examples of the bard playing freely with his rhyming for us to think that.
So what of “hobgoblin”? Puck in A Midsummer Nights Dream is the most famous hobgoblin. Apparently a hobgoblin is a friendly, small, hairy spirit which can often be found doing little jobs around the house such as dusting.
On this last point, Mrs Town Crier will tell you there is absolutely no similarity between me and my Shakespearian forbear.