On the Friday before the Marches Day itself, the Town Crier, Davie Duncan, parades the High Street.
“O Yez! O Yez! O yez! The burgesses, craftsmen, and whole inhabitants of the Royal Burgh of Linlithgow are hereby warned and summoned to attend my Lord Provost, Bailies and Council at the ringing of the bells on Tuesday 17th day of June, curt for the purpose of riding the Town’s Marches and liberties according to the use and custom of the ancient and honourable burgh, and that, in their best carriage, equipage, apparel and array, and also attend all diets of court held andappointed on that day by my Lord Provost and Bailies, and that under penalty of one hundred pounds Scots each. God save the Queen and my Lord Provost.”
For centuries, a Linlithgow Burgh official has been charged with the duty of proclaiming the ancient Crying of the Marches, printed above. To this day, the town still retains the position of a Town Crier - one of the very few places in Scotland which possess such an official.
In the days before newspapers, radio and television, the Town Drummer, who, in a lot of cases was also the town crier had been a vital organ of mass communication throughout the burgh. However, with the advent of the mass media (Our own Linlithgowshire Gazette dates from 1893) there was less need for a town official and the role gradually became a purely ceremonial one. The town drum was still carried by the later twentieth century Town Criers but gradually fell out of use. It is now kept in the ‘Linlithgow Story’ Museum in Annet House. It bears the scars, and the inscribed information, that it was carried to the PeninsularWars and used under the command of General Ferrier of the Scotch Brigade.