Liverpool Waites

As quoted in Christopher Marsh’s book, “Music and Society in Early Modern England”
(Cambridge University Press, 2013. ISBN 1107610249, 9781107610248.)

LIVERPOOL 1580s: The solitary bagpiper wait started at 4am, the time of the end of the night-time curfew. He received no salary but had permission “to receyve the reward of the townespeople”.
“In Liverpool the solitary musician began to play at 4am. He retained his alarm-raising responsibility until 1629.”

Liverpool Waites

From John Dyer, 4th February 2020.

I’m doing some family history and came across the following from Liverpool. As I was researching the last quarter of the Eighteenth Century (1775-1800) I discovered this quotation from Richard Brook, Liverpool, 1853:

A band of music, of which a person named Langhorne, of Cook Street, was the master, was, either wholly or in part, paid for by the Corporation of Liverpool, and was called “The Waits”; and the performers in it, besides their other performances, occasionally perambulated the town, on Christmas Eve, and enlivened it with music; they also were in the habit of going to the houses of masters of vessels, on the day after that of their arrival in port, and playing before their door, by way of welcoming them home.

LIVERPOOL, Municipal records

From Alan Radford, Feb 2020


“The Waits, petitioning that as they have had no allowance for some yeares past, they may have some compensation for the arreares, and an order for so much certain for the time to come as the Councill please.
“It is Order’d that they have five guineas for the arrears and fourty shiUings ^ ann for the future, if they attend on publick days better than they have done.”


“Edward Trafford Mayor, ordered that the Publick Musick or Waits of this town be displaced or dismissed from their said offices, for misbehaviour in their places, and that Ald. Hughes be desired to consult proper persons to provide a new set for the town.”


“It is Ordered that two Waites or Musicians be added to the present Waites or Musick of this town, and that they all be paid and allowed four pounds a piece salary, and that the perquisites of the town be divided Perquisites, among them equally, and that they be each of them allowed a laced cloak in the usual form once in five years only. And that Mr Alderman Winstanley (and two others) be appointed to chuse and fix the town’s Musick from time to time till further notice.”

The following entry of a payment respecting the Waits appears in the ledger of the Corporation in 1775:

The Waits, 1775, March 31. To cash paid them for 1 year’s salary £24 0s. 0d.

In 1774, John Langhorne (born about 1741) is listed in Gore’s Liverpool Directory as living at 6, Cook Street, and at the baptisms of his children between 1767 and 1790, he is said to be a musician. His son William, born 18 June 1769, is also shown as a musician in 1788 and 1796 and at his death in 1828.

1748, 24th October

Press report in “Some glimpses of Liverpool during the first half of the eighteenth century” by Wardle

Agreeable to a Meeting held in the Exchange on the 16th Instant notice was given to ye Sunbscribers in particular also publick notice by the Bell Man at Exchange hours yeasterday and this day that ther first Corner Stone would be laid this afternoon at four o’Clock and accordingly the Mayor and several of the Aldermen Common Council Commissioners Subscribers and other Gentlemen of the Town mett at ye Exchange and at four o-Clock walk’d in procession to the foundation, the Town’s Musick, Halbert Men, Constables, Sub-Baliffs, Water Baliff, Sword and Mace leading the Van.