The Richmond Waits

References searched:

Richmond Coucher Books 1590-1941. DC/RMB

Minutes of the Company of Mercers, Grocers and Haberdashers of Richmond, Yorkshire 1580-1980, transcribed by R. W. Waggett (Richmond 1987). CRONT 1199.

J. Hatcher, The History of Richmond, North Yorkshire from earliest times to the year 2000. (Richmond, 2000).

Secondary references to the waits of Richmond (e.g. Waggett, p. 112) say that the first reference in the Borough records to waits comes in 1670 when Richard King and Christopher Taylor “were admitted to be the mustinarii of the Burrough and have received….. two cognizances or badges of silver having the armes of the said Burrough thereupon engraved”. (DC/RMB Indemnity Bond). The coucher book from 1580 until the 19th century (DC/RMB) recorded on microfilm 620, is very muddled with years wildly out of order, incomplete and damaged. I was unable to find this reference or any other references to waits.

CRONT 1199. Minutes of the Archives of the Company of Mercers, Grocers and Haberdashers of Richmond Yorkshire 1580 -1987

The members of this Company held one or two dinners a year when a new member (who paid for the dinner) or a new warden, was admitted. The first reference to ‘waytes’ comes in January 1583 when they were paid 13d at one of these dinners. Recorded payments of 12d were made at dinners in 1586, 1587 and 1591.

On 7th January 1600 they were paid 12d. In 1606 they were paid 2s at the warden’s dinner and on January 30th ‘musicians’ but not specifically waits, were paid 12d.

7th January 1608 ‘payd at the former warden dinner’ 2s

7th October 1609 ‘payd at Thomas Cotes dinner’


15th September 1610 ‘payd the waytes’


7th January 1611 ‘payd the waytes


also payd for minstrels and ayle’

1611 ‘payd at the warden dinner
payd to the waytes’


1612, 1613 no payment listed to waits.

6th January 1614 ‘at the warden dinner wyne, ayle and the waytes’

10s 8d

1615, 1616, 1617, no payment to waits listed.

1618-1695 dinner costs were no longer itemised. In 1696 limited dinner costs were listed for the first time since 1614.

3 December 1696 ‘given to the waytes at our meeting’

0. 5. 0

November 1697 ‘given the waytes’

0. 5. 0

November 1698 ‘given the waytes’

0. 5. 0

16 December 1701 ‘paid toe the waites when Mr Marshall was made free’

1. 1. 0

10 November 1701 ‘paid the wates at Mr Kaye’s freedom’ p align=”right”>2. 6

There were no further entries until 1716. Between 1716 and 1734 they received a ‘sallary’ from the company of either 2s or 2s 6d. In 1736-7 this went up to 5s and fluctuated between 5s and 2s until 1759. In 1766 this increased to 10s.

In 1766 payment to the waits was linked to payment to ‘D. Calvert’ who got 2s while the waits got 10s. Sometimes she is referred to as ‘Dorothy’ or ‘Dolly’. This continued until 1786. In 1787 the waits received 10s and a Thomas Macknay received 2s ‘as usual’.

1788 was the last time the waits or any other musicians received any money although Thomas Macknay, who was listed as ‘the beadle’ in 1799, continued to receive 2s.

Pamela Radford