Leeds Waits, 1739 & 1792

Reports in “The Leeds Mercury” confirm that both these tunes were played by the Leeds Waits.

Britons Strike Home

In November 1739;   “war with Spain declared with the usual solemnity by the Mayor, Aldermen, Common Council etc., the Town’s Musick playing before them ‘Britons Strike Home!’

It is from the opera ‘Bonduca’ (1695) by Henry Purcell, but as a patriotic song it must have maintained its popularity for half a century, despite being re-used by Dr Pepusch, with somewhat different words by John Gay in ‘The Beggar’s Opera’.


Illustrated Score

Henry Purcell

God Save the King

The only other piece I have evidence of them playing, a familiar little tune, comes from a report in the same newspaper in 1792:

Many associations were formed about this time for the protection of liberty and property against ‘republicans and levellers’. Meetings were held in Leeds to make public Declarations of Loyalty to the Constitution, and ‘God Save The King’ was sung in the Parish Church, accompanied by the organ ‘in excellent time’, and it was also sung at the Market Cross and other places aided by the Town’s Band.


sheet music   Source: ‘The Gentleman’s Magazine, 15 October 1745


[Alan Radford, The Leeds Waits]