Notes& Queries 2007

Lisa Jardine

I’ve been in love with this woman’s brain for a while now and try never to miss her programme.
This week’s had, I thought, a message for all of us engaged in historical research. Is there some way we can attach it to the website? A link would be fine as long as it lasts. The main page will change after a week, but there is a Lisa Jardine archive on the main page. However, when her stint ends it might become difficult to find – not sure. Have a butcher’s:

Dear James
You are welcome to post the essay on your website! I attach a word file of the piece as I wrote it (odd bits get cut from the broadcast piece sometimes to fit it to time). That way there are no BBC copyright issues.
Best wishes
Lisa Jardine

See here for the html version in our Miscellanea section.

Something to watch out for is “Going Dutch”, Lisa Jardine’s new book(due out in March) on Dutch influences on England through the 17thcentury. It’s reviewed in The Guardian today at,,2232905,00.html
As my Sealed Knot identity is as piper of the St. Katharine’s Company ofTower Hamlets Trayned Bandes, commanded by Capt. Leonard Leonards, animmigrant Dutch brewer, I am well aware of such influences – incommerce, fashions, etc.. I don’t suppose we English waits wereincluding Susato in our repertoire?
Alan Radford

Ely Waits update

Ely Waits have taken delivery of 2 Hanchet sopranos and 2 altos and 1 Moulder soprano.(all Spanish).
Gerry Birch is converting 2 Chinese trombones as we speak!
I still need to recruit 1 trombonist who also plays the recorder.
If you can think of anybody who lives not too far away from Ely and is not over committed I would love to hear from them.
Tony Pearson

Carol Singers

Dear Chris
Thanks for the waits website – a great source!
Thought you might like to know that the ballad on your Quotes page – The Christmas waits – which starts:

In our village, Christmas time, I says to several mates,
“Look ‘ere, lads,” I says, “Now what about some Waits ?”
We gets a carol, lairns it up, and on an evenin’ wintry
We muffles up and sallies forth to try it on the Gentry.

is the text of a comic song, words by Charles Hayes, music by Thomas Sterndale Bennett entitled “The Carol Singers”. The copy I have was published by Cramer & Co in 1921. It seems unlikely that this is the one sung in Rochester in the 1880s since Thomas Sterndale Bennett was only born in 1882!
Best wishes
Chris Skidmore

In your collection of quotes on Christmas waits at, the item from Punch in 1849 listing anti-waits complaints refers in one to “a sackbut, a curtal and a shawm”. These were not instruments played by post-1835 ad hoc Christmas waits, so must surely refer back to official sixteenth or seventeenth century corporate waits. It’s so odd, as all the other reasons would be relevant to post-1835 Christmas “waits”.

The Shaw quote relating to instruments at different pitches intrigued me. In 1819, French pitch was A=435, English (medium) pitch was A=442, and Society of Arts pitch was A=448.4. Shaw was probably the leading music critic of the late nineteenth century, writing reviews of concerts for The (London) Star and other papers, so one can assume he knew his pitches. From our perspective as waits, he was an early convert, after attending Arnold Dolmetsch recitals, to the performance of early music on authentic instruments, and his reviews of these and other concerts are well worth reading. The music review columns have been collected in a book, but I can’t remember the publication details.

Further to my comments on the quote on Christmas waits, the book ofcollected music columns of George Bernard Shaw, including some reviewsof early Arnold Dolmetsch concerts from circa 1890 (an essential part ofthe heritage of any early musician), is “Shaw on Music”, ed. EricBentley, ISBN-10 1557831491 or ISBN-13 978-1557831491. It has beenreprinted a number of times over the years and second-hand copies areavailable for less than a pound – great value for a damned good read!

Here is a somewhat politically incorrect account of colonial Christmas waits of the mid-nineteenth century, from Mrs. Flannigan’s two volume account, to add to your collection. On second thoughts, it can’t be too incorrect politically as a modern American edition was published in 2002.


Alan Radford

Christmas Waits Quadrille

In the spirit of Advent, I submit the following waits-relevant contributions:

“It [the ghost] took, for some moments, no more apparent heed of him, than he of it. The Christmas Waits were playing somewhere in the distance, and, through his thoughtfulness, he seemed to listen to the music. It seemed to listen too.” from The Haunted Man and the Ghost’s Bargain, a short story by Charles Dickens (1848).

I’ve seen in nineteenth century ads for music by Boosey & Son a piece entitled “The Christmas Waits Quadrille”. Have you ever seen the music?

A happy Kalends,
Alan Radford

Joshua Gibbons

Nipped into the library at lunchtime to see if I could find anything in the local history section that might help me with some of my named waites and found this –

“Lincolnshire Collections, Volume 1, The Joshua Gibbons Manuscript” Edited by Peter D. Sumner, Publ. Breakfast Publications, Grimsby. Printed by RAP Ltd, Rochdale (1997). ISBN: 0-95 30117-0-4.

First thing that caught my eye was the Gibbons name. It turns out this one was a paper manufacturer from Market Rasen (20 miles away). Second thing was that this fell had collected some tunes in his own notebook – seemingly for himself to play (some are organised in sets as to play for dancing).

186 tunes in all. Collected, transposed or perhaps some were even composed by Joshua Gibbons, between 1823 and 1826.

Quite a lot are marches – contemporary militia, or remnants of the Napoleonic wars? Tunes of immediate interest include:

Corporation March
Market Rasen Quickstep
Louth Quickstep (another Lincolnshire town)
Lincoln Hornpipe
Down with the French!
Slow March from the 2nd York Regt. Militia (The editor makes the key D, the notes say original key was F.)There’s a whole group with parts for 2 and 3 instruments including:

Duke of Wellington
Kingston Volunteers (Quick Step)
March from Newark
March in the Battle of Prague
Grand March of the Siege of Valenciennes
SCOTS WA HAE (Mmm here it is again in Lincolnshire)

As we had Waites good and strong until 1857, it seems very likely that they would know and play some of the same tunes as this man scribbled in his pocketbook???

The Market Rasen Town Band, as it was previously known, goes back a very long way. Unfortunately early records are sketchy and so it is difficult to piece together a precise history of the early period. However there are references to the band in the press as far back as the 1880s.

Al Garrod.

Wow! This is a biggun, perhaps to stand shoulder to shoulder with Alan Radford’s Crawshaw ms.

York Music has a short list of tunes to be played by the waits in 1814 (I think). There might well be concurrences. I hope you can tie J. Gibbons in with Orlando’s family. When complete it would likely make an article acceptable to Early Music Today.

The York Waits (the current lot as was) used to have a version of We’ll Down with the French, a rousing tune. Tony Barton found it I think, he being keen on military historical matters and music.

James Merryweather

Did Market Rasen have Waites? Never thought before – Joshua Gibbons might have been a Wait himself?
Anything is possible here.
Is there a list available of what Lincolnshire towns had a Waites Band?

All towns that I have knowledge of having had Waits are listed on our Where Waits? page, and I’m afraid Market Rasen isn’t among them. James Stokes of REED would be the man to know.

The Slow March from the 2nd York Regt. Militia is very intriguing. I kind-a recognised it when I listened, but it wasn’t quite right. The rhythms match The Duke of York’s March, given in TP Cooper’s The Christmas Waits and Minstrels of Bygone York, and alleged to have been composed for the York waits by the first John Camidge (Minster organist from 1756 (Mozart’s birthday), alleged to have been taught by Handel, alleged to have been the waits’ musical director and alleged to have written a lot a music for them, apparently in the archives of the Masons but I couldn’t get hold of them, other blind alleys etc.)

I’ve dug out TP Cooper’s version of the March and I can (approximately) sing the tune along with your two part MIDI version. Can it be that Gibbons’s notes are two inner parts of The Duke of York’s March recomposed? The tune did find favour elsewhere, apparently even with the RAF (though there seems to be a lot of Camidge family myth to wade through before you can get to the truth).

“In the year 1756, John Camidge, chief musician to the Lord mayor and Corporation of York, and organist of York Minster, composed, amongst other popular tunes for the City Waits, a Grand march on the occasion of the reception of the Prince of Wales, afterwards King George the Fourth. [Camidge returned to York to take up the post of organist in 1756. The visit actually occurred in 1789, so Benson’s date for the march could be wrong.] The City Band played the tune again and again, and it became very popular. It was especially played in the Polonaise, an old-fashioned dance, when the Prince had the lady Mayoress for his partner. Some time after, his Royal Highness sent a letter to the Lord mayor, saying that during the whole of his subsequent journey the tune which he had heard played in York he had been constantly whistling. The Lord mayor acquainted the composer with this, who gladly sent a copy of the March to the prince, and who, through the Duke of York, gave it to the Guards’ band, who have relieved the guard to its strain ever since, and which tune is the well known “Duke of York’s march.” George Benson (18??) in Yorkshire in Olden Times, quoted by TP Cooper (1909) in The Christmas Waits and Minstrels of Bygone York.

There are probably plenty of tune freaks and military band/march experts who could add information if we need it to clarify things, but only if we agree there is a relationship to work on. See what you think. Try fitting the Camidge tune above your two parts with any necessary adjustment of phrases.

Is my suggested match fanciful?
n.b. This version is in F.


Regarding the Joshua Gibbons manuscript and the large number of marches, this is in line with my own Crawshaw manuscript associated with the the Leeds Waits of the 18th century. The records of the Leeds Volunteer Militia of the period show:
1. Press reports indicate that parades of the militia were usually “accompanied by a fine band of musicians”
2. Press reports also state that the waits accompanied parades by military units passing through town
3. Leeds muster rolls do not seem to include names of waits of the time, but musicians were not listed as a part of the militia establishment

It seems entirely plausible that Joshua Gibbons had learned these marches to accompany mulitary parades. As there are no records of waits in Market Rasen, what’s the nearest town to have them, and was he one of them?

Hi Alan,

Although I hadn’t heard of the term “forty shilling men” this isn’t really a surprise, as I have established that other Lincoln Waites were engaged in skilled work, and that Waiting was (pretty much always) a secondary occupation or honorary position (at least between 1655 and 1957).
What period are you talking about for the “forty shilling men”? Was that still true of 1792? That’s when Richard Gardiner received his commission.
Thanks, Al.

Waits’ Houses etc.


I was using 3 of the books that Richard Rastall put in his technical bibliography today. It’s a big help. Wish I had learned Latin at school though. I don’t think my teachers knew any!

(1) Share in my Excitement –
Remember Dickinson’s Place? Well, the passageway-entrance to Dickinson’splace (a Victorian courtyard of 9 labourer’s houses) is exactly opposite thedoor to “Goodies” Sweet Shop, The Strait, Lincoln. The sweet shop is ownedby Neil – he used to be my hairdresser (he was also Jesus in the LincolnMystery Plays). It turns out that – apart from Jews House – this shop isthe oldest building on the Strait – possibly 13thC. The shop shows signs ofhaving once stood alone (evidence of doorways going out sideways, but theshop is now in a terrace).

Trade directories put John Hawson’s Grocery shop on the Strait. John Hawsonwas a Lincoln Wait in 1835/36. He was 40 years old, other occupants of theproperty were his wife Elizabeth, aged 30, and their 5 children. Nearby isHawson’s Cottage – on a parallel street. I had wondered if this was a newname, but now I think not. Neil (shop owner) says the shop and the cottageare joined! Not exactly back-to-back. Kind of offset, but joined at onecorner. They may have always been joined like this. Anyway, this putsHawson in Neil’s shop, and his family in the cottage. I expect you couldsee both the cottage and the shop from both streets before the garden wasfilled with other buildings. The current owner does not seem interested in meeting me to find out a bit about the history of his house.

(2) Civil War
Were Waits sacked/suspended by the Cromwells? I have found an entry from1662 which confirms the mayor’s and sheriffs officers and the waits willstart to get paid again “the same allowances as before the warr”. Itmentions them having previously been “putt out” by the “Commissioners forregulating corporations”. The whole section is headed “Registrum” and listsnames of five Waites. This might link to the oath of allegiance. If theCommonwealth put some council officers out of jobs, they would have evenmore reason to want the Monarchy back. Wonder why they waited until 1662?Didn’t Richard Cromwell abdicate in 1659? Would they have been so uncertainof their futures – so scared – they had to wait until 1662 before they beganto feel secure? Or is there some other historical fact that I am ignorantof?

(3) Skelton
I have a George Skelton on Lincoln Council as early as 1656.George Skelton (a different one?) made a freeman in 1658.George Skelton – a tenant farmer of the Belton Estate in 1665.Chris – did you find any links to Lincoln from your Skelton?

(4) Waites Badge
1666 – the normal entry (appearing frequently at the end of minutes) saysthe Statute box and seals were delivered to the Mayor. This time, the samesentence includes “and one Waites Cognizance”. Why would it be mentioned inthe same line as the seals? Other entries are always distinctly separate -with a line of space between (sections on: leases, fines, charities, voting,etc.) – this time the recorder makes a link between the seals and the Waitsbadge. Any ideas why???

(5) Gibbons/Gibbyns/Gibbins
I have another Gibbins – John (1662). Ferdinando was here in 1611. Not hadtime to look for any family connection (yet).

Cheers, Al Garrod, Lincoln

Dear Al,

Exciting indeed! I hope that the cottage-owner will let you in some time, though if he’s done it up I guess there’ll be nothing to see inside. Do you mean that the cottage is currently called Hawson’s Cottage? You need to be sure that the building is old enough to be the one, and that the name hasn’t been transferred. Maps?

On the matter of the wait’s badge, I’m not sure of the mechanism at work:
but am I right in assuming that the statute box and seals were brought out for Council meetings so that decisions could be made, recorded and authorised? In that case there would have to be a formal delivery to the mayor afterwards so that they could be returned to their place of safe keeping. If one of the waits had died, resigned or been sacked his badge would be returned at the same time, following the decision. Is this how it worked?

As ever, Richard Rastall

Good stuff (as usual!).

Re: (2) – Interesting. It has been generally accepted that the reason for the absence of Waits during the interregnum was due to the times being out of joint, and everyone being strapped for cash. The puritans generally had no objection to music as such – only in church. I hadn’t heard of these commissioners for regulating corporations. They need investigating. I think the lateness of the reinstatement of the Waits is probably only due to the chaotic state of the nation. It took a couple of years to settle down and decide who could stay in office and who should be chucked out.

Re: (4) – Richard’s explanation makes good sense to me. Lynn Waits’ badges were given into Mr Mayor’s keeping when there was a shortage of Waits to wear them (and sometimes between gigs when the Waits in question weren’t considered trustworthy!).

I’m afraid I know nothing about Skelton.


The civil wars certainly disrupted municipal corporations. Royalist corporations tended to be replaced by Parliamentarian ones as the Parliamentarian army control spread. Then at the Restoration it took a year or two to reverse the process and re-install Royalist personnel. During the wars themselves, contributing municipal funds and valuables (the civic plate etc., usually to support the King as Parliament had the financial resources of the City of London at their disposal), paying demands for financing the county militias and the NMA, and the general reduction in wealth as agricultural and other production decreased as workers became soldiers, drastically depleted municipal funds. Records from various places show that the waits were either disbanded, reduced in number, or at least not paid during this period. However, every cloud has a silver lining and there was increased demand for military musicians. According to Farmer, drummers held military rank, but other musicians were the private servants of their commanding officers.

Alan Radford

Chris et al,

(2)Yes, the Lincoln records seem pretty clear. Various officers were “putt out” by Cromwell’s Commissioners. I take that to mean they were dismissed – or at least, the jobs that they once held were now deemed to be unnecessary.

Perhaps the Puritans’ alleged dislike of entertainment is actually a red herring? Maybe sacking Macebearer & co. was more to do with stripping off the (unnecessary) ceremonial that local government had adorned itself with? Had this ceremonial not been linked closely to England’s Kings? Kings that the new Rulers wanted to forget. Was this an attempt to keep corporations mindful of their real purpose and, at the same time, modernising and simplifying corporations. But also, a way of showing the corporations who’s boss – by removing even their right to appoint their own Officers?

Lincoln was always for the King. The record of the Proclamation of Richard Cromwell’s succession is stark and solemn in comparison to later records of the Proclamations of new Monarch’s Coronations. Void of celebration.



What do you think to this then? Could a Wait become a Lieutenant?

[I don’t see why not – especially in the militia – Chris]

Do you think he might have bought his commission?

[Might have done, but the way I read it, it was a gift or honour. Weren’t militias semi-amateur soldiers – a sort of home guard or territorial army? Chris.]

6 April 1772
A calendar for one of the Waits –
John Allgood 1, Henry Monro 5, Richard Gardiner 23 Elected
(ref: L1/1/1/7, p550)

Twenty years after he was a wait, Richard Gardiner, Gent., was given a commission as a Lieutenant in the “Royal Northern Regiment of the Militia in the County of Lincoln” on 21 December 1792. His commission was bestowed on him by none other than the Lord Lieutenant of Lincolnshire – “Brownlow, Duke of Ancaster & Kesteven, Marquis and Earl of Lindsey”. The wording puts Gardiner in charge or morale, order and discipline of the Militia and all his “inferior [junior?] officers” (MISC DEP 211).

Al Garrod.

Hi Richard,

“Town waits never quite became gentlemen?” [see Richard’s comments in the long and convoluted discussion on a separate page]

What are your thoughts on Richard Gardiner?
First a Lincoln Wait (1772), then a Lieutenant in the North Lincoln Militia (1792).

And Selby Dickinson?
In 1817 he stood surety for the Council, on a loan of 600 pounds. His occupations are recorded as Pawnbroker (1825), then Cordwainer (1826), then Solicitor’s Clerk (1851).

Regards Al Garrod.

Dear Al,

Yes, you’re quite right.

I actually meant “as musicians” – a contest that the waits had lost, I think, by 1600 or so: they never attained the kind of status that, say, the Gents of the Chapel Royal enjoyed. Certainly a Lieut. in the late-18th-century militia would have been counted a gentleman of sorts (dependent on the rank, or something else?).

As ever, Richard Rastall

One must remember that to be a member of the militia, one had to be a man of property or wealth (the so-called “forty shilling man”, with a minumum of that income per annum). Militia members were therefore either gentlemen, merchants or master craftsmen (and guild members), with Freedom of their boroughs either earned as master craftsmen or purchased. Waits were apprentice-trained craftsmen, and at least in some boroughs belonged to craft guilds. They therefore had status in the community. Promotion to officer rank within the militia might be on patronage, wealth or even merit.
Alan Radford.


The attached song purports to have been sung at the Rein-Deer. The Rein-Deer is the Inn close to the Guildhall, where the Council held dinners and celebrations.
If the body corporate were there, and the song was sung, it would seem likely that Lincoln Waites would have been either playing, or singing it.
Of course, as usual, I have only a sketchy connection between the Waits and this song. Thomas Curtois was elected as a Wait in 1768. The Broadside is part of the Curtois Collection (ranging from 15-something up to 1809).
Is this a clue to Waites having a duty to perform such pieces at official dinners? Perhaps the evidence is too sketchy.
Any thoughts about a date for it?
Al Garrod.

Quite a significant find! (again!).
It sounds like a typical broadside ballad on cheap paper. You can’t read too much into the illustration, as the printer would use and possibly adapt the most applicable one he had in stock. Sometimes they can be hilariously inappropriate.
Heart of Oak was written in 1759:
The French Revolution began in 1789 and ended around 1799.I don’t think you can pin the Tom Paine reference down that specifically – it only really refers to his sympathies with the French, rather than his residence there. I’m a bit hazy, but I think he left for America because he became disillusioned with the French? That might mean his departure date is significant, though I don’t suppose the ballad writer would know or care that Paine no longer approved of the French!
Have you checked on for further copies and more information?
I don’t think broadside ballads were ever regarded as anything more than popular songs or, as in this case, propaganda. They wouldn’t be regarded as worthy of the dignity of “official” performance.
We can only speculate (as so often), but it would seem quite possible that Lincoln Waits knew the song and even sang it, for their own and their friends’ entertainment if nothing else.

The York waits were present at sheriffs’ dinners at the Black Swan (see York Music – don’t know where without reading it again myself). In fact they had trouble getting to all the dos they were expected to attend! Also. there are plenty of records – perhaps they need collating and analysing (sigh) – of waits playing for various trade guild events, incl. dinners, so there is a significant probability that the Lincoln chaps were at these council dinners. Since the name of Curtois occurs both in the waits and in the collection title, there is a chance there’s something in any link you care to follow.
I had a quick look in Simpson and Chappell and there’s no ballad of that title, but people were making up and adapting them left right and the other thing, so this is probably a local speciality.
The sentiments are very typical of the age: anti-ffrench! See, for instance, various versions of The Roaft Beef of Old England and Auld Lang Syne (in e.g. Dr Merryweather’s Song-Booke).
Agreed with Chris: a significant find! (again!).

No sign of this song in the Bodleian, but I did some searches for Lincoln and Lincolnshire and found half a dozen other interesting songs with a Lincoln(shire) flavour.
Also searched for the printer of my Curtois song – Drury – and found 2 more songs – one about Lincoln Races – dated 1798.
The other song in the Bodleian (undated) is all about Sibthorp of Canwick Hall. Canwick is just up the road from my house (2 miles), and is where Selby Dickinson’s father was a tenant farmer. Colonel Sibthorp (Charles de Laet Waldo Sibthorp) went to Oxford, his college being Brasenose. He entered the Army when quite young, serving in the Royal Scots Greys. During the Peninsular War he served with the Dragoon Guards. By 1826 Charles had been elected Member of Parliament for Lincoln, thus following his father, his brother and his great-uncle, and like them he became colonel of the South Lincolnshire Militia. The Gentleman’s Magazine for January 1856 remarks: “Colonel Sibthorp ever retained a strong affection for his original profession – shown in the ardour and profuse liberality with which he endeavoured to advance to perfection the militia regiment of his county after his appointment as colonel.” He was a deputy-lieutenant of the county and a magistrate. He possessed great personal as well as family influence and was popular due to his habit of “calling a spade a spade.”
This, I think, puts this second song sometime during or the Peninsular War (1808-1814) – which incidentally, was the was in which the Loyal Lincoln Militia (Xth of Foot) served with Wellington and gained the honour “Talavera”.
All fascinating, but got me nowhere!


The King in my Curtois Song must be George III.

The term “Jacobins” was unknown before 1789 places my Curtois Song after that date.

Most Englishmen would not have heard of Tom Paine until after he published the scandalous “Rights of Man” (in which he clearly supported the French Revolution). The Year of publication was 1791.

The latest dated document in the Curtois Collection is 1809.

Therefore I (think) I can date this song between 1791 and 1809 ???
What do you think?

I think we can be fairly sure (as sure as we can be of anything) that almost all Waits sang at some point. I think what I’m trying to convey is that singing broadside ballads wouldn’t be part of their official duties, even though they might have sung this one in the presence of and with the approval of mayor and council after a dinner at the Rein Deer.
I’d say broadsides were the equivalent of today’s tabloid press, so it would be like reading out an editorial from the Sun.

Leeds waits were playing similar patriotic music at the time. Republican sentiments were not uncommmon following the American and French revolutions, and the authorities encouraged public displays of resistance to anything so progressive. See various bits in the Leeds history. This was, after all, the time when the misguided burgers of Birmingham burnt down the house of Joseph Priestley in retaliation for his celebration of the anniversary of the victory of the American rebels under George Washington. Do you have anything of a Caledonian nature in the collection? That genre came south in force in the 1750s, with the publication of The Caledonian Pocket Companion circa 1751. I have several Scottish pieces in my Crawshaw manuscript, compiled by two generations of waits of Leeds from the 1740s to the beginning of the nineteenth century, then a load of marches from the period when the Leeds Volunteer Militia were active and marching around to the accompaniment of a fine band.
Alan Radford.


I have always thought that the bond issued to Selby Dickinson was because he had lent money to the Council. [see Lincoln Waites website] But I am beginning to wonder whether some of these bonds were not loans at all, but I.O.U.s for unpaid wages?

Here’s another…made out to 2 of the Waits, jointly???

3 March 1800
“Another [Bond] to Messrs Curtois and Kirton for £300 with interest from 7th February 1800” (L1/1/1/7, p 899).

What do you think?

Al Garrod.

That would be a hell of a lot of backpay, even for two of them!

OK. I take your point.

Just seems like a bit of a coincidence that these two lent the City £300 in the year 1800, then in 1817 Selby Dickinson lent the council £600. These (mere) musicians have been described (recently!) as the “First Civil Servants”. So it seems a bit like Tony Blair asking me for £2000 to help with the balance of payments. Was it really that crazy? Could there possibly be another explanation? Was it surety, rather than actual cash? Even if it was, I suppose they would have had to be “good for it”?

Waits had to put up sureties for their chain and if lent an instrument or provided with a loan to pay for one.
James Merryweather

Not sure if I understand. The text says the bond was issued TO the waits. Doesn’t that mean they lent money to the council, not that the council lent something of value to them?
This text is in the same format as many bonds for all different amounts lent (I think they were lent?) to the council from lots of different people in different years.
Sorry if that sounds a bit vague but there are hundreds of entries like this in the minute books, sometimes taking up many lines of minutes from each meeting.
The later Lincoln waits acted as guarantor to each other for the badges.
Please can you explain in more depth?

It’s alright Al. You’re ahead in this. I just wanted to add a little of what I had in the back of my mind in case it turned out to be relevant.
Carry on, Sir.

Morte de Arthur

I just received a birthday card with this quote enclosed:

“At the last he came to a Castel and there he herd the waytes upon the wallys”, Malory, “Le Morte Arthur”, 1485.

Have we missed this? It seems very significant to me as a late 15th century view of what a Wait was – a castle watchman and musician? Or a castle watchman blowing a signal on a horn? By this time, surely, Town Waits as we know them were already quite common, and yet at least the memory of the castle watchman wait was apparently still in existance.

I’ve not seen it before. Looks like one to add to the collection of quotations that generate yet more questions.

Now look what I’ve gone and found! Note the mis-interpretation of Waits in the footnote!


Siege of Jerusalem
Edited by Michael Livingston
Originally Published in Siege of Jerusalem
Kalamazoo, Michigan: Medieval Institute Publications, 2004

By that was the day don: dymmed the skyes,
Merked montayns and mores aboute,
Foules fallen to fote and here fethres rysten,
The nyght-wacche to the walle and waytes to blowe. 32

32 Lines 731-32: Birds fall to their feet and their feathers shake out. / The night-watch [goes] to the wall and waits to sound [the alarm]


Dear Chris and James,

Good quotations! We’re going to have to face this problem sooner or later. The relationship of the watchman on a castle/town wall and the wait working with him is problematic because of the lack of information, so the more we can find the better. These are very interesting quotations for several reasons. I don’t know how to analyse them, but we’ll need to work it out.

I think that the situation changed with time and place, which is why the picture is currently so confused (and why we need more such quotations), but maybe we’ll be able to see a pattern when we have more material.

A series of questions might be, for instance,

Is the wait working with a watchman?
Blowing a horn or a wait-pipe?
On the walls, in a tower, or at the gate?
One or more waits?
One or more watchmen?
A castle, or a town?

This all seems pretty basic, but then we’ve hardly started on this area, have we? If we can answer these questions others may occur to us.

As ever, Richard

Secret Minutes

Can anyone help me to interpret this?

L1/1/1/7 – Minutes 1710-1800
With the minute book turned upside down, as if to start writing afresh in the back, leaving blank pages either side, as if to hide it, is written the following:

“A register of all such persons as have been engaged into the several offices hereafter mentioned upon and since the Fourteenth Day of September Anno Dom 1710 who have taken the oaths to his present majesty Queen Anne and this Oath in the Act for the regulating of Corporations mentioned and have subscribed the Oath hereafter within written mentioned also in the said Act.

I A: B: do declare that I hold that there lies no obligation upon me or any other person from this oath commonly called the solemn league and covenant and that this same was in it self an unlawful oath and imposed upon the subjects of this Realm against the known Laws and Liberties of this Kingdom.”

[I think you are supposed to replace “A: B:” with your first name and surname?]

[These paragraphs are then signed.]

John Wilson. Mayor

John Parsons
Ino. Durrance
Tho. Kent
Enoch Malton
Geo. Wilson
John Dymoke
John Lawes.

[Note: Although this entry is undated, it was probably recorded in 1770-1771 because that is when John Wilson was Mayor. However, I do not understand the significance of the reference to Queen Anne and 14th Sept 1710?]

Then a second similar entry:

“A register of all such persons as have been engaged into the several offices hereafter mentioned upon and since the Fourteenth Day of September Anno Dom 1710 who have taken the oaths to his present majesty Queen Anne and this Oath in the Act for the regulating of Corporations mentioned and have subscribed the Oath hereafter within written mentioned also in the said Act.

I A: B: do declare that I hold that there lies no obligation upon me or any other person from this oath commonly called the solemn league and covenant and that this same was in it self an unlawful oath and imposed upon the subjects of this Realm against the known Laws and Liberties of this Kingdom.”

[These paragraphs are then signed.]

George Kent. Mayor

Tho. Kent
Enoch Malton. Sherriffs

Tho. Brown
Robt. Obbinson [Robert Obbinson had been Mayor in 1774-1775]
John Hobman
John Holmes. Capital Conffubulari [Chief Constables]

John Dymoke
Geo. Skelton [had been Sherriff in 1719-1720]
Tho. Knight
John Millington. Cordarij [Coroners?]

Andrew Rippins.

[Notes: (1) Although this entry is undated, it was probably recorded in 1787-1788 because that is when George Kent was Mayor. (2) Three of these men also signed the 1770-1771 entry: Thomas Kent, Enoch Malton and John Dymoke. (3) George Skelton, who signed in 1787-1788, may be a relative of the Skelton who had become a Wait in 1762].

Thanks. Al Garrod.

It would seem that this is to do with the Scots. The Act itself dates back to the Civil War and was formally destroyed after the restoration:

It seems that, in 1710, the Scots tried to revive it:

I suspect that what you have found is a declaration of loyalty to the Hanoverian monarchy, so that the council could not be accused of being Jacobites. Perhaps it is not intended to be secret, but was put on a separate page because it didn’t fit into normal council business – or perhaps it was put there just in case the Jacobites should win, in which case it could be torn out and destroyed without leaving a suspicious hole in the minutes!


Wow! – this is new to me. Another area of history that I need educating in!

Yet, I am still troubled as to why the WHOLE council did not sign. Dos that mean some WERE Jacobites? Why just these few?

I get the impression that this was not discussed in open council. But rather that these men knew each other’s thoughts and discussed this matter privately. I still think the pages are meant to be hidden. You need to see the minute book yourself to see what I mean. Plus they are not dated.

I have found many letters of congratulation or disgust were sent to the King whenever a battle (mostly naval battles) were won or lost. All written in a fawning, forelock tugging, too-good-to-be-true, over-emphasized, over-patriotic manner. I have always thought that perhaps, the words were shallow and not meant. Do you think I’m wrong, and that this was just the style of writing to a monarch (a style that we today are very unfamiliar with)?

There are also multiple instances of the windows of the Guildhall being broken overnight (by Jacobites?). Could it have been actual council members breaking the windows as a sign of defiance?

And what about that date – 14th September 1710?

Skelton’s signature confirming his loyalty to the King makes perfect sense – esp. if there is a connection with your Skelton and Henry Viii Chris. (Any chance of checking to see if you can make the connection to my Lincoln Skelton?)

Could Crawthorne’s dismissal (for being a catholic) from the Waits, in 1737, also be linked to this?


There’s more…

Still haven’t found anything about the date – 14th September 1710???

Is it significant that the Lincoln Wait’s Badge dates from 1710?
Weren’t Queen Anne’s Arms different before the Union than after the Union?
Would it be significant to know which coat of arms (before or after the union) appears on the reverse of the Lincoln Waits badge?

Might earlier badges have been destroyed if they bore the Arms of a branch of the Monarchy that had converted to Catholicism (James II)?

What date was the General election in 1710?
The Tories won.
Is that significant for this subject?


The lincoln cognizance is the only one I know of which carries a royal coat of arms. I can’t hazard a guess as to why it does.

Ooops. We have not discussed that before. I wonder why not? Might that be a VERY significant fact in itself?
And your thoughts on my other questions?

Another random thought:
The York waits badges have the York arms which are the red cross on a white background – St George – England (five lybartes/leopards added). Nothing specifically to do with the waits, just the arms of an ancient, sometime capital, English city.

And the Arms of York and Lincoln seem to be derived from the same source ( see my entry here – but that doesn’t explain why the Lincoln badges are two-faced (two-faced? reversible? like a turncoat?).
Doesn’t the fact that no other cognizances have a Royal coat of arms on their reverse (or is it obverse?) would suggest some significance for Lincoln (or for 1710) that we have not yet discovered?
A wait of Lincoln if the Lincoln Coat of arms is displayed, and a Wait of Queen Anne if the Royal Coat of Arms faces outwards????????

Leeds Corporation minutes in the late seventeenth and early eighteenth cenuries contain references to Aldermen and Assistants taking an oath declaring themselves free of obligation to the Solemn League and Covenant, and disqualification from office of any unwilling to take such an oath. Similarly, in the late eighteenth century, there were public declarations in support of the constitution and against republicans. There was no element of secrecy about these.
Alan Radford

Hi Alan,
I think you told be recently that Leeds Minutes for the Civil War period had been destroyed by the council before the Parliamentarian forces arrived – so as to protect them from any possible reprisals?
Lincoln didn’t burn their minutes. They hid them by turning minute books upside down and writing in the back. That’s why I thought their intention were to hide this text.

The Watch

You might be interested in the entries for 1755 and 1756 on my website (just updated) about half-way down the page. The evidence casts further doubt as to whether the musical-waits, who took the watch 4 nights a week, could have blown shawms whilst doing so.
Chris – the entries above mention “eight lodges” – what do you think these are? Sentry boxes? Kind of Police stations? Wait’s Houses? (I have no idea where these lodges are today. Church porches?)
Al. (Lincoln)

Dear Al,
This is an interesting one! However, the watchmen (citizens) set up in 1755 don’t seem to be the same as the waits set up in 1756 – their jobs are complementary, as far as one can see (but the waits job isn’t specified fully). This sounds to me like a security patrol (watch – and is it all the year?) plus the waits for limited times doing a different job (serenading? Unlikely. Telling the time/weather? perhaps, though that’s one of the jobs given to the watch. Perhaps there’s a recognition here that a watchman telling the time can’t be expected to see any thieves – though fire would be noticed).
As you note, no-one could do both sets of jobs: but then, these records don’t require that anyone should. Are there other records concerning these jobs?
As ever,
Professor Richard Rastall MA MusB PhD FSA

I would think your 8 lodges would be some sort of shelters – perhaps sentry boxes, or perhaps larger. Eight houses would be an expensive and unnecessary commitment.
This record of the Lincoln Waits’ involvement in the watch is very similar to the Dublin City Musick’s involvement with their watch.
Just a thought – I have evidence (for instance from Lynn) that the “Waits going about the streets with their instruments” was something that they did on dark winter mornings to wake the townsfolk (and possibly also in the evening as a sort of curfew). The Lynn Waits did this on the “worken days”, which is sensible and logical. If they were out there in the evening and early morning, it might make sense for them to take a turn at the watch some nights and then go straight on to doing their “alarm clock” duties.

“the watchmen (citizens) set up in 1755 don’t seem to be the same as the waits set up in 1756”
Really? Did I misunderstand the text?


not sure if this is of interest to you – nothing to do with Lincoln Waits, although it is in our archives. I think James may have mentioned the Brownlow family to me – months ago?
Al Garrod

RefNo BNLW/4/6/18
Title Eleanor, 1st Viscountess Tyrconnel
Description Account book:

Entries for 1715-1717 kept by E Wooding, those for 1718 by Lady Tyrconnel herself. Followed by receipted accounts signed by her creditors,1718-1719. Lady Brownlow [Viscountess Tyrconnel from 6 April 1718] spent most of 1716 & 1717 in a small house in Bruton, Somerset, as she and her husband had shut up their London house in Arlington St, in an attempt to alleviate his financial difficulties.
The accounts for 1715-1717 are detailed, including items such as 4d spent on “ribon for the Dogs Coller”, 2s 6d “To a Man for some Trouts”, bird seed, Hungary water, 2s 6d “For cutting the Dogs Ears”, “Polishing the gold case”, “making a bone Peticoat”, “Lozenges”, “punching the Dogs Coller”, “the Musick from Bath”, “Stoughtons Elixer”, 2s “To the Men with a Hobby Horse”, “Gold beaters Leaff”, “8 Box combs & 2 Tortoise”, “Hony Water”, “To a Man with Bagg Pipes”, “A Lock for Brills Coller”, “4 dosen of Pearl Counters”, dice, a spitting pot, toothpicks, “pinchers”, “4 quire of gilt paper”,

Sorry, Al. There are no Brownlows (that I know of) in my world.
However, I note mention of the Musick from Bath who might or might not have been the waits and To a Man with Bagg Pipes which is a relatively late record of an English bagpiper, perhaps with Union Bagpipes (precursors of the Irish Uillean BP), but who knows? Where to store such a tiny nugget that might be useful one day? Perhaps I’ll send it to Brian McCandless in the USA so that somebody who might need it can use it. and see his Pastoral-Union Article.pdf at the bottom of the page.
Blast! I see he has a new article Town Pipers A European Tradition.pdf which we would do well to check out.
What a splendid inventory, nonetheless! I wonder if a spoonful of Stoughtons Elixer would help my cough?

I’ve downloaded the McCandless article and transferred the text into word where it awaits some commentary. It needs it: Brian falls into that old trap of assuming ‘piper’ (when translated from the German) meant bagpiper!
Incidentally, recently I was asked by the editor of the Galpin Society Journal (musical instruments) if he might use a new word he’d invented, arising from my ranting about the above trap: merryweatherism. I was v. flattered. I wonder if it will ever get into the OED?
So Brian has committed a merryweatherism.

More Bach

See attached images. 1 and 2 are connected.File 2 is a picture from “Musicalisches Lexicon”, written by Walther, JS Bach’s cousin. Could this picture of a Church Concert, with Bach at the Organ, be a contemporary drawing of some of Bach’s Waits in his orchestra?
3 and 4 are connected.
Al Garrod.

I’ve seen the picture before and was aware that Walther was related to JSB, but never took it in. There might be a lot in this picture if we took time over it in the light of relevant texts and what ever information we have collated.
The constitution of the band is intriguing, assuming the artist didn’t introduce too much fiction (e.g the size and shape of the ‘fiddles’). We have trombones, a five-string bass which ought to be a viol (yes?). Who was the organist? we might never know, but what can we make of what is written on the organ: Alles was *Dem hat, lobe Den Herren. I’d have to look it up, but I recognise lobe Den Herren as a chorale used by Bach, but what is its context with the rest of the text? Those fiddles are intriguing. If their size is more or less correct, are they tenor violins? I think we have to leave room for doubt, caused by suspicion of artistic license, but can somebody else make a better judgement?
At the back of the picture we have a balustrade not unlike the gallery holding Henry VIII’s musicians (allegedly) in Holbein’s drawing (we have it on the website) and on the front what resembles a plate from Praetorius’s Syntagma Musicum: triangle with jingles, cornett and lysarden, horn and is that a bandora?
Just two Google hits for “Alles was Dem hat” wrote: “…one of my absolute favorite things in the whole world, J. S. Bach’s BWV 225, Lobet den Herrn/alles was Dem hat, which is the finale from Singet dem Herrn ein neues Lied.”
Mendelssohn was a great Bach fan. I got my second hit at which is his 2nd symphony “Lobesgesang”.
James Merryweather

The modern double bass often has five strings, and is still more closely related to the viol family than the violin family. The enormous fiddles look as if they are not to scale, but I have seen tenor viols in the Edinburgh Musical Instruments Museum which have been converted into violas. They look impossibly large, and when held by a diminutive 18th century German, could well look like those shown in this picture.

Military Trumpeting

Message received by Al Garrod:
Hi Al
Have you seen this? Interesting for the Bach family but also I guess forthe Lincoln waits in the C18 – I would guess they have ties to themilitary bands of the time.
Frank Davies

That’s nice. It takes military use of the old shawms into the last quarter of the seventeenth century, supporting their description as “contemporary” instruments in James Talbot’s manuscript at Christchurch, Oxford University library.
Alan Radford

Colchester Waits Recruiting

Following the success of the workshop at Cressing Temple (see below), the Colchester Waits are looking for more people who would like to play shawms, lysard or sackbutt etc. Monthly rehearsals will be starting soon. They can provide instruments for people to start off on. Contact Lizzie Gutteridge 01206 212466 for details.

Winds Workshop

Wyldes Noyse, Renaissance Duo, in association with King’s Lynn Waites and Colchester Waits are offering a unique chance to take opart in a workshop where you can play a range of early wind instruments. It is hoped to recruit enough players to form an Essex-based shawm band of Waits. See the Wyldes Noyse website for details and booking form.

Ely Waits

Tony Pearson is busy working on starting up the Ely Waits. Ely, being a religious establishment, never had civic Waits in the past, but that’s not a problem! Tony has musicians lined up, and is busy fund-raising to buy shawms and sackbuts and liveries. He has already obtained permission from Ely City Council to use the City’s arms (see right).
Watch this space for further developments!
See update above.

Authentic Fonts

Here’s the link for JSL Ancient. An excellent font, but can only be used on the net as an image. Fonts will only work for the viewer of a website if the computer they are viewing with has that font.

Bookman Old Style, Franklin Gothic, Garamond and even Times New Roman include the long-form lower-case “s”. The easiest way to use it is via the “Insert” menu and paste it in from the symbol chart.
In the last couple of years, several inexpensive 16th and 17th century manuscript fonts have become available – for about£10 a font. Examples are Witchfinder at, Elizabethan at and Royalist at These may be useful.
Alan Radford

Lincoln Queries

Gentlemen, more discoveries and more questions from Lincoln!

(Question 1)
The “f” and “s” dilemma. We know that in some manuscript, letters were formed into shapes that are different to those used today. The simplest (but by no means the only) example of this is a letter *resembling* an “f”, which, in the context of the page, is clearly an “s”. Whilst we could type “f” to represent this, is that really the best way to tackle publication of extracts on the ‘net? Perhaps we should type what was meant, an “s”. As certain letters are very different to those available in a modern alphabet, isn’t substituting one letter for another in this way, really more suited to schoolboy essays or the dialogue of “Carry-On Films”, after all, this is not a case of interpretation, simply of how a letter was once written, compared with how we write it (and how our readers understand it) today. Another simple and oft-misused case in point is “ye” for “the”. In one particular minute book from Lincoln, the Recorder’s handwriting is very angular, and he misses out many strokes, almost a form of short-hand, (this seems to be peculiar to this one man, not a convention used in any other mss here). The only way to faithfully represent the visual appearance of his words would be to photocopy them. That, sadly is not an option, as Lincolnshire County Council do not grant permission for any copies of original material in their care to published.

The lower-case long “s” differs from an “f” in that it has no crossline, so using an “f” is not the solution. The long “s” is available insome standard fonts, e.g. Bookman Old Style, in the Latin Extended Acharacter set, character code 017F.
However, although the long “s” is a feature of Bastard- andSecretary-hand scripts and also early Roman and Italic fonts, if we aretranscribing into a modern font, should we not just use the normal lowercase “s” of that font? Especially in manuscript, many other lettersalso differ from their modern equivalents, but we just transcribe themwithout a second thought.
Alan Radford

‘Where the bee sucks, there suck I’
Unless we have a font with long esses (we do have JSL ancient, but most other people can’t read it and it gets corrupted) then the default must be to use an ‘s’.

I agree with the others, though if you really want to use long s’s on the net, you can download JSL Ancient and convert it into an image. See the examples on the King’s Lynn Waites’ web site.

I am a great fan of Jeff Lee’s JSL Ancient font. The problemwith JSL Ancient is that it is not a standard font, so unless you postan image rather than an HTML file, unless the recipient also has thatfont installed, it comes out looking very peculiar. The reason Isuggested Bookman Old Style is that it is a standard font included inthe MS Windows package, and it has a long lower case “s” included

See Authentic Fonts above for more on this subject.

(Question 2)
Throughout the 1790’s the Mayors’ Accounts 1764-1835 (L1/1/4/1) detail the Waits being paid to announce 4 Fairs each year. Interestingly, the way this is expressed suggests that the Waits were proclaiming the Fairs in the manner of a Town Cryer, either instead of (or as well as?) in music.

Example 1 –
“To the Waits Crying ye Fair… 0.4.0” (1765)
[4s = 1s per man, per fair]

Later, when a man who appears to have been the Cryer, gets the job of Proclaiming Fairs, he does so AS WELL AS the Waits, not instead of them.

Example 2 –
“By Cash to the Wayets Crying the Fair… 0.4.0”
and on the next line,
“By Cash to Babb Crying the Fair…0.1.0”

The Recorder does not title Babb, “Mr”, nor use his first name, just his surname. This appears to me a little blunt – perhaps the Recorder was referring to a man who he had little or no respect for?

No, it was the correct way of referring to an ordinary man. To be given the title “Mr” he would have had to be a gentleman.

Babb’s other duties appear to have been more to do with crime and policing. At one point he is paid for whipping a vagrant, and “conveying vagabonds to Harmston” (a village just outside the City limits). The corporation also frequently pay Babb for “warding”. I am not certain whether this means he was a Constable or assistant to the Gaoler. Babb and Glen (the Gaoler) are also paid to attend the assizes.

After Babb’s death (we know he died because the Council start paying a pension to the Widow Babb) the Wait’s continue “Crying the Fair” (I have read up to 1787 so far) without the assistance of any other Officers.

Two observations –
(a) “Crying the Fair” paints a picture of Waits who may have had a long tradition of delivering verbal proclamations (and provides me with more confidence that Waits were the likely exponents of the (much) earlier “Crying Christmas” (1564)). Re-reading Crying Christmas I find the style to be reminiscent of a mummers’ play.

(b) I have searched and searched, but have found almost no references to Wait’s instruments. Is it possible that not all of Lincoln’s Waits were musical? Can you suggest places to search that I may have overlooked?

It is possible that not all Lincoln Waits were musical. I would say it was more likely that they used their own instruments rather than having them bought by the council. The instruments would almost certainly feature in their wills in that case. Chris.

(Question 3)
The Mayor’s Accounts of 1764-1835 mention an official, salaried, swan-keeper. This man – Mottam/Metham – was responsible for buying oats to feed the Swans. He also had to keep an eye on the weather – and if it was stormy (dare I say “foul” weather?) he had to go out in the storm to tend to the birds and ensure they all had adequate cover to stay safe and well during the downpour (getting soaked and probably catching his death of cold in the process!). Do you think the Mayor and Council ate Swan at their dinners?

Very possibly. Chris.

(Question 4)
In 1817, Selby Dickinson (Wait) lent the council £600, for which they pay him interest of 5% (sounds high, is that more than a bank would have paid?).

I don’t have any knowledge of 19th century interest rates, but in the 17th century the legal maximum rate was 6%, and many money lenders and private individuals charged illegal rates up to 10%. Chris.

In 1818 the Waites salary (for 4 men) was all paid to Selby Dickinson (making him the organiser?) and amounted to £16.16s.0d. His share of this (£4.4s) was a mere fraction of the interest on his loan, again suggesting that being a Wait was more of a hobby (for him at least) than a main income.

In 1818, it appears that Selby Dickinson owned the Butchery. The Council paid him “a poor rate for the butchery” of £5. Any ideas what this means?

As always, I really do appreciate any comments or suggestions that may increase my understanding or help me direct this research further.

Many thanks, Regards, Al Garrod.

Korber Shawms etc.

Hi, Are Korber shawms any good?… for a beginner like me I mean! What would one expect to pay for a second-hand alto shawm?
Al Garrod

These look interesting – I wonder if they are any good?
Frank Davies

They look too nice and rather like the Moeck shawms of 30 years ago. They look as though they’re meant to be played sweetly, oboe-style by elderly gentlemen in dinner jackets in consort with lute and recorder, perhaps accompanied by a lady in her evening frock with nakers strapped round her waist.
That’s not what I want from shawms – I want NOYSE!
But I haven’t seen or heard them, so what do I know?

The cross-over period at the end of the seventeenth century seems to have been rather neglected by wind players. In a real sense all instruments are “transitional” but the “refined” shawms at the end of the seventeenth century perhaps have some special qualities that could add to our appreciation of the music of that time. There seem to be a number of existing shawms by makers such as Haka and Denner so it would be possible to produce some better than conjectural modern instruments – although if the usual pattern is followed it will take modern makers time to fathom out the subtleties of the originals.
I don’t know if Daniel Speer included shawms in his book?
Buxtehude’s church congregation got excited about the purchase of a new bass shawm I seem to remember – I wonder what sort of an instrument that was? – could it be similar to Keith Lorraine’s instrument (I can’t re-find his website but he is a shawm maker in California).
For the Lincoln Waits I think the second half of the seventeenth century could be an interesting period to focus on.

The 1690s manuscript in the library of Christ Church, Oxford (I forget the author, but Richard will surely know), describing musical instruments includes descriptions and detailed measurements of renaissance-type shawms, German schalemai and new-fangled French oboes, and implies that they were all in use at that date. The descriptions include detailed measurements of reeds and pirouettes, which as we all know are so easily lost and/or broken, and his comparisons of their acoustic qualities shows that they were all not just playable but also played.
Alan Radford

I think it may be James Talbot’s manuscript (Christ church music library 1187)

Yes, Talbot’s the one. Apologies for a “senior” moment there.

Newark Waits’ Badges

The Waits website says 4 waits badges were in existence in 1895 (when Jewitt & Hope was published).But there’s certainly only 2 in Newark now!
Ahem. It wasn’t me, you can search my gaff. Could be some Victorian mace-bearer half-inched one, but two? The macebearers would only have charge of one each. Could it be possible that the other 2 badges found their way to Kelham House or even Nottingham in the midst of 1970s local government reorgansiation?
Al Garrod

See the Cognizances for Al’s new pictures of the remaining Newark badges. Chris.

Quantz Essay

Correspondence regarding James Merryweather’s essay Quantz Was A Wait.

Dear James,
This is an interesting one! The information all seems very confusing, but the first thing to say is that your point 7 is surely a non-sequitur. JJQ certainly trained for three months with a Stadtpfeiffer (if that’s the word actually used), but unless it’s known that Fleischhack was also a Stadtpfeiffer I don’t see that we can say that JJQ was trained as one.
The second point is much as I’ve already suggested for the English scene in the 18th century. “Stadtpfeiffer” seems clear enough as a job, position and to some extent status: but “town musician” is much less so. Given that a Stadtpfeiffer might very well be used in an orchestra, being a Stadtpfeiffer nevertheless isn’t the same thing as being an orchestral player in the town. Again, the specific responsibilities of the Stadtpfeifferen, the orchestras (dance- or concert- ) and the military bands need to be explored. Perhaps someone’s done this – have they? – and I speak from ignorance: but unless these things have been sorted out and explained I’m very suspicious of the lines of argument.
Can you get any further with this? The model for any exploration might well be bach’s position at Leipzig, though one shouldn’t *assume* that what goes for Leipzig goes also for Merseburg.
As ever,
Richard Rastall

Thank you for applying the brake. Point 7 is a little pivotal to this argument! Therefore previous points need clearing up first. The info we don’t have is the original language texts. Maybe we’d learn a lot more if we could read Quantz’s autobiography (I’ve failed to get that on the internet and Kyle of Lochalsh library is, I suspect, unlikely to have a copy). I think that’s where a lot of the internet drivel has come from (other than being plagiarised from site to site by the Chinese whisper technique).
Originally, I had little joy searching for Fleischhack (Johann Adolf, by the way). Today, Googling fleischhack+quantz took me to:

New light on Quantz’s advocacy of Telemann’s music Zohn Early Music.1997; XXV: 441-461, so there might be something in there.

And do these tell us anything useful? Quantz wurde 1697 als fünftes Kind des Hufschmieds Andreas Quantz in Oberscheden geboren. Nach dem Tod der Eltern 1702 bzw. 1707 übernahm sein Onkel Justus Quantz, der Stadtmusikus in Merseburg war, die Ausbildung. Auch dieser starb nach kurzer Zeit und Quantz wurde bei dessen Nachfolger Johann Adolf Fleischhack als Stadtpfeifer ausgebildet. Nach Abschluss der Lehre bekam er im März 1716 eine Anstellung in Dresden. Nach zwei Jahren im Dienste des dortigen Stadtmusikus, wechselte er als Oboist an die Polnische Kapelle Augusts II., mit der er regelmäßig nach Polen reiste. Um beruflich weiter zu kommen nahm er 1718 Querflötenunterricht bei Pierre Gabriel Buffardin und begann zu komponieren. 1728 wurde er Flötist bei der Sächsisch Königlichen Kapelle und lernte den damaligen Kronprinzen Friedrich kennen, dem er von da an Flötenunterricht erteilte. 1737 heiratete Quantz Anna Rosina Carolina Schindler. Nachdem Friedrich König geworden war, kam Quantz 1741 nach Berlin, wo er Friedrich täglich Unterricht gab, Hauskonzerte leitete und komponierte. Außerdem baute er selbst Flöten und schrieb 1752 das Flöten-Lehrbuch Versuch einer Anweisung die Flöte traversière zu spielen. 1755 erschien in den „Historisch-kritischen Beyträgen zur Aufnahme der Musik“ von Friedrich Wilhelm Marpurg eine Autobiographie; eine weitere folgte 1762 auf italienisch. Quantz blieb bis zu seinem Tod 1773 am Hof Friedrichs. Quantz wurde 1697 als fünftes Kind des Hufschmieds Andreas Quantz in Oberscheden geboren. Nach dem Tod der Eltern (1702 und 1707) übernahmen sein Onkel Justus Quantz, der Stadtmusikus in Merseburg war, und der Organist Kiesewetter die Ausbildung. Auch der Onkel starb bald, und Quantz wurde bei dessen Nachfolger Johann Adolf Fleischhack ausgebildet, kam 1713 als “Geselle” nach Radeberg und wurde 1714 Stadtpfeifer in Pirna. Nach Abschluss der Ausbildung bekam er im März 1716 eine Anstellung in der Stadtkapelle Dresden (Oboe und Flöte). Nach zwei Jahren im Dienste des dortigen Stadtmusikus wechselte er als Oboist an die Polnische Kapelle Augusts II., mit der er regelmäßig nach Polen reiste. Johann Joachim Quantz wurde am 30. Januar 1697 in Oberscheden bei Göttingen geboren. Er sollte wie sein Vater Hufschmied werden, doch folgte er nach dessen Tod 1707 seiner Neigung zur Musik. Seine ersten Lehrer waren sein Onkel Justus Quantz und dessen Schwiegersohn Johann Adolf Fleischhack. Johann Joachim erhielt Unterricht auf den Instrumenten Violine, Oboe, Trompete, Zink, Posaune, Waldhorn, Blockflöte, Fagott, Violoncello, Gambe und Kontrabass. Außerdem nahm er bei einem Verwandten, dem Organisten Johann Friedrich Kiesewetter, Klavierunterricht. 1714 ging Quantz für ein Jahr als Stadtpfeifer nach Radeberg und Pirna und 1717 hielt er sich drei Monate in Wien auf. 1718 wurde er als Oboist in die Polnische Kapelle Augusts II aufgenommen. Dieses Kammerorchester von zwölf Musikern ging alljährlich für kurze Zeit nach Warschau, hielt sich sonst aber in Dresden auf.,%20Johann%20Joachim Q. war Sohn eines, Hufschmieds, Andreas Quantz Nach dem Tod der Eltern 1702 bzw. 1707 wurde sein Onkel Justus Quantz sein Vormund. Doch auch dieser starb schon bald und so wurde Q. Johann Adolf Fleischhack als Stadtpfeifer ausgebildet. Im März 1716 trat er seine erste Anstellung als Stadmusikus in Dresden an. Zwei Jahre später wurde er Oboist in der Polnischen Kapelle Augusts II.

And there are three mentions of Fleischhack in a dense German text at but it’s well beyond me. Quantz wurde 1697 als fünftes Kind des Hufschmieds Andreas Quantz in Oberscheden geboren. Nach dem Tod der Eltern 1702 bzw. 1707 übernahm sein Onkel Justus Quantz, der Stadtmusikus in Merseburg war, und der Organist Kiesewetter die Ausbildung. Auch der Onkel starb bald und Quantz wurde bei dessen Nachfolger Johann Adolf Fleischhack ausgebildet, kam 1713 als “Geselle” nach Radeberg und wurde 1714 Stadtpfeifer in Pirna. Nach Abschluss der Lehre bekam er im März 1716 eine Anstellung in der Stadtkapelle Dresden (Oboe und Flöte).

It was the Dresden Stadtkapelle that Quantz joined in 1716 which I’m pretty certain was a lot posher than a town waits band.


Nice picture at the top of the page, shame the trio play modern oboe and trompette a piston!
Al Garrod.

Splendid picture – seems familiar. Does anybody know its origin. With care, there’s a lot that can be deduced from it about performance practice. Not Baroque though (well, not in English terms – what is Baroque anyway?).
From the clothing, particularly the short, sexy trunk hose of the gent on the right, this band is about 1600, even up to 20 years earlier. We’d call it late Elizabethan, early Jacobean or, for safety, Jacobethan.

Just to confirm that we’re all seeing the same things, from left to right, tenor viol, left-handed cornett?, 7 course lute, onlooker or singer, left-handed cornett again, man who really looks as if he’s singing, sackbut, in front of him two children – presumably singers, at the back another possible singer, right-handed flute, virginals, sackbut, “Mr Sexy”. Interesting that he and the keyboard player are wearing swords, denoting status. The others might be, but we can’t see their left sides.
Those cornetts bother me. Other instruments could be played left- or right-handed, but not the cornett unless it was made that way. Is there a curve on them? Are they straight cornetts that could be played left handed? Or are they something else altogether? Or is the artist ignorant?
The whole ensemble looks like an orchestra rather than a band. Surely it’s too early for that idea? And if it was an orchestra surely it would have a theorbo to give the bass notes, rather than a lute, which would get drowned?

This is what was known as a hofkapelle, the musicians of a grand duke sort of fellow? See attached picture which looks as if it might have been the model for the one we’re talking about. N.B. my date is way out and that’s not baroque!
Back to picture no. 1. The slide arm of the central trombonista seems to be away from the instrument as if holding a handle, i.e. has he got a bass saggbut? The chappie in the Lassus picture (who looks very similar) certainly has.
I’ve flipped the picture. Now other chaps are left handed. hey-ho.

The picture I sent you the other day – the one with left handed cornettists that James reversed – I have found the source – it’s from Lassus’ Patrocinium Musices (1589).
I am developing a theory – tell me if it sounds plausible… IF the cornets were straight and IF the cornettists used a side embouchure, would it be more comfortable for someone playing on the left of their lips to hold their right hand uppermost on the tone holes and vice versa???
[Yes. C]
This might account for them seeming to have a left-handed grip. Perhaps some might even be ambidextrous and “ambi-lip-strous”, thus doubling the time they could play before fatigue of the lips prevented any more music???
[Not sure about that. I’m finding it an almost full-time occupation maintaining my cornett embouchure in one place, let alone two! C.]
To prove the left-handedness isn’t a figment of the painter/artist/woodcutter’s imagination, I attach a second picture of a similar ensemble – also with a strangely left-handed cornet player. This one is by Jost Amman (1539-1591), “A bridge for adultery built by King Arthur”.

[Yes, that’s definitely a straight cornett. I note the sackbuttist is also left-handed (actually he appears to have two left arms!)
We know that there was no “right way round” for the hands on most woodwind instruments, hence the lyre-shaped little-finger keys, but on the whole I think the most likely explanation of all this cornett business is so-called artistic licence – it suited the artist to have the instruments that way round for the overall balance of the picture, or he just didn’t remember how they are normally held.C]

Regarding the picture you have on the Wait’s website, the Pictures page – you have captioned it “Trumpets & Sackbut 1538”. Part of this same picture is reproduced to illustrate an article by Keith McGowan (Early Music, 1994 pp441-466 (26 pages)). His caption might tell us more… “Ensemble of two slide-trumpets and a trombone: Heinrich Aldegrever (1502-1588), woodcut, ‘Music for a wedding dance’, from The Great Dances (1538)”

Just noticed, in your latest pic, all three wind players, whether playing left- or right-handed, are wearing their swords on the left – therefore they must be right-handed.

Dear Al,
We have to be very careful with handedness in engravings. If the original was a painting, we are dependent upon the artist to have got it right in the first place, and artists are notoriusly bad observers – well, their purpose was rarely to provide a blueprint for future organologists.
Next came the engraver, probably best demonstrated in Pieter Breugel’s work, engraved and re-engraved in several generations of publication. Also the long history of a single painting by Abraham Bloemaert (17th c) of a bagpiper who turns up throughout subsequent history in reversals and re-reversals and remodellings. When people (including Scots in numerous cases, including the 19th c. statue in Kilbarchan of the 16th c town piper Habbie Simpson) wanted a picture of a bagpiper, they roughly copied a descendent of the Bloemaert which, if he hadn’t left out a part of the bagpipe in the original, would no longer be recognisable. Engraving usually involved methods that caused reversal. This was certainly the way with carvers, who would take a picture, stick it onto the wood and litterally prick the outlines through the paper often resulting in reversal.
You just can’t tell. However, we do know that straight wind instruments could be, and probably were played right or left handed. Recorders and soprano shawms had optional pinky holes and larger shawms a double wing shaped key to allow the player to do as he wished. Thus, whilst the cornettist in your picture is, by today’s standards, left-handed, the shawm player is conventionally right-handed (and the trombonist who has not put his instrument together properly – or did the artist get it wrong? – is also conventional). Actually, in this picture, is it possible that the cornettist is playing a straight cornett?
Re Keith’s picture of “Ensemble of two slide-trumpets and a trombone”, you should read Myers, Polk and Duffin in Early Music Aug. 1989. How can you tell it’s a slide trumpet if it’s shut, as seems to be the case in all the most realistic illustrations considered to contain a slide trumpet (arguable!)? Does a non-slide S trumpet need to be grasped with both hands? Does two fingers cradling the mouthpiece necessarily mean that the player is protecting his teeth from the incoming slide or is he just holding the mouthpiece securely against his lips whilst playing an unwieldy instrument?
There’s plenty of room for discussion in these interpretation problems, but we must always remember that these illustrations are art, not an instrument maker’s drawings.
So the first engraving in this discussion (that I mirrored) is Lassus, as is the picture I dug out of the hofkapelle. Coincidence.

And the violone player is conventionally right handed too. I guess this means that the cornettist is playing the wrong way round.
Look closely: the saggbutter’s thumbs prove he has left and right hands – as is usual for trombonists.
Note the half boye in the foreground. An apprentice or a nuisance?

Coat of Arms

Perhaps it is time to sort out the Wait or Waite family arms, illustrated here.
The College of Arms, (who must surely know what they’re talking about) say:

“There is no such thing as a ‘coat of arms for a surname’. Many people of the same surname will often be entitled to completely different coats of arms, and many of that surname will be entitled to no coat of arms. Coats of arms belong to individuals. For any person to have a right to a coat of arms they must either have had it granted to them or be descended in the legitimate male line from a person to whom arms were granted or confirmed in the past.”

So all that we have is the fact that someone by the name of Waite was granted these arms. It is interesting to note that they chose horns for their device – signalling horns for household Waits/Watchmen?

Civil War

Another mad theory… As the Lincoln Waites were disbanded by Cromwell (or at least, if not sacked directly BY his Commissioners, they had certainly disappeared during the War) and were only (?officially) reinstated in 1662,would their original music be lost? Would they have reformed with a VERY different set of tunes? (I realise repertoire changed with the passing of time anyway, but this was different, there had never been a break like this before).
Any comments?
Al Garrod.

Who knows? I suspect, though, that they played what was popular. There seems little evidence that Waits had a specific repertoire in this country (unlike some of the European bands). They seem to have picked up whatever tunes took their fancy or were in favour at a particular time. (All guesswork, really, considering how very little evidence we have on the subject – I’m prepared to be shot down in flames by higher authorities!).

The question of starting again after the War is an intriguing one. There are several unknowns, though, and I wonder if you can eliminate them?

Did any of the pre-War personnel return after the Restoration?
Were any of the post-War waits related to pre-War ones?
Were the waits’ post-War activities the same as their pre-War ones?
Was the number of waits the same post-War as pre-War?

I would guess that any printed sources would probably belong to the town council and might, therefore, survive the War, whereas manuscripts would be compiled by individual waits (or, probably, an individual wait) and would not survive unless the same man (a) had an expectation of returning and actually did so or (b) was able to make use of his repertory in other ways while he was not a wait.
Does Lincoln have any printed music in its archives? I can’t see that it has a copy of Adson’s Courtly Masquing Ayres or anything of that sort, but you never know …
All good wishes,
Richard Rastall


Hello everyone,
I recently had a discussion with Chris about shoes. Not surprisingly, the current position, of existing Waites bands in England, is one of great variance in the degree of “authenticity” of costume, including shoes. Shoes currently worn range from perfectly correct “period” shoes, to completely modern shoes. The following idea might be a solution…
This attached picture is of Roger Offord’s shoes. I wonder if it would be possible to approximate a look-alike to this latchet shoe by carefully remodelling a pair of modern “desert boots” with a pair of scissors? What do you think? If it would work, it might prove a less expensive (and easier to obtain) alternative to the real thing. An “open” style, like Roger’s, would require more cuts than a “closed” style.
Shoes made in this way might be a reasonable look-alike, but would retain their inauthentic synthetic soles. Of course, anyone who knows a bit about historical costume will spot the difference immediately, but when there are cost implications sometimes compromise is the best we can do.
Perhaps Tony knows of people who have tried remodelling some desert boots already? I can’t believe that I am the first person to think of it! It would be interesting to see some – to see if they look good enough.
Al Garrod.

We have at least three alternatives for ‘med-dee-eevil’ shoes none of which includes hiking/motorcycle boots, roman sandals or old sacks tied round the feet (we have seen them all – Ugh!). Extraodinarily, people think that incongrous footwear looks convincingly like historical footwear no matter what they actually look like.

1. You can buy shoes of virtually any period waits might require (particularly Civil War of course), but the cost is high. Authentic shoes often wear out very quickly or cripple the wearer. I still have the remains of a huge Tudor blood blister on my right heel from the York Procession on 21st Dec last! It’s a good job all I felt was put-up-withable discomfort at the time.
2. A cheaper alternative is to make your own, but you need to obtain several sorts of decent leather and mug up on shoe construction, and that’s before you learn how make shoes (which is far from easy) and get them to look and feel right.
3. It is possible to, as Al suggests, make very tolerable early shoes out of carefully selected charity shop purchases, and the sort Roger sports are quite possible with scissors, some additional stitching and a little ingenuity.

What I’d do is find some authoritative illustrations (books or internet, partic. early shoe makers) and then see what I could find in other peoples’ shoe cupboards and charity shops. You can see in Roger’s shoes (which you might do well to mimic) that he has a pair of tabs laced with a thong. The length of these tabs might present a difficulty, there not being enough leather available to make them. If you’re lucky, they might be possible just by cutting them out of side panels or bits removed might have to be shaped and sewn in place to create them.
How are you with sewing leather? It’s easy if you have the right equipment. You’ll need an awl which can be got from a haberdasher or perhaps a cobbler who sells equipment. It’s just a sharp spike with a wooden handle. Linen thread is readily available in various colours, notably black & white and then you need needles. If you use an awl (preferable) then plain large needles are fine (the eye needs to be big enough to accept quite thick thread or you’ll spend a lot of time struggling just to thread needles). You can get special needles that are triangular in cross section with sharp edges, so that they cut their way through as you press into the leather, but sometimes they cut more than you might want, though they’re OK. Better awl and big normal needles.
When sewing leather you thread both ends of the thread (or two separate threaded needles – using one thread and two needles means that the start of your stitching remains secure without knotting) and then pass each needle through both ways from opposite sides so as to get double stitches all along the row of holes you’ve already prepared with your awl. (It’s very tempting to mimic old Will Shakespeare’s puns withall/with awl, but it might confuse the issue).
Good hunting and good luck. When selecting shoes to be modified consider whether the heels are higher than they would have been (e.g. Tudor flat, late 17th C. high etc.) and whether or not modern soles will show obtrusively at the edges, but also remember you want to be comfortable. It’s a compromise.
Of course if all else fails, you can spend a lot of money on the real thing.
These shoes look good: (except perhaps Men’s Civil War Brogans), and at £40 a snip. Surely preferable to fiddling about modifying half-worn modern shoes unsatisfactorily and getting a half-hearted compromise.

[The site above was found by Al Garrod. Unfortunately, they’re closing down! See below. Chris.]

Just to clarify things a little – I have already bought some shoes very much like Roger’s. I was thinking more of my fellow trainee waites here in Lincoln and Waits elsewhere, who might not feel inclined to squander their life’s savings on clothing that makes small children stare and point at you. ;-).
I have spoken to (last week – just after I discussed them with you, Chris) they are selling their last few items of stock because they have decided to cease trading. Not much left now.
These two ladies told me they are winding up their business because there isn’t any demand! They asked if I’d like to buy the business as a going concern. I’ve often been told that I talk a load of old cobblers, but I don’t think that qualifies me to set up as a shoemaker!
There’s plenty of varying advice on civil war clothing because of the re-enactors – mostly advice on how to avoid silly mistakes – like NOT wearing hiking boots with your otherwise immaculate 17C garb! This one’s very straight-talking as well as quite amusing –
Sally Green (I don’t know if she is a real person, or if it’s just the name of the company) now have historical shoes as well as clothing. I think they are in your County, Chris – not sure how near though –

Please do not waste your time buggering about trying to make a pair of modern shoes into a parody of period shoes . You will end up with A) a pair of ruined modern shoes, and B) a pair of hopelessly naff fake period shoes that will convince no-one , and which will probably fall apart rather quickly.. Buy a properly made pair of period shoes from Sarah Juniper, or the Shoemakers of Northampton, of the various other re-enactment suppliers, depending on the period you want ; they will cost you just over £100 pounds, will fit, be very comfortable, look great, and will last out your playing days.
Much experience tells me: either do it properly, or don’t bother, and wear modern stuff. I hope we’ve got over compromises with the instruments. Proper period shoes are available now: GO AND BUY THEM. NO EXCUSES.
Tony Barton.

Tony’s right, of course. I think the cost is worth taking on, but as you say, it’s for your apprentices who might not be so permanent. They should, however, not feel silly if they’re properly kitted out. The way to feel silly is to get it wrong!

I looked up Sarah Juniper…she has a website –
It would be very handy to have advice and lists of suppliers for clothing etc. just like the re-enactors supply for their folk –
Advice and pointers for all periods of wait would be ideal.
P. S. I can’t find owt about belts for the 17C. I could get a nice medieval one – – but I don’t think a medieval belt would do for 1680 – even if I said it was an heirloom – any ideas?

I have to agree with Tony. Reenactors (and we waits are reenactors after all) went through the “stage costume” phase thirty years ago, when anything was acceptable as long as it looked sort of o.k. from a distance. Unfortunately, we waits are close-up performers, and audiences notice if we’re wearing modern spectacles, poly-cotton shirts, nylon hose, dralon doublets or cut-down desert boots. Would we ever dream of playing a plastic recorder? No! So why wear crepe-soled modern footwear? For our kind of performance, the appearance is as important as the sound, so it’s worth saving up and getting it right. The two most expensive items are likely to be footwear and spectacles. Here are some links:

Footwear:Peter Prince at
Sarah Juniper at
Kevin Garlick at
Andy Burke at
Cordwainer Crafts at

Bargain second-hand latchet shoes, suitable for the first half of the seventeenth century, appear from time to time on the bulletin boards of major reenactment societies:
The Sealed Knot at>The English Civil War Society at

Authentic spectacle frames, suitable for your prescription lenses:
Trevor Timms at

Alan Radford
There are more links that waits and aspiring waits might find useful at: for all items of kit and accessories in addition to my earlier footwear and specs links.

Another good source is the latest edition of “Call to Arms” ( However, traders vary in quality and authenticity, so check them out before spending your money to make sure that their stuff is authentic and of good quality.
Remember, what we wear when performing is not historical costume but historical clothing!

I’ve just been catching up on notes & Queries, I never realised that my feet had made such an impact! My shoes were made by Sarah Juniper and are excellent and very comfy.Yes they are expensive, but mine are now 17 years old and have just gone for repair for the first time! These are made to measure, hand made, 100% accurate shoes and well worth the investment.
Roger Offord

La Folia

We know La Folia was performed by waits: TYW, 18th c. Mayor Makings Joys to Great Caesar, so this website is a must, even if a little periferal: Worth going there anyway!

Bachiana – Music By The Bach Family

It arrived this morning. Wow! Not only does this give us a few morsels (sadly, no more) of food for thought about the Bachs as stadtpfeiffer and stadtpfeiffer associates, but it’s fabulous music beautifully performed.

and while I’m at it, these two are also among my desert island probabilities (of which there are well in excess of eight): – with curtal playing every bit the equal of the great (to other curtal players) Papasergio!


Crawshaw Ms.

Richard alerted me to the fact that, in the Special Collections of TheBrotherton Library at The University of Leeds, there is a small book ofmanuscript music, purchased by the library about eight years ago, andthat this is inscribed at the front with the name “Wm. Crawshaw ofLeeds” and at the back “Thomas Crowshay His Book Leeds 1800”, “Thos.Crowsha Book, 1803, Leeds” and in a hand different from the first”William Crawshaw”. If you refer to my history of the Leeds Waits, youwill see William Crawshaw snr,. William jnr. and his brother Thomas, thelast Wait of Leeds. This book was presumably written by the father inthe 1760s and 1770s, and in due course passed on to his sons. I’mtrying to track back to find out where it has been for the intervening150 years.

The 1. 2 and 3 part pieces it contains are:

Strain of Mr. Chilcot
In praise of Bacchus
Collin’s farewell to Grisy
The northern lad’s complaint
Minuet by Mr. Festing
Vauxhall or Spring Gardens
The soldier’s song
Trumpet air
Capt. Death
Villa Francha minuet
Scottish tune
An air by Mr Handel
The fairing
Minuets by Mr Festing
Lady Millbank’s minuet
Lord Downes minuet
Scotch tune
Duke of Glosters march
The dust cart
Sung by Miss Macklin at the Theatre Royal in Drurylain
The jigg by Mr. Humphries
Brisk Are
The King of Prussia’s March
unnamed piece
Le con de chasse or The French chase
unnamed piece
Mr Chrion’s minuet
Hit her upon the bun
Dunkon Gray
The royal foristers march
The Liverpole march
The Wiltshire militia’s march ot Ld. Bruce’s
The Duke of Bedford’s march
Lord Pembroke’s march
Clonel Shorton (Thorton?)
Vito primo march of Mr. Hershell
The Macklenberg minuet
The new Coldstream march
The five hunt

So what did waits play in the second half of the eighteenth century?Well here are 57 pieces in their book. I may not have many names of theLeeds Waits, but I’ve got more of their music!
I think this casts light on several recent questions, as here we havemarches for outdoor parades, accompaniments for concert songs, and thefashionable dances of balls and assemblies, all in one book belonging toa family of waits!
I’ll have a copy of the book next week, and look forward to doing sometranscribing.
Alan Radford, Leeds Waits

Bloody Nora!
Beats my Thomas Kilvington book (published about the same date, by a York wait, but for piano or harp) into a cocked hat trimm’d all about with filver lace.
Forgive one for covetousness, envy and green jalousie. One hopes the Brotherton will, in some way or another, allow you to share this.

I’ve just been checking publication dates for some of the named pieces. They start at 1740 and run to about 1815, although I’ll have to check that the music corresponds with the title. The others, I’ll just have to identify musically.
Richard noticed this for sale by Lisa Cox in 1997, spotted the word “Leeds” in the description, and got the Brotherton to buy it. He didn’t know at the time the significance to us waits of the two generations of Crawshaw owners. It might so easily have been lost to us for ever!

Can I just say Bloody Nora as well, with solid gold knobs on! Some people have all the luck!
Looks a typical “fiddlers’ tune book” of its day, but provenance is everything! Bleeding marvellous!

Fortunately it’s not just a fiddle book. The way the music is set out (solo, duets for two trebles, duets for treble and bass, trios for two trebles and one bass), it’s a book for group performance. Unless you had very good eyesight, you’d have problems with two fiddles and a ‘cello reading from one small book, whereas three winds could get close enough for all read it. The three-part stuff is set out in one of two ways:
a) two treble parts on two staves starting on left page and continuing on right, with bass written separately on lower right page.
b) treble 1 on left page, treble 2 on right, bass across bottom of both pages.

Sorry – not making myself clear! “Fiddlers’ tune book” is a generic term for the blank music manuscript books that were sold at that time (some with printed staves, some completely blank). They are usually about 5″ high and 8″ long, and were what was commonly used by West Gallery Quires, where the four parts (satb) were often written out together in everybody’s copy.
My friend has his great-great-great grandfather’s book. This ancestor played flute in a band somewhere around Lincoln at the end of the 18th/beginning of 19th century, and the book has a similar selection to yours, some just the tune, some as duets, some in three parts, etc..
I think that at this time, for these sorts of players, the book was more of a record of what was played, and an aide-memoir, and possibly a teaching device for newcomers, rather than being used for performance. There is also evidence that it was used by musicians for making a note of tunes they had heard, so they could add them to their repertoire.
Musicians, as opposed to singers, tended to only write down the tune, so if you have a large proportion of harmonised pieces, you’re even luckier than I thought! Maybe an indication that the owner was also the arranger? Definitely an indication that the arrangements were premeditated rather than busked.

Oh, I call that longways octavo. This has blank pages with the staves drawn by Messrs. Crawshaw as required. I haven’t measured to see if the same thingy pen was used throughout.

Hi guys,
I’ve transcribed all 62 pieces in the Crawshaw collection, correcting afew notes, inserting second time bars, changing clef signs etc., and allexcept a couple of pieces which I haven’t satisfactorily de-bugged soundgreat. I’m particularly taken with some of the three-part marches,which I’ve “played” on synthetic oboes and bassoon; they must havesounded wonderful on parade with the Leeds Militia and the 44th Regimentof Foot (the East Essex).
I’m seeking official permission to share the music with kindred spirits.Watch this space.

Click here to see and hear items from the Crawshaw Manuscript.

Waits definition?

Back to the variant meanings of “wait”. Forgive me if I am going over old ground, but have we explored the possibility that the use of the term “wait” may have been for a group of people. Let me give you an example…

Soldiers are all Soldiers.
Some may be Bandsmen, but they are still soldiers.

Could this apply to Waits in exactly this way?

Do we have a contemporary definition of the word “Wait”, as it was understood in 1400, 1500, 1600, 1700, 1800?
Perhaps the King’s Vigilatores, the Watch and the Town Bands had some common element that defined them as “Waits”, but which we have just not discovered yet (or have overlooked thinking it unimportant)?

Nice thought about the group meaning, Al! Personally, I reckon that “wait” ultimately derives from OF “guet” (see James’s comments on Columba’s g/w findings, and my own similar comments in the thesis) and incidentally not from any germanic words, and this would give it a singular meaning. But let’s keep this plural-meaning possibility in view, just in case. Is there any evidence for it? – eyes open, as always!
On the drummers (tangentially), it’s worth noting how the London Waits extended their capabilities in the second half of the 16th century, taking up many instruments that they didn’t originally play (Woodfill discussed this, citing the prface to Morley’s Consort-Lessons, among other things). All part of the intended move towards respectability, solvency in the face of competition, etc.

I think that this is a good distinction, Al, though I don’t think that you can use it equally for different types of wait. To say that Fred Stevens is a “wait of Leicester” – ie a town wait – is to recognise that he holds that office; but when a record mentions “Roger Wayte, piper” the name shows his occupation (ie the player of a shawm), whatever groups and situations he plays in. So I think we need both!

I’ve been looking over my definitions of “wait” in New Grove, and although the first one is a bit tricky (one could argue that it overlaps with the second, and it may need re-thinking) I still think that they work pretty well. To remind you, they are

(1) A watchman at the gate of a town or castle (using a horn, non-musical);
(2) A household watchman (using a shawm and in some cases musical);
(3) An instrument of the shawm family, used by (2);
(4) Any player of (3), including (2), huntsmen, etc.;
(5) A civic minstrel, probably named from (3) as they originally formed shawm-bands or shawm-and-trumpet bands; and
(6) Christmas singers.

It seems to me that (1), (2) and (5) probably indicate an office held, and that (4) shows the occupation – though (1) and (2) may well have started off as occupational terms.

As ever,

The (later) evidence from Lincoln (the little of it that I have got to in the last few months) suggests to me that:

Firstly, there may have been no watchmen, only citizens, of which some (men) took turns in standing the watch. There are quite a few cases of the Council bewailing the fact that they were unable to fill vacancies for men to go on watch, and some allusions to the following disorder that ensued because of the lack of a watch.

This is correct. Most towns seem to have been divided into four wards (note the term), with a citizens’ rota for security within each. The system was (I think) especially strong during the mid-14th century (maybe because of the fear of invasion? – lawlessness due to soldiers returning from the French war?). At any rate, this is a citizens’ duty, designed to keep a town safe. R R

To my simple mind, your first definition does not explain enough to me. I am sorry, and I obviously have no right to criticise you, but (the inevitable “but” (sorry again)) reading (1) on its own suggests to me that the watch were employed solely for that particular task. I don’t think that was so – at least, not here in Lincoln. I think (of course, this may be me engaging in misinterpretation) that the men who eventually (and reluctantly) agreed to be on watch, were being torn away from their normal business to do so.

I agree with this last bit, as in the previous paragraph: but the task of manning and guarding the gates of a town was a different matter. The evidence is very fragmentary (and, I seem to remember, includes the infamous “Neckham” quotation!), but it suggests a specialist in the highest part of the gate (the “wait tower” in France) who signalled to the gate-keepers (and presumably, on special occasions, to the mayor, etc.) when someone was approaching the gate from outside. This man used a horn, the only sensible noise-maker/signalling-instrument for outdoors. It’s only this man who’s in my definition (1) because he was the only one ever called a “wait” (which is what the article’s about – it’s not about the watch). As I said before, this horn is not a musical instrument – it’s a cow-horn used as a basic noise-maker and signalling instrument. (But, incidentally, there was quite an industry in the late Middle Ages for the manufacture of ceramic horns. Not enough cows and oxen for the job?) R R

So we have a case of the council resolving to increase the salaries of some C18 (musician) waits IF and ONLY IF these MUSICIANS agreed to go the watch four nights a week for a specified time (winter months, I think). This is (subversely) a reversal of the old assumption that the watch somehow metamorphosed into (musician) waits.

I don’t know how late the watch survived, nor whether the watch overlapped with the winter perambulations of the Town Waits, nor whether the original citizens’ watch ever told people the time. I think that the Town Waits were there mainly in a musical and time-telling capacity, though it’s clear that they were also required to keep a lookout for security problems. The most obvious of these would be fire (look what happened to London, even as late as 1666) but no-one’s really worked all this out yet.
There’s a big question of the extent to which these nightly marches were a duty or a perk for the Town Waits. The evidence suggests that it varied with the town, but I hope that the body of evidence that you guys have pulled together will tell us. R R

Secondly – I am confused by accounts that the “tower horn” is said to have been used by BOTH town waits AND the gate guards/gatekeepers. The “tower horn” is thought to be the slide trumpet. (By whom?) I am beginning to think that the instruments used by gatekeepers and musicians were actually two different instruments???

There’s evidence of the use of (animal) horns by gate-lookout waits. There is no evidence at all that I know of for the use of animal horns by Town Waits. I don’t know that any watchman other than a *domestic* wait ever played a musical instrument (and that was a shawm). If any Town Wait ever played an “orchestral” horn, I take it that that’s from the late 17th century or later, and gets us into the problems of defining what sort of music was performed by whom at that time (see previous discussion, which I’m not really competent to take part in). R R

Thirdly – I contradict myself: A non-musical soldier can enter a corps of drums and learn to play bugle calls, without ever learning to read music. Yet a musician (say a trumpet player) will have those same bugle calls written down to play them. So perhaps the watchmen played calls by rote, and the (musician) waits played similar or identical calls and fanfares (ablassen) from the dots???

I think that a lot here depends on *date*, but in any case you are surely making a whole raft of assumptions? Who says that it’s the *same* calls? Who says that the “musician” (and who is that? – and when?) plays signals? – and who says that he does so from written notation? This is a huge can of worms, and you can’t answer these questions, surely, unless you define precisely *when*, *by whom* (and with what status) and *why* a signal is being made? R R

Do (1) and (2) have roles that are so similar as to be difficult to tell them apart? It sounds like a security role. Are the Guards outside the GATES of Buckingham Palace (1) or (2)?

It’s not the roles that are indistinguishable but the fragmentary nature of the evidence that doesn’t allow us to explore the distinction. A gate-keeper wait at a town gate would be technically a civic employee, one on a castle gate technically a domestic employee: but they both need a horn to signal with, and the latter’s relationship to the shawm-playing domestic wait (and this is maybe only in the royal households anyway) is unknown. R R

Isn’t (6) simply a poor shadow of (5)?

Very likely – but can you prove it?! – and what exactly *was* the relationship between them? R R


The term “Breeches-maker” sounds peculiar. Does it sound normal to you? Why not Tailor? Is it more difficult to make Breeches than any other garment? If not why are they singled out in describing this man’s trade? Do they mean trousers – or something that is not apparel?

21 Jul 1761
“Calendar for a person to have £25 of Sir Thomas White’s Charity..
George Kerton of the said City, Breeches-maker Elected.”
(ref: L1/1/1/7, p429)

George Kerton became a Wait in 1760 – the previous year.
Another Wait had been given £25 from this charity in 1735 – Peter Rodgers – a Joiner.

Don’t know, but I feel it’s very important that you have definite “other” trades for these two Waits, and that, even so (apparently having two jobs) they were considered in need of charity.
One possibility is the opposite of your suggestion. i.e., that he wasn’t a very competent tailor, and could only manage to make breeches.

‘Other’ trades? Or just ‘trades’. This leads me back to my other question. You know that my job is a Civil Servant. What if I were a Mason? Would I then have two trades? If I am Wait (half hobby, half ceremonial) I must continue to be a Civil Servant (for wages). I still don’t have two trades. Did they want to be “Waits” for some other reason – not connected with earning money? Was being a Wait EVER their sole means of income? Did being called “Wait” give you kudos?

There is some discussion of this – though hardly exhaustive – in York Music. Some musicians, including waits, took other trades. Music teacher is pretty obvious, but innkeeper seems to have been quite usual, presumably something one did from home, involving the family.

My feeling (not that I can prove anything) on reading the Lincoln Documents was that they simply had one trade. In Lincoln we had Waits who were a breeches-maker, joiner, tailor, grocer, pawn-broker and a solicitor’s clerk – to name but a few.
Being Waits certainly took up some of their time, but I cannot point to any evidence that confirms that “Wait” was their primary occupation. Or that “Wait” was ever classed as an occupation at all.

I think you may be onto something. It’s another case where all the stuff that’s on the site needs collating and comparing! Waiting was sometimes a purely winter occupation in some towns, including Lynn. It could have been a duty incumbent on guild member musicians, or an honour they strove for, and their payments more like a councillor’s expenses than a salary. Just a theory!
I am surprised by the wide range of non-musical professions that your Lincoln Waits followed.
Another problem is that it seems “Wait” meant different things in different towns, not just at different times.

That is what I meant when I gave that first example of some soldiers also being bandsmen.
So I can naturally expand my theory in two ways –

(1) “Wait” may never have been thought of as an occupation. More an office or an honour??? C. Gutteridge OBE – or C. Gutteridge, Wait???

(2) Our ancestors may have understood perfectly what a “wait” was, and the fact that some “waits” were musical, may not have been the defining factor to class them as “waits” per se.

Again – theorising, but no evidence. But, from the reverse angle – does any existing evidence that anyone else is familiar with, totally disprove my theories?

Incidentally, you could start with the references in my Waits chapter in the thesis. The chapter is a bit out of date now, but it’s still basically sound, I think, and it does sort out the main issues. Some of the references are to studies of particular towns (Leicester, Chester, Shrewsbury, etc.)

Can I just throw this in the pot and see if it melts:-

We have accepted that “Waits” meant different things at different times. Can I suggest that “Waits” could also mean different things to different people in different towns? Sorry to complicate the issue even further. I am intrigued by the Dublin article, particularly:

William Huggard after 34 years’ service died in 1632, and was succeeded as Master of the City Music by his eldest son John, at a fee of £10 per annum, As a mark of favour to this John Huggard, the Corporation agreed in October 1636, “that the yearly stipend of ten pounds, Irish, be augmented to ten pounds sterling, English money”, on condition that the city musicians keep their constant waits three times a week, from Michaelmas to Shrovetide yearly”…

We don’t know what keeping Waits means here, but obviously guarding the town on three nights a week wouldn’t work! If a burglar knew it wasn’t the night they were on duty, he’d have a free run. Does this mean it was purely ceremonial – a vestige of past duties – or does it mean that somebody else took responsibility on other nights?

In October 1669 the City Music was reorganised, and it was ordered that the number of the band be fixed at ten, with a salary of forty shillings each. It was further ordered, that instead of livery cloaks the musicians were to he provided with badges at a cost not exceeding £30. The members of the band at this date were: – John Evans, Patrick Jones, Thomas Ray, Francis Smith, Thomas Tollit, Peter le Fleur, Thomas Bulmer, Richard Holt, John Tollit and George Tollit. Security was to be provided for the due re-delivery of these badges to the city, and the musicians were bound “to go in and through the city and suburbs with the city waits every usual night, from the fifth of October to the fifth day of February yearly”.

This appears completely different. Again, they’re not working every night, but does this mean that they accompanied a body of police, called Waits, or does it mean, at this late date, that they got out the city’s now obsolescent shawms (wait-pipes, or waits) to perform this archaic duty?
All italics are Flood’s.

For me, it is quite normal to move 3 or 4 steps onwards in an argument or idea, rather than one at a time. So I apologise if the following ideas are a bit surprising.
I wonder if all of the studies you have (I say “you” because my contribution is very small as yet) are simply not enough to reach the sort of conclusive, final understanding we have been stumbling towards? Isn’t our field of research almost TOO narrow / too specialized to get the full picture?
Would it be useful to make contact with other researchers – who are not interested in musicians – but who have engaged in extensive studies of early security arrangements?
Would it be useful to compare what some of our waits got up to, with in-depth research on (a) policing in towns (say between 1350 and 1850), (b) gatekeeping of towns and (c) security of private households/Royal households? Can those of you with connections to Universities locate any existing studies and make comparisons?
Also – if we wish to claim that our (your!) research has been conducted in a scientific manner, shouldn’t we have a “control” group? (i.e. at least one study of a town with no musician-waits, to compare our waits’ activities with.) What degree of study have we undertaken of towns where there were never musician-waits? Wouldn’t drawing comparisons between their (other) waits and our musician-waits be very valuable?

I’d say YES to all that!
In practice, probably no-one who’s interested in waits would want to research non-waits. However, we could certainly start with publications on these subjects, and I’ll see if I can come up with a basic bibliography.

Have you thought of the Wild West?
There may have been only one Sheriff in town, but could he not deputise as many Marshals as he wished according to situation and need?
I see Lincoln’s C18 Watch in a similar way. We had (6 or 8 – I can’t remember) “Chief Constables” here (they were our Wild West Sherriffs) way before any notion of an organised corporation funded police force was imagined. The Watch were given some delegated powers to arrest criminals (they were the Deputies).
Then there’s the “Javelin Men”? They were invited to becomesemi-policemen at the time of the assizes. And paid by the City Sheriff (the real Sheriff not the cowboy one).
It’s a bit like playing “spot the difference”, or “spot the similarity”. Could the Shawm (despite it being called a wait-pipe) really be usedeffectively in a non-musical way? The Horn definitely could. Perhaps the Shawm is a red herring and one of the defining factors of being a wait is the Horn?
Why a cow horn? Any connection to the Shofar? Al.

Well, I look forward to reading all about this!
I said “cow” or “ox” horn, but actually I don’t know what species of bovine creature were normal in England in the Middle Ages. The point about the shawm, I take it, was that it could be used to signal something (the time?) indoors without actually waking everyone who was asleep.
I don’t think that the horn could be a defining factor for waits. As I said, I know of no evidence that any domestic or town wait used the horn.
As ever,Richard

In a non-musical sense one definition of “wait” is: “to stay in one place and anticipate or expect something”. So the act of “waiting” is: “remaining inactive in one place while expecting something”. This definition gives birth to all the uses of “wait” in everyday English language, including waiter or waitress (waiting to take your orders).
Were the policeman-security-waits not “waiting” at gates in case of visitors (or trouble)?
Were the civil-servant/musician waits not “waiting” on the wishes/commands of Mr Mayor, or simply waiting for the Mayor to appear, before performing their musical “announcement”?
Is this a feasible explanation why they were all called “waits” even though they performed different roles?

I suspect that “wait” is one of those words that came into the language from two (related) directions. There’s no noun from Latin “expectare”; our “wait” seems to come from OF “guet”; and the verb, plus attendant nouns such as “waiter”, probably from OG “wachten” and cognates. (I would guess that OF guet probably derives from OG wachten, but that doesn’t affect our problem.)
I’m just off to a concert, but will look these up in the OED later.
Richard Rastall

French Horns

When did the French Horn acquire its name?
The coiled French Horn is a relatively young instrument so it’s whole development as an instrument of refined musicality occurred much later than that of the trumpet or trombone.
The (pre-rotary) “French” Horn, (more correctly called the Trompe de chasse (Trumpet of the Hunt) or Cor de Chasse (Horn of the Hunt)) was developed in England in C17.
Then In 1753, a German musician called Hampel invented the means of applying movable slides (crooks) of various length that changed the key of the horn.
In 1760, it was discovered rather then invented that placing a hand over the bell of the French Horn lowered the tone called stopping.

Wikipedia –“The horn (or, more often, pairs of horns) often invoked the idea of the hunt, or, beginning in the later baroque, to determine the character of the key being played or to represent nobility, royalty, or divinity.”
[Note 1: PAIRS of horns. Note 2: Representation of NOBILITY. Note 3: This wikipedia article does not offer any evidence to support the above statement though.]

A brief history of Horn evolution – – half supports my fanfare theory. This extract is an account of Horns used in the Orchestras of French Opera Houses circa 1636.
“Too raucous for inclusion with the fine oboes and violins in the orchestra pit though, at first the hunting horns were used only onstage in scenes depicting, naturally, the hunt.”

[So, it appears that those nasty Horns were loud and uncouth instruments. They were, as yet, undeveloped and barely musical, being more suited to the Hunt than the refined dulcet tones of the oboe bands of our City’s finest and best (us Waits).]

I’ve convinced myself. Although these quotes are not real proof as they are unreferenced or poorly referenced.
Does anyone know of any better referenced evidence?
Al Garrod

But when did it get the name “French”?
“The French Horn, as the English call it, or the German Horn, as the French call it, or the English Horn as the Germans call it – not to be confused with the Cor Anglais!” Michael Flanders.
I have heard a consort of German huntsmen sounding very tuneful on their versions of the instrument. I suspect that it depended a vast amount on the player. I have also seen an engraving of Dr Charles Burney holding a musical “at home”, seated himself at the harpsichord, and surrounded by violinists, oboes, ‘cello, and two gentlemen standing with horns aloft.
John Valentine of Leicester, composer, and descendant of a line of Leicester Waits, wrote much music for amateur musicians including:
Twenty four Marches, Minuets and Airs, in Seven Parts for Two Violins, Two Hoboys, or German Flutes, Two French Horns and a Bass … Opa 5th, etc. [Parts.] (London : Printed for S. A. & P. Thompson, [1783?]) BL Ref.: b.83.a.
[Advertised as “just published” on 30 Sept 1769.]
I’ve played first horn in a few of them on the trombone and it was far from taxing – just using the harmonic series – but, however, he also wrote:
Thirty-One Duets for Two French Horns, German Flutes, Violins, Hautboys, &c, Op. 3. [Advertised as “just published on 11 Aug 1759, but also apparently lost.]
If they were interesting enough to please fiddlers, oboists or flautists, they can’t have been that simple, surely?

Dear Al (and All),
I really wouldn’t recommend the Wikipedia. You put your finger on the problem – there’s little or no referencing – and the reason is that the articles are generally written by people who don’t know. First port of call ought to be The New Grove Dictionary every time: it’s available online.
As ever,
Richard Rastall


From 26th to 28th January 2007 a very long and involved email discussion took place amongst various Waits, historians and other interested parties, starting from the subject of cloths and their colours and ranging over various topics including the different types of Waits, whether royal, domestic, civic, musicians or watchmen; the church, drums, and various other things. These were all so entangled with each other, and the correspondence so packed full of important and fascinating insights, that I have decided in the end to place the whole thing on a page of its own, more or less as I received it. The whole thing is well worth reading!

Thomas Mace

I’ve just bought a facsimile of “Musics Monument” by Thomas Mace (1676), and whilst perusing the list of subscribers to Mr. Mace’s three-part tome I noticed the name of one Ambrose Girdler, gent., of York – a name not totally unfamiliar to me.
Alan Radford
See York Music for the Girdler family.

Histrioni and Lusores

The histrioni and lusores of Ledes were both paid, in the same ledgerline, by Selby Abbey in 1530-31. Both terms were used for actors, butin this case were either the waits? Bridge cites two items whichindicate the former name being so used:

From Shrewsbury in 1483:
“For the livery of the Common histriones called the waytes of the town

From Hickling Priory 1517-18:
“Regiis histrionibus vocatis waytes”

Are these isolated examples, or are there more that you have to hand?Confusingly, I have also found a couple of 20th century sources which suggest that lusores may be musicians or actors.

Alan Radford.

An internal googling of the Waits Website failed to bring up any lusores. However, the entry below from Lynn seems fairly conclusive for histrionum meaning waits, as they are to play their instruments through the town:

1433 (1 November) Et ibidem exhibita fuit vna billa ex parte histrionum eo quod desiderant augmentum regardi sui Etn concessum est vt uterque ipsorum duorum habeat pro feodo sua .xx.s & vesturam suam pro anno isto. quae concessio durabit pro anno isto totum Et transibunt per villam cum suis Instrumente a festo Omnium Sanctorum vsque festum Purificacionis sequentis.


William Gardiner

In the audience discussion at the end of Bridge’s lecture on The Waitsand their Tunes, W. W. Cobbett cites a book written by William Gardiner,an amateur musician in Leicester, in which Gardiner states that he heardthe Leicester Waits, in the dead of night, playing the Minuet fromHaydn’s Quartet in D minor. This was composed in 1796-97, is out ofcopyright, is downloadable from so it couldgo on the waits’ tunes section of the website. As Gardiner was a friendof Haydn, there’s no reason to doubt his identification of the melody.There’s an article on Gardiner from The Musical Times which I’veattached. Did they play it on strings, or on something more suitablefor outdoor performance? After all, there were plenty of wind bandsettings of Mozart orchestral music.
Alan Radford

This curious Haydn quartet is known as “The Fifths”, because the first movement is written in fifths. The minuet, however, is written in octaves, and is known as “The Witches’ Minuet” – just the thing for playing in the streets on a cold, dark winter’s night!

The Bach Family

Hi chaps.
Today’s (14th January 2007) early music show is about battle music in which the penultimate piece was by Cyriacus Wilche (????-1667, so concurrent with York’s John Girdler) who, la Skeaping slipped in, was a Bach family precursor. I googled him and got to the CD (which I’ll order) at:, but scroll down the page for more on Bach relatives.
I think we will soon find more that we can use in our case for Bach the wait!

See our Bach Family page.

Fenland Gnats

“…the humming Gnatts, which is all the Towne Musicke they have…”
From a description of the Cambridgeshire fens in Hammond’s Relation 1634 Camden Miscellany


Dear Mr. Chris Gutteridge,
Accidentally, I came to know about ‘The Waits Website’, because I had to look up something on ‘The London Waits’ regarding a note by Dr. Rimbault. First, I found an answer under Early Music History and subsequently under your Historical Records ‘City of London’ and the Christmas Waits.
It’s great to have this access to your website, especially in a rather deserted area in this field of History, here in W.Malaysia, in Penang.
However, as a musicologist and analyst I’m a bit nosy, so I clicked on ‘Festival 2006’ on your website. Gorgeous pictures from the Festival 2006; bringing back the early history so closely. A real splendid idea, this festival!
Enjoying reading about the Waits, and looking at the pictures, the result is that I got ‘homesick’ (for the first time in my life) after 17 years living in Malaysia.
Any plans for a Festival in 2007 … ?
Just to let you know, there is somebody on this planet who realy is enjoying all your efforts on this topic.
Thanks and all the best,
Mag.Dr.phil.Ildiko’ Scheibner-J.

Pleasures of Disturbed Sleep

Although doubt is beginning to be cast on whether Waits actually did patrol the streets throughout the night playing their instruments, the following instances of reactions to disturbed sleep may be of interest:

Samuel Pepys’ Diary 23rd September 1661:
…and so rode easily to Welling – where we supped well and had two beds in the room and so lay single; and must remember it that, of all the nights that ever I slept in my life, I never did pass a night with more epicurisme of sleep – there being now and then a noise of people stirring that waked me; and then it was a very rainy night; and then I was a little weary, that what between waking and then sleeping again, one after another, I never had so much content in all my life. And so my wife says it was with her.

Also, Michele de Montaigne, 1533-92, had a bell tower in his chateau, and a servant was commanded to ring the bell at intervals throughout the night so that Montaigne could have the pleasure of going back to sleep again after it woke him.


Trumpeters’ Guild

To The York Waits:
As a trumpeter engaged on many occasions to perform in York Minster for the Archbishop of York and a few occasions engaged to play for members of our Royal Family, I was recently asked to play for the ceremony of installing the new Lord Mayor of York (in the cities ancient Guildhall) by the York Waits. On arriving at the appointed hour with my trumpet made by Simon Beal in 1667, [Simon Beale was one of King Charles II fourteen trumpeters-in-ordinary. He had been a favourite trumpeter of Oliver Cromwell’s and had played at his funeral.] I found to my astonishment that the Wait were going to play their trumpets with me! As not to let the Lord Mayor down I agreed to play but would like to draw to the notice of all trumpeters, and city waits, the compacts and points laid down by the Trumpet Guild in 1714( of which I have attached a copy) especially No 13.
a member of the Noble and Knightly Art of trumpet playing.
[This letter has caused some consternation amongst certain Waits, but I can assure readers that, although the attached document is genuine, the letter is not meant to be taken seriously! Chris.]

We, town and city pipers, skilled and reputable as we are, should feel sympathy toward poor trumpeteers, limited as they are to a mere harmonic series while we, on our superior instruments, play not only those notes but also all the notes in between. We should also be understanding of the frustrations of these trumpeteers, limited as they are by statute in their sexual, social and musical associations with others. They must lead most dull and sterile lives.
Alan Radford.

Waits and Genealogy

Ever tried sticking some waits’ names in

Michael Crawthorne, Lincoln Wait, 1722-1737.
Matthew Crawthorne, Lincoln Wait, 1725.
George Crawthorne, Lincoln Wait, 1742. says Matthew was christened on 26 Aug 1694. His father is Michael (mother, Anne).

This Matthew Crawthorn was christened in the Parish of St. Martin. That is the same St. Martin’s where I found the 19th century gravestone of Joseph Dickinson (related to Selby Dickinson). It is just spitting-distance from Dickinson’s place and the Strait. That puts these men within a couple of feet from each other, but separated by 100 years.

Could there be a reason why Waits would be chosen from one particular Parish? Do you think it was intentional? In 1737, when Michael Crawthorne confessed that he was a Catholic, the council dismissed him. They could not tolerate it.

Al Garrod

When I was doing York, the state of the art people search was the Mormon microfiches.
I offered John Girdler (wait for 43 years, died 1666) and Herbert Merryweather, my grandfather: no matches. Not entirely impressed, though I can see that if I were to use more modern methods I might find out more about my waits … or did I, researching assiduously from primary sources, find out a significant load more than outsiders (who don’t much care about waits) might?
I expect that unexpected info got from might have a positive feedback effect when the researcher returns to his archives.

Ivy Leaf Waits

Brian Hoban and Alan Mee originally contacted the Waits Website about this in 2002. archive2002.htm#Irish%20Waits
Yes, it’s true. An Ivy Leaf can be a musical instrument. It isn’t a quaint name for something. It is a real leaf from an English Ivy.
This Mexican feller – Carlos Garcia – has made a living out of playing the Ivy Leaf. This has been his ONLY job for 44 years, and he makes slightly more money from busking with a leaf, than he would have done working for the Mexican minimum wage. Garcia was interviewed in 2002.
So is this a precedent for Ivy Leaf Waites?Any relation to “Jack in the Green”?
If you look for the link which allows you to LISTEN to the interview, you will hear the music too.
Al Garrod.

Doncaster Cornetts

To Roger Offord, Doncaster Waits
The James Talbot manuscript in the library of Christ Church College, Oxford is a detailed description of wind instruments played circa 1690. In passing, he states that the best cornetts are made in Doncaster. Can you cast any light on this? Was there a local tradition of fine woodworking or instrument making?
Regards, Al Radford

Scarlet Cloth

This discussion has now outgrown this page and diversified to embrace several other very important topics. It can now be found on the Cloth etc. page in the Miscellanea section.

Waits in the 1690s

I’ve been re-reading the paper by Anthony Baines (Galpin Society Journal, 1, 9-26 (1948) on the James Talbot manuscript circa 1690 now in the library of Christ Church, Oxford, describing wind instruments of the time. For the double reed instruments Talbot describes in detail treble and tenor English waits (English hautbois, shawms, “played in England in consort with the sackbut”), the German schalmey (treble and tenor, “sweeter than the English hautbois, used much in German army”), and the French hautbois (Bressan, “not 40 years old and an improvement on the great French hautbois which is like our weights”). In the bass reed department he then describes the bassoon and the double cortaut.
What is most interesting is that, as late as the 1690s, English waits are still performing with a consort of renaissance shawms and sackbutt. We can therefore, without compromising our authenticity, don frock coats and tricorn hats, and play Purcell on our old-fashioned instruments.
Alan Radford

Oxford and Cambridge Waits

What are we going to do about university waits? contains evidence for the existence of the Oxford University Waits in the eighteenth century, and Ian Payne (1987), Music & Letters 68, 128-140 refers to the Cambridge University Waits in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries (Trinity College archives).
Alan Radford

I know they’re a mystery that James has long wanted to probe. If we can get enough together, they can have their own page on the site.

Hi guys,
Our old friend Baines has described the James Talbot manuscript, the music of the Oxford University Waits, in Christ Church library in the Galpin Society Journal, 1: 9-26 (1948). I have a copy of his paper.
Alan Radford

Got it. It’s very informative and needs furrther study from the waits’ point of view. It’s particularly good on the last shawms used in England and also about the pirrouette (fliew, I think he calls it), fontanelle (more sensibly in English: barrel) and reeds.
I once had a very good Moeck version (independent of Talbot, I’m sure) of the Schalmei he describes. It’s a shawm-oboe intermediate – a missing link. Sold it to Charles Spicer of the Mellstockers/Oxf. Waits so it could get more appropriate use, but it did seem to me that it represented what some old fashioned waits might have been playing around the time of the civil war (see the Pepysian Library picture of three waits) after the old shawm bands had died out and before they took on the ffrench oboe for their proper oboe-bassoon bands.

Hi James,
Just reading “Orlando Gibbons and his family of musicians” by John Harley (1999). He suggests that the disagreement (where the staple and reed of Byrd’s shawm were broken) was something to do with a dispute over territorial rights between the Town Waites and the University Waits. Not sure if you agree?
Al Garrod

Dear Al,
It might well have been a dispute between the two sets of waits, for Bird/Byrd was a university wait (and Lord of ye Tapps) and Gibbons, when he was one, was a city wait. I wish we knew more about the university waits and their duties and did any other city have similar?
I wonder if you could get John Harley’s permission to put the text of the relevant pages in his book on your or the waits website? I’d very much like to read what he has to say

See Allegations of William Bird against William Gibbons

Waits’ Wanderings?

Travelling Waites?
I now know that the Doncaster Waites played near Carlisle in 1612 (146 miles away) and Cambridge in 1615 ( 120 miles) as well as at Belvoir Castle (62 miles, twice) and Skipton, the question is way? The payments received are not great, we know Waites were not rich so how did they travel, did they walk? Hire horses? and if so how did they carry their instruments, where would they stay etc. etc? It must have been worth their while to travel such large distances, so much so that in 1617 the Doncaster waite were banned from leaving town for more than 3 days at a time!
I can only presume that these “tours” consisted of lots of playing at houses and Inns as part of the journey. It would be interesting to have more detail on this type of activity. It also seems to be prevalent in the early 17th century, did waites travel around later in history?
Any ideas?
Roger Offord

Yes, it’s one of the many areas that need more light throwing on them. From what I’ve seen it was fairly prevelant all over the country in the 17th century. I think you’re right – they must have organised themselves some sort of tour to make it worthwhile at least some of the time. Some of the gigs were local and regular. The Lynn Waits seem to have popped up to Hunstanton to play for the LeStrange family whenever they wanted a spot of cash. They could have walked (about 16 miles each way) or ridden, or had a horse and cart, or even gone by sea (actually, it’s worth checking whether you can plot a route by river from Doncaster to where your Waits played).
Oh, so much to speculate on! Chris.

Barbara Palmer, in “Shakespeare Quarterly”, cites the following references to performing circuits of players, probably also of relevance to touring waits:

S MacLean, “Tour Routes: ‘Provincial Wanderings’ or Traditional
Circuits?” Medieval and Renaissance Drama in England 6 (1993): 1-14.

S MacLean, “Records of Early English Drama and the Travelling Player,”
Research Opportunities in Renaissance Drama 26 (1983): 65-71.

Alan Radford

This paper throws some light on the matter:

Brayshay, M. (2005) Waits, musicians, bearwards and players: theinter-urban road travel and performances of itinerant entertainers insixteenth and seventeenth century England. Journal of HistoricalGeography, Volume 31, Issue 3, July 2005, Pages 430-458 Click here for abstract.


Newcastle Waits

Here are some references, from secondary sources, to the waits of Newcastle upon Tyne. Waits or minstrels from other places are also named, i.e. Scotland, Carlisle, Cockermouth, Darlington, Thirsk, Whickham.
The Newcastle waits were disbanded at the end of 1793 by order of the Common Council of the town.
Margaret Maddison

Dear Margaret,
Now I’ve read what you sent there are a couple of entries that are of particular interest, not covered by the R.E.E.D. volume for Newcastle.
It’s good to know the number of waits anywhere as often as possible. So we now know that Newcastle had 5 in 1677. What is more interesting is that the ordinances were published then. Do you have access to that text, which would help us a lot in discovering what the waits did in as many towns as possible? It would be a great addition to our archive.

Christmas Waits

The illustration from Harper’s Weekly is intriguing. Harper’s was an American publication, so what did they know of waits? Was the name and its traditional association with Christmas music taken across the Atlantic Ocean, or were there really proper waits in some of the older-established cities in our North American (former) colonies? I know of extant “waits” such as a band calling itself the Southwark Waits in California, and also David Klausner’s “hog-town waits” in Toronto, but are these creations or re-creations of a musical genre?
Alan Radford

My purely personal opinion, based on the tone of the text that accompanies the picture and the dress and instruments portrayed, is that this is just a sentimental “Merrie England” reference to the current custom of Christmas Waits in the “Old Country” at the time of writing.

See also:
“Dress four boys, or six, in a quaint costume,—full knee-breeches, low shoes with bright buckles, tunic or doublet with white frills at the throat and wrist; a short full cape hanging from the shoulders, and soft caps with plumes. Old garments may be re-arranged to give a picturesque effect, or some new, inexpensive material bought.”
James Merryweather

Leeds Musicians

In the dusty recesses of Sheepscar I’ve discovered one of the few Leeds documents to survive the hand-over from Anglican Tory to Non-conformist Whig administration of the borough – a register of apprenticeships for circa 1725-1835. With luck I’ll find me some apprentice musicians and possibly some waits. The Corporation minutes record the establishment of such a register in 1703, but this comes from the Improvement Commissioners. Nobody knows what happened to the 1703-1724 records. I’ve found richer seams to mine! However, I got four musical hits:

Robt. Jobson   Musician   Saml. Gibbon   14 Dec 1774
William Harrison   Dancing Master   Hannah Pounder   3 Aug 1785
Edward Porter   Musician   Mary Gamby   20 May 1798
John White   Musician   – pd. £10 for refusing an appr’ce.   11 Nov 1805

I know Edward Porter of old, as he was listed in the Leeds Directory, 1798, as musician and musical instrument seller of Lower-head Row. An earlier newspaper advert (1787) announces the opening of his music shop on Briggate.

There are concert programmes from the late 18th c. onwards that name musicians in the orchestra (some in York Ref. Lib., also see Griffiths, A Musical Place of the First Quality). These are a tad earlier, though there might be some to be scratched about for.

Other musical persons in 18th century Leeds (I only wish I knew who were waits!), taken from concert programmes and press reports in Emily Hargrave’s paper in The Thoresby Society Miscellanea (1926), were:
Mr Graves (dancing master), 1741, 1743
Mr John Carr, organist at Parish Church, died 1756
Mr Crompton (organ and harpsichord), his replacement, recruited from Rochdale, concerts 1757, 1758, 1762, 1763, 1765, 1766, 1767, 1770
Mr Perkins sr (hautboy), concerts 1757, 1758
Mr Perkins jr (hautboy, concerts 1757, 1758
Mr Coyl of York (violin), concert 1757
Mr Miller (German flute, bassoon), concert 1758, 1767
Mr Key (French horn, clarinet), concerts 1759, 1764
Mr Robt. Shaw (violin, ‘cello, flute), concerts 1759, 1769, 1774, 1777

Mr William Herschell (violin), 1762, 1765

William Herschell

Was he a fiddler as well as astronomer? Well, why not? HEY, LOOK! A German immigrant music teacher working in Bath by the name of William Herschell (1738-1822) had an interest in astronomy.“Minuet in G” by William Herschell (1738-1822);
William Herschel, born in Hanover, 1738, the fourth son to a professor in music. All of his nine brothers and sister inherited their father’s musical talents, becoming successful musicians. Young William, joined the Hanoverian Guard as a member of the band, playing oboe and viol. In this capacity was engaged in the court orchestra at Hanover. When the French invaded Hanover, William , after having some unpleasant warfare experiences at the age of 19, decided to abruptly change his profession; deserted and escaped to England, where he settled in Bath to teach music. His father could not teach much about life rather than the basics although William became interested in the sciences, particularly astronomy.
Friedrich Wilhelm Herschel was born in Hannover (Germany) in 1738 as son of Issak Herschel (1707-1767), a musician in the regimental band of the Foot-Guards, and Anna Ilse (b. Moritzen). F.W. Herschel himself became also musician (an oboist) and joined his father and his brother Jacob in that band. In 1759, after experiencing the 1757 battle at Hastenbeck, he and Jacob went to England. Jacob returned to Hannover after two years, but Wilhelm (called William in England) stayed. After teaching music for some time, he became THIS IS IT! organist at Halifax in 1765, YESSsss! and organist and conductor at Bath in 1766.

The Music Room [in the William Herchel Museum, Bath (his house)] Music was always a major feature of the Herschel household, and the music room of the museum gives an impression of this. It is a room where William Herschel composed and copied music, rehearsed for his concerts and instructed his music students. Some of the great variety of instruments with which he was familiar are represented here. Unfortunately, the organ built by Snezler for the Octagon Chapel, where William Herschel made his musical debut in Bath was dismantled many years ago but part of the keyboards and pipes survived and are on display.

CD review from Martin Male Music; William Herschel’s other talent?

I recently brought a CD of Symphonies by William Herschel (Chandos Records CHAN10048 — Amazon £12.99) that I have found to be really excellent.

I’m sure every one will know that Herschel discovered the Planet Uranus in 1781. Many will know that he was a prolific observer and telescope maker, discovered infrared radiation and drew up a long list of deep sky objects. Many of you may know that Herschel came to England to further his career as a musician, with astronomy as a private passion, a passion that secured his place in the history books. A lot of great musicians also have a real gift for mathematics; there must be something special about the way their brains can handle numbers and notes that we mere mortals struggle with!

I imagine fewer of you will have actually heard any music by him. I admit that I had not. Jane and I are both passionate about classical music. We attend many live performances and are avid listeners of Radio3 and have an unhealthily large CD collection. I brought this CD out of curiosity, not really expecting to discover an unknown master. I was really stunned by what I heard. The disc contains six short symphonies in the baroque manner, using a small chamber orchestra. His style is reminiscent of Handel or Telemann, which is saying something! He had real talent as a composer, as this disc attests. The music is really involving and one wishes that there were more of his music on record I hope this brief review will prompt others to explore this facet of the great astronomer.

Mr Robt. Jobson (changed name to Warburton 1786) originally of Wakefield (violin, organ), concerts 1764, 1766, 1767, 1769, 1770, 1772, 1773, 1775, 1778, 1779, 1780, 1784, 1785
Mr Parsons (clarinet), concerts 1765, 1766
Mr Neyda (bassoon), concert 1765
Mr Livers (french horn), concerts 1765, 1766
Mr Penault (French horn), concerts 1765, 1766
Mr King (clarinet), concert 1766
Mr Morgan (violin), concert 1769
Mr Hudson of York (??), concert 1769, 1773, 1774
Mr Stopford (??), concert 1769
Mr Travis of Manchester (trumpet), concert 1769
Mr Tinker of Manchester (trumpet), concert 1769
Mr Stopford of Halifax (organ), concert 1769
Mr Crompton (organ), concert 1770
Mr Haigh of Wakefield (violin), concert 1772, 1773
Mr Haxby (German flute), concerts 1774, 1777
Mr Camidge (harpsichord), concert 1777
Mr Speight (harpsichord, organ), concerts 1778, 1779, 1780
Signora Rossi of Vienna (German flute, violin), concert 1779
Master William Crotch of Norwich (organ, pianoforte), 1780
Mr Cramer (??), concert 1784
Mr Parke (??), concert 1784
Mr Gariboldi (??), concert 1784
Mr Sharpe (??), concert 1784
Mr Burchell (??), concert 1784
Mr Jenkins (??), concert 1784
Mr Attwood (??), concert 1784
Mr Ashley (??), concert 1784
Mr Ashbridge (??), concert 1784
Mr Carist (??), concert 1784
Mr Cervetto (??), concert 1784

Alan Radford

Never mind. We all have such days. There are a few familiar names above, which I have annotated [in red]. Look what I found Herchell-wise.

York Freeman-Waits

A book entitled “The demography of early modern towns: York in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries” by Chris Galley (1998) includes a table of the trades and professions of those admitted to the Freedom of the City of York:

1525-1549 0 musicians 1 wayte
1550-1574 1 musician 1 wayte
1575-1599 4 musicians 0 waytes
1600-1624 17 musicians 0 waytes
1625-1649 8 musicians 1 wayte
1650-1674 9 musicians 0 waytes
1675-1699 4 musicians 0 waytes

It would appear that most qualified first as musicians, and subsequently some became waits.
Alan Radford

Dear gentlemen,
The freemens’ rolls would not include other than newly free musicians and most of them would be by patrimony or apprenticeship, perhaps before they were ever waits or didn’t count because they were waits’ ‘boyes’. Once in, they would not be mentioned again, though of course, their careers would continue to develop for decades. I think it’s likely that the 3 listed here who took their freedom as waits were drafted in from elsewhere and so had to become freemen by command of My Lord Mayoure. 1600-1624 (17 free) saw a rise from 4 to 5 waits plus the change from shawms to cornett, saggbut, curtal band. There were indeed many changes of personnel as the old men and such as went abrode without My Lord Mayoure’s permission, were quite rapidly replaced. Demographically, this provides little more than the numbers of musicians free during artificially defined periods. You can get a lot more out of York Music!

I know there’s a lot more in the book. I just thought it was of potential interest that someone had published on the freemen’s rolls of York and counted the number of musicians and waits, and how freedom and waits’ membership might be related.

Epsom Waits?

Look what I just found in Pepys. I must have passed over it without it registering several times in the past. Can we infer from this that Epsom had Waits, or was Pepys expecting to see the London Waits at Epsom? And can we infer that Waits were renowned for their part-singing, or does he mean that at a distance, he thought he was hearing instruments rather than voices?
Answer, no doubt, is that we should refrain from inferring anything!

Samuel Pepys’ Diary, ed. R C Latham & W Matthews. G Bell & Sons
Volume IV 1663
27 July.
…. There was at a distance, under one of the trees on the common, a company got together that sung; I, at that distance, and so all the rest, being a quarter of a mile off, took them for the waytes; so I rid up to them and find them only voices – some Citizens, met by chance, that sing four or five parts excellently. I have not been more pleased with a snapp of Musique, considering the circumstances of the time and place, in all my life anything so pleasant….
(Pepys was visiting the well at Epsom.)

Good stuff, and I agree with your conclusion. It’s a useful and valid lesson.

Gunpowder Plot

The following references to Waits involved in Gunpowder Plot celebrations come from Unfortunately detailed sources are lacking.

Details of a Slap Up Dinner 1610
1610- Alderman and wives have a “slap up dinner and entertainment”
14s wine
6s8d waits
5sa musicians
15s gunpowder
A “martial parade” was held
20s for ”thirty of our soldiers which did show themselves with their muskets there.”

Misc. Festivities c.1600-30
The celebration took on the flavour of a Saints day as celebrated in pre-reformation England.
Norwich-waits were sung, bells rung three trumpeters were paid a shilling each by command of the mayor. In addition the Wheel-guns at Norwich Castle were fired each 5th of november. A sermon was preached in the church of St. Peter Mancroft”in commemoration of the great delivery of the king and state from the Gunpowder Treason”. In the eventing bells bonfires and drinking continued. Carlisle-Mayoral feast, wakes, waits, actors bellringing
David Cressy.,Bonfires and Bells.”National Memory and the Protestant Calendar in Elizabethan and Stuart England.,University of California Press, Berkeley,1989