On This Page:

Aag Grann
Alnwick Wait
Bruges Bellforte
The Charlotte Waites
Christmas Waits’ Bills
Thomas Crawshaw
Crawshaw Memorial
Crying Christmas
Doncaster Mansion House
The Dover Hornblower
Dresdner Stadtpfeifer – 2010
Ediswan Light Bulb
Ely Waits
Gloucester Waits
Great Yarmouth Custom House
IGTP Life Membership
Kilsyth – Willie Orr, Town Piper
King’s Lynn Town Hall Waits’ Gallery
Leeds Civic Hall

Lincoln Waites – 2007
Ludlow Waites
Newark Waits’ Badges
Norwich Lysard
Norwich Music House
Ripon Town Hall
Rome – The Mayor’s Trumpeters – 2012
Stadspijpers van s-Hertogenbosch
Stadtpfieffers of Prague
Stamford Town Hall Waits’ Gallery
St Mary’s, Beverley
The City Musick 2014
Thomas Coward
The Vekter of Trondheim
Waiting Tower
The York Waits – December 2000
Sherriff’s Riding

The City Musick 2014

The City Musick playing at the annual Swan Feast of the Vintners’ Company.

The Mayor’s Trumpeters, Rome 2012

In April 2012, Mr Chris Barlow kindly sent us this photograph of two Italian Police Bandsmen, standing on the steps of their Town Hall. These are the official trumpeters of the Mayor of Rome, who proudly display SPQR on their trumpet banners (Senatus Populusque Romanus) and play fanfares on their (modern, valved) trumpets. The city of Rome pay for their costumes and their wages.
On this occassion, the visitor was the Emir of Quatar.

Willie Orr, Town Piper of Kilsyth

Town Pipers in Scotland

Dresdner Stadtpfeifer (April 2010).


Ludlow Waites

NB: This incarnation of Ludlow Waites disbanded in May 2014

The Charlotte Waites

Welcome to The Charlotte Waites, Charlotte, North Carolina, USA. Connect with The Charlotte Waites on Facebook.


“The Charlotte Waites:
Waites were town bands in England from the 1300s to the 1800s, with counterparts in much of Europe. They welcomed important visitors to the city, led processions, woke the townsfolk on dark winter days, and provided music for the benefit and enjoyment of all, as well as performing night watch duties. The Charlotte Waites aspire to do the same in Charlotte today.They perform Renaissance and Medieval music on period instruments, with Don Boekelheide on cornetto, Susan Burns on alto dulcian, John Trexler on tenor shawm, and John Burns on bass dulcian. Don Boekelheide studied music at the University of California at Santa Barbara, but “discovered” the recorder at an adult education class taught in a garage. He has been very involved in the Charlotte early music scene. Susan and John Burns both studied bassoon performance at Oberlin Conservatory, where they now wish they had discovered early music, well, earlier. They are active in the Charlotte music scene, including the CPCC Early Music Consort, Harpers Four, and the Charlotte Philharmonic Orchestra. John Trexler is an accomplished performer on many instruments, and can be heard regularly at the Renaissance Festival and at Ri Ra’s Irish pub. In addition to performing, John serves on the faculty of the Mountain Collegium Early Music Workshop held each year in Cullowhee, NC.”

Honorary Life Members of the IGTP

The Directors of the International Guild of Town Pipers have conferred honorary life membership of the Guild upon Dr. James Merryweather and Chris Gutteridge, for their research over many years, on the history of waits in England, and for their role as founders of the Waits Website.

  IGTP Badge 

Membership Page

Thomas Crawshaw Memorial


Yorkshire Evening Post report
Notes & Queries

Christmas Waits’ Bills


Visit Notes & Queries for the story behind these handbills.

Waiting Tower

Lizzie Gutteridge writes:
We found this on a castle wall in Valkenburg in Holland. Erik [Martens] says a 4 year old Dutch person should be able to translate better than this but maybe we have here an illustration of how Waits got their name…?

Aag Grann, Vector of Ribe
The Watchman of Ribe


Tony Pearson of the Ely Waits found this gentleman in Ribe, Denmark. Like the late Gunnar Gunn, Vekter of Trondheim in Norway, he carries his morgenstern and lantern. He also has a splendid badge of office on a chain round his neck.

Ely Waits April 2008


The brand new Ely Waits giving their inaugural performance. See Notes & Queries.
Watch on YouTube

Below: Ely Eel Day May 3rd


Crying Christmas, Lincoln, 2007


Al Garrod’s newly re-formed City of Lincoln Waits revived this ancient custom with the assistance of Lizzie and Chris Gutteridge. For the history behind Crying Christmas in Lincoln, visit Al’s website

Sheriff’s Riding, York 2007


Waits from Doncaster, Lincoln, Colchester and King’s Lynn, and a Stadspijper from ‘s-Hertogenbosch were among those attending the York Waits’ Sherriff’s Riding on 21st December. For more on the Sherriff’s Riding see below.

City of Lincoln Waites

The City of Lincoln Waites have just re-formed. Their first appearance was leading the Mayor’s procession from the Stonebow for the switching on of the Christmas lights on Thursday 15th November 2007. They were augmented and assisted by the Doncaster Waites and Chris Gutteridge of King’s Lynn Waites.


The Ediswan Light Bulb

This old tinplate advert was spotted at Beamish Open Air Museum – proof that some vague memory of Waits lingered into the early 20th century?

Waits badges being worn by The Newark Mace Bearers (Sergeants-at-Mace).

The Mayor’s Sunday Procession 1971/72. On the first Sunday of each Mayoral Year the Mayor attends Divine Service at the Parish Church (St Mary Magdalene).


The originals of these 2 pictures are in the collection of Newark and Sherwood Museum Service, Newark Resource Centre, Brunel Drive, Newark, NG24 2EG (01636 655777). The curator has kindly given permission for publication on the Waits Website.

Consell de Mallorca’s ministrils band

For more on this splendid band, see Notes & Queries


Two Waits with chains

For the importance of chains to Waits, see our Cognizances section.

James Merryweather

Chris Gutteridge

Bench Ends in St Nonna’s Altarnun, Cornwall

The Altarnun bagpiper (left), with a present-day York Wait (right) playing a similar double chanter bagpipe for comparison.

The Altarnun fiddler playing a ‘Mary Rose’ fiddle.

A similarly dressed boozer in nearby St Winnow church, just to add a little doubt, unless we are obsessed by waits being ‘comon drunkerdes who cannot so cunninglie play on ther instruments as they ought to’.

Vekter of Trondheim

Gunnar Gunn, the Vekter of Trondheim, singing his Veckter’s Watch Song. See Notes & Queries for further details.


Two satyrs playing lysarden on the ceiling plaster of St John’s Church, New Briggate, Leeds (1632/3). See Notes & Queries for further details.


The newly re-formed Gloucester Waites. See Notes & Queries for further details.

Doncaster Mansion House

Musicians’ Galleries in the Ballroom and Dining Room.

Ballroom    Dining Room

See Originals Undated page for an engraving of the Ballroom.
See also Galleries page for comments.

Thomas Crawshaw

Members of the Leeds Waits play at the graveside of Thomas Crawshaw, the last Wait of Leeds.

Grave of Thomas Crawshaw

See Waits’ Graves page for more.

Leeds Civic Hall

Musicians’ gallery in the banqueting hall of this 1930’s building

See Galleries page for more.

The Wait of Alnwick

Adrian Ions, Official (though not musician) present-day Wait of Alnwick.

King’s Lynn Town Hall Waits’ Gallery

This curious gallery is in the Jacobean porch of the medieval town hall. It consists of a square, railed-off “pen” which is reached via a bridge over the grand staircase.


Left – the Waits’ Gallery; Centre – main staircase with gallery on left, approached from right of staircase via bridge. Right – three of the present King’s Lynn Waites in the gallery.

Great Yarmouth Custom House

The hole in the river frontage where the Custom House stood. The Waits used to perform concerts from the flat roof.

The following is a transcription from a plaque on the one remaining wall:

The Old Dutch Chapel
This wall is the last remaining vestige of one of the most important of the old buildings in the Town, locally known as the Old Dutch chapel or Town House. The building, which dates from early fourteenth century, (once owned by Thomas Drayton in 1358), originally stood in the space now occupied by the adjacent road between numbers 21 and 23 South Quay. It was subsequently bought for the town and during its long history, served the function of the Staple or Mart House for dealing in the export of all wool from the Port, a concert base for the Waits or Musicians of Yarmouth, a house of Morning Prayer for the use of the Dutch Congregation, the town’s Custom Office, a port dues office and the town’s earliest theatre (housing amongst others, a company of comedians from Norwich.) During the time of use of part of the building as a church for the Dutch, the congregation were required to look after the famous “Dutch Clock” which was once part of the building). The building was damaged during the Second World War and later demolished to provide an access road to the new library. The building’s last remaining wall, containing some of the oldest building material in the town, was restored by the Great Yarmouth Port Authority in 1993 with the assistance of a grant from English Heritage.
The Great Yarmouth Port Authority
John B.Mowson – Chairman
Michael C.M.Boon – Chief Executive and Clerk

See also the Malone Society entry for Great Yarmouth.

Stamford Town Hall Waits’ Gallery

Two of the present King’s Lynn Waites playing in the 18th century Waits’ gallery of Stamford Town Hall, Lincolnshire.

Norwich Music House

The Music House in King Street is the oldest domestic dwelling in Norwich. It was built in 1175 by Isaac Jurnet, a wealthy Jewish merchant and money-lender, and was used by the City Waits for music rehearsals from the 16th to the 18th century. It is now part of Wensum Lodge, an adult education centre. Nearby Dragon Hall is the only medieval merchant’s trading hall known to survive in western Europe.
Please also see

Lysard or Tenor Cornett


Said to have belonged to the Norwich Waits in 1608, and now kept at Strangers Hall, Norwich, this elegant and beautifully preserved instrument (apart from a small area of degradation at the mouthpiece end, it would still be playable today) is the one on which the late Christopher Monk based his narrow-bore model. In the second photo, my own Christopher Monk wide-bore lysard is shown above the Norwich one for comparison. Both models are still made by the Christopher Monk Workshop. Chris Gutteridge.

Photographs of the Minstrels’ Pillar at St Mary’s Church, Beverley.

(see James Merryweather’s essay)


The Sherriff’s Riding, York, December 21st 2000

The sheriffs, by the custom of the City of York do ride to several parts every year betwixt Michaelmas and midwinter, that is Yoole, and do, at several parts of the said City make a proclamation.

The ceremony of riding, one of the greatest shews in the City, is performed on this manner. The sheriffs appear on horseback, apparelled in their black gowns and velvet tippits, their horses in suitable furniture, each sheriff having a white wand in his hand, and a badge of his office, and a servant to lead his horse who also carries a gilded truncheon. Their sergeants at mace, attorneys and other officers of their courts, on horseback in their gowns riding before them.

These are preceeded by the city’s waites, or musicians, in their scarlet liveries and silver badges playing all the way through the streets. One of these waites wears on his head a red pinked or tattered ragged cap, a badge of great antiquity.

Then follows a great concourse of country gentlemen, citizens, &tc. on horseback who are invited to this honour and afterwards to dine with them, and I have seen near four hundred people at the entertainment.

Eboracum Francis Drake (1736)

We recreate the Sheriffs’ Riding or Yoolgirthol every 21st December (St Thomas’s Day) beginning at Micklegate Bar (the main entrance to the city from the north and south and arrival point for all visiting monarchs) and stopping at various stations throughout the city in order that a proclamation may be promulgated, heralded by a long blast on a horn. An amnesty is declared to “all manner of thieves, whores, dice-players and other unthrifty folk for the feast of Yule, until the twelve days be past; God Save The Queen”. This was the event in 2000. Photograph © Chris Broadribb.

Dr James Merryweather, The York Waits.

Bruges Bellforte

where the City Pipers used to play. The York Waits have played from this tower.

The balcony on the Bruges Bellforte – from which the City Pipers used to play

See Galleries page

Stadtpfieffers of Prague?


Stadspijpers van ‘s-Hertogenbosch

See ‘Notes & Queries’ page for details.

Stadspijpers van 's-Hertogenbosch

Photo of Ripon Town Hall

In Ripon there is still a Wakeman who emerges at set times daily to blow his enormous cow-horn…

The York Waits (c. 1615) at the grave of Thomas Coward (1784-1845),

the last of the town waits of Alnwick, Northumberland.

This stone
was erected by friends
and admirers of
Thomas Coward
the last of the “Waits”
of this ancient borough
who died on the 6th. Of Feb. 1845
aged 61 years.

Mute is the music. Motionless is the hand
That touched with “Magic bow” the trembling strings.
But memory hath enbalm’d those viol tones
Which fill’d the enraptured ear and charm’d the soul.

Waits’ Graves

The Dover Horn Blower

Chris McNeilly, The Dover Hornblower was welcomed as a new member of the IGTP in October 2016.