1) The wait was originally a watchman.
1379 Johannes Wayte vigilo ville, Derby. That was probably the office of individuals so named in earlier documents: 1241 Helena filia Hugonis le Waite, Healaugh
1301 De Willelmo le Wayte, Richmond. Later the term was applied to small groups of instrumentalists who were maintained by a city or town at public expense: 1364 Rogerus Wayte, piper, York
1391 Thomas de Melton, wayte, York. Their community role is often explicit: 1432-4 lez Waytes civitatis, York
1529 the common waytts of this City, York
1556 the waytes of the towne, Wakefield
1641 William Borton watte of this towne, Hull
1785 Matthew Gibson, William Rhodes ... chosen town waits at a yearly salary of 50s each, Beverley. Those who performed the office were also provided with distinctive clothing: in 1433, for example, the York waits were given a winter livery Liberata yemalis and in Beverley in 1720 the men received badges, chains and a blue cloak. Long service was rewarded: Robert Sheyne of York, described in 1486 as being in so grete age and soo decrepid was granted an annual pension of 13s and free accommodation. In 1782, John Leavens of Beverley was allowed 2s a week having served as a wait for upwards of 50 years. Some twenty years earlier he had been discharged from his office for insolent behaviour to the gentlemen in the Chamber, but was reinstated on begging their pardon.