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.

dates 1241 1301 1364 1379 1432-1434 1486 1529 1556 1641 1720 1762 1782 1785

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