Ian Richardson, York Wait 1977-2007

In Memorium - Ian Richardson
Available now from Brewhouse Music Tel 0044(0)1353 720309 email

"Waits everywhere will mourn the death of Ian, master of those flights of fancy on the top line without a safety net." - Alan Radford, Leeds Waits ~ "His humour and his gentle good nature, especially, will be greatly missed." - Chris Gutteridge, King's Lynn Waites ~ "York Waits have long been an inspiration to many amateurs wishing to take up early music. Ian Richardson has been a big part of that" - Al Garrod, Lincoln Waits ~ "Ian's cheery smile was always a great encouragement to those of us who were less experienced, especially when accompanied by the greeting, 'alright our Bob?'" - Lizzie (Bob) Gutteridge, King's Lynn Waites

Ian Richardson (centre)

Ian Richardson 7 April 1951 – 4 August 2007

The York Waits are sad to inform you of the death of their colleague, Ian Richardson, on 4th August.
Ian had suffered a stroke last October but had been making a steady recovery, to the extent of donning his costume for the Mayor Making ceremony in May, and producing the power point element to our Beverley Early Music Festival concert. He recently suffered a second stroke and sustained a serious fall, never to regain consciousness.
Ian has been with the Waits since our first meetings in 1977, and has been a constant source of humour and a spur to produce the highest standards. His recorder virtuosity has inspired both us and audiences, and he will be sorely missed. We know that he would have approved of the Waits send off that is planned for his funeral.
Ian leaves his two married children, Amy and Andrew, his mother, his brother and fellow Wait, Roger, and a veritable host of friends.

Tim Bayley, York Wait.

With the death of Ian Richardson at the all-too-early age of 56, the early-music world has suffered a sad loss. Ian was a superb musician who enjoyed making music and entertaining others, activities that he engaged in for thirty years as a member of the York Waits. He belonged to one of the first generations after David Munrow, which not only accepted the qualities that Munrow had showed to be possible in early music - fine musicianship, expertise on various instruments and a deep knowledge of the repertory – but also added other requirements, such as the ability to play from memory, to improvise, and to entertain “on the hoof”. In the development of a modern type of minstrelsy Ian, along with other members of the York Waits, was responsible for forging an entertainment style appropriate to the late 20th and early 21st centuries.
The success of Ian’s role in this work was due to much more than his considerable musical ability. A kind, generous and good-humoured man – as collegial as they come – Ian was a “natural” in a small body of experts who performed together and had to gel as a group in all circumstances: and he was a good communicator, too, making audiences feel at home in an unknown repertory. We shall miss his musicality, his flair, his quiet sense of fun - and his common sense, too. In offering sincere condolences to Ian’s family, I am aware that his loss will affect the much wider and international community of which he was a part – of 21st-century minstrels, town waits, players of early wind-instruments, and those many people who came to enjoy the experience of early music because of what Ian gave to it.

Richard Rastall
Patron, The International Guild of Town Pipers

Obituary, Yorkshire Post, August 20th.

Merchant Taylors, 1979 - slightly drunk - first time an audience cheered.

Yorkshire Day 1980

King's Manor 1980

Early days 1982

King's Manor Istampitta Ghaetta 1982



Famous Bass Shawm Harness, Middleham 1983

Striking a pose for the camera 1983

Waits drink tea and eat pies 1983

Ian in conversation with Depardieu. 1986

Punk's Delight. Guildhall 1986

Punk's Delight. Guildhall 1986

Recording Richard III 1986

Recording Richard III 1986

Recording Richard III 1986

Alnwick 1990

At the grave of Thomas Coward, Alnwick

Hampton Court 1991

Procession - York Mystery Plays

USA 1999

USA 1999

Recording Yule Riding

Recording Yule Riding - striking a pose for the camera

Recording Yule Riding

Recording Yule Riding

Recording Yule Riding

Recording Yule Riding

Recording Yule Riding. I am not cross!

Recording Yule Riding. See - I am not cross!

York Minster

mp3 file of Ian playing Grimstock

We were shocked and saddened to return from holiday and hear of Ian's death. He will be greatly missed by many.
You didn't have to ask Ian if he enjoyed playing early music. You could tell by the way he played it so enthusiastically. I always particularly enjoyed his performance of 'Grimstock'.
Andrea Offord, Doncaster Waites

Dear friends,
We are very sorry to hear from your loss.
Ian was, besides a good musician, always a very kind man who took interest in other people. He made you feel comfortable, and therefore it was easy to talk to him. He always really tried to understand what we in our “farmer-cabbage-English” tried to say.
We wish you a lot of sympathy and strength to carry this loss.

Willem van Aart, Harrie Danse, Henk Keser, Norbert Kunst, Theo Lauwers, Francois van Maastrigt, Marcel Ploegmakers, Eugene Ploegmakers, Jos Ploegmakers, Sjef Teulings, Johan Tollenaar, Emile van Zeijl (muzikanten)
Stefan Schuwer, Jack van Uden, Dorry Derhaag-Doomernik. (bestuur)

De Stadspijpers van ‘s-Hertogenbosch

I was greatly saddened by the news of Ian's untimely death. I worked with the York Waits when recording their Christmas Musicke CD. Ian's musical skills are wonderfully evident on the recordings and especially the recorder playing. Ian was fun to work with and wonderfully patient when things did not quite go according to plan. I find it hard to think of the York Waits without him.
Eric Cowell, Brewhouse Music

A sudden and sad reminder of our mortality and a tragic loss.
John Bence, Leicester Early Music Festival

I would like to add my memories of Ian. He was always ready with a smile for everyone - and that included we 'hangers-on', 'groupies' and proud sister of another York Wait; James. May he always be remembered for his good humour and that all-encompassing smile. And...of course his music; Kingston Church (near Corfe Castle) remains an everlasting memory for me. Thank you, Ian, for being you and bringing sunshine into many lives.
Moira (Merryweather)

We were extremely saddened to receive your e-mail today concerning Ian. We have been “fans” of the York Waits, since first seeing them play at Bosworth in 1984 and 1985. Since then, we have attended concerts whenever possible and have always enjoyed the wonderful atmosphere, sense of fun and enthralling music, created by the Band. Our twin boys of 15 also thoroughly enjoy the Wait’s music.
Yours Sincerely,
Sonia, Andrew, Richard and Martin Whittaker.

As a long-term fan of the York Waits, I would just like to record my sorrow at hearing the news of Ian's death. The past twenty years (for me) is too short a time to have enjoyed Ian's musicianship and his only too evident delight at playing as a member of the Waits.
His enjoyment of Waits music and the history involved was obvious to all of us, and his enthusiasm would bring a smile to my face as well as the rest of the audience. This is a very great loss not only to the York Waits but to the broader music-world as well.
Graham Fisher The Heathers Guest House in York

I just wanted to say that when I came to see York Waits at Ludlow Assembly rooms a few years ago, it was a fascinating and very enjoyable evening of entertainment, and I subsequently became the proud owner of several of York Waits CD's. It's very sad that Ian, who was clearly a very special man, has passed away. My sympathies go to all of his family and friends.
Kind regards.
Jean Baker

The Ayre Consort

I have not seen Ian for years but have many happy memories from his pre-York Waits days when, in the 1960s, we were both members of the Ayre Consort based in Leeds, together with Ian's brother, Roger and several others all interested in performing early music. Ian and Roger, though the youngest members of the group, were an inspiration to the rest of us through their enthusiasm for acquiring, making and playing early instruments and it was no surprise that they subsequently became so successful in that field. I was very saddened indeed to learn of Ian's death.
Dorothy Turley
I've found this VERY old (1960s) photo of five members of the Ayre Consort, including Ian and Roger. We used to practise in our various homes and this was taken in my tiny flat in Leeds. I thought you might like to have the attached copy.
Dorothy Turley

As great fans of York Waits, my partner and I would like to express our sincere condolences to Mr Richardson’s family and to the group.
Best wishes,
Anne Maddox and Christopher Barrow

I am heartbroken to learn of Ian's death. My family first met the Richardson boys when The York Waits played on Long Island, New York in 1979. It was our privilege to host both Ian and Roger while they were in our country. A few years later we traveled to England and met their parents. They are a beautiful family and our lives were enriched through knowing them. God bless you, Ian. Rest in peace.
Frances Ellis (USA)

We were very sad to hear of Ian's passing. For the past 25 yrs we have enjoyed York Waits concerts, especially the Christmas events. Ian always seemed to be enjoying himself, and had a friendly smile for the audience.
Please pass on our condolences to his family and friends, we're sure he will be sadly missed.
Yours Sincerely,
Patricia Googe & Dora Appleby

As just an ordinary member of your audience at your past concerts in Masham, Grinton and Durham, of no musical expertise may I say how sorry both my Wife and I were to hear of Ian’s passing.
The York Waits have given us so much pleasure and especially Ian with his wry smile and sense of humour - he will be sadly missed by us and the many ordinary people who have attended your concerts in the past.
With our condolences to you all and his Family
Katy and David Baker Co Durham


A photo which helps capture Ian’s love of his music. You may use it if you wish.

There’s those can play, and there’s those that can dance. There’s some that can do both - but not usually at the same time. Ian Richardson; sadly missed.

Yours Sincerely

Desmond O’Connor

We just got the news and were very sorry to hear of Ian Richardson's untimely death. We never got to hear the York Waits in person, but their CD's have been standard fare in our house for many years and we always hoped someday to get to England to hear them. On Christmas Eve we always put on the 'Christmas Musicke' while we are decorating the cedar tree cut from our woods. Now it wouldn't be our traditional Christmas without them! We are now enjoying the 'Playford Plus' CD from Brewhouse this year in Ian's memory. It has quickly become a favorite. Please extend our best wishes and condolences to Ian's family and the other Waits.

Lynn and Barry Trott
formerly of
The Williamsburg Waits

Dear Waits,
I have just learned of Ian's death, months later. I never met nor heard him play in person (never learned of appearances in the USA in time to attend, much to my dismay). I only know of the Waits through recorded music and what books I can acquire.
I've played in an early music ensemble since 1995 - certainly not in the same league. You can hear a bit of the York Waits in some of our playing (imitation & flattery). You set the standard for ensemble play that we can only aspire to. And you've got the chops.
I shudder to think what it would be like were one of our fellows to die - we are family. And so we mourn your and our loss. I trust you celebrated his life in an appropriate & musical style, and pray you will carry on.

Bob Purrenhage
Kerstin Potter
Pastimes Music Ensemble
Pennsylvania, USA

I have just heard of Ian's death and am so sorry. I met him when we both participated in a (non musical) course in the Lake District in June 2006 and we met a couple of times after that, most recently last summer.
He was such a kind, lovely, thoughtful and insightful person who so delighted in music and in life.
He will be sadly missed.

Dale Godfrey (Isle of Wight)