The York Waits and Friends during the recording of their Xmas CD, August 2015
Cartel Festival, Gandia 2012
CD cover, The King's Pavan
The York Waits at Roundhay in 2012
The York Waits in the 1990s
Yule Riding poster
The Sheriff'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
These are preceeded by the citys 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.
see the new York Waits CD
For more on the Sheriffs Riding, see the History section of the
This illustration was made by Vanessa Ryall, from an engraved horse bard - a component of equine armour - that was presented to Henry VIII. It is therefore an excellent rendition of a Tudor era bagpiper and Vanessa drew it to our attention because his outfit resembles very closely the period togs that we wear for performances of music from the early 16th century. In the past, some people have tried to detect the "old English bagpipe" in this piece of artwork, but scholars have pointed out that armour was probably Flemish in origin. It is a depiction of a basic workaday, single drone bagpipe of the period.
We used the illustration as a component of the cover of our "King's Pavan" CD and as a sort of generic image in other contexts.
The York Waits in 2012
The York Waits in rehearsal, Merchant Adventurers' Hall, York, 2012
York Mystery Plays
1. Leading a pageant wagon.
2. Procession for
York Mystery Plays.
3. Procession for
York Mystery Plays.
Yorkshire Day 2000
2. Dinnertime perambulations
3. Outdoor concert
An official thank you to add to our thanks on the day for giving the Minster Minstrels such an inspiring, enlightening and rewarding time on Saturday for the Saltaire Festival workshop and concert.
As an ensemble formed to study and play 'early music' we spend much time in rehearsals listening to our pieces played on historically informed instruments, and discussing how we need to perform them, both technically and stylistically, to get as close as we can to presenting them as we think they might have sounded in their own times. There is no substitute, however, for having the opportunity to experience the instruments for real, and to have a go at playing them, bringing the past to life in the here and now. You enabled the Minstrels to do this so well, and your own interest in and enthusiasm for the music you were playing shone through. Everyone came away having learned something new, and inspired to want to learn more.
Although not part of the original plan, the organisation that enabled us to work alongside the adult participants gave our players a far richer musical experience than they would have had working as a group on their own, and they really enjoyed the dancing which added variety and movement to the programme. Your making the link between the music we studied during the afternoon and that which we heard in the concert in the evening, together with your commentaries putting the music and composers in their context gave further educational value and provided a uniformity to the whole.
Please pass on our thanks to Lizzie for her work with us, in particular her gentle encouragement, and to Susan, who went out of her way to seek out the players to compliment them on their introductory music - all greatly appreciated.
Now we have finally 'connected' I hope that this will be the start of a continuing relationship with you and the York Waits, and look forward to working with you in the future.
With best wishes,
Cartel Festival, Gandia 2012
Playing for the Queen's Maundy Thursday visit 2012
Greetings to 's-Hertogenbosch
The union of the crowns of England & Scotland 1603
with the forthcoming coronation of James I of England and VI of Scotland. Berwick-upon-Tweed was celebrating his visit there on 6 April 1603 on his way from Edinburgh to London. After Berwick, of course, he went to York (16-17th April) the story of which is told in York Music.
The picture's a bit grainy, but I guess that's because photography was in its infancy in 1603.
The York Waits (c. 1615)
at the grave of
Thomas Coward (1784-1845), the last of the town waits of Alnwick, Northumberland.
was erected by friends
and admirers of
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 enbalmd those viol tones
Which filld the enraptured ear and charmd the
At York Minster
Early Days in Dorset 1982