The York Waits


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Click on the thumbnails for pictures of The York Waits in action
For publicity photos, for use by performance venues etc., go here.

Xmas 2017
Xmas 2017

Anna Marshall, William Marshall, Isabel Dowell, Tim Bailey
Anna Marshall, William Marshall, Isabel Dowell, Tim Bailey. 2017

The York Waits and Friends during the recording of their Xmas CD, August 2015
The York Waits and Friends during the recording of their Xmas CD, August 2015

Drive the Cold Winter Away - xmas tour 2013

l - r Susan, John, Tim, Deborah, William, Lizzie
Photos from 2013

Cartel Festival, Gandia
Cartel Festival, Gandia 2012

CD cover, The King's Pavan

The York Waits at Roundhay in 2012
The York Waits at Roundhay in 2012

The York Waits in the 1990s
The York Waits in the 1990s

Yule Riding poster
Yule Riding poster

The Sheriff's Riding, York, December 21st 2000

The York Waits prepare for the Yule Riding

21 December - Yoolgirthol

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.

see the new York Waits CD

For more on the Sheriffs Riding, see the History section of the
Waits Website.

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 2012

The York Waits in rehearsal, Merchant Adventurers' Hall, York, 2012
The York Waits in rehearsal, Merchant Adventurers' Hall, York, 2012

Henry VIII
Henry VIII

York Mystery Plays

1. Leading A Pageant Wagon - York Mystery Plays
1. Leading a pageant wagon.

2. Procession  - York Mystery Plays
2. Procession for York Mystery Plays.

3. Procession - York Mystery Plays
3. Procession for York Mystery Plays.

Procession for Yorkshire Day 2000

Procession For Yorkshire Day, 2000

Fawsley Hall

Dinner At Fawsley Hall
1. Dinner

Dinnertime Perambulations
2. Dinnertime perambulations

Outdoor Concert At Fawsley Hall
3. Outdoor concert

The Minster Minstrels. Click to enlarge

Dear Tim,
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
Cartel Festival, Gandia 2012

John Peel
John Peel

Playing for Maundy Thursday
Playing for the Queen's Maundy Thursday visit 2012

Greetings to 's-Hertogenbosch
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.

At The Grave Of Thomas Coward

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.

At York Minster

York Minster

York Minster

Early Days in Dorset 1982

Early Days - Dorset, 1982