Info. on the Waytes can be found at:
28 Jul 2006, 8:36 p.m. - Aqua
From the Glossary. municipal musicians.
On this date jul 27 63., they were singers only , no musical instruments.
29 Jul 2006, 4 a.m. - Aqua
OED Forms: 3-7 wayte, waite, (5 wayet, whayte), 4-7 wayt, 4, 7 weyte, (6 weytte, wette), 5-6 wate, (5 watte), 6 waytte (waitte, wayght, weyght, wyethe, whet), 7 waight, (weight), 4- wait.
I. The action of WAIT v.1
wayte one of the many versions of use of wait:
b. A watchman attached to the royal household who sounded the watch, etc., by the blowing of a pipe, trumpet, or other wind-instrument.
c. A municipal watchman.
8 a. pl. A small body of wind instrumentalists maintained by a city or town at the public charge. Also sing., a member of this body. Obs.
They played for the daily diversion of the councillors, on ceremonial and festive occasions, and as a town or city band they entertained the citizens, perambulating the streets, often by night or in the early morning.
1617 MORYSON Itin. IV. IV. i. (1903) 301 In like sorte many Cittyes mantayne at publike charge Musitians, vsing Sagbutts, Hoboyes, and such loude Instruments, which wee call the waytes of Cyttyes, and these play at the publicke house of the Citty each day at Noone, when the Senatours goe to dinner, and at all publike Feasts.
a1625 FLETCHER Captain II. ii, Jac. Hark, are the Waits abroad? Fab. Be softer prethee, 'Tis private musick...Jac. Well I will hear, or sleep, I care not whether.
1667 Lond. Gaz. No. 189/1 The Mayor, Aldermen and Common Council of this Town, after a Sermon Preached to them, went to the Market-Cross in their Formalities, the Waytes playing before them.
1670 Moral State Eng. 132 The Weights of the Town who played upon Cornets and Haut-bois.
later a band :b. pl. A band of musicians and singers who perambulate the streets by night at the approach of Christmas and the New Year playing and singing carols and other seasonable music for gratuities.
1. One who watches, or observes closely; one who is on the look-out. Obs
There be many versions of wait
23 Jan 2007, 3:50 p.m. - Chris Gutteridge
A more extensive explanation of Waits can be found at the Waits Website: http://www.waits.org.uk/
4 Mar 2015, 11:32 p.m. - Terry Foreman
Waits or waites were British town pipers. From medieval times up to the beginning of the 19th century, every British town and city of any note had a band of waites. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wait_%28musician%29
25 Jul 2016, 2:17 p.m. - Bill
WAITS, a sort of wind music.
---An universal etymological English dictionary. N. Bailey, 1724.
2 Feb 2022, 12:23 a.m. - San Diego Sarah
Pepys only refers to waytes (aka waits or waites) once in the Diary by name. However, these entrepreneurs serenaded him with various levels of professionalism quite a few times. Search on "waits" under ANNOTATIONS they'll be flagged as I find them.
24 Jun 2022, 4:35 a.m. - San Diego Sarah
From medieval times up to the early 19th century, every British town and city of any note had a band of waites (modern spelling waits). Their duties varied from time to time and place to place, but included playing their instruments through the town at night, waking the townsfolk on dark winter mornings by playing under their windows, welcoming Royal visitors by playing at the town gates, and leading the Mayor's procession on civic occasions. ...
Waite and Wakeman are derived from individuals who worked as waits. Ferdinando Gibbons was one of the Waits of Cambridge; his sons Edmund, Ellis and Orlando became notable musicians.
Some tunes are extant named after the waits of particular towns and cities, e.g. Chester Waits and London Waits.
The usual instrument of the waits was the hautboy; its loud and pungent sound suiting it to outdoor playing.
Chart showing the number of references in each month of the diary’s entries.