The History of Lincoln Waites

1600 - 1699

8 June 1611

"Ferdinando Gibbyns and ( ? ) Lockyngton, the City's musicians to have two Liveries." (Chamberlains Rolls)

29 May 1658

Richard Cromwell takes over the leadership of the Country (L1/1/1/6, page 70).

The Proclamation, of Richard Cromwell's accession as Lord High Protector of the Commonwealth, was delivered to the people of Lincoln by the Mayor and Council at various points in the City, in a similar manner to the proclamation of a new Monarch, but this time the mood was different. When writing about the accession of a new King, the Council Minutes always convey a feeling of celebration and festival, with joyous processions including drums, flags, wine and music (of the Waites), but this time the record is strikingly sober in comparison - almost sterile.

The Recorder writes, " the Maior Aldermen Sherriffs and the Comon Councill of the Citty of Lincoln on the sixth day of September the usual places of the Stonebow the old Corn market Hill and the Dunstan Locke", he continues, "the proclamation aforesaid was read and proclaimed with solemnity becoming a business of such a Nature".

You might believe that it was a solemn event because that was the nature of Puritanism, on the other hand, could it be that the Proclamation of Richard Cromwell was viewed merely as a duty, (to inform the population that Richard was now the new ruler) and that the element of celebration was absent because Lincolnians had no reason to celebrate a second ruler in the Cromwell dynasty? The Recorder wrote his description in a way that suggests indifference to the event, and to Richard Cromwell himself.

1 January 1684

Reception of the new Charter granted by King Charles II. "Mr Mayor with Sir Thomas Hussey and several other gentlemen, the aldermen, and all the rest of the body and company, walked up the City to the Guildhall, the trained bands going before to make way. The street was filled with people, the City's Waits playing before Mr Mayor, and the bells ringing. In this manner they came to the Guildhall, where the Charter was openly read by the Town Clerk, and the hall was crowded with people. The bells rang all the day, and music played, drums beating and the night concluded with bonfires and ringing of bells clear through the City." (Chamberlains Rolls)

"January the firfth [1st] 1684. this morning about eight a clocke M.r Maio.r and the Aldermen in their Scarlett gownes the Sherriffes Comon Counsellmen and Chamberlains all in their gowns attended with the company of trained bands of this Citty and severall gent and Inhabitants in this Citty to a confiderable number walked from M.r houfe to Barrgates and so at St katherines and upon the greene there M.r Maio.r received this Offices new Charter from Sr Thomas Hufsey Barrt [Sir Thomas Hussey, Baronet] who had it sent to him by the Right Ho.ble Robert Earl of Lincoln Lord great Chamberlain of England this Offices new Recorder. So soone as M.r Maio.r opened the box and tooke the Charter out and he the Aldermen Sherriffs Comon Counfell men Chamberlains and moft of gent and common there, kissed the seale and after loudly shouted God Save the King. Then M.r Maio.r delivered the Charter to the Towneclarke who was then about in his ground and ordered him to carry it open before him till they came by to the Guildhall. Thereupon M.r Maio.r with Sr Thomas Hufsey and severall other gent the Aldermen and all the reft of the body and company walked by this Citty to the Guildhall. The trained bands going before to make room the Street was filled with people The Citties Waits playing before M.r Maio.r and the bells ringing In this manner they came to the Guildhall where the Charter was openly read by the Towneclarke and the hall was crowded with people, then M.r Maio.r was sworne Maio.r and Juftice of peace being done, they came out of the Guildhall and soe went to the great Conduit ran Clarett wine and there dranke the King and Duke of Yorkes health After that the gent and company went along M.r Maio.r to his houfe to a great dinner. After dinner in their room M.r Maio.r and the company dranke the King and the Dukes of Yorkes health at the lesser conduit ran likewise Clarett wine and The bells rung all the day and muficke played drums beating and the night concluded with bonfires and ringing of bells heard through the Citty." (L1/1/1/6, page 390)

On 9 December 1684, the Proclamation of James II's accession to the throne is recorded in the Lincoln Minute Book, but waits are not mentioned (L1/1/1/6, page 392).

15 March 1685

A Bylaw against fforriners and Strangers

This is one of the laws that tried to protect the livelihood of Lincoln people by making it illegal for outsiders to trade here

"Whereas divers and sundry fforriners and Strangers to the liberties of the City of Lincolne Doe (contrary to the Chartered antient customes ffranchises and liberties of the said City and Acts and Ordinaires heretofore made according to the same) not only proivately but openly usually and ordinarily show, sell and putt to sale their wares and merchandizes and use arts, trades, occupacons and misterys and keepe open shopps for the same, within the said City to the great detriment and hurt of the said City and the Citizens thereof who beare offices and undergoe other charges, which strangers and others not free are not chargeable withal nor will performe. It is therefore now ordered, ordained and established by the Maier, Sherriffes, Citizens and Comonalitie of the said City of Lincolne in this Comon Counsell assembled that noe person or persons whatsoever not being free of the City of Lincolne, shall at any time after the ffeast of the Annunciacon of the blessed virgine mary now next ensuing by any colour waies or meanes whatsoever either directly or indirectly by himselfe, or by any other, keepe open any Shopp or other parte of a house whatsoever for show or putting to sale of any wares or cerchandizes whatsoever by way of retaile or use any trade or mistery within the said City upon paine to forfeit and loose to the Maior, Sherriffes, Citizens and Comonalitie of the said City of Lincolne the some of Twenty Shillings of lawfull money of England for every time wherein such person or persons shall keepe open any shop or other parte of a house whatsoever for show, sale or putting to sale or any wares or merchandizes whatsoever by way of retaile or use within the said City of Lincolne contrary to the tone intent and meaning thereof." (Lincoln City Minute Book, 1655 – 1700, L1/1/1/6, p408)

14 February 1688

King William and Queen Mary Visit Lincoln

"Ffebruary the Sixteenth Anno Dom 1688. This day in the afternoon and just after the post came in and persons had notice given their Majesties King William and Queen Mary were proclaimed King and Queen in this City in sixe severall places. Viz Upon the Greene in St Botolphs parish, upon the hill at St Maries Church, at the Stonebow, at Baile Gates in Newport and in the Minster Yard in the liberty of this City By Mr Maior and the Aldermen in their Scarlett gownes, the Recorder, Steward and Townclarke in their gownes, the Sheriffes, Comon Counsellmen and Chamberlains in their gownes, all on horseback, the Dean and Chapter being present and severall Gentlemen, Citizens and Inhabitants attending all on horsebacke accompanied with a very great number of Citizens and Inhabitants and others all on foot. Their Majesties were proclaimed (by the Townclarke, the Cryer repeating every sentence after him, with a Loud voice) in pursuance of a letter and 2 preclamacons sent downe inclosed to Mr maior." (Lincoln City Minute Book, 1655 – 1710, L1/1/1/6, p443.)

16 February 1688

King William and Queen Mary Visit Lincoln

"After their Majesties were proclaimed as aforesaid Mr Maior, the Recorder, Aldermen and the rest of the body of this City and severall Gentlemen and others went to the guildhall where wine, ale and biskett was provided at the Citys charge, to drinke their Majesties health and in the evening then all went to severall bonefires and their dranke their Majesties and the Royall familys healths and the night concluded with bonfires, Drums beating and bells ringing, Musicke playing and severall other expressions of joy." (Lincoln City Minute Book, 1655 – 1710, L1/1/1/6, p444.)


The King visits Lincoln. As well as Coachmen, King William III brings with him, his own cooks and a surveyor. It's a special occasion and the Mayor and Aldermen are keen to celebrate it properly. They even order the streets to be cleaned before the King arrives. To add to the festivities, (Lincoln) City Waits numbers are boosted by Newark Waits joining them. The Waits fees are paid out of the Common Fund. (Chamberlains Rolls)

In the same year, the Common Council pays Sergeant Saul and his soldiers 14s to "quell a rabble". (Chamberlains Rolls)

28 October 1695

"This morning soe soon as the post came in from Grantham, Mr Major and the Aldermen received an Account that his Majestie King William was on his Journey from London and intended to be in this City tomorrow night and soe paste cleare through it to his Lodgings at Lieut.Coll.Pownalls house in the Minster yard late the house where Bishop Fuller lived."

"Presently after Mr Major sent to the Aldermen to meet him at the guildhall to consult what was the best to be done and accordingly they mett together and went cleare down the street as farr as the Little Goat Bridges and as they went along they ordered all the parishes to get Carts and Labourers to cleanse the Streets and carry the dirt and rubbish away from theme, which was done accordingly that day and the next day before the King came as well as possibly could be done upon such a short warning."

"All the Cross Railes down the street were ordered to be taken by and all stones, wood and other obstructions lying and being in the highway were removed. In the Afternoon Mr Major ordered his officers to give notice and warning to Mr Recorder all the Aldermen, Sherriffes, Comon Counsellmen and Chamberlains, The Steward and Townclarke. All to pride horses and to meet the next day at the Guildhall in their gownes at three a clocke in the Afternoon." (Lincoln City Minute Book, 1655 – 1710, L1/1/1/6, p513.)

29 October 1695

"This day about three a clocke in the afternoon Mr Mayor and the Aldermen, in their Scarlett gowns, Mr Recorder, Mr Steward and Mr Townclarke in their gowns, the Sherriffes, Comon Counsellmen, Chamberalins and those who had been Chamberlains all in their gownes Attended with the majors {Mayor’s] officers in their gownes all mett at the Guildhall and there mounted on horse backe. The Citties Waites, Newark Waites, Trumpets, Hautboys and Drums being all ready, they rode down the street, two and two together as farr as the Great barrgate, the music playing, Trumpets sounding and drums beating before them, attended with a great number of Gentlemen, Citizens and others, all on horse backe."

"As the kings coach entered the upper part of the High Street, the mayor rode in front of the coach, bearing the Richard II sword and wearing the Cap of Maintainance, with the Musicke, Trumpeters and Drums before playing, sounding and drums beating cleare in the street without intermission." (Lincoln City Minute Book, 1655 – 1710, L1/1/1/6, p514.)

This occasion when Newark Waits were employed to augment the Lincoln Waits Band to make a greater number, is also referenced by Cornelius Brown in his History of Newark. Brown cites his source as the Historical Manuscripts Commission, 14th Report, Appdx, Part VIII, p113 and says; "In 1695, Newark had a company of waits of sufficient repute to be engaged to assist at Lincoln in the reception of the King." (History of Newark-on-Trent by Cornelius Brown, Vol 1, p249. published by S. Whiles (Newark) in 1904).

As well as the ceremonial aspects, Lincoln Corporation had the extra musicians - Newark Waites - to care for...