The History of Lincoln Waites

Hescott - 1781

1 October 1781

"Paid Hescott & Dickinson, Wayetts ½ years Salary Due Michaelmas - £2.2s" (ref: L1/1/4/1/1).

This entry in the City of Lincoln Accounts book (1764 - 1835) mentions a Wait whose name does not appear in the Council Minute Books - Hescott. The name of Dickinson, conversely, appears very frequently in council records. These accounts also tell us that Henry Dickinson was paid £3.17s.6d for work that he had done at the Racecourse in that same year (1781).

Hescott, Dickinson and their fellow Waits were responisble for "Crying the Fair" before each of the four Fairs held in Lincoln every year. For this, they received an additional payment of 1 shilling per fair, on top of their corporation salaries of £2.2s each man, per year. Their salaries were paid half-yearly at Michaelmas and Lady Day (ref: L1/1/4/1/1).

The fact that the Waits were "Crying" the Fair in the 1780s (in the manner of a Town Cryer delivering a proclamation), provides a connection to the verses of "Crying Christmas" that were performed by three "Senatours" (possibly Waites?) at least as long ago as 1564 (ref: L1/1/1/3).

Even though the Waits were displaced at the Corporation's Michaelmas Dinner by the Militia Band of the 62nd Regiment, the Waits still received an extra 10 shillings on 18th December 1781. This appears to be some kind of early Christmas Bonus, with varying amounts paid to all the Corporation's Officers each December.

It is also interesting to note that, for performing on Michaelmas Day, the Militia Band received only £1.1s. This was the same amount they were paid in 1789. The Singers of St Peter's Church were paid more than the Band - £1.11s.6d.

29 October 1781

A full 28 days after Hescott and Dickinson were paid, the accounts state that "Roberts the Wayett" was paid "½ years Salary Due Michaelmas last - £1.1s." No explanation is recorded to tell us why Roberts was paid four weeks later than his colleagues.

28 June 1792

Hescott also received a payment from the Council in June 1792, but it is not clear what this was for: "Paid Mr Hescott as P/Receipt - £1.16s." (ref: L1/4/1/2)

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