Christmas Carols, Ancient And Modern

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xcvii
several great festivals; at Christmas, therefore, as an especial feast, there was a numerous gathering of them. Many, particularly those who attained any eminence in their art, were attached to the establishment of royal and noble households. The term Wait, or Wayte, seems to designate a species of minstrel or musician, who kept watch at night during certain times of the year, having a pipe, or hautboy, or some similar instrument; on which he was to pipe watch as it was called, and to make bon gaytey that is, bon gruet, at the different chamber doors.
In the household of Edward the Third, among the " mynstrells," were " waytes 3," who had 12d. per day in time of war. In time of peace, it appears they had only 20s. a year. The band of this monarch consisted of " five trumpeters, one cyteler, five pipers, one tabret, one mabrer, two clarions, one fidler, three wayghts or hautbois."*
Waits are mentioned in the ordinances for subse­quent royal households, and the names of the indi­viduals occasionally occur; but the description of one in the time of Edward the Fourth fully de­scribes his office, station, and perquisites.
" A wayte, that nightelye from Mychelmas to Shreve Thorsdaye pipethe watche within this courte fower tymes; in the somere nightes iij tymes, and makethe bon gayte at every chambere doare and offyce, as well for feare of pyckeres and pilleres. He eateth in the halle with mynstrielles, and takethe lyverey at nighte a loffe, a galone of alle, and for somere nightes ij candles pich, a bushel of coles ; and for wintere nights half a loaf of bread, a galon of ale, iiij candles piche, a bushel coles; daylye whilste he is presente in courte for
* Henry's Hist, of England, vol. viii. pp. 314-15.

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