Christmas Carols, Ancient And Modern

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xcix
westour rymour ministrall ne vacabond soit aucune-ment sustenuz en la terre de Gales pur faire kymor-thas ou coillage sur la commune people illoeqes."
There is a celebrated description of a minstrel, given by Laneham, in quaint uncouth language, in his Letter respecting the Queen's Entertainment at Killingworth (quasi Kenilworth) in 1575, and in­serted by Nichols in his " Progresses." Like the waits, he wore " a fayr flagon cheyn, pewter (for sylver); az a Squier Minstrel of Middilsex, that travaild the cuntree thys soomer season unto fairz, and worshipfull menz houzez. From hiz cheyn hoong a schoochion, with metall and cooller re-splandant upon his breast, of the auncient armez of Islington."
In the course of the same and the following cen­tury, minstrels used to travel the country in search of bride-ales, Christmas dinners, fairs, &c. and whenever they could do so, gained access to the halls of the gentry and nobility. This custom may still be noticed, though the modern minstrels are of a reduced description. Brand, in his " History of Newcastle," (vol. ii. pp. 353-4) states that there was a society of waits, or musicians, at that town ; and by an order of Common Council, Nov. 4th, 1646, they were to go about morning and evening, according to ancient custom. By a like order of 1675, they were enjoined going about the town in the winter season, and they had certain privileges in preference to strangers. In other towns it is probable that similar societies existed with like pri­vileges;* the sworn waits of the present day are descended from such, but they have sadly neg-
* " In the Privy Purse Expences of Henry VII. are entries of payments to the waits of various towns through which he passed."—Collier, vol. i. p. 28. n.

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