The Oxford Waits are available both for public and private events. For bookings and all other information contact Tim Healey on 01865 249194
email tim@bejo.co.uk
Click here for forthcoming events

 

NEW LINE-UP!
The Oxford Waits welcomes new member Sophie Matthews. From left to right the band now comprises Sophie Matthews, Caroline Butler, Ian Giles, Tim Healey and Edward Fitzgibbon.

 

The Oxford Waits take their name from a real-life band of city musicians, known as 'waits,' who flourished in Oxford during the 17th century, the tumultuous era of the English Civil War and Restoration. The performers appear in period costume, and concerts are enlivened by street ballads, dance tunes, airs and rounds as well as readings from diarists and poets. Superb singing voices are matched by specialist skills in an array of instruments that include fiddle, bagpipes, lute, cittern, harpsichord, pipe and tabor, hurdy-gurdy, shawm, flute and percussion. A typical concert line-up consists of four or five performers, but the Oxford Waits are also represented by larger and smaller combinations of musicians, as well as by individual artists in solo recitals. The Oxford Waits are available for public concerts - and for private events too, such as banquets, fairs, dances, themed parties, school visits, weddings, corporate entertainments and Civil War re-enactments.

Recordings:
Switter Swatter
Love's Holyday

Live EP
Hey for Christmas

 

Oxford Waits debut

Tim Healey
directs the band,
sings and performs readings

A sell-out at the Holywell!

'Monday's rumbustious performance by the Oxford Waits was a splendid occasion - five players in 17th-century costume delivering a series of hilarious, often scabrous popular songs and ballads, interspersed with readings from the two master-diarists, John Evelyn and especially Oxford's own, inimitable Anthony Wood. What an explosion of vitality ...These were expert performers. Charles Spicer turned the shawm into a virtuoso instrument... Tim Healey took the honours with his portrayal of that nosey, creepy old cove Anthony Wood - his prurient excitement at the goings-on in Charles II's Restoration court at Oxford was splendid, a true acting assumption... A packed audience not only loved it but raised the roof with a round performance of Great Tom is Cast.'
Hugh Vickers, The Oxford Times

 

 

Tudor music

The Oxford Waits can now provide Tudor music in costume for functions.

Ian Giles and Edward Fitzgibbon are shown.

Bookings tel
01865 249194

 


View the Oxford Waits' photo album

 

Bands of waits appeared in British cities during the Middle Ages. Employed to sound the hours on wind instruments, they later developed more varied activities, entertaining royalty at banquets, for example, and townsfolk on days of rejoicing. The original Oxford Waits performed in the reign of Elizabeth I and reached their heyday in the 17th century - the era of the English Civil War - playing on throughout the Commonwealth and Restoration periods. Professional musicians, they supplemented their income by other means; some ran alehouses and gave dancing lessons in the city. On civic occasions they played at 'Penniless Bench' at Carfax, wearing handsome livery cloaks and bossed silver badges. A country dance tune called the Oxford Waits has survived from the early 18th century - it is a cebell or English gavotte and evidently dates from the latter days of Oxford's waits band which appears to have fallen into decline around 1712.

 

If you are interested in the music and history of other waits bands around the
British Isles, visit the excellent Waits Website


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