The waits were the town bands in England (with some representation in Wales and Scotland). There were some waits bands in the medieval period, and they were at their height in Tudor/Elizabethan/Jacobean times, but beginning to decline in the later 1600s. A few continued until 1835 when radical changes were made to local government regulations.
The 1600s saw condsiderable social and political upheaval, most especially centred on the Engish civil war and the restoration of the King in 1660. Waits were affected, and part of this study will certainly be to investigate the extent and implications of the changes that come about in the 1600s. Evidence for the exact character of the waits’ music may be difficult to find, but it is also reasonable to think that certain inferences can be made from the musical developments taking place in the later 1600s. How far this changed the waits, and how far they were a musically conservative institution, will form a key question for this study.