The "City Music"


Two hundred years have elapsed since Lewis Layfield, an English actor, was appointed as "major hautboy" of the City Music by the Corporation of Dublin, the salary of each of the ten members of the band at that time being £4 per annum and perquisites. The Dublin Corporation Band is much older than that, but is not specifically referred to as such till June, 1561, when, at the conclusion of the Mayoral banquet given by Thomas Fitzsimons, at which Lord Deputy Sussex was present, "the Mayor and his brethren, with the city music, attended the Lord Deputy and Council to Thomas's Court by torchlight."

A rule was made by the Corporation in 1569-70 that the musicians "shall serve in and throughout the city there several days or nights every week, as time of year shall require." Towards the end of Queen Elizabeth's reign every householder in the city had to pay four pence per annum for the upkeep of the band: and to every musician was granted twelve yards of blue cloth to make a livery. As years rolled on their privileges and their duties increased. They were supposed in King Charles's time to play through the city every night from October to February, and were also empowered to arrest "all strange musicians" found playing in public.

The Irish Times, March 8th, 1930.