British Night Watch

The British Night Watch commemorates the British Period of the city of St. Augustine. This period lasted from 1763 to 1783.  The most popular part of the British Night Watch event is the Grande Illumination~British Night Watch Parade. In the old days, the city of St. Augustine was secured every night by guards marching by lantern light to lock the gates.  On special occasions or holidays, the night watch was made into a festive event. The population of St. Augustine would participate and carry a candle or lantern in the parade. The parade would end with volleys of muskets, singing, and merriment. Now this tradition is brought back to the city.

The Night of Lights is also taking place in St. Augustine. Millions of white light illuminate the Downtown area creating a special holiday atmosphere. St Augustine Christmas parade is also taking place this weekend, it will start promptly at 10 a.m. by the Mission of Nombre de Dios; continue through the downtown streets of historic St. Augustine and end behind the Visitors Center on Castillo Dr.

British Night WatchFriday, December 2, 2011

4:00 PM Opening Ceremony – The British Night Watch Opening Ceremony will showcase the zeal and loyalty of the Garrison in 1776 St. Augustine, when upon receiving news of the Declaration of Independence, townsfolk gathered to declare their featly to George III and to protest by hoisting effigies of John Hancock and Sam Adams, which were then paraded in the Plaza.  Join our assembly in the Plaza to hear the news of the rebellious countrymen in northern colonies.  Redcoats will be on alert to quell any dissention from the crowd. Join  us under the Balcony at Government House by the Plaza to experience a colonial mob firsthand!

Saturday, December 3,  2011

9:00 – British Encampment opens to the public.Venue: Various locations in Francis Field, west of the Parking GarageALL DAY: The Market Square Comes to Life!Venue: Francis Field, west of the Parking GarageDescription: The Market Square will interpret a busy Market Day in Colonial St. Augustine, with professional entertainers such as Signora Bella, whose shows captivate audiences throughout the country;  numerous authentic Sutlers working to help the soldiers spend their pay; various musicians performing on 18th Century instruments;  The Recruiting Sergeant; And numerous Historians and Performers mingling with the visitors both as historical personas, and interpreters to answer questions.

british night watch st augustine

7:00 PM – Fife & Drum Corps Appetizer Concert at  St. George St. at Government House, by the Plaza

7:00 P.M. Candles for a donation at the Lawn of the Basilica Cathedral
Participants will have candles for modest sale for those that desire to carry a light in the Parade

7:30 P.M. – Head to the Plaza to get a good viewing place for the British Night Watch Parade

8:00 P.M. – 9:00 P.M. The Grande Illumination~British Night Watch Parade
After the parade- Caroling in the Plaza


Sunday, December 4, 2011

9:00 AM-18th Century Anglican stack the Drum Church Service at the British Encampment, Spanish Quarter Museum
An actual Church Service, performed by an Anglican Priest. Following historic sermons and prayer books, be prepared to experience religion in the late 18th century.

The Grande Illumination – British Night Watch Parade will begin at the Plaza, in front of Government House, at 8:00 PM. The Parade will leave St. George Street in front of Government House, heading south across King St. to march down St. George to turn left on Cadiz St. to march down to tune left on Aviles St. Then down Aviles St. back to King, around the Plaza to Cathedral, then right onto St. George Street. Marching down to left on Hypolita St., right onto Spanish St. down to Orange, where we turn right & march to the City Gates, were we march through and back down St. George Street back to Government House
View British Nightwatch Parade InfoPublic in a larger map

The BEST place to be for the parade if you are a spectator is in the Plaza, and plan to be in place around 7:30 PM to get a good spot. Once the parade gets started you may follow behind if you wish. The Tradition is to carry a candle or lantern as part of the parade. Candles will be available for a small donation.