Rose Playhouse Collection

Philip Henslowe, Theatrical Entrepreneur and Man of Property

Philip Henslowe, who purchased the lease of the Little Rose property from Robert Withens in 1584/5, was one of the more remarkable individuals active in the entertainment business during the Elizabethan and early Jacobean era. Despite his innovative role in developing not only the Rose, but also the later Fortune playhouse in Finsbury north of the river and the Hope on Bankside, his reputation suffered many slights and misrepresentations from Victorian and twentieth-century commentators. A recent and influential example refers to him as ‘an unscrupulous mismanager’; a much older one depicts him as ‘an illiterate moneyed man … who regarded art as a subject for exploitation.' Fortunately it is no longer necessary to rehabilitate Henslowe's character and substantial contribution to the business of playing in early modern London. R.A. Foakes, in the most recent edition of Henslowe's Diary, shed a clarifying light on Henslowe's character as revealed in that most famous record of his numerous and varied activities. Susan Cerasano has continued the process of redemption, issuing a number of important essays on various aspects of his career.

What has been best known about Henslowe is thanks to the remarkable survival of the commonly termed 'diary' – really a memorandum book in which he made rough jottings about the theatre business (mainly 1591/2–1604), including playhouse repairs, income from play performances, loans to actors and playwrights; his pawn business (1593–6); and other miscellaneous entries relating, for example, to property purchases in Sussex, home remedies, and aphorisms. But Henslowe’s name surfaces in many other kinds of documents from the period – personal letters, property leases, court cases, contracts, royal appointments, even parish vestry minute books – because he became notably active in parish affairs at the church of St Saviour, now Southwark Cathedral, by 1608.

The treasure trove of personal papers belonging to Edward Alleyn, actor and founder of Dulwich College, includes important documents relating to Henslowe, his father-in-law, that remain preserved in the college archives. Many of these have been professionally photographed and made available through Grace Ioppolo's open access Henslowe-Alleyn Digitisation Project website, to which this collection is much indebted and linked wherever relevant. The evolution of Henslowe as an entrepreneur – really the dominant entrepreneur – in the development of substantial landholdings along the south bank of the Thames can therefore be traced through the archives at Dulwich College and The National Archives in Kew. There, many court records of the Chancery and Exchequer reveal more about his lucrative Bankside estates, which became the focus of lengthy acrimonious disputes following his death in 1616.

Philip Henslowe came from a prosperous gentry family with some social status in the county of Sussex. He was the fourth of seven children born to Edmond Henslowe (or Hensley) and Margaret Ridge, who resided near Lindfield, Sussex. His father held a royal appointment as master of the Game in neighbouring Ashdown Forest and Broil Park, so from the start, Philip had solid local foundations and a family court connection to build upon. Henslowe's exact birth date has not yet been confirmed but has been tentatively placed c 1555. He seems likely to have moved to the London area in the 1570s, where he surfaces as an apprentice to Harry Woodward, a member of the Dyers' Company. It is possible that this was the Henry Woodward recorded in 1572 as resident of the Clink in the St Saviour's Token Books but where Henslowe lived in the 1570s remains unconfirmed. Certainly Harry Woodward's burial was entered in St Saviour's parish register on 8 December 1578, and not long after, his widow 'Annys Woodward' married Henslowe on 14 February 1578/9. Agnes' two daughters, Joan and Elizabeth, thereby became Henslowe's step-daughters but the couple did not have any children of their own. Joan's eventual marriage to Edward Alleyn, the star of the Admiral's Men, in 1592, would bring a deep and lasting personal and professional relationship for both men that would impact the Elizabethan theatre industry profoundly.

Although Henslowe retained his identity as a member of the Dyers’ Company, his business interests ranged much more widely than the textile industry. Records are scanty for his activities until he commenced his acquisition of property on Bankside with the purchase of the lease for the Little Rose in 1584/5. From that purchase onward, Henslowe's strategic path to success in business, property development, and court appointments, as well as his rising social status in the parish of St Saviour's Southwark, is fascinating to trace.

The purchase of the Little Rose lease was surely not a random choice. As the map of Southwark shows at a glance, the Little Rose property, adjacent on its west side to the Great Rose, was also only a few steps from the Bear Garden flourishing then at the Bell and Cock site, a little further west of the Great Rose. Documentary evidence from the mid-sixteenth century confirms that bear- and bullbaiting were likely the earliest form of popular entertainment on Bankside, apart from the notorious brothels that had lined the south bank of the river since at least the fourteenth century. In fact, a seventy-seven-year-old witness named John Taylor in a 1620 court case recalled that there had been four bearbaiting arenas at various locations in Southwark over the course of decades.

Some may have railed against bearbaitings at the time but, in the early 1580s it was the main game on the south bank and likely a lucrative one too. Much of the audience may have come across the river by ferry or on foot but there was also a long string of inns along the high street of Southwark leading to London Bridge, including the famous Tabard where Chaucer’s pilgrims gathered before their trek to Canterbury. When Henslowe arrived, the area was therefore already established for rough sports with audience appeal, but there was no playhouse yet. The only playhouse south of the river was much further south, at Newington Butts, by then no longer under the management of the actor Jerome Savage, and less conveniently located. The Theatre and the Curtain were the only other playhouses open at this time but they were across the river, north of the city walls. Did Henslowe, a man with enterpreneurial instincts and considerable ambition, see an opportunity to expand the entertainment options on Bankside by building the first Southwark playhouse on the Little Rose site? The evidence suggests that he did.

When Henslowe purchased the lease of the Little Rose, there no longer seems doubt that he had money of his own to invest, but his marriage to Harry Woodward's widow must have consolidated his financial position further. Judging by the terms of the lease, there were already houses and shops on the property, so he could count on steady income from rentals for at least twenty more years, when the lease had to be renewed. But he may have had more on his mind than rental income.

Within a short space of time, he must have hired the carpenter, John Griggs, to begin building a playhouse: by January 1586/7, less than two years after the lease was signed, the deed of partnership with John Cholmley mentions the 'playe howse now in framinge.' The partnership deed itself secured the details of Cholmley's involvement in running concessions for the Rose while also avoiding conflict over the location of the playhouse near the small house at the Little Rose, for which he probably held an ongoing sub-lease. It is evident, however, that it was Henslowe's initial investment that launched the development of the Rose.

The exact opening date of the Rose is not recorded but it is generally agreed to have been in operation by October 1587, when some of the local residents had apparently complained of the new arrival on the Bankside scene. A letter from the privy council to the Surrey justices of the peace on 29 October 1587 outlines the protest as follows:

thinhabitaunts of Southwa<..> had complained vnto their Lordshipes declaring that thorder by their Lordshipes sett downe for the restrayning of plaies and enterludes within that Countie on the Saboath daies is not obserued, and especiallie within the libertie of the Clincke and in the parish of St Sauours in Southwarke.

There can be no doubt that the plays were performed at the Rose, the only playhouse located in the Clink at that time. In fact, more than a decade would elapse before the Globe opened there on the south side of Maid Lane.

With the opening of the Rose in 1587, Henslowe launched his role as a playhouse landlord in earnest. Sometime between 1587 and 1590 he may have attracted an acting troupe of notable talent to make the Rose their preferred base of operations. This company, possibly Lord Strange’s Men, did not aim to pursue the provincial touring habits of their predecessors. Presumably they recognized the potential of the burgeoning entertainment market of London, even as Henslowe did, so finding a stable base for performance at the Rose would have been appealing.

Sometime during this same period Henslowe began expanding his network in various directions. By c 1590, he had gained his first appointment at court. The watermen's petition to the lord admiral is the first surviving record to refer to Henslowe as 'one of the groomes of her maiesties Chamber.' this time he also met and established an increasingly close relationship with Edward Alleyn, the leading actor of the Admiral's Men.

Alleyn was born on 1 September 1566 in the parish of St Botolph without Bishopgate, the second of five sons born to a London innkeeper, Edward Alleyn (d. 1570) and Margaret Towneley. Young Edward chose a different and more ambitious path than his father but retained an interest in the family's properties in Bishopsgate and, as his career and property acquisitions expanded, an even wider area north of the City wall. Edward Alleyn would make his name first in the early 1580s as an actor in the provinces with Worcester's Men before moving to join his brother John in the Lord Admiral's Men by 1589, possibly even earlier. The Admiral's Men were featured at Court at Christmas 1588 and 1589, with subsequent appearances at Shrovetide both years; it is generally accepted that Alleyn had become a star performer by this time, his reputation established by his leading role in Marlowe's Tamburlaine the Great.

The precise date when Alleyn left the Admiral's Men to combine forces with Strange's Men has not been established but sometime in the 1590–1 period is very plausible. The touring licence during the plague year issued to Strange's Men by the privy council on 6 May 1593 includes Alleyn, still named as 'seruaunt to the right honorable the Lord highe Admiral,' but it also refers to the troupe as 'al one companie seruantes to our verie good the Lord the Lord [sic] Strainge.' Apparently Alleyn retained his individual affiliation with his influential patron, the lord admiral, but at some point moved to join Strange's Men at the Rose. In October 1592 he married Henslowe's step-daughter, Joan, so the personal bonds were strong from at least that year forward, if not before.

An intriguing confusion in court records of payment for performances during the 1590/1 Christmas and Shrovetide seasons may be evidence of an even earlier association of Alleyn with Henslowe and Strange's Men. The treasurer of the Chamber accounts record payment on 7 March 1590/1 to the actor George Attwell, on behalf of Strange's Men, for two performances by his company on 27 December 1590 and 16 February 1590/1. Yet puzzlingly, the privy council, on a separate occasion on 5 March 1590/1, authorized warrants for payment instead to the Lord Admiral's Men for the performances on those same dates. Which record is correct? In his article 'The Chimera of Amalgamation,' Andrew Gurr has suggested that this was not an instance of a fleeting amalgamation of the two companies. Rather, because Charles Howard, the lord admiral, was present at the 5 March privy council meeting, the official record made at the time acknowledged Alleyn's primary affiliation, in deference, though he was performing on both occasions with Strange's Men. In any case, Alleyn was to become Henslowe's key professional partner in several entertainment ventures and they were to prosper together for many years on Bankside and beyond.

The history of the Rose playhouse itself will be outlined in the next section of this introduction. Following his older brother John's death in 1591, Henslowe inherited the memorandum book in which John had earlier recorded some of his Sussex mining accounts (1576–81). By 19 February 1591/2 he had begun to add notes of his own, so a more detailed picture of theatrical performances and further renovations of the playhouse emerges, thanks to its survival – unique for the era. But Henslowe did not rest with managing this innovative venture. Rather, with Alleyn as partner, he moved ahead with what looks like a strategic plan to acquire more lands on Bankside as well as the monopoly on the lucrative bearbaiting enterprise. In December 1594 Edward Alleyn bought the lease of the Bear Garden properties at the Bell and Cock from Thomas Burnaby – that purchase included an arena, bear house, bull house, cottage, stable, and hayloft. He also was licensed as a deputy by Ralph Bowes, then the court-appointed master of the Bears, Bulls, and Mastiff Dogs, to hold games on the site, with obvious profits to be made from paying customers. Half the interest in this bearbaiting enterprise and property he then shared with Henslowe. In 1596 Henslowe added to his growing land holdings by acquiring the sub-lease, ultimately from the Crown, for substantially more of Bankside – the Unicorn, the Great Rose, and the Queen’s Pike Garden.

With the consolidation of property along Bankside, Henslowe and Alleyn began developing a joint venture for acquiring monopoly of the bearbaiting games there, including the court appointment as master of the Bears, Bulls, and Mastiff Dogs. The master had a number of privileges beyond the lustre of the court appointment. There was a reward each time a baiting was held at one of the royal palaces such as Whitehall – and the queen, nobility, and foreign visitors did delight in this type of entertainment. The master also had sole right to license the many touring bearwards on the provincial circuits, while also receiving a percentage of their profits. And then there were the profits from the Bear Garden itself, as well as from the breeding and sale of mastiffs. There were expenses too, of course, but there is no doubt that Henslowe and Alleyn were aiming for the appointment soon after the acquisition of the Bear Garden lease at the Bell and Cock. Letters indicating that they held this ambition survive from 1598, the year when the master, Ralph Bowes, sickened and died. On 4 June, Henslowe wrote to Alleyn as follows:

'...mr Bowes liesse very sycke & every bodey thinckes he will not escape in so mvche that I feare I shall losse alle for docter seasser hath done nothinge for me & as for ower other matter betwext vs I haue bene with my lord admeralle a bowte yt & he promyssed me that he wold move the quene abowte yt & the next daye he Rides frome the corte to winser so that ther is nothinge ther to be hade but good wordes which trvbelles my mynd very mvche for my losse you knowe is very mvche to me I did move my ladey edmones in yt & she very onerabley vssed me for she weant presentley & moved the quene for me & mr darsey of the previ chamber crossed her & made yt knowne to her that the quene had geven yt all Readey in Reversyon to one mr dorington a pensenor & I haue talked with hime & he confesseth yt to be trew but as yet mr bowes lyveth & what paynes & travell I haue tacken in yt mr langworth shall mack yt knowne vnto you for I haue had his heallp in yt for so mvche as In hime lyesse for we haue moved other great parsonages for yt but as yeat I knowe not howe yt shall pleasse ‸⸢god⸣ we shall spead for I ame sure my lord admerall will do nothinge....'

Very disappointingly, as Henslowe had suspected, John Dorrington, the gentleman pensioner of Nottinghamshire referred to above, was indeed appointed master of the Bears, Bulls, and Mastiff Dogs in August following Bowes' death. The friendly assistance of their mutual friend, Arthur Langworth of The Brill, Ringmere, in Sussex, had been to no avail, nor had other lobbying efforts at court revealed in the letter.

The mention in the letter of 'ower other matter betwext vs' is intriguing. By 1598 Alleyn had taken his leave of the stage and would not return until the opening of a new playhouse in 1600 to be occupied by the Lord Admiral's Men – the Fortune, located on Whitecross Street in the parish of St Giles without Cripplegate, just north of the city walls. Both Victor Landro and Susan Cerasano have persuasively argued that this move was at the planning stage for the two partners during Alleyn's brief retirement and predated Alleyn's acquisition of the lease for the site in December 1599. Furthermore, this alternative timeline challenges a traditional narrative that the Lord Admiral's Men were forced to abandon the Rose because of competition from the Globe after the Lord Chamberlain's Men moved from the Theatre north of the river to a new site south of Maid Lane on Bankside in 1599. Landro makes the telling point that the shifting demographic and a burgeoning new audience in the northern suburbs would not have escaped the notice of Henslowe and Alleyn, even as they expanded their business interests in the Bear Garden. Finding a suitable property, securing funding, and negotiating a lease would have taken considerable time and would not likely have been deferred until 1599 by two partners as strategic in their thinking as Henslowe and Alleyn. When the neighbours were roused to protest construction of the new playhouse to the privy council early in 1600, Alleyn was well-positioned to appeal for support to his powerful patron, the lord admiral, and the queen, an appreciative member of the audience at his court performances in times past. Subsequent organization of support for the playhouse at the community level, with the promise of generous tithes for the local poor, won the day. Alleyn took the lead in negotiations, but Henslowe supervised the construction process and assumed partnership of the Fortune in 1600, with 'a half-share of the playhouse and its profits for a term of twenty-four years at an annual rent of £8.' The Fortune opened with the Lord Admiral's Men in residence in the late autumn 1600. The last record in the diary to the company at the Rose was 13 July 1600.

Back on Bankside, the determined patience of the partners was rewarded in 1604 when Dorrington died. They moved quickly to purchase the patent for the mastership of the bears, bulls, and mastiff dogs from Sir William Stewart, a Scottish friend of James I who was first recipient of the royal appointment. £450 was the charge for the privilege, a hefty sum that Henslowe and Alleyn were nonetheless able to muster for this long-desired and prestigious position. Within two years they began renovations at the Bear Garden where a more substantial welcoming gatehouse named the Dancing Bears was built on the Bell and Cock site.

It is worth noting that Alleyn retired permanently from his acting career around the same time. By 1604 patronage of the Admiral's Men had been taken over by the heir to the throne, Prince Henry. As leader of the Prince's Men in King James' deferred coronation progress of 15 March 1603/4, Alleyn joined the glittering occasion to deliver a speech as Genius Urbis at the first pageant arch in Fenchurch Street, but it may have been one of his final appearances.

Henslowe's decision to abandon renewal of the lease on the Rose in 1605 may have been the result of several factors, not only the proposed increase in cost of the lease. Since 1600 there had not been any continuity in companies resident at the aging playhouse, while the Lord Admiral's Men were soon flourishing at the new Fortune. Furthermore, the serious recurrence of plague in 1603 led to lengthy closure of the London area playhouses. Henslowe's Bankside priority in this period may well have been renovation of the Bear Garden although he also continued his acquisition of other properties, picking up the lease of the Great Pike Garden further west along Bankside in 1609. All of his properties had houses and shops that brought regular income to the owner of the lease, so Henslowe was by no means dependent on the quirky and unpredictable fortunes of his first playhouse. Around the same time Alleyn was building his own substantial estate, soon acquiring the manor of Dulwich in the Surrey countryside where he eventually relocated. Perhaps for financial reasons, he therefore sold Henslowe his share in the Bear Garden in 1610/11, though he retained the share in the mastership and the Fortune playhouse operation.

An increase in status at court was not only confirmed by acquisition of the mastership of the Bears, Bulls, and Mastiff Dogs, but also by Henslowe's royal appointment in 1603 as a gentleman sewer of the Chamber. In 1606 he was named as a gentleman pensioner and granted a pension from the Crown. As a man of considerable property, he also assumed leadership roles in his home parish of St Saviour's Southwark. The opening of the relationship may not have been promising. The vestry minutes of St Saviour's in 1598 note anxiety about the playhouses located within their parish boundaries: by 1595 Francis Langley's Swan theatre had opened in the manor of Paris Garden, just west of Bankside. On 19 July the following order was recorded:

Inprimis it was ordered at this vestrye that a peticion shalbe made to the bodye of the Councell concerninge the playehouses in this paryshe wherein the enormyties shalbe shewed that comes therebye to the paryshe And that in respecte thereof they maye be dismissed & putt downe from playeinge....

There had been a previous order in May (renewed twice) that the churchwardens ask the playhouse owners to contribute tithes for the poor, but no evidence survives that they did so. However, as Paul White explains further in his forthcoming essay, 'Philip Henslowe and Edward Alleyn in Parish Politics and Service,' the social capital to be gained from actively participating in the lay leadership of his home parish was not lost on Henslowe. 'One needed to have lived in the parish for at least eight years to be a vestryman, but Henslowe’s name in the Token Books as a communicant in the Spring of 1588, and just about every year thereafter, indicates that he fulfilled that requirement by about 1596 and was a parishioner in good standing. He was certainly wealthy enough and sufficiently well-connected at court in the 1590s to have qualified for the vestry. Moreover, he was a commissioner of the lay subsidy in 1593, 1594, and 1597, a prestigious appointment and reserved usually for vestrymen.' On 8 July 1607 Henslowe was at last appointed to vestry and became a regular attender at the almost monthly meetings despite his many other responsibilities. The following year in 1608 he was chosen churchwarden, a term renewed in 1609. In the latter year he was also appointed as one of the governors of St Saviour's Grammar School. In 1614 and 1615 again he served as churchwarden, the second term ending prematurely with his death in January 1615/16. Alleyn too served the parish in various capacities during the same period: he was appointed to vestry in 1608, appointed one of the auditors of parish accounts in 1609 and held office as churchwarden twice, in 1610 and 1616.

Following the closure of the Rose in 1605 (if not before), the final phase of Henslowe's career needs only be covered briefly here. Although Alleyn would continue to develop diversified interests elsewhere, Henslowe's focus seems to have been more on Bankside where he lived. By c 1612 he began planning for another playhouse that would combine what had been separate enterprises at the now demolished Rose and the ongoing Bear Garden. In 1613, with another partner, the waterman Jacob Meade who had been working at the Bear Garden since the late '90s, he conceived of a multi-purpose entertainment centre with a removeable stage, that could mount weekly plays, animal baitings (at least bi-weekly), and other types of amusement such as ‘flytings,’ in which contestants hurled scurrilous verse at each other. Some helpfully detailed contracts for the demolition of the old Bear Garden arena and construction of the Hope have survived to show us that Henslowe had in mind a playhouse to rival in size and beauty, not the Globe, but rather the Swan, which seems to have ceased long since as a competitive operation. One of the royal acting troupes, the Lady Elizabeth’s Men, became the resident company in 1614, opening with Ben Jonson’s Bartholomew Fair in their first season. A well-known quotation from the induction of that play sheds some light on why the playing troupes moved to less odorous quarters before the end of this decade:

‘The play shall presently begin. And though the Fair be not kept in the same region that some here perhaps would have it, yet think that therein the author hath observed a speciall decorum, the place being as dirty as Smithfield, and as stinking euery whit.’

Bernard Beckerman first analyzed the gradual evolution of Henslowe's role in theatrical production as a forecast of the management profession developed in later centuries. His final assessment can be quoted:

Historically Henslowe represented the manager of the future at an early stage of development. Yet his ability to function as a manager or producer was blocked by the structure of the acting company. In fact, the two could not co-exist. Shared responsibility among working actors not only followed different procedures of decision-making but had no room for managerial guidance. The company needed financing but not control and, in fact, resisted control by a single individual ... .'

Beckerman suggested that four periods can be identified in the growth of Henslowe's role as a proto-theatre manager.

In the first phase at the Rose (up to 1596–7), Henslowe was acting primarily as a landlord, with less direct involvement in the company's operations. The second, 'late Rose-early Fortune,' period, ran from mid-1596 to early 1604, a time when playing companies were challenged by increasing efforts by the authorities in London and on the privy council to control the number of playhouses and their operation, while they also faced more competition and plague closures. Henslowe seems to have attempted greater involvement as banker with Lord Admiral's Men during this period, offering loans to the company during seasons of declining performance income at the Rose or at Court (for example, 1596–7, when they were not invited). Carson's review of evidence in the diary for these years notes an extension of involvement in company affairs: 'Beginning in the Spring-Summer season of 1598, Henslowe seems to have provided most of the money spent on playbooks, costumes, and properties by Admiral's Men.' For the first time, he is also on record posting bonds for two actors who had defected to join Pembroke's Men in 1597 at the rival Swan playhouse, as well as for two others seeking to join the Lord Admiral's Men at the Rose after the controversial performance of Jonson and Nashe's Isle of Dogs play in July 1597. If, as may be the case, Langley had initiated the idea of requiring actors to sign bonds with him before playing at the Swan, Henslowe was to follow his example in adopting this deeper involvement in the affairs of the Lord Admiral's Men. Entries in the diary show that he required the disaffected actors recruited from Pembroke's Men, as well as others, totalling ten altogether, to guarantee that they would play only at the Rose for stated terms ranging from one to three years. As this new approach was happening in 1597, Alleyn retired from the stage, leaving Henslowe to manage relations with the company more directly. However, despite their apparent dependency on periodic financial loans, the evidence suggests that he was unable to assert substantial control of the management of the Lord Admiral's Men, who repaid their debts whenever they could. 'It would appear that the landlord was satisfied to lend money to the players in order to keep them at his theatre, where he earned a more than satisfactory income from rent,' Carson observes. In other words, the gain was stability for the playhouse operation rather than control of the company's productions while in residence there.

The third period highlights Henslowe's management of the Bear Garden, in partnership with Alleyn until 1610. The fourth and final phase Beckerman termed the 'Hope period,' beginning in 1611 when the new company of Lady Elizabeth's Men first signed articles of agreement with Henslowe. Almost two decades after the opening of the Rose, Henslowe's management style had evolved so that he was more forceful in his dealings with Lady Elizabeth's Men. When he and Jacob Meade launched work on the Hope playhouse on Bankside in 1613, they were making plans for Lady Elizabeth's Men to be resident. Articles of Agreement drawn up with the actor Nathan Field representing the company around the same time illustrate Henslowe's increasing responsibilities for providing the playhouse, costumes and props, influencing membership, arbitrating in cases of dispute and, ultimately, choice of plays commissioned. Articles of Grievance and Oppression drawn up by the company by 1615 survive in the Henslowe-Alleyn archive to illustrate that relations between Henslowe and the players may have become frayed as a result.

When Henslowe died on 6 January 1615/16, he was a man of wealth and property, drawing income from numerous rentals, various court appointments, and successful business ventures that centred on entertainment, primarily on Bankside. He appears to have kept his investments and partnerships under effective control during his lifetime; after his death, however, the rights to his estate became subject to bitter conflict and interminable court cases. Was Henslowe really worth the £10,000 to £12,000 that his avaricious nephew claimed and clearly wanted a slice of? Poor Agnes, who inherited the bulk of the estate, was described in a dispute over the will, as ‘aged almost 100 yeares and grown Childishe and very simple.’ Edward Alleyn was accused of ‘most cunninglie’ insinuating himself into the process of drawing up a version of the will during Henslowe’s final hours. For quite a few years a formerly functional family and partnership fell into disarray, but it is worth noting that Alleyn, also a man of influence and strategy, was well-placed as son-in-law to Agnes Henslowe to inherit much of the estate left to her by her husband.

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  • Footnotes
    • Gurr, comparing Henslowe to Christopher Beeston, Shakespearean Stage, p 58, and Frederick Gard Fleay, A Chronicle History of the London Stage, 1559–1642 (London, 1890), 117.
    • Foakes and Rickert collaborated on the first edition of Henslowe’s Diary (1961). Foakes published a second edition of the Diary in 2002, still a widely available standard reference work and therefore not duplicated in this collection. The MS originally belonged to Philip Henslowe’s brother John, who used the leaves now at the end (ff 237v–137v) to record mining accounts (1577–8) for the Ashdown Forest area in Sussex near the Henslowe family residence. The MS was acquired by Philip some years later, likely after John’s death. See also Foakes, 'Domestical Matters.'
    • See the Select Bibliography for articles most relevant to this collection.
    • See Susan Cerasano, 'Henslowe's "Curious" Diary,' Medieval and Renaissance Drama in England 17 (2005), 72–85, where she makes a persuasive argument in favour of 'taking instead a more "holistic" approach to Henslowe's book, examining it as an artifact made up of all its many parts, that stands within a well-established tradition of memorandum books or, perhaps more properly, manuscript notebooks of its time' (p 73). See also Carson, Companion, pp 1–13.
    • See further the section on the developments in Henslowe's status.
    • A succinct account of Henslowe's life has been provided by Susan Cerasano for the ODNB; see 'Henslowe, Phillip (c.1555–1616), theatre financier,' accessed 25 June 2023. Further details about his family, marriage, and birthdate appeared earlier in her Notes and Queries article, 'Revising Philip Henslowe's Biography,' 32.1 (1985), 66–72.
    • See further Susan Cerasano, 'Philip Henslowe and the Elizabethan Court,' Shakespeare Survey 60 (2007), 49–57, and 'The Patronage Network of Philip Henslowe and Edward Alleyn,' Medieval and Renaissance Drama in England 13 (2001), 82–92.
    • Dyers' Company records were lost in the Great Fire so details of the apprenticeship and the activities of Woodward himself cannot be traced; see the entry for the records of the Worshipful Company of Dyers (CLC/L/DC) in the LMA catalogue.
    • See The Token Books of St Saviour Southwark.
    • LMA: P92/SAV/3001.
    • See History of the Rose Property.
    • See further Carlin, 'Urban Development,' vol 2, pp 478–509.
    • Court of Exchequer Case: Attorney General v. William Henslowe and Jacob Meade, TNA: E134/18Jas1/Mich10, Item 5. A full transcription of this case is forthcoming in the Bear Gardens/Hope digital edition in the REED series, Stephanie Hovland and MacLean (eds).
    • Withens' Assignment of the Little Rose Lease to Henslowe, 1584/5.
    • For the deed of partnership see Deed of Partnership in the Rose between Henslowe and Cholmley, 1586/7. Mary Edmond, 'The Builder of the Rose Theatre,' Theatre Notebook 44.2 (1990), 50–4, provides further biographical information on John Griggs, Henslowe's builder and friend.
    • See Privy Council Letter to the JPs of Surrey, 1587.
    • See further Manley and MacLean, Lord Strange's Men, pp 37-63, for formation of the troupe and the apparent preference for London.
    • See Petition to the Lord Admiral by the Watermen, c 1590. For more detail on this and other court appointments throughout Henslowe's life, see Cerasano, 'Elizabethan Court,' p 50.
    • For Alleyn's family origins and early life, see Cerasano, 'Alleyn's Early Years,' 237–43; see also Cerasano's fuller biography of Alleyn, 'Alleyn, Edward (1566–1626), actor, theatre entrepreneur, and founder of Dulwich College,' ODNB, accessed 5 January 2023, and Piggott, Dulwich College, pp 1–55.
    • See Cerasano, 'Alleyn's Early Years,' pp 238–40.
    • For details on Worcester's Men and speculation about the date of Alleyn's move to the Lord Admiral's Men see Chambers, Elizabethan Stage, vol 2, pp 137–8; and Gurr, Shakespearian Playing Companies, pp 18, 232–4.
    • See further S.P. Cerasano, 'Edward Alleyn, the New Model Actor, and the Rise of the Celebrity in the 1590s,' MRDE 18 (2005), 47–58, Manley and MacLean, Lord Strange's Men, p 55.
    • TNA: PC 2/20, f 351. See Chambers, Elizabethan Stage, vol 2, p 123.
    • For a biography of Alleyn's multi-faceted life, see Jan Piggott, Dulwich College: A History, 1616–2008 (London, 2008), 1-55.
    • TNA: E 351/542, mb 155d; see David Cook (ed), Collections 6, Malone Society (Oxford, 1962 for 1961), 27.
    • See Great Britain, John Roche Dasent (ed), Acts of the Privy Council, vol 20: 1590–1591 (London, 1900), 328, for TNA: PC 2/18, f 154. See further discussion in Manley and MacLean, Lord Strange's Men, pp 46–57.
    • Theatre Research International 18.2 (1993), 85–93.
    • See Cerasano, 'Henslowe's Biography,' pp 67–8, and Foakes, Henslowe's Diary, pp xix-xxiv.
    • See Alleyn's Memorandum Book, DC: MS VIII, f 5v, where he notes the cost of the Bear Garden lease as £200: Foakes, Henslowe's Diary, p 301, and the Henslowe-Alleyn Digitisation Project, MS 8, f 5v. The licence cost a further £250. When Alleyn sold his stake to Henslowe in February 1610/11, he calculated his annual profit from the venture at £60 per annum for a total of £960. Quoted by Greg, Henslowe Papers, p 107.
    • Details are provided in Edward Alleyn's Answer to the Bill of Complaint in the Court of Exchequer Case: Bishop of Winchester v. Edward Alleyn and Jacob Meade, TNA: E 112/126 (no 185), mb 3 (18 May 1622). The records of the case will be published in the Bear Gardens/Hope edition in the REED series.
    • Details of these acquisitions can be found in the Court of Exchequer Case of Attorney General v. the Bishop of Winchester, William Henslowe and Jacob Meade, TNA: E 112/126 (no 165), forthcoming in the Bear Gardens/Hope edition in the REED series. Greg, Henslowe's Diary, vol 2, pp 24–32, describes Henslowe's acquisition of property from 1586 to 1612, piecing together details from the diary and other documents at Dulwich College.
    • See further Cerasano, 'Master of the Bears,' pp 195–209.
    • Dr Julius Caesar, judge of the Court of Admiralty and master in the Court of Requests
    • DC: MS II, single sheet. See the Henslowe-Alleyn Digitisation Project, MS 2, article 1. This record and others cited in the introduction are forthcoming in the Bear Gardens/Hope edition in the REED series.
    • TNA: C66/1485, mb 29, records the letters patent for Dorrington's appointment on 11 August 1598.
    • For details of the lease see Greg, Henslowe Papers, p 108, and Chambers, Elizabethan Stage, vol 2, pp 435–6. See also Susan Cerasano, 'Edward Alleyn's "Retirement," 1597–1600,' Medieval and Renaissance Drama in England 10 (1998), 98–112, and Vincent Landro, 'Henslowe's Relocation to the North: Playhouse Management in Renaissance London,' Theatre Survey 38.2 (1997), 37–8.
    • See Wickham et al, English Professional Theatre, 1530–1660, pp 493–95.
    • See Landro, ‘Henslowe’s Relocation,’ pp 37-8.
    • Documents relating to the construction of the Fortune that mention the Rose are included in this collection: Warrant from the Lord Admiral, 1599/1600; Warrant from the Privy Council, 1600; Privy Council Order regarding the Restriction of Playhouses, 1600. The letter of objection was sent to the privy council by Lord Willoughby and other residents in the Finsbury neighbourhood of the proposed new Fortune playhouse on 9 March 1599/1600 (TNA: PC 2/25, p 78). See Chambers, Elizabethan Stage, vol 4, pp 326–7, and Rutter, Documents of the Rose, pp 182–4 .
    • See further Landro, 'Henslowe's Relocation,' pp 31–47, especially 40. See also Wickham et al, English Professional Theatre, p 540, for details on the now lost partnership lease between Alleyn and Henslowe.
    • See Foakes, Henslowe's Diary, pp 120-1.
    • The royal patent for the appointment was recorded on 24 November 1604; see TNA: C66/1648, mbs 27–8. A partial draft of the patent survives in DC: MS II, see my transcript on the Henslowe-Alleyn Digitisation Project.
    • The building contract on 2 June 1606 with Peter Street survives as DC: MS II, single membrane; see Ioppolo, Henslowe-Alleyn Digitisation Project, MS II, article 007. The contract will be published in the Bear Gardens/Hope edition forthcoming in the REED series.
    • For the account of the master of the Great Wardrobe for issuing of scarlet cloth for the players see samples from TNA: LC 2/4/5, pp 77 and ff, and Alan H. Nelson's semi-diplomatic transcription, especially p 94, Shakespeare Documented. The Genius' appearance and speech are included in 'The Whole Royal and Magnificent Entertainment,' Martin Smuts (ed), in Thomas Middleton, The Collected Works, Gary Taylor et al (eds), vol 1 (Oxford, 2007), 269–72, ll 2407–2512
    • See Warner, Catalogue, vol 1, p 141, for MS V, f 44 (not reproduced on the Henslowe-Alleyn Digitisation Project website).
    • He noted his purchase of the manor of Dulwich from Sir Francis Calton in his memorandum book on 20 October 1605 for £5,000, with regular payments due over seven years; see Ioppolo, Henslowe-Alleyn Digitisation Project, MS VIII, f 8v. Alleyn also purchased the manors of Lewisham, Kent, in 1600 and Kennington, Surrey, in 1604; see Piggott, Dulwich College, p 29.
    • DC: MS VIII, f 5v.
    • Cerasano, 'The Geography of Henslowe’s Diary,' Shakespeare Quarterly 56.3 (2005), 338.
    • Cerasano, 'Elizabethan Court,' pp 51, 53.
    • See St Saviour's Vestry Minutes, 1598
    • See Ingram and Nelson, The Token Books of St Saviour Southwark and 'Southwark Subsidy assessments, 1558–1640' White's paper was written for the theatre history seminar, 'Players, Playwrights, Playhouses, Plays, and Parishes' at the SAA conference in Washington, DC (18 April 2019). Publication details are not yet available.
    • A normalized transcript of the relevant record of the grammar school is available at Ingram and Nelson, 'The Parish of St Saviour, Southwark: Governors of the Free School Account Book, 1571–1655,' p 39.
    • See Nelson's normalized transcription of the 'The Parish of St Saviour, Southwark: Vestry Minutes, 1582–1628' (LMA: P92/SAV/450), pp 414, 421, 454, 467.
    • See Nelson's normalized transcription, 'The Parish of St Saviour, Southwark: Vestry Minutes, 1582–1628' (LMA: P92/SAV/450), pp 414, 421, 426, 454, 467, 473. Piggott discusses Alleyn's involvement in parish affairs and his evident commitment to poor relief, Dulwich College (London, 2008), pp 27–9.
    • Transcriptions of DC: Mun 49 and 51 will be included in the Bear Gardens/Hope edition forthcoming in the REED series. DC: Mun 49 was transcribed by Greg, Henslowe Papers, pp 19–22. For images, see the Henslowe-Alleyn Digitisation Project Mun 1, groups 49, 50, and 51. See also the chapter on the Hope, with some transcriptions, Wickham et al, English Professional Theatre, pp 595–606.
    • Ben Jonson, 'Induction,' Bartholomew Fair, John Creaser (ed), The Cambridge Edition of the Works of Ben Jonson Online (Cambridge, 2014), ll 116–20.
    • Beckerman, 'Philip Henslowe,' The Theatrical Manager in England and America, Joseph W. Donahue, Jr (ed) (Princeton, NJ, 1971), 19–62.
    • Beckerman, 'Henslowe,' pp 59–60.
    • Beckerman, 'Henslowe,' p 28. Gurr, Shakespeare's Opposites, pp 82–3, seems to accept Beckerman's identification of the four phases, while noting that the diary does not always reveal which role, whether as landlord or banker, Henslowe was assuming when he made his account entries.
    • Companion, pp 24–30, especially 27.
    • See further 'History of the Playhouse.'
    • Beckerman, 'Henslowe,' pp 36–42, outlines the details of the loans to the company and the players' bonds established by Langley and Henslowe during these years. See also Foakes, Diary, pp 238–41, for the bonds for Richard Jones, Robert Shaa, William Bird (alias Borne), Thomas Downton, Thomas Hearne, John Helle, Richard Allen, Thomas Heywood, Charles Massy, and Samuel Rowley. See further, History of the Playhouse.
    • Companion, p 27. A more recent review of the evidence for Henslowe's evolving management style at the Rose has been done by Mao, 'Rose Playhouse,' pp 146–59.
    • The goal of 'stability' was recognized by Beckerman, 'Henslowe,' p 43.
    • See further Siobhan Keenan, Acting Companies and their Plays in Shakespeare's London (London, 2014), 33–52, for Lady Elizabeth's Men as a case study. The 1611 agreement has not survived but is referred to in a bond signed by actors of the company on 29 August 1611; see further Gurr, Shakespearian Playing Companies, pp 397–8, and Greg, Henslowe Papers, p 111, for the bond, DC: MS XVIII, Article 9, also citing DC: Mun 47 as '[a]lmost identical.'
    • DC: Mun 52. See Greg, Henslowe Papers, pp 23–5, and the Henslowe-Alleyn Digitisation Project, Mun 1, group 52. Beckerman, 'Henslowe,' p 60, detects subtle changes in the degree of control exerted: 'By gradually making actors and writers responsible to him rather than to the company, he took the first step toward genuine management.'
    • DC: MS I, single sheet. See Greg, Henslowe Papers, pp 86–9, and the Henslowe-Alleyn Digitisation Project, MS 1, article 106. See also Foakes, 'Domestical Matters,' p 103, for a brief assessment of why the players' articles of grievance should not be taken at face value, a view also shared by Carson, Companion, p 32.
    • These will be included in the forthcoming REED edition for the Bear Gardens/Hope records.
    • TNA: C 33/133 A (17 November 1616), ff 240v–1.
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