Warrant from the Lord Admiral

Dulwich College: MS I, box C

single sheet (12 January)

Wheareas my Servant Edward Allen. in respect of the dangerous decaye of that Howse which he and his Companye haue nowe, on the Banck, And for that the same standeth verie noisome for resorte of people in the wynter tyme) Hath thearfore nowe of late, taken a plott of grounde neere Redcrosse streete London (verie fitt and convenient) for the buildinge, of a new house theare, and hath prouided Tymber and other necessaries for theffectinge theareof. to his greate chardge: fforasmuche as the place. standethe verie convenient, for the ease of. People, And that her Maiestie (in respect of the acceptable Service, which my saide Servant and his Companie. haue doen and presented before her Highenes to her greate lykeinge and Contentment; aswell this last Christmas as att sondrie other tymes) ys gratiouslie moued towardes them. with a speciall regarde of fauor in their proceedinges: Theis shalbe thearefore to praie and requier yow .and. everie of yow. To permitt and suffer my saide Servant to proceede in theffectinge and finishinge of the saide Newhowse, without anie your lett or molestacion. towardes him or any of his woorkmen. And soe not doubtinge of your observacion in this behalf. I bidd yow right hartelie farewell. att the Courte. at Richmond, the xijth of Ianuarye. 1599.

(signed) Notingham

  • Footnotes
    • Howse: the Rose
    • his Companye: the Admiral's Men
    • And for … tyme): opening parenthesis missing, or closing parenthesis for deletion
    • 1599: underlined
  • Modernized Text

    single sheet (12 January)

    Whereas my servant, Edward Alleyn (in respect of the dangerous decay of that house which he and his company have now on the bank, and for that the same stands very noisome for resort of people in the winter time), has therefore now of late taken a plot of ground near Red Cross Street, London, (very fit and convenient) for the building of a house there and has provided timber and other necessaries for the effecting thereof, to his great charge. Forasmuch as the place stands very convenient for the ease of people, and that her majesty (in respect of the acceptable service which my said servant and his company have done and presented before her highness, to her great liking and contentment, as well this last Christmas as at sundry other times) is graciously moved towards them with a special regard of favour in their proceedings, this shall be therefore to pray and require you and every of you to permit and suffer my said servant to proceed in the effecting and finishing of the said new house, without any your let or molestation towards him or any of his workmen. And so not doubting of your observation in this behalf, I bid you right heartily farewell. At the court at Richmond, the 12th of January 1599.


    (signed) Nottingham

  • Endnote

    For an image of the original manuscript, see the Henslowe-Alleyn Digitisation Project, MS 1, article 27. For the contract to build the Fortune, see DC: Mun 22 and the Henslowe-Alleyn Digitisation Project Mun 1, group 22. A letter of objection was sent to the privy council by Lord Willoughby and other residents in the neighbourhood on 9 March 1599/1600 (TNA: PC 2/25, p 78) but a subsequent letter on 8 April to the Middlesex JPs confirms the support of the privy council for the new venture (DC: MS I, Article 29). For recent discussion and partial transcriptions of these documents see also Wickham et al, English Professional Theatre, pp 534–9.

    For an abstract of the document and details of its transcription history, see the related EMLoT event record.

  • Event Entity Pages
  • Document Description

    Record title: Warrant from the Lord Admiral
    Repository: Dulwich College
    Shelfmark: MS I, box C
    Repository location: Dulwich

    Charles Howard, the earl of Nottingham and lord admiral, was patron of the acting company whose star had been Edward Alleyn, son-in-law of Philip Henslowe. Here he writes in support of the new playhouse that Alleyn, with Henslowe's financial assistance, was proposing to build across the Thames just outside the London wall to the north of the city in the liberty of Finsbury. The site between Golding Lane on the west and Whitecross Street on the east has been identified although not yet excavated; see further Julian Bowsher, Shakespeare's London Theatreland: Archaeology, History and Drama (London, 2012), 97–101.

    Just how 'decayed' the present base of the Admiral's Men at the Rose was is debatable but Alleyn had acquired property for the building site of the Fortune in 1599 and may have been planning the new venture for several years even as he and Henslowe had set their sights on a joint appointment to the mastership of the Royal Game of Bears, Bulls and Mastiff Dogs, at the Bear Garden across the alley from the Rose; see further 'Philip Henslowe, Theatrical Entrepreneur and Man of Property.'

    12 January 1599/1600; English; paper; single sheet; 310mm x 205mm; unnumbered; endorsement written in bottom left panel after sheet folded once vertically and thrice horizontally: 'To all & euery her maiesties Iustices & other Ministers. and Officers. within the Countye of Middlesex. & to euery of them. And to all others whome it shall Concerne.' Article 27 in Warner's Catalogue; foliated 40–40v in later pencil, formerly bound in MS I but now mounted separately on acid-free paper with other documents of similar size in fascicule 2, box C.

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