Petition to the Lord Admiral by the Watermen

Dulwich College: MS I, box C

f [1]

To the right honnorable my Lorde Haywarde Lorde highe Admirall of Englande and one of her maiesties moste honnorable previe Counsayle/

In moste hvmble manner Complayneth and sheweth vnto your good Lordeshipp, your poore suppliantes and dayly Oratours Phillipp Henslo, and others the poore watermen on the bancke side/ whereas your good Lordship hathe derected your warrant vnto hir maiesties Iustices, for the restraynte of a playe howse beinge belonginge vnto the saide Phillipp Henslo <.> one of the groomes of her maiesties Chamber So it is if it please your good Lordshipp, that wee your saide poore watermen have had muche helpe and reliefe for vs oure poore wives and Childeren by meanes of the resorte of suche people as come vnto the said playe howse, It maye therefore please your good Lordship for godes sake and in the waye of Charetie to respecte vs your poore water<.> men, and to give leave vnto the said Phillipp Henslo to have playinge in his saide howse duringe suche tyme as others have according as it hathe byne accustomed/ And in your honnors so doinge yow shall not onely doe a good and a Charitable dede but also bynde vs all according to oure dewties, with oure poore wives and Children dayly to praye for your honnor in mvche happynes longe to lyve

(signed) Isack Towell
Edward X Robartes mark on of her Maiesties wattermen
(signed) Thomes cox
Thomas X Edmanson marke
Edwarde X Adysson on of her Maiesties wattermen
W T Ieames X Grainger
Christoffer X topen marke
(signed) William dorret master of her Maiestes barge
Gyllam X Rockett marke on of her Maiesties wattermen
(signed) wylliam hodges quens man
Thomas X Farmonger on of her Maiesties wattermen
william X Tuchenner on of her Maiesties mean
(signed) Iames Russell
(signed) Henry droaper
(signed) Fardinando Blacke
(signed) Parker Playne
  • Footnotes
    • To: in display script
    • suche: uc partially obscured by smudge or ink blot
    • on: n corrected over f (?)
    • Isack … Playne: signatures placed randomly in the MS
  • Modernized Text

    f [1]

    To the right honourable my Lord Howard, lord high admiral of England, and one of her majesty’s most honourable privy council. In most humble manner complains and shows unto your good lordship, your poor supplicants and daily orators, Philip Henslowe and others, the poor watermen on the Bankside. Whereas your good lordship has directed your warrant unto her majesty’s justices for the restraint of a playhouse being belonging unto the said Philip Henslowe, <.> one of the grooms of her majesty’s Chamber, so it is if it please your good lordship that we your said poor waterman have had much help and relief for us, our poor wives, and children, by means of the resort of such people as come unto the said playhouse. It may therefore please your good lordship, for God’s sake and the way of charity, to respect us, your poor waterman, and to give leave unto the said Philip Henslowe to have playing in his said house during such time as others have, according as it has been accustomed. And in your honour's so doing you shall not only do a good and a charitable deed but also bind us all according to our duties, with our poor wives and children daily to pray for your honour in much happiness long to live

    (signed) Isaac Towell
    Edward X Robartes’ mark, one of her majesty’s watermen
    (signed) Thomas Cox
    Thomas X Edmanson’s mark
    Edward X Adysson, one of her majesty’s watermen
    W T James X Grainger
    Christopher X Topen’s mark
    (signed) William Dorret, master of her majesty’s barge
    Gilbert X Rockett’s mark, one of her majesty’s watermen
    (signed) William Hodges, queen’s man
    Thomas X Farmonger, one of her majesty’s watermen
    William X Tuchenner, one of her majesty’s men
    (signed) James Russell
    (signed) Henry Droaper
    (signed) Ferdinando Blacke
    (signed) Parker Playne

  • Endnote

    For an image of the original MS, see the Henslowe-Alleyn Digitisation Project, MS 1, article17.

    Alan Nelson has identified sixteen of these watermen in Southwark parish records and the seventeenth in court of Exchequer documents. William 'Tuchenner,' or Tutchener, was buried in the parish church of St Saviour's, Southwark, on 6 January 1590/1, while James Grainger was buried at the end of the same year on 6 December 1591. The exact reason for the temporary restraint of playing, which seems to have been specific to the Rose, remains unclear. The letter to the Surrey JPs has not survived.

    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: Petition to the Lord Admiral by the Watermen
    Repository: Dulwich College
    Shelfmark: MS I, box C
    Repository location: Dulwich

    This petition by the watermen to their patron and representative on the privy council, Charles Howard, lord admiral, is likely connected to the undated petition by Strange's Men, also in Dulwich College. For many years, scholars considered these two petitions, together with an undated privy council warrant allowing Strange's Men to resume performances at the Rose, to have been associated with the restraint of performances during the plague months of 1592 or 1593. However, in an as yet unpublished paper, 'Philip Henslowe and the Bankside Watermen: A Fresh Look at Three Familiar Documents,' Alan H. Nelson has studied the seventeen signatures on the watermen's petition, discovering from his local parish register research that two of those signing were dead by 1591; see further 'History of the Playhouse.' Given the earliest of the two death dates, in January 1590/1, the previous summer of 1590 becomes a more plausible date.

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

    c 1590; English; paper; bifolium; 305mm x 200mm; no original foliation; written on f [1] only, dirty, badly deteriorated and repaired; originally folded 3 times, no endorsement. Article 17 in Warner's Catalogue; foliated 25–6 in later pencil, formerly bound in MS I but now mounted separately on acid-free paper within modern board covers with other documents of the same size in fascicule 2, box C.

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