Privy Council Letter to the Lord Mayor and JPs of Middlesex and Surrey

TNA: PC 2/18

p 440 (25 July) (Greenwich)

A Lettre to the Lord maior of the Cyttie of London, and the Iustices of midlesex and Surrey. Whereas heretofore there hathe ben order taken to restraine the playinge of Enterludes and playes on the Sabothe daie, Notwithstandinge the which (as wee are enformed), the same ys neglected to the prophanacion of this daie, and all other daies of the weeke in divers places the players doe vse to Recyte theire plaies to the great hurt and destruction of the game of Beare Baytinge and lyke pastymes which are maynteyned for her maiestes pleasure yf occacion require: These shalbe therefore to Requiere yow not onlie to take order hereafter that there maie no plaies Interludes or Commodyes be vsed or publicklie made and shewed either on the Sondaie or on the Thursdaies, because on the Thursdayes those other games vsuallie haue ben allwayes accustomed and practized. Whereof see yow faile not hereafter to see this our order dulie observed for the avoydinge of the Inconveniences aforesaid./

  • Footnotes
    • A: in display script
    • midlesex: 3 minims for mi
  • Modernized Text

    p 440 (25 July) (Greenwich)


    A letter to the lord mayor of the city of London, and the justices of Middlesex and Surrey. Whereas heretofore there has been order taken to restrain the playing of interludes and plays on the sabbath day, notwithstanding the which (as we are informed), the same is neglected, to the profanation of this day, and all other days of the week, the players do use to recite their plays to the great hurt and destruction of the game of bearbaiting and like pastimes which are maintained for her majesty’s pleasure, if occasion require, this shall be therefore to require you not only to take order hereafter that there may no plays, interludes, or comedies be used or publicly made and shown either on the Sunday or in the Thursdays, because on the Thursdays those other games usually have always been accustomed and practiced, whereof see you fail not hereafter to see this our order duly observed for the avoiding of the inconvenience aforesaid.

  • Endnote

    Although authorities in London and Middlesex were also addressed here, this letter provides evidence that the proximity – and competition – offered to the long-standing Bear Garden in Southwark by Henslowe's Rose and the Lord Strange's Men, likely resident there by this time, was of growing concern.

    The privy councillors listed as present at the meeting (p 436) were John Whitgift (c 1530–1604), archbishop of Canterbury, 1583–1603/4; Sir Christopher Hatton (c 1540–91), lord chancellor, 1587–91; Sir William Cecil (c 1520–98), lord treasurer, 1572–98; Thomas Sackville (c 1536–1608), first Baron Buckhurst; Sir Francis Knollys (c 1512–96), treasurer of the Household, 1570–96; Sir Thomas Heneage (1532–95), vice-chamberlain of the Household, 1587–95; Mr John Wolley (d. 1596); and Sir John Fortescue (1533–1607).

    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: Privy Council Letter to the Lord Mayor and JPs of Middlesex and Surrey
    Repository: TNA
    Shelfmark: PC 2/18
    Repository location: Kew

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

    20 December 1590–30 September 1591; English; paper; ii + 314 + ii; 350mm x 240mm; ink pagination 1–558 (some numbers covered by repairs), followed by unpaginated index in a different hand (35 leaves); some leaves repaired along outside edge; bound in maroon leather over boards, tooled, gold-stamped title on spine: 'ELIZABETH. | VOL. IX. | COUNCIL | REGISTER. | 20. DEC. 1590. | TO | 30. SEP. 1591.'

  • Manuscript Images

    The National Archives (UK), ref. PC 2/18

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