Berkshire, Reading, 1629–30

Corporation Diaries

BRO: R/AC1/1/3

p 69 (30 November)


30: Novembris 1629: ac 5to Regni Regis Caroli Anglie &c

william Perrye and Richard weekes his Maiesties sworne servan<...> with licensed with the rest of their Company Iohn Kerke Edward Armiger/ hughe Tatterdell/ deauid ffeeris Robert Hint and George Williams/ all of the Red Bull company: by the master of the Revels. dated the Tenth of november: 1629:


p 71 (24 December)


24o die decembris 1629: at this Daye Ioseph Moore, Alexander fforster, Robert Guilman and Iohn Towensend sworne servantes to his Maiestie with the rest of their Company licensed from tyme to tyme to practise the quallitie of playeng came & tendred their licence to play in the towne hall: dated the 15th of december 1628/ annoque Regni Regis Caroli: 4o

xx s. was geven to forbeare their playeng at this tyme

  • Footnotes
    • 30: ... Anglie &c: '30 November 1629 also the fifth (year) of the reign of Charles, king of England, etc.'
    • servan<...>: Guilding,Reading Records, vol 2, p 493, servantes
  • Glossed Terms
  • Endnote

    The records of the players visiting Reading in 1629–30 are well known. They were first published in the 1890s by Guilding, then vicar of the parish of St Laurence, in Reading Records, vols 2 and 3. Guilding transcribed the records carefully. They were reproduced verbatim by Murray in English Dramatic Companies, vol 2. All but two references to players in Reading in Bentley's Jacobean and Caroline Stage, vols 1 and 2, are cited from Murray. Records where these players are associated with performances in Coventry, Norwich, York, Devon, and Lancashire can be found in Patrons and Performances ( by typing the name of the actor in the 'Search across the site' box under 'Troupes.' A bibliography containing further resources about all these players is Kathman's Biographical Index of English Drama ( This website also gives the years when these men 'flourished.' Records of these players in REED volumes that do not refer to patronized performances or related activities and so are not in Patrons and Performances and that are also not in Kathman are provided here.

    William Perry (d. 1648) is called by Bentley 'probably the most conspicuous of the provincial players' (Jacobean and Caroline Stage, vol 2, p 529). On 27 February 1615 Perry presented a license to play for an unnamed company to the city council of Norwich (Galloway, Norwich 1540–1642, p 143). In 1629 his name appears in the commission for a company called 'His Majesty's servants for the city of York.' The commission for that company was issued 18 September 1629 and note of it is preserved in TNA: SP 38/15:

    'A Commission vnto William Perrey, for the making vp, and keeping of a Company of Players during his Maiestes pleasure, to exercise & present all vsuall Stage playes by the name of his Maiestes servantes for the Citty of Yorke, with such Clauses, as haue ben considered and allowed of, by the lord Chamberlaine of his Maiestes houshould, to whome his Maiestie referred the Consideracion thereof. Subscr by order from the lord Chamberlaine procured by Mr Kirk.'

    Some time in the summer of 1635 he was paid £2 not to play in Bristol (Mark C. Pilkinton (ed), Bristol, REED (Toronto, Buffalo, and London, 1997), p 239). He is the only player named in the record and from the small amount he may have been alone. On 5 April 1636 he is named as a member of 'the Company of the fortune play howse' in a letter written by the mayor of Canterbury complaining about the behaviour of the players (James Gibson (ed), Kent: Diocese of Canterbury, vol 1, REED (Toronto, Buffalo, and London, 2002), p 294).

    Richard Weeks (Weekes, Wicks) (fl 1628–40) was associated with the Red Bull-King's Men from 1629 to 1636. In a record from Norwich he and John Shank presented their license from the master of the Revels to the city council on 6 June 1635. The council granted leave for them to play from 6 to 18 June (Galloway, Norwich 1540–1642, p 219). On 5 April 1636 with Perry, he is named as a member of the Red Bull Company in the letter of complaint written by the mayor of Canterbury (see above under Perry).

    John Kirke (Kerke, Kirk, Kyrke) (fl 1629–42?) was a playwright as well as an actor. His Seven Champions of Christendome survives and was edited by Giles Dawson in 1929 in Western Reserve University Bulletin, ns, 32.16. He is mentioned as a member of the company of the Fortune in London in 1633–4 in the diary of Thomas Crosfield of Queen's College Oxford (John R. Elliott et al (eds), Oxford, vol 1, REED (Toronto, Buffalo, and London, 2004), 514).

    Edward Armiger (c 1612–40?) appears here for the first time in any record. Along with other personal information about his sons, Edward and Henry, Bentley records that by 1634 he was a member of the Fortune Theatre (Jacobean and Caroline Stage, vol 2, p 350).

    Although Hughe Tatterdell (fl 1629), David Ferris (fl 1629), and Robert Hint (fl 1629) are noted by Bentley from Murray's use of Guilding's transcription, there is no other evidence so far published about them (Jacobean and Caroline Stage, vol 2, pp 590, 434, 473).

    George Williams (fl 1629–35) appears in a list of players in the Norwich Mayor's Court Book for 10 March 1634/5 (Galloway, Norwich 1540–1642, p 218).

    Bentley calls Joseph Moore (fl 1611–40) 'one of the most conspicuous of the leaders of the provincial troupes' (Jacobean and Caroline Stage, vol 2, p 512). Alexander Foster (fl 1611–30) was a leading actor in Lady Elizabeth's Company from 1611 to 1628 along with Joseph Moore and John Townsend (Bentley, Jacobean and Caroline Stage, vol 2, p 437).

    Bentley suggests that Robert Guilman (Gilman) (fl 1628–9) was a leading actor in the new 1628 company of the Lady Elizabeth's players, although he appears here as a member of the 'sworne servants of the king' and on 27 June 1629 in Norwich along with Ellis Guest, Moore, Foster, and Townsend as a member of the King's Men (Jacobean and Caroline Stage, vol 2, p 444; Galloway, Norwich 1540–1642, p 201).

    John Townsend (fl 1611–34) is most usually named as a member of the Lady Elizabeth's Company (Bentley, Jacobean and Caroline Stage, vol 2, p 602). Here, however, like Moore, he is said to be associated with the 'sworne servants to his Majestie.' A record of him in Norwich for 27 June 1629 also has him as a king's player (see Guilman above).

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  • Document Description

    Record title: Corporation Diaries
    Repository: BRO
    Shelfmark: R/AC1/1/3
    Repository location: Reading

    R/AC1/1/2–4 are not elegant books. The writing is hurried and the jottings often seem to have been made at random.

    Oct 1628–May 1637; English; paper; x + 229 + x; size varies with size of original booklet from 315mm x 198mm to 320mm x 198mm; 19th-c. pagination, modern foliation; heavily damaged from damp and repaired; bound in boards covered in vinyl with white spine and wrap around, title stamped on black patch on spine: 'Reading | Corporation | Diary | 1628–37.'

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