Petition to the Privy Council by Strange's Men

Dulwich College: MS I, box C

f [1]

To the righte honorable our verie good Lordes, the Lordes of her maiestes moste honorable privie Councell/.

Our dueties in all humblenes remembred to your honours. fforasmuche (righte honorable) oure Companie is greate, and thearbie our chardge intollerable, in travellinge the Countrie, and the Contynuaunce thereof, wilbe a meane to bringe vs to division and seperacion, whearebie wee shall not onelie be vndone, but alsoe vnreadie to serve her maiestie, when it shall please her highenes to commaund vs, And for that the vse of our plaiehowse on the Banckside, by reason by reason of the passage to and frome the same by water, is a greate releif to the poore watermen theare, And our dismission thence nowe in this longe vacation, is to those poore men a greate hindraunce, and in manner an vndoeinge, as they generallie complaine, Both our, and theire humble peticion and suite thearefore to your good honnours is, That yow wilbe pleased of your speciall favour , to recall this our restrainte, And permitt vs the vse of the said Plaiehowse againe/ And not onelie our selues But alsoe a greate nomber of poore men shalbe especiallie bounden to praie for your Honours/

Your honours Humble suppliantes
The righte honorable the Lord Straunge
his servantes and Plaiers/

  • Footnotes
    • To: T in display script
    • Our: O in display script
    • Honours: H in display script
  • Modernized Text

    f [1]

    To the right honourable our very good lords, the lords of her majesty’s most honourable privy council. Our duties in all humbleness remembered to your honours. Forasmuch (right honourable) our company is great and thereby our charge intolerable in travelling the country, and the continuance thereof will be a means to bring us to division and separation, whereby we shall not only be undone but also unready to serve her majesty when it shall please her highness to command us; and for that the use of our playhouse on the Bankside, by reason by reason of the passage to and from the same by water, is a great relief to the poor watermen there, and our dismission thence now in this long vacation is to those poor men a great hindrance, and in manner an undoing, as they generally complain; both our and their humble petition and suit, therefore, to your good honours is that you will be pleased of your special favour to recall this again, and not only ourselves but also a great number of poor men shall be especially bound to pray for your honours.

    Your honours humble supplicants
    The right honourable the Lord Strange
    his servants and players.

  • Glossed Terms
    • thearbie adv thereby
    • whearebie adv whereby
  • Endnote

    For an image of the original MS, see the Henslowe-Alleyn Digitisation Project, MS 1, article16.

    The reference to 'this longe vacation' is usually interpreted as the summer months. Strange's Men are here arguing their case as persuasively as possible, with an evident awareness of the economic advantage to be gained from long-term residence at the Bankside playhouse, conveniently located for presenting London audiences with a repertory of plays that were to be documented in detail by Henslowe when he began the 'diary' he inherited from his brother in 1591/2. The reference to the concern that they be forced to divide and take the traditional summer touring roads instead and then as a result be 'vnreadie to serve her maiestie, when it shall please her highenes to commaund vs' suggests that they expected an invitation to perform at Court, as indeed they did, twice, during the Christmas season, 1590; see further Manley and MacLean, Lord Strange's Men, pp 50–4.

  • Event Entity Pages
  • Document Description

    Record title: Petition to the Privy Council by Strange's Men
    Repository: Dulwich College
    Shelfmark: MS I, box C
    Repository location: Dulwich

    This petition can be considered a partner to the similarly undated petition by the watermen to their patron and representative on the privy council, Charles Howard, lord admiral. For many years, scholars considered these two petitions, together with an undated privy council warrant, also in Dulwich College, 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; 310mm x 205mm; no original foliation; written on f [1] only, damaged in the centre and repaired; originally folded twice, no endorsement. Article 16 in Warner's Catalogue; foliated 23–4 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.

Back To Top