Letter from the Lord Mayor to the Privy Council

LMA: COL/RMD/PA/01/002

ff 85–5v (28 July)


Our humble dutyes remembred to your good Lordships & the rest. Wee haue signifyed to your Highnesses many tymes heartofore the great inconvenience which wee fynd to grow by the Common exercise of Stage Playes. Wee presumed to doo aswell in respect of the dutie wee beare towardes⸢her⸣ highnes for the good gouerment of this her Citie, as for conscience sake, being perswaded (vnder correction of your Highnesses iudgment) that neither in politie nor in religion they are to be suffered in a Christian Common wealth, specially beinge of that frame & matter as vsually they are, conteining nothinge but prophane fables, lascivious matters, cozeinge devises, & scurrilus beehaviour, which are so set forth as that they move wholie to imitation & not totheauoydinge of those faultes & vices which they represent. Amonge other inconveniences it is not the least yat that they give opportunity to the refuze sort of evill disposed & vngodly people that are within and abowte this Cytie to assemble themselves & to make their matches for all theire lewd and vngodly practices; beinge as heartofore wee haue fownd by thexamination of divers apprentices & other seruantes whoe have confessed vnto vs that the saide Staige playes were the very places of theire Randevous appoynted by them to meete with such otheir as wear to ioigne with them in theire designes & mutinus attemptes, beeinge allso the ordinarye places for maisterles men to come together & to recreate themselves. ffor avoydinge wheareof wee are nowe againe most humble & earnest suitours to your honor to dirrect your lettres aswell to our selves as to the Iustices of peace of Surrey & Midlesex for the present staie & fynall suppressinge of the saide Stage playes, aswell at the Theatre Curten and banckside as in all other places in and abowt the Citie, Wheareby wee doubt not but thopportunitie & the very cause of many disorders beinge taken away, wee shalbee more able to keepe the worse sort of such evell & disordred people in better order then heartofore wee haue been. And so most humbly wee take our leaves ffrom London the xxviijth of .Iulie.1597.

Your Highnesses most humble|

They ar a speaciall cause of corrupting their Youth conteninge nothinge but vnchast matters lascivious devices, shiftes of Coozenage, & other lewd & vngodly practizes, beinge so as that they impresse the very qualitie & corruption of manners which they represent Contrary to the rules & art prescribed for the makinge of Comedies eaven amonge the Heathen, who vsed them seldom & at certen sett tymes, and not all the year longe as our manner is. Whearby such as frequent them beinge of the base & refuze sort of people or such young gentlemen as haue small regard of credit or conscience, drawe the same into imitacion and not to the avoydinge the like vices which they represent./

They ar they ordinary places for vagarant persons, Maisterles men, thieves, horse stealers, whoremongers, Coozeners, Conycatchers, contrivers of treason and other idole and daungerous persons to meet together & to make theire matches to the great displeasure of Almightie God & the hurt & annoyance of her Maiestes people, which cannot be prevented nor discovered by the Gouernours of the Citie for that they are owt of the Cities iuridiction./

They mayntaine idlenes in such persons as haue no vocation & draw apprentices and other seruantes from theire ordinary workes and all sortes of people from the resort vnto sermons and other Christian exercies to the great hinderance of traides & prophanation of religion established by her highnes within this Realm.

In the time of sicknes it is fownd by experience, that many hauinge sores and yet not hart sicke take occasion hearby to walk abroad & to recreat themselves by heareinge aplay. Whearby others ar infected, and them selves also many things miscarry./


  • Marginalia
    • °To the Lords against Stages playes./°
    • °The inconueniencest that grow by Stage playes abowt the
      Citie of London./°
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
  • Footnotes
    • Our: O in display script
    • exercies: for exercises
    • aplay: for a play
  • Glossed Terms
    • iuridiccion n jurisdiction; iuridiction
  • Document Description

    Record title: Letter from the Lord Mayor to the Privy Council
    Repository: LMA
    Shelfmark: COL/RMD/PA/01/002
    Repository location: London

    This letter from Sir Richard Saltonstall, Lord Mayor of London , is preserved in the city's Remembrancia, ff 85–5v.

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

    January 1593/4–October 1609; English; paper; 178 leaves; 330mm x 230mm; modern pencil foliation (used here) over ink foliation 1A, 1B–119, (with later entry numbers); some pages repaired; bound in white vellum on boards with tooled heraldic shield, title on spine in black ink (first word written sideways): 'Remembrancia. | II | 1593 | 35 Eliz. | 1609 | 7. Jacob.' Entries were individually numbered in later pencil: the relevant entry is numbered 171 in the left margin.

  • Manuscript Images

    © London Metropolitan Archives (City of London), COL/RMD/PA/01/002

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