'Annals of the Stage, during the reigns of Edward VI and Mary', from The History of English Dramatic Poetry (1879) revised edition, by John Payne Collier, London: George Bell & Sons, York Street, Covent Garden, Vol 1, pp. 136-165.

[ Both William Baldwin (1), (2) & (3), the 16th century editor of Mirror for Magistrates and author of Beware the Cat, and George Ferrers, who has a major role in the latter story, are referred to in the text in this revised edition of The History.... Where doubt has been cast by scholars on the source of Collier's comments, a link follows.]

p.136 ]



IMMEDIATELY after the demise of Henry VIII, the Duke of Somerset introduced various economical reforms into the royal household : many of the officers were dismissed, and a considerable reduction took place in the establishment of Musicians and Players.1

  The following is an entry in an account by Sir William Cavendish, Treasurer of the King's Chamber, headed—
‘ Ulto. Septembris Anno Regis Ed. VJ, sexto.’
      ‘ Players of Enterludes:—
   ‘ George Birche, lxvjs. viijd.; Richard Cooke, lxvjs. viijd.; Richarde Skynner, lxvjs. viijd.; Henry Harryot, lxvjs. viijd.; John Birche, lxvjs. viijd.; Thomas Sowthey, lxvjs. viijd.’
   Here we have a George Birche and Thomas Sowthey, not in the official list as printed, and no John Smith. This account was in one of the MSS. of the Trevelyan family, now in the British Museum.
   In the account of Sir William Cavendish for
I Edw. VI, we meet with this entry at Midsummer and repeatedly afterwards:—
   ‘ Item to Robert Hinstocke and George Birch, plaires of enterludes, xxxiijs. iiijd.’
   The ‘ minstrels’ are thus named in the same account for July :—Hugh Pallarde, Edward Laeke, Thomas Lye, Thomas Curson, Robert Maye, Alayn Robenson, and Thomas Pagington (no doubt the composer of the famous old tune, Pagington's Pound ).
   Besides these, Edw. VI had a set of six Italian minstrels, separately
p.137 / paid at a higher rate than others who were allowed only 12d. a day, whereas the Italian minstrels, viz.,
Albert de Venitia
Mark Antonio Galiardello di
Georgio de Cremonia
column rule Ambrosio de Lapi de Millan
Francisco Bellino de Venetia
Vincento de Venetia
were paid 20d. a day. These men seem to have been selected from the ‘players on the vials’ ordinarily employed, and were not fresh importations. There was another set of foreign minstrels rewarded at New Year's Day, I Edw. VI, whose names were all Bassian or Bassiam, for it is spelt both ways, viz.,
Lewes de Bassian
Anthony de Bassiam
Jasper de Bassiam
column rule John de Bassiam
Baptist Bassiam
Names that have before occurred. The entertainment of all these performers does not look like economy, and, perhaps, the date was prior to the reform introduced by the Protector, and led to it, by rendering it necessary.

p.136 /

A MS. in the Royal p.137 / Collection in the British Museum,1 makes this point quite clear : one division of it is headed, ‘ The names of such officers in ordynary of the chamber of the late Kynges Majestie now discharged’; but it is much decayed, and although the word ‘ Players’ yet remains, the names of those who were dismissed, originally subjoined, are wanting. The other division of the MS., entitled, ‘ The names of such of the Kynges Majesties servaunts as are nuely in ordinary of the chamber’, is in a perfect state and exhibits not only the numbers, but the names of the ‘ Musicians’ and ‘ Players’ retained by the Protector: they are the following.

Hugh Pollard,
Edward Lak,
Thomas Lee,
Thomas Curzon,
column rule

Allwyn Robson,
Robert Mey,
Thomas Pagington,

  Royal MSS., 7 C. xvi.

p.138 /

Richard Cok,
John Birch,1
column rule

Henry Heryet,
John Smyth.’

      Here we observe several names, for the first time included in the list of royal performers of interludes ; and we may infer that, among those who were discharged, were Hinstocke, Slye, Parlowe, and Young, the mention of whom occurs late in the reign of Henry VIII. If, therefore, what is supposed to have been the Household-book of Edward VI, among the Harleian MSS., without a date, apply, in fact, to the reign of that King, it probably belongs to a period after the death of the Duke of Somerset ; for there we find an entry of eight ‘ Players of Interludes’, each of whom received a fee of 3l. 6s. 8d. annually.2

  If this, as is probable, be the same player who is mentioned in the account books of the reign of Henry VIII, his Christian name has been mistaken—it was George ; but there was a John Birch.
    2   The following is the form in the department of ‘ The Revells.—The Mr. —— fee, xli. ; the Yoman —— fee, ixl. ijs. vjdMusissians and Players.—Players of Enterluds, in nomber viij, fee to every of them, lxvjs. viijd. by the yeare, xxvjl. viijs. iiijd.’  The names of the King's minstrels are extant in the register of the Privy Council, as quoted by Chalmers (Apology, p. 348), viz., Hugh Woudehous, Marshal, John Abbes, Robert Stouchey, Hugh Grene, and Robert Norman. Their salaries were 50 marks a year (Harl. MSS., No. 240). Hugh Woudehous, or Woodhouse, received his appointment of Marshal of the Minstrells as early as 7th May 1529, when Henry VIII gave him wages of 4½d. per day, and an annual salary of 10 marks, as Marescallus Ministrallorum nostrorum. Vide Rymer's Fæd., vi, pt. 2. It is stated in the instrument, that he succeeded John Gylmyn in that office.

      It is not at all unlikely, that on the accesion of Edward VI the Protector, who assumed all the authority of King, took into his pay at least some of the discharged players of Henry VIII ; and it is an undisputable fact, that the Duke of p.139 / Somerset entertained a company of theatrical servants : the name of one of his performers has survived, Myles;1 and although it does not occur among those of Henry VIII, at any former period, some of his fellows might have been selected from the older theatrical retainers of the crown.
      The young Prince succeeded his father on the 28th of January 1547 ; and, according to the Register of the Council, on the 12th of January, a warrant had been given to Sir Thomas Darcy for 60l. 8s. 10d. for pikes, lances, and other necessaries, for jousts and triumph at Shrovetide, when, as was not unusual on such occasions, the performance of plays might form part of the revels : they would not come within the province of Sir Thomas Darcy, and are, therefore, perhaps, not mentioned in the warrant he obtained.
      During the reign of Henry VIII, the apparel and furniture for the revels and masks at Court were kept at Warwick Inn ; but, when Edward VI came to the throne, they were removed to the Blackfriars.2   That dissolved monastery was valued at 104l. 15s. 5d.; and, on the 12th of November, 30 Henry VIII, it was surrendered to the Crown. Four years after it had been made the depository of the dresses, etc., for Court entertainments, viz., on the 12th of May 1551, Edward VI granted

  It occurs in a work with the following title, A Booke of the nature and properties, as well of the bathes in England, as of other bathes in Germanye: the writer says: ‘for they [the waters of Bath] drye up wounderfully, and heale the goute excellentlye (and that in a short tyme), as with diverse other, one Myles, one of my Lord of Summersettes players, can beare witnesse.’   It was printed in folio, at ‘ Collen, by Arnold Birckman’, in 1568 ; but the preface is dated in 1557. The Duke of Somerset was beheaded on the 22nd January 1551-2.
  2 See a paper by Mr. Bray, in vol. xviii of the Archæologia, which contains some valuable information regarding the Lord of Misrule and Court entertainments. The cost of removing may be seen in Kempe's Losely MSS., p. 73.

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to Sir Thomas Cawarden, Master of the Revels, the ‘ whole house, scite, or circuit, compass, and precinct of the Blackfriars.’1   At this date, a person of the name of John Holte was Yeoman of the Revels, and had the custody ‘ omnium apparell: trappers, maskes et revells.’  The Clerk of the Revels was Richard Lees, and his salary was 12l. 3s. 4d.,2 a larger sum than was allowed either to the Master or to the Yeoman ; but they, perhaps, had other allowances, the nature and amount of which are not distinctly pointed out.3
      The accounts of the Revels at Shrovetide,
I Edward VI, present some curious particulars.4   They were held at Westminster, and a mount (similar to, or perhaps, the same as that mentioned in the reign of Henry VIII) was removed from Blackfriars to Westminster, and back again. The Lord of Misrule, whoever he might be, was provided with a gilt vizard, and 563¾ yards of cloth were consumed in liveries for his attendants. One of these attendants was his fool, a part, no doubt, filled by William Somers, the celebrated jester of

  Stow's Survey by Strype, b. iii, p. 177, etc. Both Black and White Friars were out of the jurisdiction of the City ; and in 1586, a contest arose between the Corporation and the inhabitants, as to the right of the former to enter and arrest malefactors who took shelter in the precincts. The privileges were confirmed, and the Lord Mayor and Court of Aldermen defeated of their claim.
    2   Lansdown MSS., No. 156. The paper is entitled ‘ Feod : pro office : concess : per Dom. Edwardum nup. regem Angl. vj, pro termo vitæ.’ It does not specify the salaries of any players ; but it appears there that Augustino Bassano, a musician, received 36l. 10s. per annum.
    3   Richard Bower was master of the children of the chapel in the reign of Edward VI ; and, according to Strype (Eccl. Mem., ii, 839), in June 1552, he had a warrant authorising him to take up children from time to time to supply vacancies, as they might occur among the choristers.
    4   We are indebted here to the information supplied by Mr. Bray, in vol. xviii of the Archæologia. The documents to which he referred were preserved at Losely, near Guildford.

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Henry VIII, who is mentioned by name. The plays were, probably, Morals, as a dagger for the Vice was provided among the properties, and a ladle, with a bawble pendent, was delivered to the fool of the Lord of Misrule. An actor was especially rewarded for playing ‘ the Italian’, but we have no further information as to the nature of his part. The preparations for these entertainments occupied from the 1st to the 28th of February.
      According to Stow,1 on Shrove Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday in the next year, ‘ great jousts and warlike feats were done in the park at Greenwich’, for the amusement of the young King ; but we have no record of the performance of plays.

  Chronicle, 1615, p. 1002.

      The internal commotions in various parts of the kingdom, perhaps, interfered in some degree with the Court amusements ; and in 1549 it seems to have been thought by the advisers of the King, that it was expedient, for a time at least, to put an end to the performance of interludes and plays for the entertainment of the people. We can now only form conjectures as to the motives which led to the publication of the proclamation of the 6th of August in that year, but from its terms we may gather that theatrical representations had been at this date applied to political purposes. The statute of 34 and 35 Henry VIII, c. I, ‘ for the advancement of true religion and the punishment of the contrary’, had been repealed by the act of I Edward VI, c. 12 ; and the proclamation of 6th of August 1549, in its terms at least, does not imply that it was directed against dramatic representations, because they touched upon matters of religion or points of doctrine. It is not, we believe, extant in the separate form of a proclamation, as it was doubtless originally issued, upon a broad sheet, but it is in a collection in 8vo, printed p.142 / by Richard Grafton, in 1550, ‘of suche proclamacions as have been sette furthe by the Kynge's Majestie.’ It prohibited the representation of interludes and plays throughout the realm from the 6th of August 1549 (two days after it was promulgated), till the feast of All Saints following, on the ground that they contained matter tending to sedition, and to the contempt of sundry good orders and laws. We have subjoined it in a note, but it is necessary to observe that the period of its publication has hitherto been misstated : Chalmers1 gives it as 6th August, 1547 : the only date it bears is ‘the vj day of August’, without the year ; but Grafton printed it among the proclamations issued in the 3d of Edward VI, and to that year it belongs.2

  Apology for the Believers, etc., p. 344. Malone fell into the same error. Shakespeare by Boswell, iii, 44.
    2 space, line ranged right‘The vj daie of August.
space, line ranged right‘ A Proclamation for the inhibition of Plaiers.
   ‘For asmuche as a greate nomber of those that be common Plaiers of Enterludes and Plaies, as well within the citie of London, as els where within the realme, do for the moste part plaie suche Interludes as contain matter tendyng to sedicion and contempnyng of sundery good orders and lawes, where upon are growen, and daily are like to growe and ensue, muche disquiet, division, tumultes, and uproares in this realme ; the Kynges majestie, by the advise and consent of his derest Uncle Edward Duke of Somerset, Governour of his persone, and Protector of his realmes, dominions, and subjectes, and the rest of his highnes privie Counsall straightly chargeth and commaundeth al and every his Majesties subjectes, of whatsoever state order or degree thei bee, that from the ix daie of this present moneth of August untill the feast of all Sainctes nexte commyng, thei, ne any of them, openly or secretly plaie in the Englishe tongue any kynde of Interlude, Plaie, Dialogue or other matter set furthe in forme of Plaie, in any place publique or private within this realme, upon pain that whosoever shall plaie in Englishe any such Play, Interlude, Dialogue or other matter, shall suffre inprisonment, and further punishment at the pleasure of his Majestie.’
   ‘For the better execution wherof his Majestie, by the said advise and
p.143 / consent, straightly chargeth and commaundeth all and singuler maiors, sherifes, bailifes, constables, hedborowes, tithyng men, justices of peace, and all other his Majesties hed officers in all the partes throughout the realme, to geve order and speciall heede, that this Proclamacion be in all behalfes well and truely kept and observed, as thei and every of them tender his highnes pleasure, and will avoyde his indignacion.’

      Although this inhibition was only to be in force for less than two months, as it would expire on the 1st of November 1550, we have evidence of an authentic kind, that it was continued in operation some time afterwards. In June 1551, the players attached to the households of noblemen were not allowed to perform, even in the presence of their patrons, without special leave from the Privy Council.1   The following is extracted from the Registers of that body, as preserved in the British Museum.2

      spacer‘ At Grenwiche the 21 day of June ann° 1551.
      ‘ A letter to the lord Marques Dorset signifying Licence to be graunted for to have his plaieres to playe onlye in his lordshipes presence.’3

  The subsequent quotation from Dugdale's Origin. Jurid., p. 285, proves that the authorities of Gray's Inn at this date endeavoured to check the representation of interludes by members of that society :—
   ‘In 4 Edw. 6 (17 Nov.) it was also ordered that thenceforth there should be no Comedies, called Interludes, in this House out of termtime, but when the Feast of the Nativity of our Lord is solemnly observed. And that when there shall be any such Comedies, then all the Society at that time in Commons to bear the charge of the apparel.’
    2   Harl. MSS. No. 352.
    3   Cotton MSS., Vitellius F. v, contains the following paragraph regarding a play called Jube the Sane, performed at the marriage of Lord Strange to the daughter of the Earl of Cumberland : this event occurred in the reign of Edward VI, but the date of the year is not given. We have no other record of any such play : probably it was scriptural, on the story of Job :—
   ‘The 7 day of February was my lord Strange mared to the lade of Comberland, the erle of Comberlands doytur, and after a grett dener and
p.144 / justs, and after tornay on horsbake with swords, and after soper Jube the Sane, a playe, with torch lyghts and cresset lyghts, lx cressets and c of torches and a maske and a bankett.’
   In the same MS. is another notice of a ‘ stage-play’ at some feast, which is also termed ‘ a goodly matter’, which lasted till twelve at night. The MS. is so injured by fire that nothing more regarding it can be made out : it was in part restored by the late Sir F. Madden.

      This inhibition, to whatever period it might have been extended subsequent to its first publication, had certainly ceased prior to April 1552 ; and there is every reason to believe, that the consequence was a still greater degree of license on the part of printers and players than they had before exercised. To such an excess does it seem to have been carried, that on the 18th of April 1552, it was found necessary to issue a very strong proclamation against both, forbidding the one to print and the other to play without special license under the sign manual, or under the hands of six of the Privy Council, on pain of imprisonment without bail or mainprise, and with fine at the king's pleasure. This document, however important, has hitherto escaped notice ; but we found it among the volumes of proclamations belonging to the Society of Antiquaries. It is entitled :—

      ‘ A Proclamation set furth by the kynges Majestie, with the advise of his highnes most honorable Counsail, for the reformation of vagabondes, tellers of newes, sowers of sedicious rumours, players and printers without licence, and divers other disordred persons, the 18th April in the 5 yere of his highnes most prosperous reigne.’

      It is a long document, and only the following paragraph at the close relates to the subject before us:—

      ‘ And forbicause divers Printers, Bokeselers and Plaiers of Enterludes, without consideration or regarde to the quiet of the realme, do print sel and play whatsoever any light and phantastical hed listeth to invent and devise, whereby many inconveniences hath, and dayly p.145 / doth, arise and follow, amonge the Kinges majesties lovyng and faithful subjectes : His highnes therfore straightly chargeth and commaundeth, that from hencefurth no printer, or other person, do print nor sel within this realme, or any other his majesties dominions, any matter in thenglish tong, nor they nor any other person do sel, or otherwise dispose abrode, any matter printed in any forreyn dominion in thenglishe tongue, onles the same be firste allowed by his majestie, or his privie counsayl, upon payne of imprisonment, without bayle or mayneprice, and further fine at his majesties pleasor. Nor that any common players, or other persons, upon like paines, do play in thenglish tong any maner Enterlude, Play, or matter, without they have special licence to shew for the same, in writing under his majesties signe, or signed by vj of his highnes privie counsaill : willing and straightly charging and commaunding all Justices, Mayors, Shirifes, Bailifes, Constables, and other officers and ministers, diligently to enquire for, and serche out al maner offenders within the limites and compasse of their commissions,’ etc.

      There is nothing in these Proclamations to lead to the supposition, that the objection of the Court was to dramatic performances, in which the doctrines either of the Roman Catholics, or of the Reformers, were attacked : the complaint seems to have been, that they touched upon political topics ; and on the 10th of June following the last Proclamation, a poet who had made plays contrary to its provisions, and who had therefore been sent to the Tower, was ordered to be liberated.1

  Chalmers (Apol. for the Believers, p. 346) first brought forward this circumstance from the Council Registers, where it is entered in the following manner :—
   ‘At Greenwich, 10th June 1552. It was this day ordered that the Lord Treasurer should send for the poet, which is in the Tower for making plays, and to deliver him.’

      The entertainments at Court, consisting of Tournaments, p.146 / Masks and Plays, were revived with unusual splendor at Christmas, 1551-2. At this date the Duke of Somerset, the King's Uncle, was awaiting execution in the Tower, the sentence against him being carried into effect by his decapitation on the 22nd January. Holinshed thus speaks of the festivities at Greenwich during the Christmas which preceded that remarkable event.

      ‘ Wherefore, as well to remoove fond talk out of mens mouths, as also to recreat and refresh the troubled spirits of the yoong king, who (as saith Grafton) seemed to take the trouble of his Uncle somewhat heavilie, it was devised that the feast of Christs nativitie, commonlie called Christmasse, then at hand, should be solemnlie kept at Greenwich, with open houshold and franke resort to Court (which is called keeping of the hall) what time, of old ordinarie course, there is alwaies one appointed to make sporte in the Court, called commonly Lord of Misrule : whose office is not unknowne to such as have been brought up in noble mens houses, & among great housekeepers which use liberall feasting in that season. There was, therefore, by order of the Councill, a wise gentleman and learned, named George Ferrers,1 appointed to that office for this yeare ; who being of better credit & estimation than commonlie his predecessors had been before, received all his commissions and warrants by the name of the maister of the kings pastimes. Which gentleman so well supplied his office, both in shew of sundrie sights, and devises of rare inventions, and in act of diverse interludes, and matters of pastime, plaied by persons, as not onelie satisfied the common sort, but also were very well liked and allowed by the Councill, and other of skill in the like pastimes ; but best of all by the yoong king himselfe, as appered by his princelie liberalitie in rewarding that service.’ 2

  Kemp's Losely MSS., p. 23, mentions this circumstance, but does not add anything material : Ferrers was one of the authors of The Mirror for Magistrates, first published in 1559.
    2   Holinshed, Chron., p. 1067, edit. 1587. Cotton MS., Vitellius, F. v, is a very curious chronicle of events, public and private, in the reigns of p.147 / Edw. VI, Mary, and the three first years of Elizabeth. The writer of it was an ignorant man, but he had relations at Court, and he speaks of his ‘ gossip Harper, servand unto the Queens grace’.   The MS. has been greatly damaged by fire, and it is not possible always to ascertain the precise dates referred to, as the leaves are not paged, and they have been here and there confused. To the occasion referred to in the text, we may assign the following minute description of the entrance of the King's Lord of Misrule into London, where he was received by the Lord of Misrule of one of the Sheriffs. The asterisks denote places where the MS. is incomplete in consequence of fire.
   ‘ The 4 day of January, affor non, landyd at the Tower warff the Kyngs Lord of Mysrull & ther met hym the Sheryffs Lord of Misrule with ys [his] men, and every on havyng a rebyn  *  *  and whytt abowt ther nekes, & then ye trumpets, mores dansse and tabrett ; & he toke a swaerd and bare yt afore the Kyngs Lord of Mysrull, for the lord was gorgyously arrayed in purpull welvet, furyd with armyn, & ys robe brodered with spangulls of selver full, and abowt ym syngers, and a for hym on grett horsses and in cotts & clokes of  *  *  inbrodered with gold and with balderyks  *   *  whytt and blue sarsenett  *   *  of his servands in blew, gardyd with whytt ; & next after ys consell in blew taffata, and ther capes of whytt, & ys trumpeters taburs drummers & fluts, & ys mores dansse, guns, mores pykes, bagpypes and ys masks  *   *  & his gaylleys with pelere stokes, & ys axe, gyffes, & bolts,  *   *  sum fast by the legs & sum by the nekes, & so rod thrughe Marke lane & so thrugh Grasyus strett and Cornhill  *   *  trumpets blohyng makyng a proclamacion  *   *  and so the Kyngs lord was caried from  *   *  skaffold ; & after the Sheryffs lord and the Kyngs  *   *  the Sheryffs lord a gowne with gold & sylver &  *   *  after he knelyd downe, & he toke a sword and gayff  *   *  strokes & mad ym knyght ; & after they draw  *   *  upon a skaffold & ys cofferers cast  *   *  gold & sylver in every plase as they rod  *   *  after ys carege with his cloth saykes on horse back  *   *  abowt chepe with ys gayllers and ys presonars  *   *  & the two lords toke ther horsys & rod unto  *   *  Mare to dener ; & after he cam bake thrugh  *   *  to the crosse & so done Wod-strett unto the Sheryffs  *   *  more alf a nore, & so forthe the old Jury &  *   *  unto my lord
p.148 / tresorers plasse, & ther they had  *   *  banket the spasse of alf a nore ; & so don to byshopgatt, & to ledenhall, & thrugh fanchyrche strett, & so to the towre warffe ; & the sheryffs lord gohyn with hym with torche lyght ; & ther the Kyngs lord toke ys pynnes with a grett shott of gonnes, & so the sheryffs lord toke ys leyff of ym, & cam home merele with his mores danse daunsyng, & so forth.’

p.147 /

      George Ferrers, who was thus chosen ‘Master of the King's Pastimes’ (discharging in fact the functions of Lord of Misrule under a new title), was, as Warton states, ‘a lawyer, poet, p.148 / and historian ’,1 and well qualified to give new spirit and importance to the royal revels over which he was appointed to preside. He had been selected for this purpose in November preceding, and on the 30th of that month, a warrant was issued for the advance of 100l. to him ‘ towards the necessary charges of his appointment.’ 2  What was the total expense upon this occasion, we have no means of knowing ; but, a document in the British Museum, containing a statement of the debts of Edward VI., ‘ externe and within the realme’, represents, that in 1551, he owed 1000l. to the office of the Revells under Sir Thomas Cawarden.3

  Hist. Eng. Poet., iii. 208, edit. 8vo.
    2   This fact appears by the register of the Privy Council, as cited by Chalmers in his Apology for the Believers, p. 347.
    3   In 4 and 5 Edward VI, the King's players exhibited at Court, and received the customary reward. Garments were provided for them, as well as for the young lords, and 12d. is charged in the account for painting the coat of Will. Somers, the King's fool. Archæologia, vol. xviii.

      A book entitled, Beware the Cat, bearing the initials G. B. as its author, and first printed (according to Ritson, Bibl. Poet., p.118) in 1561, and (according to Herbert, Ames, p. 1238) again, in 1570 and 1584, contains some singular and hitherto unpublished particulars regarding the drama in the reign of Edward VI, when George Ferrers was ‘ Master of the King's Pastimes.’ It is inserted in what is termed the introduction, or ‘ argument,’ of the work ; and it not only affords a curious picture of the manners of the time, but mentions a play called Æsop's Crow, performed by the King's p.149 / players at Court, in which most of the actors were dressed as birds. It seems that the author of Beware the Cat, whoever he might be, had contributed to the ‘ devising’ of certain interludes for the King's recreation. The following is all that relates to our immediate purpose.1

  It is a work of such extreme rarity and singularity, that we ought not to omit to describe it minutely in a note, and to make more than ordinary extracts from it. The title-page is unfortunately wanting in the only known copy ; but it has the following colophon :—
   ‘ Imprinted at London at the long shop adjoining vnto Saint Mildred's Church in the Pultrie, by Edward Allde, 1584.’
   That is was originally printed considerably earlier there can be no doubt. It is a very strange work, and some verses preceding the edition of 1584 and entitled, ‘ T. K. to the Reader’, explain why, when first published (probably in 1561), it was suppressed.

‘ This little book Beware the Cat,
    moste pleasantly compil'd,
 In time obscured was, and so
    since that hath been exilde.

Exilde, because perchaunce at first
    it shewed the toyes and drifts
Of such as then, by wiles & willes,
    maintained Popish shifts.’

There are nine other such stanzas of much the same import, and they are followed by the dedication, ‘ To the right worshipful Esquire John Yung, grace and helth’ ; who was, no doubt, the John Young, ‘maker of interludes, comedies, and playes’ to Henry VIII. This is signed G. B., probably meaning Gulielmus Baldwin, and it begins—
   ‘ I have penned for your mastership's pleasure, one of the stories which M. Streamer tolde the last Christmas, and which you so faine would have had reported by M. Ferrers him selfe ; and although I be unable to pen or speake the same so pleasantly as he coulde, yet have I so neerly used both the order and woords of him that spake them, which is not the least vertue of a reporter, that I dout not but that he and M. Willot shall, in the reading, think they hear M. Streamer speak, and he him self in the like action shal dout whether he speaketh or readeth.’
p.150 /
   And so it proceeds in a bantering strain, mentioning a translation by Streamer from the Arabic, called The Cure of the Great Plague :  he is made the supposed narrator of the whole body of the tract, and he is represented as having been at the University of Oxford, and ‘ skilled in the tunges, chiefly the Calde, Arabic, and Egyptian’. It seems probable that Streamer was Court Jester, with a lively invention, and in the habit of giving such narrations as Beware the Cat. The scene is laid at the house of John Day, the printer, over Aldersgate ; and it is represented that a convocation of Cats was nightly held, drawn together by the savour of the quarters of traitors and malefactors there hung up. Willot is spoken of as the Lord's Astronomer, but it was only a humorous appointment, made at Christmas when the Lord of Misrule was in authority. Ferrers is spoken of by Streamer as the Lord of Misrule.
   No doubt there is a great deal of satire and temporary allusion in the book, which is now lost. The attacks upon the Papists are not unfrequent, and may fully account for the suppression of Beware the Cat in 1561 and its re-publication in 1570 and 1584.
   The main object is to make out that Cats have reason and speech, and that they even hold communication with each other in foreign countries by means of messengers. Streamer is supposed to tell the story—how that he was lodging at Day's while the ‘ Greeke Alphabets were in printing’—how he was nightly disturbed by caterwauling—how he saw the cats in conclave—how, in order to understand them, with the assistance of the work of Albertus Magnus, he made himself magical meat and drink, which so refined his faculties and senses, that he was able to understand the conversation of cats—how he nightly listened to what they said, etc., and how finally, by returning to common food again, he at once lost his power, and the caterwauling again became inarticulate.
   The tract is divided into three parts, and in the first part occurs the following :—
   ‘ There is also in Ireland one nacion, whereof some one man and woman are at every seven yeeres end turned into Wulves, and so continue in the woods the space of seven yeers ; and if they happen to live out the time, they return to their own forme again, and other twain are
p.151 / turned for the like time into the same shape, which is a penance (as they say) enjoyned that stock by St. Patrick for some wickednes of their ancestors : and that this is true witnesed a man whom I left alive in Ireland, who had performed this seven yeeres penance, whose wife was slain while she was a Wulf in her last yeer. This man told to many men whose cattel he had worried and whose bodyes he had assailed, while he was a wulf, so plain and evident tokens, and shewed such scarrs of wounds which other men had given him, bothe in his mannes shape before he was a wulf, and in his wulfs shape since, which all appered upon his skin, that it was evident to all men, yea and to the Bishop too (vpon whose grant it was recorded and registred), that the matter was undoutedly past peradventure.’
   The author gives in verse (though printed as prose) the following humorous enumeration of the confused sounds he heard when, by means of broths and anointings with magical ingredients, he had sharpened his sense of hearing :
‘ Barking of doggs,
  Grunting of hoggs,
  Wauling of cats,
  Rumbling of rats,
  Gagling of geese,
  Humming of bees,
  Rousing of bucks,
  Gagling of ducks,’
and many more. This is in the second part of the volume. The third part reminds us, here and there, strongly of the old History of Reynard the Fox. It consists chiefly of the narratives by cats of their adventures, which are not very humorous : one of the best is an account of a religious old woman, who employed herself in seducing the honest and virtuous wife of a citizen, which she did partly by persuading her that her daughter had been converted by witchcraft into a cat. One of the cats is called Isegrim, which is a name in Reynard the Fox :  parts read like translation, and one of the cats goes by the name of Poylnoer, which, no doubt, is a corruption of the French for black skin.
   The tract is ended by sixteen ten-syllable couplets, supposed to have
p.152 / been written by Streamer, which are of no worth : from four of these, we may, perhaps, infer that Streamer was a clergyman. If further knowledge of this book be required, it may be found in the Editor's Bibliographical Account of Rare Books, 1865, i, p. 43.
   The whole, as may be inferred, has a strong Protestant tendency.

p.150 /

      ‘ It chaunced that at Christemas last I was at Court with Maister Ferrers, then Maister of the Kings Majesties Pastimes, aboot setting foorth of sertain Interludes, which for the King's recreation we had p.151 / devised, and were in learning. In which time, among many other exercises among our selves, we used nightly at our lodging to talke of sundry things for the furtherance of such offices, wherein eche man p.152 / as then served ; for which purpose it pleased Maister Ferrers to make me his bedfellowe, and upon a pallet cast upon the rushes in his owne Chamber, to lodge Maister Willot and Maister Stremer, the one his Astronomer, the other his Divine. And among many other things, too long to rehearce, it hapned on a night (which I think was the 28 of December) after that M. Ferrers was come from the Court, and in bed, there fell a controversie between Maister Streamer (who with Maister Willot had already slept their first sleep) and mee, that was newly come unto bed ; the effect wherof was, whether Birds and Beasts had reason ?   the occasion therof was this. I had heard, that the King's Players were learning a play of Esop's Crowe,1 wherin the moste part of the actors were birds, the devise wherof I discommended, saying it was not comicall to make either speechlesse things to speake, or brutish things to commun reasonably. And although in a tale it be sufferable to immagin and tel of some thing by them spoken, or reasonably doon (which kinde Esope lawdably used), yet it was uncomely (said I), and without example of any authour, to bring them in lively parsonages, to speake, doo, reason, and allege authorites out of authours. M. Stremer, my Lorde's Divine, beeing more divine in this point then I was ware of, held the contrary parte, afferming, that beasts and foules have reason, and that asmuch as men, yea, and in some points more. M. Ferrers himself, and his Astronomer, waked with our talk, and harkned to us, but would take parte on neither side.’

  T. Nash, in one of his tracts dated in 1592, mentions a moral-play, then well known, called Esop's Glow-worm.

      This extract serves to shew the character of the pieces then ordinarily represented at Court, and got up, and performed by the company called ‘ the King's Players’.

p.153 /

      The triumphs, jousts, and masks at Christmas 1552-3, cost 717l. 10s. 9½d., as we learn from the accounts furnished from the Office of the Revels.1 [ No footnote given.]  It is not stated who was Lord of Misrule (for by that title he is again called) on this occasion ; but he undertook the part of the God of War in the Triumph of Mars and Venus, his dress costing 51l. 17s. 4d. : on new year's-day he had a different suit, valued at 34l. 14s. He was attended by Counsellors, Pages, Ushers, Heralds, an Orator, an Interpreter, an Irishman, an Irishwoman, Jugglers, etc., besides his six sons (three of them base born), the eldest of whom was apparelled in ‘ a long fool's coat of yellow cloth of gold, all over figured with velvet, white, red, and green, a hood, buskins and girdle.’ Coats were also provided for seven other fools, and the whole cost of dresses was 262l. 1s. 4d.
      Among the Harleian MSS.1 is a detailed account of the expense of a tournament and banquet given by the King in 1552, in Hyde Park ; for which purpose no less than ninety-four ‘ houses or tents’ were carried from Blackfriars, where they were kept. The total charge was 933l. 6s., of which 62l. 19s. 4d. was for ‘ Masks and garments’, but no dramatic performances are specifically noticed.2

  No. 284.
    2   Chalmers (Apology, 477) expresses an opinion, that the annual charge for revels, during the reign of Edward VI, was about 325l.; but he judges only from the sum paid every Christmas to Sir T. Cawarden, which included only the expense of the court amusements at that particular season, not during the year.

      During the reign of Edward VI the Princess Elizabeth had plays performed before her, and charges of 1l. 10s. to Heywood, and of 4l. 19s. to Sebastian [Westcott ?] for a play by ‘ the children’, are found in the account of the expenses of her household, kept by Thomas Parry, her cofferer. She also gave 10s. to a person of the name of Beamonde, for a play p.154 / represented by certain boys under his management. The dates of these payments, or indeed of the account itself, of which they form a part, have not been precisely ascertained.1
      The last piece of documentary evidence, connected with the stage and belonging to this reign, is a letter from the Privy Council to Sir T. Cawarden, dated 28th of January 1552-3, directing him, as Master of the Revels, to furnish William Baldwin (one of the original projectors of The Mirror for Magistrates) with all necessaries for setting forth a play before the King to be performed on Candlemas night.2  We are without any particulars of the entertainments on that occasion ; but, in the Council Registers it is stated, that 326l. were paid to Sir Thomas Cawarden for the charges of the Lord of Misrule at Christmas.

  Nichols, Progr. Eliz. I, viii. edit. 1823. From Kempe's Losely MSS., p. 87, it appears that in 5 Edw. VI there was represented at Court ‘ a Masque of Cats’. Nothing seems to have been thought too absurd or extravagant, whether in design or expenditure.
    2   Chalmers' Apology for the Believers, etc., p. 348.

      Mary ascended the throne in July 1553, and ‘ a play’ was ordered on the occasion, which we may presume was performed by the Gentlemen of the Chapel ; but little more than a month elapsed before she issued a proclamation, the object of which was, among other things, to prevent the performance of plays and interludes calculated to advance the principles and doctrines of the reformation.3 

  The manner in which the Roman Catholics and their doctrines had been turned into ridicule in plays is adverted to, with some spleen, in an anonymous poem called Pore Help, printed without date, but in the reign of p.155 / Mary, and re-published by Strype in his Eccl. Memorials, Rep. of Orig., ii, 34. The author thus apostrophizes the Sacrament :—
‘  Blessed Sacrament, for thy Passion,
Hear and se our exclamation
Agaynst these men of new fashion:
That stryve agaynst the holy nacion,
And jest of them in Playes,
In Taverns and highways,
And theyr good acts disprayse ;
And martyrs would them make
That brent were at the stake,
And sing Pipe meri annot,
And play of Wilnot Cannot,
And as for Cannot and Wilnot,
Though they speke not of it, it skil not.’


p.154 /

This document is among the proclamations preserved by the Society of Antiquaries, and our attention was first directed to it, by finding in the registers of the Privy Council the following entry of its having been prepared :—

‘ 16th August 1553.      
      ‘ A Proclamation for reformation of busy medlers in matters of Religion, and for redresse of Prechars, Pryntars, and players.’

      Having thus been adopted by the advisers of the Queen on the 16th of August, it was published, and bears date two days afterwards : the following is the only part which relates to theatrical performances.

      ‘ And furthermore, forasmuch also, as it is well knowen, that sedition and false rumours have bene nouryshed, and maynteyned within this realme by the subteltye and malyce of some evell disposed persons, whiche take upon them, withoute sufficient auctoritie, to preache, and to interprete the worde of God after theyr owne brayne, in churches and other places, both publique and pryvate : and also by playinge of Interludes, and pryntyinge of false fonde bookes, ballettes, rymes, and other lewde treatises in the englyshe tonge, concernynge doctryne in matters now in question and controversye, touchynge the hyghe poyntes and misteries of christen religion ; whiche bookes, ballettes, rymes, and treatises are, chiefly by the Prynters and Stacioners, sette out to sale to her graces subjectes, of an evyll zeale, for lucre and covetous of vyle gayne. Her highnes therefore p.156 / strayghtly chargeth and commaundeth all and every her sayde subjectes, of whatsoever state, condition, or degree they be, that none of them presume from henceforth to preache, or by way of readynge in Churches, or other publique or pryvate places (excepte in the scholes of the universities) to interprete or teache any scriptures, or any maner poyntes of doctryne concernynge religion. Neyther also to prynte any bookes, matter, ballet, ryme, interlude, processe, or treatyse ; nor to playe any interlude, except they have her graces speciall licence in writynge for the same, upon payne to incurre her highnesse indignation, and displeasure.’

      We have already mentioned Bale's protestant historical moral-play on the reign of King John, or King Johan as he himself entitled it ; but to the reign of Queen Mary belongs a production of the very contrary character: it does not appear that it was ever printed, but it has come down to us in a manuscript obviously of that period, and quite entire : it was entitled Respublica and we also find in the words of the author that it was ‘made in the year of our Lord 1553 and the first year of the most prosperous reign of our most gracious Sovereign Queen Mary the first.’  When it was performed at Court the prologue was spoken by the author himself, whoever he may have been, in the character of ‘ the Poet’ ; while in the course of the performance he was allowed to introduce the Queen in the character of Nemesis ‘the goddess of redress and correction’, while her kingdom of England is called ‘ Respublica’ and its inhabitants allegorically impersonated as ‘People’: the reformation of the Church is called ‘Oppression’, and Policy, Authority and Honesty, are designated as Avarice, Insolence and Adulation : he also introduces the impersonations of Misericordia, Justitia and Pax, as the friends and servants of Nemesis. Respublica is represented as a widow greatly injured and abused by Avarice, Insolence and Oppression, while People (using through- p.157 / out a rustic dialect), complain bitterly of their sufferings, especially since what had been called the ‘ Reformation in matters of Faith.’  The end is that Nemesis (the Queen) is introduced by Justitia, and restores the old condition of religious affairs. The whole is very curious in reference to our present enquiry, and proves how the Stage was employed, immediately after the death of Edward VI, in order to reconvert the people and restore the Roman Catholic religion.
      It is known that the Proclamation, already quoted, was very effectual and that it had been very vigorously enforced ; and in one of the Cottonian MSS. (Vitellius, F., v), we find a record which states that on the 30th May, 1554, a Player was set in the pillory for an offence against it, and had his ear nailed to the post. While the Princess Elizabeth resided with Sir Thomas Pope, at Hatfield, two dramas appear to have been performed : one of them was entitled The Hanging of Antioch, and the other Holophernes, and we may be sure that they were not of a protestant tendency.
      For more than two years the Proclamation appears to have been effectual for its purpose; after which date the renewal of the representation of plays was attempted, not indeed in London, but in the country. On the 14th of February 1555-6, Lord Rich was required by the Privy Council to put a stop to the performance of ‘ a stage-play appointed to be played this Shrovetide at Hatfield-Bradock in Essex’, and ‘to examine who should be the players, what the effect of the play is, with such other circumstances as he shall think meet.’ By the letter of thanks to Lord Rich, on the 19th of the same month, it seems that he found ‘ the players to be honest householders and quiet persons’; and he was therefore ordered to set them at liberty, but ‘ to have special care to stop the like occasions of assembling the people hereafter.’
      Some proceedings in the north of England caused the p.158 / interference of the Star-chamber, in the spring of the year 1556, for the total suppression of dramatic amusements, both protestant and catholic. At this date the Earl of Shrewsbury was President of the North, and on the 30th of April 1556, the Privy Council addressed a letter to him, complaining that ‘ certain lewd persons, to the number of six or seven in a company, naming themselves to be servants unto Sir Francis Leek,and wearing his livery and badge on their sleeves, had wandered about those north parts, and represented certain plays and interludes, containing very naughty and seditious matter touching the King's and Queen's Majesties, and the state of the realme, and to the slander of Christ's true and catholic religion.’1  The Earl of Shrewsbury was, therefore, required without delay to search for the players, and on a repetition of their offence to punish them as vagabonds.

  This letter is reprinted at large in Lodge's Illustrations of British History, i, 212.

      It is clear from hence that the performances of the servants of Sir F. Leek were designed to favour the protestant religion, and on this account they were particularly offensive to the Court. As it was, perhaps, found impossible to prevent repetition without putting a stop to the representation of dramatic productions of all kinds, the Star-chamber issued orders for that purpose, in Easter Term, 1556, and they were sent to the justices of the peace of every county in the kingdom, with directions that they should be rigorously enforced. And [lit.] end was thus at once put to any ambiguity which might have belonged to the Proclamation of the 18th August 1552.
      Nevertheless, in June 1557, an attempt was made to act, even in London, ‘certain naughty plays’, as they were termed : one was represented on the 3rd June, and on the next day the Lord Mayor was called upon by the Queen's advisers to discover and arrest the players, and to p.159 / send them before the Commissioners of Religion, ‘ and also to take order that no play be made henceforth within the city, except the same be first seen, and the players authorised.’
      Later in the same month, John Fuller, the Mayor of Canterbury, arrested some players within his jurisdiction ; and on the 27th June 1557, he was thanked by the Privy Council, as we find by the Register, for his diligence, and directed to detain his prisoners until farther orders. In the mean time ‘ their lewd play-book’ was submitted to the crown lawyers ; and after it had remained under consideration until 11th August, another letter was written to the Mayor of Canterbury, ordering him ‘ to proceed against the players forthwith’, and to punish them ‘ according to the qualities of their offences.’
      On the 11th July 1557, the Lord Rich received the thanks of the Privy Council, for his exertions in carrying into effect the orders issued from the Star-chamber in Easter Term preceding ; but the magistrates of Essex seem to have exhibited a degree of slackness in this respect, which called for the censure of the public authorities. At the date when Lord Rich was written to, they had not accomplished the object of the advisers of the crown, by the suppression of all plays, and the arrest of all players who attempted to perform, and they were accordingly admonished to carry into immediate execution the directions sent to them from the Star-chamber.
      The general prohibition of all dramatic representations, transmitted to the magistrates of the different counties in Easter Term, 1557, had either expired before September of that year, or, as is more likely, it had never been applied to the City of London, which might be with tolerable safety left under the superintendence of the Lord Mayor and Aldermen, who had always discountenanced theatrical exhibitions within their jurisdiction. On one occasion, however, the vigilance of p.160 / the civic authorities seems to have been in danger of being defeated ; and the Privy Council having received information, that on the 5th September, 1557, ‘a lewd play, called a Sackfull of News,1 was to be performed at the Boar's Head, without Aldgate (Shakespeare's famous old hostelry), they instantly sent a letter to the Lord Mayor, commanding him to apprehend and commit the actors, and to send their playbook to the Privy Council. It turned out, however, that the representation was perfectly harmless, and on the 6th September the Lord Mayor was desired to set the players, whom he had arrested on the preceding day, at liberty. It is to be inferred, either that the Star-chamber orders had expired, or that they did not extend to the city, from the conclusion of this communication, where the Lord Mayor is told to give ‘the players throughout the city in commandment and charge, not to play any plays, but between the feasts of All Saints and Shrovetide, and then only such as are seen and allowed by the Ordinary.’  This allowance by the Ordinary may have been substituted for the ‘ special license’ of the Queen, mentioned in the Proclamation issued in the first year of her reign : it agrees also with the contents of the letter to the Lord Mayor of June 3rd, 1557, before noticed, and renders it more probable, that the city of London was in some way exempted from regulations which applied to other parts of the kingdom.2

  The Sakfull of Nuez is one of the pieces mentioned in Laneham's letter from Kenilworth, 1575, but from the company in which it is placed, it should seem not to have been a piece of a dramatic kind, but the old jest-book with the same attractive title. It is very possible that the Sackfull of News, attempted to be performed, had been founded upon the ballad in the possession of Captain Cox. Laneham afterwards enumerates certain ‘ ancient plays’, which also formed part of the library of the Coventry leader.
    2   May-games seem to have been still allowed. ‘On the 30th day of p.161 / May [1557 ?], was a joly may gam in Fanch-church strett, with drumes & gunes and pykes, and the 9 wordes [worthies] dyd ryd & thay had speches evereman, and the Mores-danse & the Souden & the Olevant with the castyel ; & the Souden with yonge Morens with Targetts & dartts, & the Lord and Lady of the May.’  Cotton. MSS. Vitellius, F. v.   On the same authority we learn, that on the ‘ 31 day of January my lord Tresorers lord of Mysrule cam to my lord Mare, and had my lord to dener ; & ther cam a grett cumpane of my lord Tresorers men with partesans, & a grett mene of musysyoners & dyssguyssys, and with trumpets & drumes, with ys consellors & dyvers odur offesurs ; & ther was a dulvyll [devil] shutyng of fyre, & won was lyke deth with a dart in hand.’

      The domestic establishment of Queen Mary for Court revels and entertainments, seems, nevertheless, to have been kept up on the same footing as during the reign of her father. In the library of the Society of Antiquaries is deposited a detailed contemporary account of all the officers composing the royal household ; and among them are to be observed eight ‘Players of Enterludes’, each of whom received 3l. 6s. 8d. per annum. Although the names of the various musicians are furnished, with the salaries they were allowed annexed, those of the players are not given. The authorities as to the number of players entertained by Queen Mary differ ; for a MS. in the Cottonian Library,1 entitled ‘A Declaration of the ordinarie paymentes, and other expencys wherewith the sayde offyce [Treasurer of the Queen's chamber] standes charged yerelye, communibus annis ’, mentions only four ‘ Interlude players’ in the following manner : ‘ Item, to the 4 Enterlude Playors, every of them at 3l. 6s. 8d. p[er] Annm. for their wages, and 1l. 2s. 6d. for their liveries : in all 18l.’

  Vespasian, C. xiv.

      The charge for liveries for the players, at 1l. 2s. 6d. each, is new in the Cottonian MS., where, besides 185l. 17s. 6d. for musicians, 12l. 10s. 7½d. are given to Mathew Becke, serjeant p.162 / of the Queen's bears ; 14l. 16s. 3d. to Simon Poulter yeoman of the bears ; and 21l. 5s. 10d. to Richard Darryngton, as master and keeper of the royal bandogs and mastives. It is probable that the statement in the possession of the Society of Antiquaries is the more accurate.1

  It is as follows, and it shows that the musical and dramatic establishment of the Queen, anno primo Reginæ Mariæ, cost, in salaries only, 2233l. 17s. 6d. :—
   The Master, Sir Thomas Cawarden, fee, 10l.
   Yeoman, John Holte, fee, 9l. 2s. 6d.
   Serjeant. Benedict Browne, fee, 24l. 6s. 8d.
   Trompetors, in number 16, every of them having by the yeare 24l. 6s. 8d.—389l. 6s. 8d.
   Lutars. Philip van Welder, Petre van Welder, 138l. 5s.
   Harpers. William More, fee, 18l. 5s., Bernard Dupont, fee, 20l.—38l. 5s.
   Singers. Thomas Kent, fee, 9l. 2s. 6d. , Thomas Bowde, fee, 9l. 2s. 6d.—18l. 5s.
   Rebeck. John Severnake, fee, 24l. 6s. 8d.
   Sagbutts. In nombre 6, whereof 5 have 18l. 6s. 8d. by the yere, and one 36l. 5s.—158l. 3s. 4d.
   Vialles. In nombre 8, whereof six at 30l. 8s. 4d. , one at 20l, another at 18l. 5s.—220l. 15s.
   Baggpiper. Richard Woodward, fee, 16l. 3s. 4d.
   Mynstrelles. In nombre 9, 155l. 8s. 4d.
   Drumslades. In nombre 3, 54l. 15s.
   Players on the fluyt. Oliver Rampons, fee, 18l. 5l., Pier Guye, fee 30l. 8s. 4d. —48l. 13s. 4d.
   Players on the Virginalles. John Heywood, fee, 50l., Antony Chounter, fee, 30l. 8s. 4d. , Robert Bowman, 12l. 3s. 4d. —92l. 11s. 8d.
   Musitions Straungers. Fees, 296l. 6s. 8d.
   Players of Enterludes. In nombre 8. Everie of them at 66s. 8d. by the yere—26l. 13s. 4d.
   Makers of Instruments. Wm. Baton, Organmaker, 20l., Wm. Tresorer, Regallmaker, 10l.—30l.
p.163 /
   The Chapell. Thomas Bird, Thomas Tallis, George Edwards, William Hynnus, Tho. Palfreman, Richard Farrant, John Singer, and thirty others, 469l. 3s. 4d.
   Singers. Richard Atkinson, 6l. 13s. 4d., John Temple, 6l. 13s. 4d.—13l. 6s. 8d.

p.162 /

      The only instance, with which we are now acquainted, when p.163 / Queen Mary called on the Master of the Revels to provide for entertainments at Court during her reign, was in 1557. On St. Mark's day she commanded for her ‘ regal disport, recreation and comfort’ a ‘ notorious maske of Almaynes, Pilgrymes, and Irishemen, with their insidents and accomplishes accordingly.’ A warrant for furnishing Sir Thomas Cawarden with silks, velvets, cloths of silver, etc., for this purpose, was addressed to Sir Edward Waldegrave, Master of the Great Wardrobe, on the 30th of April 1557.1  For these articles Sir Thomas Cawarden gave a receipt at the foot of the warrant. The revels, no doubt, were ordered for the reception of King Philip out of Flanders, and for the amusement of the Russian Ambassador, who had reached England a short time before.
      Feats of activity were also exhibited before the Queen at Christmas 1557-8, as appears by the following passage in a MS. several times before cited :2

‘ The 20 day of January, at Grenwyche, the quen grace pensyonars dyd mustur, &c.; and ther cam a tumbeler & playd mony prate fetts afor the quen and my lord cardenall, that her grace dyd lyke hartely and so her grace dyd thanke them.’3

  Chalmer's Apology for the Believers, p. 478.
    2   Cotton. MSS., Vitellius, F. v.
    3   Among the Trevelyan MSS. at Nettlecomb is a book of the accounts of Sir William Cavendish, while he was Treasurer of the Royal Chamber p.164 / and in it, under the date of 24th October, 3 and 4 Philip and Mary, we meet with the following enumeration of the musical and dramatic establishment at Court, exclusive of Trumpeters:—
   ‘ Lewters and syngynge Children. Peter van Welder, lewter, by the yere xviijli. vs., —— in the rowme of Phelip van Welder, luter, decessed, by the yere xlli. And iiijli. to hym more for fyndynge of six synginge children belongynge to the pryvy chamber—cxxxviijli. vs.
   Harpers. Wyllm More, harper, by the yere xviijli. vs. And Barnerde de Pounce, harper, by the yere xxli.—xxxviijli. vs.
   Syngers. Thomas Kente, synger, by the yere ixli. ijs. vjd., —— in the rowme of Thomas Bowde, synger, decessed, by the yere ixli. ijs. vjd.—xviijli. vs.
   Rebecks. John Savernake, rebeck, by yere xxiiijli. vjs. viijd.; Robart Woodwarde, by yere xijli. iijs. iiijd.—xxxvjli. xs.
   Sagbuts. Anthony Mary, sagbut, by yere xxiiijli. vjs. viijd.; Niclas Androe, by yere xxiiijli. vjs. viijd.; Richarde Welshe, xxxvjli. xs.,; Niclas Colman, xxiiijli. vjs. viijd.; Edward Devys, xxiiijli. vjs. viijd.; John Pecock, xxiiijli. vjs. viij.—clviijli. iijs. iiijd.
   Vialls. Albert de Venyce, vyall, by the yeere xxxli. viijs. iiijd.; Ambrose de Myllano, xxxli. viijs. iiijd.; Pawle Galiardele, in the rowme of Vyncent de Venyce, xxxli. viijs. iiijd.; Fraunces de Venyce, xxxli. viijs. iiijd.; Mark Anthony, xxxli. viijs. iiijd.; George de Combre, xxxli. viijs. iiijd.; Innocent Conny, xviijli. vs; Thomas Browne, in the rowme of Hance Hosin, decessed, by the yere xxli.—ccxxli. xvs.
   Bagpipe. Richarde Woodwarde, player on the bagpipe, by yere, xijli. iijs. iiijd.
   Mynstrells. Edward Lake, mynstrell, by the yere xxiijli. vs.; Thomas Ales, the lyke ; Thomas Cursson, xviijli. vs.; Robarte May, xviijli. vs.; Allayne Robson, xviijli. vs.; Thomas Pagyngton, xviijli. vs.; Pero Guye, xviijli. vs.; Robart Reynolles, Welsh mynstrell, lxvjs. viijd.; Richarde Pike, xviijli. vs.; and —— in the rowme of Nichas Puvall, decessed, xxiiijli. vjs. viijd.—clxxiijli. xiijs. iiijd.
   Dromslade. Alexander Pennax, Dromslade, by the yere, xviijli. vs.
p.165 /
   ‘ Fluytes. Piro Guy, player on the fluyte, by yere xxxli. viijs. iiijd.; Guyllym Trothes, by yere xxjli. vs. xd.; and Guyllym Duvet, by yere xxjli. vs. xd.—lxxiijli.
   ‘ Players on Instruments. John Heywood, player on the Virginalles, by yere 1li.; Anthony de Countye, xxxli. viijs. iiijd.; Robarte Beamonde, xijli. iijs. iiijd.——iiijxx.—xijli. xjs. viijd.
   ‘ Instrument Makers. Willm. Beaton, organmaker, by yere xxli.; Willm. Thresorer, xli.—xxxli.
   ‘ Players of Enterludes. George Birche, player, by yere lxvjs. viijd.; Richarde Cooke, lxvjs. viijd.; Richarde Skynner, lxvjs. viijd.; John Birche, lxvjs. viijd.; Thomas Sowthey, lxvjs. viijd.; John Browne, with his lyvery cote, iiijli. xs.’

p.163 /

      The accounts in previous reigns of the representation of miracle-plays in London have been comparatively few, but they seem to have been revived, and frequently repeated, p.164 / while Mary was on the throne: they were calculated to extend and enforce the tenets of the Roman Catholic religion, and on this account they were now encouraged by the public authorities. In 1556 ‘a goodly stage-play of the passion of p.165 / Christ’ was presented at the Grey-friars in London, on Corpus Christi day, before the Lord Mayor, the Privy Council and many great estates of the realm.1  In 1557 the exhibition was repeated at the same place, on the proclamation of war against France ; and in the same year, on St. Olave's day at night, the miraculous life of that saint was performed as a stage-play in the church dedicated to him in Silver-street.2

  The entry of this circumstance is made in the following terms in Cotton. MSS. Vitellius, F. v.:—‘ The same day begane a stage-play at the [Grey] freres of the passyon of Cryst.’ The word ‘ Grey’ has been obliterated by the fire which so unfortunately damaged this very curious manuscript.
    2   Strype's Eccl. Mem., iii, 379.