Robert Wilson and Lost Plays

David McInnis

How representative of Robert Wilson’s work is his Three Ladies of London? Only three of his other plays have survived in print – The Three Lords and Three Ladies of London (printed 1590), The Cobbler’s Prophecy (printed 1594), and part 1 of Sir John Oldcastle (printed 1600) – but these plays represent the distinct minority of his dramatic output. Wilson had at least a hand in a further sixteen plays between the 1570s and the early 1600s. Although the play-texts are lost, a great deal can be learned from the information about these plays that survives in the form of their titles, plots, and descriptions. Attention to these records produces a more accurate and wholistic account of Wilson’s career, revealing a playwright whose interests exceeded satire and comedy, and who contributed to the creation of plays which were deeply embedded in the company style of the Admiral’s Men at the turn of the century.

An important historical context for understanding Robert Wilson’s work is missing. Attending to Wilson’s lost plays affords unique insights into his career as playwright, despite the notable handicap of the texts themselves having perished.

Although his Three Ladies of London (1581) and its sequel, The Three Lords and Three Ladies of London (1588), exist in print, we know from prominent anti-theatricalist Stephen Gosson that Wilson’s career as a playwright began somewhat earlier.1 The praise he reserves in The schoole of abuse (1579) for his own lost play, ‘Catiline’s Conspiracies’ (1578) evidently irked fellow playwright Thomas Lodge enough to draw a sharp riposte. Lodge accuses Gosson of plagiarism and appears to announce his preference for another play about Catiline which exceeds Gosson’s on every count: ‘beleue me I should preferr Wilsons. shorte and sweete if I were iudge, a peece surely worthy prayse, the practise of a good scholler, would the wiser would ouerlooke that, they may perhaps cull some wisedome’.2 Wilson’s playwriting may thus have begun with classical history in the late 1570s, and an interest in Catiline’s plot to overthrow the Roman Republic (and Cicero’s thwarting of that plot) in the first century BC. This play was probably for Leicester’s men, the company to which he had belonged as a player since at least 1572.3 He subsequently became a founding member of the Queen’s Men (1583) and was touring the Low Countries in 1586 under Leicester’s patronage again.4 After his satires of contemporary London in the Three Ladies plays, he returned to classical antiquity with The Cobbler’s Prophecy (1592, printed 1594). There is some debate over whether the anonymous Pedlar’s Prophecy (printed in 1595) should be attributed to Wilson too, but even if allowed, there remains a substantial and unexplained hiatus in Wilson’s activity until he reappears in historical records in 1598 in Henslowe’s employ.5 The only play of his to survive from this later period is part 1 of Sir John Oldcastle (1599). As Kathman helpfully characterizes Wilson’s surviving dramatic work, ‘His plays are humorous, moralistic, populist, patriotic, and anti-Catholic [and indeed ‘anti-foreign’], and generally contain a wise clown as a central character’.6

During the Henslowe years (1598-1600), Wilson contributed to the writing of no fewer than fifteen plays that are now lost. On the basis of comparisons between Wilson and Tarlton’s extempore wit and Francis Meres’s commendation of Wilson as being amongst ‘the best for comedy’, it is tempting to suppose that Wilson’s contributions to these plays were chiefly the comic material.7 When Lloyd Edward Kermode limns Wilson as ‘a high-achieving actor-playwright of the 1580s and mid-1590s’ who ‘settles into collaborative piece-work in his twilight years’, he is at pains to continue the recuperation of Wilson’s reputation (as playwright) begun by John Payne Collier in the mid-nineteenth century; a fuller exploration of Wilson’s lost plays does much to advance that case.8 Kathman acknowledges the lost plays by title in his Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (ODNB) entry and Kermode refers to Wilson as a ‘prolific collaborator’ between 1598 and 1600, but neither (nor any other critic, to my knowledge) offers sustained discussion of these works.9 Attention to these plays reveals that Wilson must have been aware that he was contributing to plays that were deeply embedded in the Admiral’s repertory, with demonstrable links to the company’s previous offerings and current interests. The nature and value of his contributions can also, at least suggestively, be interpreted as more serious and significant than might be expected for a talented comic writer ostensibly contributing only a single dimension to the plots.


On 25 March 1598, Henslowe advanced £4 to Drayton, Dekker, Chettle, and Wilson towards their book of ‘Earl Godwin and his three sons’, adding a further £2 in full payment on March 30.10 Preparations for Part 2 followed soon after, with final payments on 10 June.11 On this last occasion, Drayton received the lion’s share, 30s, with Wilson and Chettle each receiving 10s. Although Wilson had a minor part in this second play, no evidence suggests the same were true of Part 1, when Wilson first appears in Henslowe’s books. Earl Godwin’s story was well known, and the playwrights could have drawn on Holinshed’s Chronicles or Foxe’s Acts and Monuments for their inspiration. The Godwin story takes place in the generation after the concluding scenes of Edmund Ironside (ca 1593-1603): the confrontation and amicable resolution of Edmund and of King Canute. After Edmund’s death, Canute became King of England as well as Denmark. The English Earl Godwin had won Canute’s favour through military successes on behalf of the Danes, and had married Canute’s sister. Hardicanute succeeded his father Canute but reigned only briefly before a premature death; he left no heirs, and was the last Danish king of England. The leading candidates for the crown were Canute’s sons-in-law by his second wife, Emma: Alfred and Edward (subsequently known as ‘The Confessor’). Godwin had regal ambitions for his own children, however, and when Alfred arrived in England from Normandy, Godwin intercepted, tortured, and decimated the Normans. Alfred was abducted and his eyes put out; he subsequently died in an abbey of Ely. Edward avoided his older brother’s fate and acceded to the throne. Godwin fled to Denmark where he remained for some years before, somewhat incredibly, ingratiating himself to Edward, who even married Godwin’s daughter. When Edward’s mother Emma was accused of improper relations with the Bishop of Winchester, Godwin advised Edward to confiscate much of Emma’s wealth and confine her to an abbey. At the abbey, Emma proved her innocence by walking on burning hot ploughshares (irons) without discomfort, causing the king to repent and restore her wealth. Godwin was exiled, but returned again in the following years. He died memorably: during a feast with King Edward, he attempted to deny the murder of Edward’s brother Alfred by declaring, ‘So mought I safely swalow this morsel of bread, as I am giltles of the deede’.12 He immediately choked and died.

Apart from plausibly following on from the narrative of Edmund Ironside in another, unknown company’s repertory from the 1590s, the ‘Earl Godwin’ plays may have evoked memories of Fair Em (Strange’s, ca 1590) and a lost ‘William the Conqueror’ play (Sussex’s, ca 1591) inasmuch as Foxe interprets William the Conqueror’s invasion as divine retribution for Godwin’s cruelty against the Normans.13 The ‘Godwin’ plays were also presumably related to the Admiral’s own lost ‘Hardicanute’ play of 1597 and to their investment more generally in pre-Conquest British history.14 Godwin’s service on behalf of Denmark during Canute’s reign, and the subsequent anti-Danish sentiment of Edward’s reign, would also have placed the ‘Earl Godwin’ plays within a ‘Danish matrix’ alongside the Strange’s Men play, ‘The Tanner of Denmark’ (performed 23 May 1592); the anonymous ‘Hamlet’ performed during the Admiral’s/Chamberlain’s joint run at Newington Butts in June 1594;15 and the lost ‘Cutlack’ (Admiral’s, 1594) which probably focused on Guichlac, king of the Danes during the time of Belinus and Brennius.16 Shakespeare’s own Hamlet (1600) and Chettle’s lost ‘A Danish Tragedy’ (1602) suggest the interest in Denmark was sustained in subsequent seasons.

Between 30 March and 7 April, just after ‘Earl Godwin’, Wilson, Drayton, Dekker, and Chettle were paid £2 as partial payment for ‘Pierce of Exton’.17 The murder of Richard II would be central to any account of Pierce of Exton, though as Wiggins notes, we cannot tell whether the lost play explored the lead-up to the killing or its aftermath.18 If the latter, Exton’s banishment at the hands of Henry IV may have some analogy with Godwin’s various exiles, and indeed the dramatization of Exton’s political assassination may also have attracted playgoers who had witnessed Godwin’s brutal attack on the young prince Alfred. The Exton play may have been an attempt to revive interest in the Wars of the Roses material that had been so popular for the Admiral’s competition throughout the 1590s.

From May – July 1598 the company was making preparations for ‘Black Bateman of the North, Parts 1 and 2’. Wilson was jointly named as recipient of the £6 paid by Henslowe for the book of part 1 on 22 May 1598; there was no indication he had a minor role in the writing.19 The subject matter is harder to establish than one might expect from so distinctive a name. One possibility is that the plays were a kind of domestic tragedy that followed the storyline of the ‘Young Bateman’ preserved in chapbook and ballad traditions.20 A young woman entertaining multiple suitors initially favours Young Bateman and pledges her love to him; she subsequently breaks her oath and marries the rich ‘Old Jerman’. On the day of her wedding, Bateman hangs himself by the bride’s door, and his ghost haunts her thereafter. Initially, her unborn baby affords her protection, but once she is delivered of child, she knows her fate is imminent. She asks friends to watch over her but they fall asleep, and she is taken during the night. As a candidate for the lost plays’ subject matter, the Young Batemen narrative has the advantage of being demonstrably dramatizable: William Sampson’s The Vow-Breaker or the Faire Maide of Clifton (1636) depicts this very story, which it notes was already ninety years old by the mid-1630s, and would therefore have been available to the ‘Black Bateman’ playwrights.21 In 1598 the purportedly true, English story of a betrayed lover’s death and subsequent torment of his beloved may have resonated with other domestic tragedies including the Chamberlain’s play about adultery, death, and the spectre of guilt, A Warning for Fair Women (ca1597), and would have anticipated the love triangles of Jonson and Dekker’s lost ‘Page of Plymouth’ (1599) and Heywood’s A Woman Killed with Kindness (1603). Tom Rutter has more recently proposed a Robin Hood connection as an alternative subject, citing Scarlet’s reference in The Downfall of Robert, Earl of Huntington (printed 1601) to ‘Bateman of Kendall, [who] gaue vs Kendall greene’.22 Wiggins doubts whether the draper who supplied Robin Hood’s men with green cloth could sustain a narrative by himself, but Rutter notes that ‘from the context it appears that he was an outlaw (or, at the very least, a purveyor of clothing to outlaws)’ and points out that the Admiral’s two Earl of Huntington plays were licensed on 28 March 1598, about three months before Part 1 of ‘Black Bateman’.23

Even if ‘Black Bateman’ did not extend the Admiral’s investment in the Huntingdon/Robin Hood plays, Wilson would soon collaborate on a play that did clearly contribute to the company’s interest in that historical period: ‘The Funeral of Richard Coeur de Lion’.24 This play probably formed part of a ‘matrix of crusades-related plays’ that variously staged Robin Hood’s anti-establishment escapades and the contrast with more official authority in the reigns of King Richard and King John.25 In January 1599, the Admiral’s added Drayton’s lost ‘William Longsword’ to this mix; Longsword was the half-brother of Richard and son to Henry II.26

Wilson then returned to work on part 2 of the Black Bateman story, simultaneously receiving payment towards ‘The Madman’s Morris’ (31 June-10 July 1598).27 Ballads bearing the same name as this play exist, but probably post-date it: they recount the naked antics of a man driven mad by love.28 Unlike the other plays discussed so far, the general sense of this title’s comic nature plays to Wilson’s known strengths as an actor. On 17 July, Wilson received 10s towards another comic play called ‘Hannibal and Hermes’ and subsequently received about a third of the total for this play.29 Henslowe’s designation of it as ‘a comodye’ is supported by the conjunction of an historical name, Hannibal (the Carthaginian General who invaded Italy in the Second Punic War), with a mythological (Greek) name, Hermes (the messenger of the gods), which is somewhat confusing and suggests the kind of liberty taken with comic material.30 By 28 July 1598 Henslowe had paid £6 10s (ie approximately the price of an entirely new play) to the playwrights, but in the final entry he refers to the play as ‘haneball & hermes other wisse called worse feared then hurte’.31 He subsequently spends £5 on something called ‘Worse Afeared Than Hurt’, which may or may not imply that ‘Hannibal and Hermes’ was one part of a serial (ie, that it had a deeper reach into the Admiral’s repertory than a one-off play).

Wilson next turned to ‘Pierce of Winchester’.32 Although the name sounds fabricated, possibly even a bathetic response to ‘Pierce of Exton’, the precise subject matter has eluded scholars. Jean McIntyre lists the play alongside contemporary crime drama but offers no clues as to how the connection might be justified; Greg admitted that the ‘possible connection’ to the Exton play was weak at best.33 Wiggins, however, has recently made the first significant inroads, discovering that ‘Pierce of Winchester is also the name of a subsidiary character in the later part of R.G.’s prose romance, Albion’s Queen (1600): he is a self-serving political double-dealer who plays the story’s various royal personages off against one another’.34 The Pierce of Winchester material begins in Chapter 9, ‘How Vallentinus the bastard was crowned King, and how he through the perswasions of Perce of Winchester, caused his owne Mother with her paramour the wicked Barron, to be most strangely put to death’.35 Rather than a comedy, then, ‘Pierce of Winchester’ might actually be a quasi-historical romance involving political intrigue, illicit love, and matricide; themes that would connect the play to ‘Pierce of Exton’ in more convincing ways perhaps, but also to other Admiral’s offerings including the ‘Earl Godwin’ plays, which similarly featured succession anxieties and may have included a mother accused of improper relations.

Two further Wilson plays of 1598 suggest violent death and political intrigue rather than comedy: ‘Chance Medley’ and ‘Catiline’s Conspiracy’.36 The title ‘Chance Medley’ is somewhat proverbial – Knutson groups it with similarly named plays including ‘God Speed the Plough’, ‘All Is Not Gold That Glisters’, and ‘The Blind Eats Many a Fly37 – its meaning, though, has divided critics, who note it could either suggest a random combination of actions or evoke the legal term for an accidental killing. Whilst the former suggests an episodic format reminiscent of the ‘Seven Deadly Sins’ or the ‘Five Plays in One’ plays, an EEBO-TCP search of the phrase ‘chance medley’ in the period 1580-1620 currently returns 43 hits, of which substantially more (at least 35) refer to the manslaughter interpretation. Harbage’s assignation of ‘comedy’ as the generic marker of this play may not be accurate; there is good cause to treat this as a play about unintentional homicide. Between 21-29 August 1598, Wilson returned to the subject matter of his early career, being paid 20s out of a total of only 25s advanced ‘in earnest of a Boocke called cattelanes consperesey’.38 The low sum paid may indicate the play was never completed or performed.


Wilson then drops off the radar again and resurfaces late the next year, on 16 October 1599, when Munday, Drayton, Wilson, and Hathway were paid £10 for the extant Sir John Oldcastle, Part 1 and in earnest of the lost ‘Sir John Oldcastle, Part 2’.39 Drayton was subsequently paid a further £4 for part 2, and the play must have been finished by March 1600, when Henslowe’s records include production expenses.40 The surviving Oldcastle play dramatizes events of AD 1413-15 when Cambridge conspires to topple the King and accede the throne. Oldcastle is accused of being party to the conspiracy, undergoes various tests of his loyalty to the king, is falsely imprisoned and escapes both jail and ultimately condemnation, fleeing to Wales. Thomas Pavier’s registration of both parts at Stationers’ Hall on 11 August 1600 reveals that the lost second part specifically included Oldcastle’s ‘martyrdom’.41 This would presumably entail a spectacular culmination to the play in which Oldcastle, accused of heresy rather than treason, was (in the words of John Foxe) ‘caried to the tower of London, and from thence drawen through London vnto the new gallowes in saint Giles without Temple barre, and there to be hanged, and burned hanging’.42 Its representation of a Protestant martyr would thus have presented a marked contrast with the unceremonious death of Falstaff (Shakespeare’s depiction of Oldcastle) in Henry V at the Globe the previous year.

Wilson’s contribution to the Oldcastle plays, moreover, was part of a broader shift in the Admiral’s repertory, from a specialization in mythological British history throughout the 1590s to a new emphasis on chronicle history at the end of the decade.43 Before ‘Oldcastle, Part 2’ went into production, Wilson was at work on another play: on 8 November he received £8 for the second part of a Henry VII play called ‘Henry Richmond’.44 An accompanying note from Shaw to Henslowe testifies to the quality of the play and records the plot of the first five scenes of this ‘Wars of the Roses’ spin-off.45 Shaa uses the plural ‘their’ twice, implying co-authorship, but who the other playwrights were is impossible to establish without further evidence. On 10 January 1600 (new style), Drayton, Munday, Hathway, and Wilson received £4 in part payment for their play, ‘Owen Tudor’.46 This work too was closely related to the Oldcastle and Richmond plays, and it may even be the case, as Knutson has cautiously suggested, that ‘Henry Richmond, Part 2’ and ‘Owen Tudor’ were ‘a serial, though perhaps conceived (or merely paid for) in reverse order’ – Owen being Henry’s grandfather.47 In a particularly clear example of cross-company repertorial competition, playgoers who had witnessed Henry V wooing Katherine in the central scene of Shakespeare’s otherwise military-focussed play at the Globe could now see the widow Katherine in love with her second husband Owen at the Rose.

By March 1600, ‘Oldcastle, Part 2’ appears to have been playing, and by early June payments were made to Munday, Drayton, Hathway, Dekker, and Wilson for the first part of ‘Fair Constance of Rome’.48 A note from Robert Shaa specifically asks Henslowe to ‘reserue for me mr willsons whole share wch is xjs. wch J to supply his neede deliuered him yesternight’;49 the sum was paid on 14 June 1600.50 Given that the £6 fee was to be shared between five dramatists, Wilson’s 11s is less than an equal share (which would have been 24s). Of all the evidence surveyed here, this last example alone suggests that Wilson may have contributed minor sequences out of financial need. Six days later, Henslowe gave Shaa 20s ‘to lend them Hathway in earnest of ther second pte of constance of Rome’; as with '’Henry Richmond, Part 2’, the nomination of Hathway alone need not imply sole authorship (though the ‘them’ and ‘ther’ here are less clear than the repeated ‘their’ in the former case).51 The proximity of the payment to the earlier ones implies (as Wiggins notes) that the project was conceived from the start as a two-part affair.52

Finally, ‘Fair Constance of Rome’, like the other plays to which Wilson contributed, was unmistakably connected to the Admiral’s past and current repertories. The narrative must have been derived from Chaucer’s ‘Man of Law’s Tale’, which is framed as ‘a type of secular saint’s life’ featuring the passive testing of female virtue (rather than the active testing of a knight).53 In Chaucer, the Sultan of Syria converts to Christianity to win the hand of the Roman Emperor’s fair daughter, Constance. The Sultan’s mother has her apostatizing son and his fellow Christians killed. Constance survives but is set adrift at sea, eventually reaching Northumberland. She is rescued by a constable and his wife who subsequently convert to Christianity. A local knight, infatuated with Constance but unable to seduce her, frames her for the murder of the constable’s wife. Constance prays for a miracle to clear her, and when the knight swears on a bible to testify against Constance, he meets with divine retribution: his eyes burst. King Alla consequently converts to Christianity, marries Constance, then leaves to wage war in Scotland. Constance gives birth to a boy (Mauritius), but the messenger charged with delivering the news to Alla is intercepted by Alla’s mother, who substitutes a counterfeit letter to the king advising him that the child is monstrous and Constance a sorceress. As this ploy does not discourage Alla, his mother is forced to intercept the return mail and dissimulate again. This time the substituted letter (ostensibly from Alla) orders the Constable to banish Constance. Alla returns, discovers the treachery, exonerates the Constable and messenger, and slays his own guilty mother. Constance and her son eventually arrive in Rome, and are reunited first with Alla (who serendipitously makes a pilgrimage there) and with Constance’s father, the emperor. Although they return briefly to England, Alla dies within a year and Constance retires to Rome with her son, Mauritius, who goes on to become the Christian Emperor of that name.

The ‘Fair Constance’ plays were paid for in the summer of 1600; earlier that year, on 26 January, Shaa received money from Henslowe for production expenses relating to play similarly concerned with exemplary female virtue: Patient Grissil.54 The topos of unnatural maternal figures presumably informed the narrative of another lost play of the previous year, ‘The Stepmother’s Tragedy’. More importantly, ‘Fair Constance of Rome’ may have been a ‘prequel’ to other plays in the Admiral’s repertory. The Constance narrative ends with the promise of Mauritius going on to become Emperor; the lost ‘Phocas’ play of 1596 presumably turned on the murder of Mauritius by the treacherous centurion Phocas. That play was performed between 19 May and 17 July 1596, but may have been revived two years later: Henslowe lent the company £7 towards the purchase of playbooks from Martin Slater on 16 May 1598, and one of these was the book of ‘focas’.55 There is also a ‘Mauritius’ named prominently in a document of performance related to the Admiral’s repertory of 1600-2: the backstage plot for the lost ‘Second Part of Fortune’s Tennis’.56 The manuscript is too fragmentary to provide conclusive evidence but there are good reasons for believing that ‘2 Fortune’s Tennis’ recycled material from the Phocas-Mauritius narrative.57 The performance of Mauritius’s childhood in ‘Fair Constance’ may even have prompted the company to reinvest in the emperor’s story in ‘2 Fortune’s Tennis’ so soon after having probably revived the ‘Phocas’ play around 1598.


Throughout this article, the titles of extant plays are recorded in italics, the titles of lost plays are distinguished by the use of quotation marks. Where possible, lost play titles are linked to corresponding entries in the Lost Plays Database ( I would like to thank Alex Thom for his assistance with the preliminary research for this article.

[1] For convenience, dates are taken from the multi-volume work in progress by Martin Wiggins in association with Catherine Richardson, British Drama, 1533-1642: A Catalogue (Oxford, 2012-), hereinafter cited as Catalogue.

[2] This text is variously referred to as Honest Excuses or Defence of Plays, and is listed in the ESTC by its first line: Protogenes can know Apelles by his line though he se him not... (London, 1579), STC (2nd ed.), 16663, 43. See also the Lost Plays Database entry for ‘Short and Sweet’.

[3] David Kathman, ‘Wilson, Robert (d. 1600)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (ODNB) (Oxford, 2004).

[4] See Sally-Beth MacLean, ‘Leicester and the Evelyn’s: New Evidence for the Continental Tour of Leicester’s Men’, Review of English Studies 39 (1988), 487-93, and Kathman, ‘Wilson, Robert (d. 1600)’.

[5] David Kathman’s ODNB entry entertains the attribution on the basis of ‘strong internal evidence’ offered by H.S.D. Mithal, but Martin Wiggins (following Kittridge) has more recently reaffirmed that the play belongs to a rather earlier period (1560-3, probably 1561) and thus falls outside the viable range for Wilson’s authorship; see Kathman, ‘Wilson, Robert (d. 1600)’; and Wiggins, Catalogue, #344.

[6] Kathman, ‘Wilson, Robert (d. 1600)’.

[7] See (for example) Gabriel Harvey’s reference to Tarlton and Wilson in The Letter-Book of Gabriel Harvey: A.D. 1573-1580, ed. Edward John Long Scott (London, 1884), 67. Francis Meres, Palladis Tamia (London, 1598), STC (2nd ed.) / 17834, fo.283v. Meres also subsequently links Tarlton and Wilson for their ‘extemporall witte’ in reference to his otherwise untraced activity ‘at the Swanne on the Bankeside’ (fo.286).

[8] Lloyd Edward Kermode (ed.) Three Renaissance Usury Plays (Manchester, 2009; rpt.2014), 30.

[9] Ibid, 30.

[10] R.A, Foakes (ed.), Henslowe's Diary, 2nd edn (Cambridge, 2002), 88 / f 45.

[11] Ibid, 89-90/ f 45v-46.

[12] John Foxe, The Unabridged Acts and Monuments Online (TAMO) (1576) (Sheffield, 2011), http//, Book 3, 190. The page numbers are modern.

[13] Ibid, 1576, Book 3, p 188.

[14] See Misha Teramura, ‘Brute Parts: From Troy to Britain at the Rose, 1595-1600’, David McInnis and Matthew Steggle (eds), Lost Plays in Shakespeare’s England (Basingstoke, 2014), 127-47. For ‘Hardicanute’ see Foakes (ed.), Henslowe’s Diary, 324 and 60 / f 27v.

[15] Foakes (ed.), Henslowe’s Diary, 21 / f 9.

[16] Ibid, 21-4 / f 9-10.

[17] Ibid, 88 / f 45. The company may have paid the playwrights the balance in the following days, but there is no record of further payment or evidence of performance.

[18] Wiggins, Catalogue #1118.

[19] Foakes (ed.), Henslowe’s Diary, 90 / f 46.

[20] See the Lost Plays Database entry for ‘Black Bateman of the North, Parts 1 and 2’.

[21] Sampson, ‘The Prologue to Censurers’, The Vow Breaker. Or, The Faire Maide of Clifton (London, 1636), sig.[A4]v.

[22] See the LPD entry, which was updated by Tom Rutter to include the Bateman of Kendal material on 7 June 2011. Rutter cites Anthony Munday, The downfall of Robert, Earle of Huntington (London, 1601), sig.E4v.

[23] Wiggins, Catalogue, #1126.

[24] In total, Wilson was paid 25s or more – only just shy of a full quarter. See Foakes (ed.), Henslowe’s Diary, 90-92 / f 46r-v.

[25] The anonymous Admiral’s play Look About You, printed 1600, offers a parodic treatment of Robin Hood in addition to Munday’s more serious versions.

[26] McInnis, ‘“2 Fortune’s Tennis” and the Admiral’s Men’ 116. Greg’s unconvincingly specific suggestion that the lost ‘Richard Coeur de Lion’ play was the ‘second part of a trilogy’ with Munday’s two Robin Hood plays is not supported by evidence. See Greg (ed.), Henslowe’s Diary, Part II. Commentary (London, 1908), 94.

[27] Of the 80s Henslowe advanced to Chettle and Wilson only for part 2, Wilson was the explicit recipient of 25s (ie, a lesser proportion) between 26 June and 14 July 1598. See Foakes (ed.), Henslowe’s Diary, 92-3 / f 47. For ‘The Madman’s Morris’, Wilson received a share (with Drayton and Dekker) of £3, and a share (with Dekker only) of £2 (Ibid, 92 / f 47).

[28] See Charles Hindley (ed.), The Roxburghe Ballads (London, 1874), 2.479-85.

[29] Foakes (ed.), Henslowe's Diary, 93-4 / f 47v-48.

[30] Ibid, 93/ f 47v.

[31] Ibid, 94 / f 48.

[32] He started receiving payment after 28 July 1598, and he, Drayton and Dekker received payment in full on 10 August (Ibid, 94-6 / f 48-9).

[33] Jean McIntyre, Costumes and Scripts in the Elizabethan Theatres (Edmonton, 1992), 162; Greg (ed.), Henslowe’s Diary, Part II, 195.

[34] Wiggins, Catalogue, #1147.

[35] R.G., The famous historie of Albions queene VVherein is discoursed King Edwards ielosie, Queene Katherines chastetie, the Duke of Suffolkes loyaltie, and the Barron of Buckinghams treacherie. Imprinted at London: By VV. VVhite for T. Pauier, and are to be sold at his shop in Corne-hill neare to the Exchange at the signe of the Catte and Parrettes, 1600, H3v.

[36] On 19 August, Henslowe specified that 30s out of 85s paid for ‘Chance Medley’ was to be directed to Wilson, with an equal share (30s) going to either Chettle or Dekker (Henslowe appears to have made a mistake with names) and a lesser share (25s) going to Munday. Six days later on 24 August, Henslowe paid Drayton 35s in full payment for the book. See Foakes (ed.), Henslowe's Diary, 96-7 / f 49r-v).

[37] Roslyn Lander Knutson, The Repertory of Shakespeare's Company, 1594-1613 (Fayettevile, 1991), 42.

[38] Foakes (ed.), Henslowe's Diary, 97 / f 49v.

[39] Ibid, 125 / f 65.

[40] Ibid, 129 / f 66v, 132 / f 68.

[41] A Transcript of the Registers of the Company of Stationers of London, 1554-1640 A.D. 5 vols, ed. Edward Arber (London, 1875-94), 3.169. See also Peter Corbin and Douglas Sedge (eds), The Oldcastle Controversy, The Revels Plays Companion Library (Manchester, 1991), 20.

[42] John Foxe, Actes and Monuments (1570), 783 in John Foxe’s The Acts and Monuments Online.

[43] See Teramura, ‘Brute Paers’, 127-47, and Paul Whitfield White, ‘The Admiral’s Lost Arthurian Plays’, McInnis and Steggle (eds), Lost Plays in Shakespeare’s England, 148-62.

[44] Foakes (ed.), Henslowe's Diary, 126/ f 65.

[45] Ibid, 288 / HADP MSS 1, Article 26, 01v.

[46] Ibid, 267.

[47] Roslyn L. Knutson, ‘Toe to Toe Across Maid Lane: Repertorial Competition at the Rose and Globe, 1599-1600’, June Schlueter and Paul Nelsen (eds), Acts of Criticism: Performance Matters in Shakespeare and His Contemporaries (Madison and Teaneck, 2005), 23-4.

[48] Foakes (ed.), Henslowe’s Diary, 135 / f 69v.

[49] Ibid, 294 / MS I.31, Article 31, pp 55-6.

[50] Ibid, 135 / f 69v.

[51] Ibid, 136 / f 69v.

[52] Wiggins, Catalogue, #1254.

[53] Larry D. Benson (ed. and intro), The Canterbury Tales, The Riverside Chaucer (Oxford, 1988), 9.

[54] Foakes (ed.), Henslowe’s Diary, 125 / f 65, 128-9 / f 66v-67, 130 /f 67.

[55] Ibid, 89 / 45v, see also Foakes (ed.), Henslowe’s Diary, 324. Wilson’s co-authored ‘Earl Godwin, Parts 1 & 2’, ‘Black Bateman, Parts 1 & 2’, ‘The Madman’s Morris’ and ‘Peirce of Winchester’ were all still in the company’s inventory at this time too.

[56] British Library Add. MS.10449, f 4.

[57] See McInnis, ‘“2 Fortune’s Tennis”’, 105-26.