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Alice Layston and the Cross Keys.

Until very recently, the four London inns that served as playhouses in the last quarter of the sixteenth century--the Bell Savage on Ludgate Hill, the Bull in Bishopsgate Street, and the Bell and the Cross Keys in Gracechurch Street--have been sadly neglected by theater historians. Despite their importance for Elizabethan theater history, the late Herbert Berry was able to write of these inns as recently as 2000 that "virtually nothing is known for certain about either the ownership of these places or what was done to make them playhouses." (1) Happily, the situation is now improving, as much previously unknown information about all four inn-playhouses is emerging from the archives. Herbert Berry's last publication was a thorough history of the Bell Savage, including a discussion of its owners and leaseholders during its years as a playhouse. (2) My own archival research into these inns, initially undertaken in close consultation with Herb, has uncovered much valuable information about the people who owned and operated the other three inns, as well as the physical characteristics of all four.

One striking tidbit that has emerged from this research is the fact that three of these four inns were owned or leased by women during their time as playhouses. Margaret Craythorne owned the Bell Savage from 1568 until her death in 1591, Alice Layston owned the Cross Keys from 1571 until her death in 1590, and Joan Harrison was the proprietor of the Bull from the death of her husband Matthew in 1584 to her own death in 1589. This, perhaps, should not be too surprising, because it was not uncommon for women (almost always widows) to own or lease inns and similar buildings in London during this period. Two inns that were later converted into full-time playhouses, the Boar's Head and the Red Bull, were owned by women (Jane Poley and Anne Bedingfeild respectively) when those conversions took place, and another woman, Susan Browne Greene Baskerville, was a shareholder in both of those playhouses as the widow of players Robert Browne and Thomas Greene. (3)

Berry's article on the Bell Savage provides much information about Margaret Craythorne, including a portrait of her that still hangs in Cutlers' Hall in London, and I present some key facts about Joan Harrison in two forthcoming articles. (4) However, nothing has yet been written about Alice Layston, who led the best-documented and arguably the most interesting life of the three, and who deserves to be rescued from oblivion after more than 400 years. Her inn, the Cross Keys, is especially interesting for its Shakespearean connections--Strange's Men played there in 1589, when Shakespeare may have been with them, and the Lord Chamberlain's Men asked for permission to play there in 1594, by which time Shakespeare was definitely a sharer. This paper is an initial attempt to remedy this situation by presenting my findings on Alice Layston and the Cross Keys, part of a planned book on inns, taverns, and similar playing places within the walls of sixteenth-century London. While Alice Layston is the central figure here, there will also be biographical sketches of her two husbands and of the four leaseholders of the Cross Keys during its years as a playhouse--Richard Ibbotson, Edward Walker, John Franklin, and James Beare. In that sense, this paper is a (partial) biography of the inn as well as its owner. (5)

The future owner of the Cross Keys was born Alice Poore, daughter of John Poore of Meopham, Kent (five miles south of Gravesend) and his wife Dorothy. (6) She had two sisters, Cicely and Dorothy, and a brother, Thomas. John Poore died in 1548, and around the same time or soon afterward, Alice Poore married her first husband, Richard Westerfield. Westerfield was from Kent also, but he soon left to seek his fortune in London, if he had not already done so at the time of the marriage. On July 24, 1551, he bought a house in Knightrider Street, London, in the parish of St. Benet Paul's Wharf south of St. Paul's, from Richard Hyndeman, citizen and broderer. (7) Fifteen months later, on October 15, 1552, Westerfield paid twenty shillings to become a freeman of the Vintners' Company by redemption, allowing him to trade in London. (8) He most likely imported wine and sold it wholesale, but did not have a retail outlet. I have found no evidence that he ran a tavern, though there was a tavern or brewhouse in Knightrider Street, the White Hart, owned and operated by other people. (9) In fact, the Knightrider Street house appears to have been used primarily as an investment, since by the late 1550s, Westerfield was both living and working in other areas of London. In the 1559 London tax assessment, "Richard Westerfeld" is listed as a resident of St. Vedast Foster Lane parish, at the west end of Cheapside near St. Paul's, where he was assessed on [pounds sterling]120 of goods, the fifth most out of the twenty-two householders listed in the parish." (10) St. Vedast was a wealthy parish where many goldsmiths lived, and it was also the location of the Horsehead in Cheap, a popular tavern where plays were being performed a dozen years later. (11) Also in 1559, Westerfield was leasing a "great cellar" underneath Scales Inn, a large building in Maiden Lane in St. Michael Paternoster parish. (12) This was a quarter mile east of Knightrider Street near Vintners' Hall and St. Martin Vintry church, in the area where vintners unloaded their wares from the Thames and did much of their business. Westerfield served as a warden of the Vintners' Company in 1558-59 and bound one apprentice, Edward Browne, in 1561. He also freed two other apprentices (Rowland Chatterton and Rauf Rydlay) who had originally been bound to other vintners. (13)

By 1551 or soon afterward, Richard and Alice Westerfield had two sons, John and Henry. (14) The elder son, John, was an "idiot," meaning, in modern parlance, that he was mentally handicapped in some way and unable to care for himself. We may tend to assume that the Elizabethans tossed such people aside or shut them away in asylums such as the notorious Bedlam, but this did not happen to John Westerfield; he was well provided for in his father's will, lived into his forties, and eventually married. In fact, Richard Westerfield's provisions for his son John would eventually, through a circuitous route, end up having a significant effect on the history of the Cross Keys inn during its time as a playhouse.

Richard Westerfield made his will on December 4, 1565, when his sons were still teenagers. (15) His estate consisted mainly of the house in St. Benet Paul's Wharf, then in the tenure of Francis Segar, citizen and scrivener, plus two houses and eighty acres of land in Boxley and Bearsted, Kent, two villages near Maidstone about five miles apart, which he had recently purchased from William and Lettice Collins and John Godden. Ordinarily, at least some of this property would have gone to the eldest son, John, but the boy, as his mother would later write, "was so symple that he was not fytt nor able by hymself to dispose give or order eyther lands or goods." (16) So Richard gave these properties to Alice for use during her natural life, while also specifying that she should "stande charged and burdoned withe the kepinge fyndinge and meynteyninge of my sonne John Westerfeld duringe her saide Naturall lief withe meate drincke lodginge dyett Apparell and all other necessary provision meete and conveniente for him." After the death of "the saide Alice his Mother my wief," the rents from the properties were to be used for "the kepinge fyndinge lyvinge and Meyneteyning of the saide John my sonne," though John would have no control over them. Control would go first to John's brother Henry, then in trust to the will's overseers as long as John was still alive. After John's death, the properties were to go to any heirs of John, then to Henry and his heirs, then to William Bromfeld, the son of Richard's sister Isabell.

Apart from some minor bequests to servants, including his former apprentice Rauf Rydlay, the rest of Richard Westerfield's goods were equally divided between Alice and Henry, who were also the will's executors. Henry would receive his portion once he turned 21, until which time it was to be "discretely pollitiquelie frendly and Motherly putt Owte by the said Alice his Mother and my Overseers hereafter named." The will specified that "the saide Henrie my sonne shall be broughte vppe in lerninge and other vertuous exercises," and also gave Henry "Advertisement hereby that he be not to hastie hereafter to occupie before he can bothe governe his yonge age and well decerne of the thinges he myndethe to trade and Medell withe." It is hard not to think that Richard, having provided for the lifetime care of his mentally handicapped son, invested considerable hopes in his other son. Henry apparently did receive a decent education, since in 1575 he signed a deposition "per me Henricum Westerfildum" in an italic hand, demonstrating some knowledge of Latin; however, he failed to live up to his father's high expectations in other ways, as we will see later. (17) Alice and Henry proved Richard Westerfield's will on August 26, 1566.

The overseers of the will were "my lovinge ffrendes William Abraham Citizen and Vinetener of london and Henrie fissher of Boxley in the saide Countie of Kente Gent." The fact that William Abraham was Richard Westerfield's "lovinge ffrend" is potentially significant for our purposes, for Abraham had numerous connections, albeit indirect ones, to early London theatrical activity. Since 1553, he had been leasing the Cardinal's Hat tavern in Lombard Street, one of three taverns in St. Mary Woolnoth parish, where he may have been a customer of Richard Westerfield's wholesale wine business. The other two taverns in the parish, the Bishop's Head and the White Horse, were hosting plays a few doors away in 1543. (18) Admittedly this was a decade before Abraham took over the Cardinal's Hat, but Abraham was also a friend of Robert Fryer, another resident of the parish who was hosting plays in 1566, when Abraham lived there. When Fryer made his will a decade later, Abraham was one of his overseers. (19)

Two years after Richard Westerfield's death, Alice Westerfield married John Layston, a fellow Kent native who had become a citizen and girdler of London, and was himself a recent widower. Layston was about forty-three years old at the time of the marriage and quite wealthy, having improved his lot eight years before by marrying Joan Crowley, the widow of his fellow girdler Robert Crowley. That marriage had taken place in Allhallows Lombard Street on October 16, 1560, less than five months after Robert Crowley's death on 1 June of the same year. (20) Joan had brought to the marriage two buildings in Allhallows Lombard Street that she had inherited from Crowley for use during her lifetime, along with unspecified goods, chattels, and other resources. (21) Circumstantial evidence suggests that these resources were considerable, for John Layston, who is not known to have owned any property before this first wedding, made several major real estate purchases during the five years he was married to Joan Crowley. One of these purchases was of the Cross Keys inn and related buildings in Allhallows Lombard Street, which Layston only accidentally ended up owning after a rather complicated series of events. Understanding how this happened will require us to back up in our narrative a bit and consider the history of the Cross Keys.

The Cross Keys was located on the west side of Gracechurch Street in the parish of Allhallows Lombard Street, immediately north of the parish church and immediately south of the Bell Inn, where plays were also performed regularly in the late sixteenth century. It was about 140 feet long extending west from the street, and was 80 feet wide at the back end but narrower on the Gracechurch Street end, with 32 feet of street frontage. There was a single yard in the middle, roughly 48 feet long (east-west) by 32 feet wide (north-south). (22) The Cross Keys had been owned since 1407 by the College of Pontefract, Yorkshire, but in 1548 it was seized by Edward VI following the second Chantries Act, which dissolved all collegiate churches. (23) On April 18, 1549, the king granted all of the College's London-area properties, along with much other property in London and elsewhere, to William Warde, gentleman; this included "the Crossekeyes" in Gracechurch Street, then said to be in the tenure of Richard Walton. (24) Warde sold the Cross Keys almost immediately to William Johnson alias Fawne, citizen and innholder, and his wife Alice, who definitely owned and occupied the inn a few years later. In fact, William Johnson alias Fawne had apparently been living in the parish since at least 1541, possibly subletting the Cross Keys from Richard Walton, who disappears from our story after 1549. (25) On December 18, 1550, the Johnsons purchased from the Merchant Tailors' Company an adjacent group of buildings formerly called the Scutt on the Hoop, now called the Lion on the Hoop or Lion Alley. The entire complex was 53 feet long (east-west) by 30 feet wide (north-south), wedged between the Cross Keys to the south and west and the Bell inn to the north, fronting on Gracechurch Street and with a small yard behind, about 16 by 30 feet. (26)

Within a few years, the Johnsons appear to have needed cash, possibly due to financial troubles. On November 14, 1552, they mortgaged the Cross Keys to Richard Spryngham, citizen and mercer, and a year later, on November 17, 1553, they sold the Lion on the Hoop to Christopher Clifford, citizen and saddler, who had been leasing it along with three other tenants. (27) They may have used the proceeds from the Lion on the Hoop sale to help pay off the Cross Keys mortgage, in order not to lose the inn. In any case, the mortgage was definitely paid off by June 30, 1556. On that date, the Johnsons once again mortgaged the Cross Keys, this time for [pounds sterling]418 to Richard Clifton, citizen and skinner, who then leased it back to the Johnsons; as long as they repaid the [pounds sterling]418 by Christmas 1561, they would regain ownership of the inn then. Not quite six months later, on December 14, 1556, Christopher Clifford similarly mortgaged the Lion on the Hoop for [pounds sterling]50 to John Wetherell, goldsmith, with the same end date of Christmas 1561. (28) As that dual deadline approached, Johnson apparently decided to retire rather than pay off the mortgage, so he reached a deal with Clifford, who had aspirations to be an innkeeper. The core of the deal provided that Johnson would sell the Cross Keys to Clifford for [pounds sterling]500, of which [pounds sterling]418 would go to Richard Clifton to repay the mortgage; Johnson, his wife, and a maid would then be guaranteed rooms in the Cross Keys for the rest of their natural lives. (29)

Now Clifford had to find a way to borrow [pounds sterling]500, since he did not have that kind of money lying around. Banks in the modern sense did not exist in Elizabethan London, so Clifford had to resort to private lenders. He "travelled a long tyme with dyuers and sundrie persons" before finally, "with muche ado," he was able reach an agreement with his wealthy neighbor John Layston, whom he had known since the mid-1540s. (30) The agreement involved a complicated four-way transaction. First, Clifford paid off his mortgage to John Wetherell, probably with financial help from Johnson, after which he transferred part of the Lion on the Hoop to Johnson while keeping part of it for himself. Layston then purchased the Lion on the Hoop in two parts, buying Johnson's part on November 12, 1561, and Clifford's part two days later. It was probably at least partly with the proceeds of this transaction that Clifford then paid Johnson [pounds sterling]200 for the furniture and other household stuff of the Cross Keys. (31) On Christmas Eve, the day before the end of the mortgage to Richard Clifton, Layston summoned Clifford to his house in Lombard Street and lent him [pounds sterling]500 in "Angels ffrenche Crownes Spanysshe money and money of thys Realme." Of this amount, [pounds sterling]418 was set aside to repay the mortgage, with the other [pounds sterling]82 going to Johnson as the remainder of the [pounds sterling]500 that Clifford was paying him for the Cross Keys. Layston paid [pounds sterling]400 to Clifton, but deliberately withheld the other [pounds sterling]18 so that the mortgage would default the following day and Johnson would no longer have any rights to the property. The day after that, on December 26, Clifton signed a deed transferring ownership of the Cross Keys to Layston in exchange for the [pounds sterling]418. In turn, Layston and Clifford signed an agreement whereby Clifford would would repay the [pounds sterling]500 to Layston over the next ten years, in quarterly installments of [pounds sterling]12 10s plus interest, apparently 10 percent annually. If Clifford made all the payments, then at the end of the ten years he would own the Cross Keys outright, and Layston would relinquish any rights to it. (32) In effect, Layston was acting like a modern bank issuing a ten-year mortgage to Clifford with the right to foreclose on the property if Clifford failed to make his payments. Just to be safe, Layston filed two quit-claims on March 19, 1562, in which Johnson and Richard Spryngham (of the 1552 mortgage) surrendered any claim to the Cross Keys or the Lion on the Hoop. (33)

Within less than a year, this mortgage agreement between Layston and Clifford had unraveled. The dispute centered around the two houses in the Lion on the Hoop which Clifford had sold directly to Layston, rather than indirectly through Johnson. Clifford had been under the impression that these two houses were part of the mortgage deal, so that if he paid Layston an extra [pounds sterling]100 at the end of the ten years, he would own them again along with the Cross Keys; presumably this was why he had separated them from the rest of the Lion on the Hoop at the time of the sale. However, Layston denied that these houses were part of the deal. After making his first three quarterly payments to Layston, Clifford refused to make any more until he received assurances that he would eventually get the two houses back, but Layston would not agree. For whatever reason, this became a huge sticking point, and Clifford never did make any further payments after the first three as he pursued various options, including a petition to the recorder of London. But Layston held most of the cards, since he now had legal title to the Cross Keys as well as the two disputed houses, and by the end of 1563 he was able to foreclose and evict Clifford under the terms of their agreement. He apparently began leasing the Cross Keys to Richard Ibbotson, citizen and brewer, who had children baptized in Allhallows Lombard Street starting in 1564, and who was definitely the leaseholder several years later. In 1566, the crown brought suit against Layston for usury over the Cross Keys sale, but nothing came of this, and thenceforth Layston was the undisputed owner of the Cross Keys. (34) By this time he was also the owner of various cottages in Mason's Alley, St. Katherine Cree parish, which he had bought on December 20, 1563, from William Browne, citizen and haberdasher. (35)

John Layston became a widower in August 1565 when Joan Crowley Layston died less than five years into their marriage. (36) Almost exactly one year later, Alice Westerfield became a widow when Richard Westerfield died, as we saw earlier. Soon afterward, the widower John Layston got together with the widow Alice Westerfield, and by early 1568 the couple was preparing to marry. As part of these preparations, Layston had a deed made up on February 11, 1568, in which he granted the Cross Keys, the Lion on the Hoop (including the two disputed houses), and the cottages in St. Katherine Cree to two trustees (William Abraham and John Fisher, the overseers of Richard Westerfield's will) for the use of himself and Alice during their lives. (37) This was done to settle these properties on Alice as her jointure, which would provide for her if she should outlive her husband. The effect of this common legal maneuver was that John and Alice would jointly own the properties while they were married, and after one of them died, the other would retain control for his or her natural life, after which they would revert to John's right heirs. Since John Layston had no children, his nearest heir was his brother Robert, who lived in Gravesend, Kent, with his wife and children. Robert Layston does not appear to have liked his new sister-in-law, and over the next two decades, Robert and his heirs would be perpetual thorns in Alice Layston's side.

John Layston and Alice Westerfield must have married soon after this, though they did not do so in Allhallows Lombard Street, and no record of the exact date has been found. Not long into the marriage, the Laystons found themselves the target of a lawsuit brought by the relatives of Robert Crowley, the first husband of John Layston's first wife Joan. In his will, Robert Crowley had left to Joan two buildings in Lombard Street which he had purchased in 1548, a tavern called the Three Crowns and a house called the Blue Bell. (38) The will specified that Joan would only have these properties during her natural life; they were thus her jointure, similar to the Cross Keys and other properties which John Layston had settled on Alice to provide for her after his death. After Joan's death, the properties were to be sold, with the proceeds being divided up among Robert Crowley's relatives; alternatively, if one of those relatives wanted to buy the properties, they could do so. The ambiguity here would seem to be inviting disputes among Crowley's relatives, but when a dispute came, it centered around John Layston, who had taken control of the properties while married to Joan Crowley. Upon Joan's death in 1565, Layston showed no sign of giving up the properties, so after a few years, some of Robert Crowley's relatives began taking steps to get them.

On May 24, 1569, nine years after Robert Crowley's death, an inquisition post mortem was finally taken of his goods, probably at the instigation of his relatives. It found that Joan Crowley had enjoyed the profits of the two Lombard Street houses (now in the tenure of John Layston and John Laycocke) during her life, and that Robert Crowley's next heir was John Ferror, son of his sister Isabella. (39) Then in early 1570, Alexander Banks, on behalf of more than forty other named relatives of Robert Crowley, filed suit against Lays-ton, Laycocke, and Layston's servant William Andrews, claiming the right to the two houses according to Crowley's will. (40) John Layston, in his answer, claimed to be subletting one of the houses (the Blue Bell) on a year-to-year basis from John Cooke, who had leased it from Robert and Joan Crowley during their lifetimes. Andrews, who occupied the shop, backed up this story. Laycocke said that he occupied his house (the Three Crowns tavern) on a twenty-one-year lease, originally granted by the Crowleys to Baldwin Smith on March 1, 1554. However, neither of these answers addressed the question of who was now collecting the rents on these leases after Joan Crowley's death. Layston and Andrews did address this question in their rejoinder, where they claimed that John Ferrer (named as Robert Crowley's heir in the inquisition post mortem) and his cousin Agnes Jackson had sold the properties to Thomas Fanshawe of London, esquire. The implication was that Lays-ton was a mere tenant who had never owned the properties, and that Banks and the other complainants had no right to them, since the proper heir had already sold them. However, later evidence suggests that John Layston was almost certainly lying about these key points.

This evidence emerged after Layston died on April 1, 1571 with the dispute still unresolved. (41) The Crowley relatives continued to pursue their legal claims, and one of these relatives, Margaret Spencer, filed suit in Chancery on June 18 against Alice Layston, her son Henry Westerfield (now about twenty years old), and Mary Langley, after they did not show up to answer her suit in the Mayor's Court. (42) Spencer claimed her right to the Blue Bell, and also asked that Alice be forced to "pay all rents that is dewe since the wife of Robt Crowley died." The court ordered the defendants either to give the house to Spencer or to appear personally within ten days, whereupon Alice Layston told a somewhat different story than her late husband had. She said in her answer that John Layston had indeed owned the Blue Bell, and that it was he who had sold it to Thomas Fanshawe. However, Fanshawe then "privily" let it back to the Laystons for the term of their lives at no rent, as part of a secret agreement; he then sold the reversion of the property to one Oldshawe, who agreed to respect Alice's interests as long as she was alive. (43) It is difficult to avoid the conclusion that John Layston was trying to hide his ownership of the Blue Bell (and presumably the Three Crowns as well) to protect himself and Alice from legal claims by Robert Crowley's relatives, but Alice was unable to keep up the charade and lost the houses. The Blue Bell ended up in the hands of four of the Crowley relatives, who on March 25, 1572, sold it for [pounds sterling]160 to Anthony Higgins, scrivener, and Thomas Peer-son, merchant. The indenture by which they did so includes legal language to cover every contingency, and was originally accompanied by a long list of supporting docments, including a deed of feoffment from John Layston to Thomas Fanshawe and other documents supporting Alice Layston's version of the story. (44)

In the middle of all this, Alice Layston had to deal with the more direct consequences of her husband's death, including yet another legal challenge. Almost immediately after John Layston's death on April 1, his brother and heir Robert Layston began aggressively challenging the deed of jointure by which Alice Layston was poised to inherit the Cross Keys and the other properties. Undoubtedly weary from the Crowley litigation, eager to avoid another lengthy and expensive court case, and sensing the law on her side, Alice agreed to arbitration. A four-person arbitration panel was quickly convened, and on April 7, Alice and Robert Layston signed a [pounds sterling]1000 bond under which they agreed to abide by the panel's decision. On April 13, the arbitrators issued their ruling. The jointure deed of February 11, 1568, was to be enforced "without the lawful lett impediment or deniall of the said Robarte Laystone his heires or assignes," meaning that Alice was to "have houlde and enioye All that messuage called the crosse keyes ... then in the tenure of Richarde Ibbottson of London brewer sett and beinge in gracious streete in London," along with the various other properties included in the jointure, and the properties, leases, goods, and chattels she had inherited from her first husband Richard Westerfield and from John Layston. Apparently at the request of Robert Layston, the arbitrators also ruled that Alice "sholde have the ward shipp custodie rule and gouernement of John Westerfelde the Ideott and all the estates terms comodeties and profitte which may arise come or growe by reason theirof." The arbitrators further ruled that Alice must administer the goods of John Layston within fifty days, and that during her natural life she should not "doe nor comitt, nor prove to be done or comitted any manner of waste for in and uppon the premises or any part or parcell theirof." This last provision was undoubtedly requested by Robert Layston to make sure that the properties were in good shape when he or his heirs took possession after Alice's death, though it would later be used for hostile purposes. (45)

With this resounding victory behind her, and the litigation over the two disputed Lombard Street houses apparently also resolved, Alice Layston settled in as the landlord of the Cross Keys and the other properties she had inherited from John Layston. She lived in Allhallows Lombard Street while caring for her now-adult son John Westerfield; that parish would be her London base for the remaining nineteen years of her life, though she also spent time back home in Kent, where she was still collecting rents on the lands left to her by Richard Westerfield for the care of John. At some point before 1579, she also gained land in Newport, Shropshire, and sometimes described herself as being from there; presumably this was through inheritance, though it is not clear from whom she got this land. All this income allowed her to live quite comfortably, and to lend out money on occasion; the only legal issue she faced between 1571 and 1584 was a suit over a [pounds sterling]100 debt owed to her by Robert Marshall alias Marchant of Maidstone, Kent. (46) During that same period, in contrast to the turmoil of the previous decade, the Cross Keys had a single owner (Alice Layston) and a single leaseholder (Richard Ibbotson).

It was during this period of relative calm, probably by 1576 and certainly by 1579, that the Cross Keys began regularly hosting plays. On 11 February 1579, a player named John Gibbes testified to the Court of Governors of Bridewell Hospital that a woman named Amy Mason alias Foster, "beinge at the crosse keyes wher he plaied Wth his fellowes then she desired one Thomas Rowe his fellowe to bring her acquainted Wth him," and that "Thomas did soe at anothe metinge on sondaie after at ther plaie." (47) On June 23 of the same year, James Burbage, owner of the Theater and father of Richard Burbage, was arrested at two o'clock in the afternoon "as he came down Graces street towardes the Crosse Keys there to a Playe," as part of a dispute with former business associate John Hind. (48)

The most pertinent question for our purposes is how much Alice Layston had to do with this playing. It is reasonable to think that she at least tolerated it and possibly encouraged it, especially since she lived in the parish at least some of the time. Her first husband's good friend William Abraham, with his various connections to London playing, was a trustee for the Cross Keys and lived less than a five-minute walk to the west on Lombard Street. (49) Abraham's friend and neighbor Robert Fryer had been hosting plays in Lombard Street in 1566 and possibly later, as we saw above, and a few years later there was playing at the Horsehead tavern in Alice's former home parish of St. Vedast Foster Lane. On the other hand, it was the leaseholder who actually operated the inn on a daily basis, and who presumably made the ultimate decision to start renting to players. From 1564 to 1584, that leaseholder was Richard Ibbotson, and it was Ibbotson who was perceived as the host by players. When one of James Burbage's lawyers asked John Hind about Burbage's arrest in 1579, he asked whether Hind had sent a sheriff's deputy "vnto the Croskeys in gratious street being then the dwelling howse of Richard Ibotson Cittizen and Bruer of London" to find and arrest Burbage. (50)

Richard Ibbotson was born about 1527 in Kettlewell in Craven, Yorkshire. (51) He came to London to be apprenticed to a brewer and was eventually "abled" as a member of the Brewers' Company in 1559-60, at the somewhat advanced age of thirty-two or thirty-three. Soon after this, on June 30, 1560, he married Emma Neal at St. Andrew Hubbard, a little southeast of Lombard Street. (52) When the Cross Keys became available a few years later after John Layston evicted Christopher Clifford, Ibbotson seized the opportunity and began leasing it from Layston. He was named as the leaseholder when Lays-ton included the Cross Keys in the deed of jointure in 1568, as we saw above, and also at the time of Layston's inquisition post mortem in 1576. Ibbotson and his wife Emma had seven children baptized in Allhallows Lombard between 1564 and 1573, and buried three children there, the last one in 1577. Their third daughter, baptized September 28, 1567, was named Alice, and it is tempting to wonder whether Alice Layston may have been that child's godmother. (53) On October 16, 1567, Richard Ibbotson became a "brother" of the Brewers' Company, a higher level of membership that required paying quarterage dues but allowed him to register apprentices with the company, among other privileges. Over the next eleven years, he registered seven apprentices, of whom six were from Yorkshire, and two were from his own hometown of Kettlewell in Craven. (54) Presumably these apprentices helped out at the Cross Keys in some capacity, perhaps even helping with plays when they were performed there.

By the time the Cross Keys started hosting plays, Ibbotson had become wealthy enough to start buying real estate as an investment. On May 24, 1576, he bought from Thomas Challoner of Lynfield, Sussex, and Anna his wife, several properties in the north part of the city inside Bishopsgate. (55) On October 4, 1580, on behalf of his son John (then not quite twelve years old), he bought from Sir Thomas Heneage, treasurer of the queen's chamber and a future privy councillor, meadow lands in the manor of Bretts in West Ham, Essex, and probably around the same time, he bought other lands in Essex from Anthony Cooke and John Stepneth. (56) It was Heneage who paid players for court performances between 1570 and 1595, and it is tempting to think that Ibbotson may have met him through some of these players. (57) Ibbotson's London property included two buildings in White Horse Yard, mostly in the parish of St. Peter le Poer but partly in Allhallows London Wall to the north, plus another building to the north, entirely in Allhallows London Wall parish. (58) It is interesting to note that White Horse Yard was connected to the yard of the Bull inn in Bishopsgate Street, one of the other three inns that became playhouses around the same time as the Cross Keys. One entered White Horse Yard off Broad Street, and at the south end of the long, L-shaped yard was a passage into the westernmost of the Bull's three yards, from which one could go east and eventually come out on Bishopsgate Street. (59) Further solidifying the connection between Ibbotson and the Bull is the fact that in 1582, Ibbotson testified that he had personally known William Mease, the former owner of the Bull who had died in 1573, and whose son George owned the Bull during the time it hosted plays. (60)

Richard Ibbotson made his will on October 27, 1584, and was buried in Allhallows Lombard Street on November 26. (61) By that time, he had only two surviving children, John (baptized November 3, 1568) and Mary (baptized July 26, 1573), plus Elizabeth Ibbotson, "my mayde whome I have broughte vpp and kepte from her childhoode." To John he gave his lands and tenements in Essex; to Mary he gave his London properties, including his "greate Messuage" in Allhallows London Wall, then in the occupation of Peter Foy. If both John and Mary died without issue, the "greate Messuage" would go to his maid Elizabeth, and the other properties would go to his widow Emma, but only as long as she remained a widow. If she remarried, then the properties would go to Ibbotson's executors, with the revenue going to pay various annual charitable bequests. Those executors were Ibbotson's neighbors Simon Horspoole, citizen and draper, and Roger Preston, citizen and scrivener. (62)

As for the Cross Keys, the lease initially went to Ibbotson's widow Emma, so that, for a few months at least, the owner and the leaseholder of the Cross Keys were both women. However, a little more than three months later, on March 8, 1585, Emma Ibbotson married Henry Smith in Allhallows Lombard Street. (63) Smith brought to the marriage two leases for various properties in Lambeth and Southwark which he was subletting to others, and another lease for a building on Thames Street in St. Lawrence Pountney parish, which he now occupied. Four days before the wedding, on March 4, Smith transferred these leases in trust to Simon Horspoole and Roger Preston, Richard Ibbotson's executors, in a standard jointure agreement intended to provide for Emma should he predecease her. (64) On the other hand, Emma's lease of the Cross Keys apparently became invalid upon her remarriage, with Horsepoole and Preston temporarily holding the inn's contents in their roles as executors until a new leaseholder could be found. That did not take long, for control of the inn passed smoothly to Edward Walker, citizen and saddler, a fellow innkeeper who (by his own testimony) had known Richard Ibbotson personally. The day after the wedding, on March 9, Walker bought the inn's "goodes ymplyments and houshold stuff" from Horspoole and Preston for [pound sterling]160, of which half was to go to each of Ibbotson's two children when they married or turned twenty-one. Then Alice Layston granted Walker a new lease of the Cross Keys for a term of forty years at a rent of [pound sterling]24 a year, starting on Lady Day (March 25) 1585. (65)

For the previous ten years, Walker had occupied the Green Dragon inn on Bishopsgate Street, immediately north of the Bull, first leasing it and eventually buying it outright. Walker later testified that he "came to dwell in Ibottsons hows called the Cross keys in Graces street" after Ibbotson's death, and he was definitely living there between July 5, 1585, and January 19, 1586, when a fishmonger named Walter Woodward claimed that "Edward Walker of Gracioustrete Inholder" had sold "fleshe victualls" on Fridays and Saturdays at his "common Inne or victualinge howse wherunto dyvers persons resorte for lodging and victualls." (66) However, Walker continued to run the Green Dragon at the same time, and would later go back to it full-time. (67) Walker was undoubtedly familiar with the playing at the neighboring Bull, which he would also eventually buy years later; thus, in 1585 he must have known what he was getting into at the Cross Keys, and the playing there may even have been an attraction. (68) He also would have been familiar with playing at the Bell, directly north of the Cross Keys, through his fellow saddler Henry Haughton. Haughton held the lease on the Bell from about 1575 until his death in 1601, including the entire period when it hosted plays. He and Walker were active in the Saddlers' Company over the same period of time, serving as auditors and wardens of the Saddlers multiple times in the 1580s and 1590s, and serving together as wardens in 1594-95. (69)

Around the same time that Edward Walker was settling in at the Cross Keys, Alice Layston faced renewed trouble from her late husband's family. Her husband's brother Robert Layston, who had challenged the deed of jointure back in 1571, had died in 1580. In his will (made on February 5, 1580, and proved on January 10, 1581), he had left all of his London properties to his son William, paying particular attention to the Cross Keys, which Robert's heirs were scheduled to inherit after Alice Layston's death. If William died without issue, the properties were to go to another son, John, on condition that within one year he pay [pound sterling]200 to a third son, Thomas; if John did not do so, then Thomas could "enter into all that my messuage or Tenement Comonlie called the Crosse Keyes Scituate lyinge and beinge in Gracyous streete wth in the saide cittie of London." (70) All that was to be moot for our purposes, though, since William Layston survived through the rest of the sixteenth century. On September 4, 1581, Robert Layston's widow Cicely remarried, to Thomas Tuttesham in West Peckham, Kent. (71)

In early 1585, William Layston, along with his mother and stepfather the Tutteshams, launched a legal attack against Alice Layston in an effort to get the Cross Keys while Alice was still alive. The dispute centered around the two houses in the Lion on the Hoop that had once belonged to Christopher Clifford, and which had caused the rift between Clifford and John Layston in 1562. At some point before 1585, Alice, perceiving that the houses were "in greate decaye," had them pulled down, "and newlie builded and erected in the same place wheare the other stood one new tenemente vearie substanciall stronge fayrer and far excellinge the former at any tyme in goodnes strongnes and comodetie," at a cost of [pound sterling]100. (72) The Tutteshams and William Layston filed suit against Alice Layston in Queen's Bench, claiming that by tearing down the two houses, she had commited "waste" in violation of the 1571 arbitration award. Since she had signed a [pound sterling]1000 bond promising to uphold that award, the plaintiffs claimed that the bond should be forfeit, and that Alice should pay them the [pound sterling]1000 and surrender the properties, including the Cross Keys.

On June 30, 1585, Alice countersued them in the Court of Requests, asking the crown to issue a writ ordering the Tutteshams and William Layston to surcease and no longer pursue the suit. She claimed that whereas the old buildings "weare before of smale value, the said tenement is greatly bettered and not impairyied," and that the rent from the new building was at least as much as that from the two old ones. The Tutteshams and William Layston claimed that Alice had built the new tenement using the timbers and tiles from the old ones, adding a claim that she had "suffered the grete messuage or tenement called the cross keis to run greatlye to ruiyn and decay, and divers other lesser tenements, for want of necessarye and sufficient reparacions, to the greate scandale and impechment of the inheritance belonging to this defendant William Layston." (73) Other evidence we will see below supports the claim that the Cross Keys had become run-down and in need of repairs by the late 1580s. The partial surviving records of the Court of Requests do not reveal the results of this case, but Alice Layston must have won, since she continued to own the Cross Keys and collect the rent until her death. (74)

With this challenge from her late husband's relatives taken care of, Alice Layston still had to deal with her own offspring. Her mentally handicapped eldest son John Westerfield was still living with her, being cared for with the rents and profits from the properties his father had left--the house in Knight-rider Street and the eighty acres of land in Kent. Her other son Henry, despite his father's high hopes, had turned out to be something of a wastrel, "geven to some unthryftines & pradigall in expenses" as his mother put it. Around 1583 Henry Westerfield, "beinge in some wante & distres for moneye," sought to make some fast cash from his future rights in the land in Kent now being used to support his brother, which he stood to inherit once both Alice and John were dead. He went to Thomas Wrothe of the Inner Temple, who was from Bexley, a village in Kent about twenty miles from Boxley and Bearsted, where the lands were located. (75) For a fine of [pound sterling]5 paid up front, Henry granted Wrothe a one hundred-year lease on the Kent lands, to begin after Alice Layston's death. This fine seems suspiciously low, but Henry Westerfield was financially unsophisticated and prone to being taken advantage of, to judge by the evidence and his mother's later testimony. Wrothe got him to sign a [pound sterling]200 performance bond promising to make good on the lease when the time came. (76)

By this time, both John and Henry Westerfield were unmarried and thus lacked heirs, raising the question of what would happen to Richard Westerfield's legacy once they were gone. In the first half of 1586, both brothers married, most likely at the instigation of their mother. On March 14, John married Agnes Ryley at St. Leonard Shoreditch in London, and the couple came to live with Alice Layston. (77) On June 29, Henry married Lydia Skinner in Bury St. Edmunds, Suffolk. She was the only daughter of Andrew Skinner, a minor householder of Bury St. Edmunds. (78) Neither marriage was a step up the social scale, but the brothers' options were undoubtedly limited. If this was a plan to continue the Westerfield family line, it failed, for both brothers would eventually die without issue anyway. John Westerfield died only eighteen months after his wedding, and was buried in Allhallows Lombard Street on July 25, 1587. (79) His death set off a chain of events that would cause an irreparable rift between Alice Layston and Edward Walker, and which thus had a significant effect on the history of the Cross


Soon after John's death, Alice Layston learned for the first time about the lease on the Kent lands that Henry had granted to Thomas Wrothe. She was not amused, and became determined to get the lease back on Henry's behalf, "for the motherlye love & affeccion which she dyd & dothe beare to her sayde sonne." She knew that her tenant Edward Walker had a friend named John Persehouse who was a member of the Inner Temple with Wrothe, so she asked Walker and Persehouse to go there and try to buy the lease and the related performance bond from Wrothe on her behalf, saying she would reimburse them for whatever they paid and give them some extra for their troubles. Persehouse's maternal grandfather Myles Wymbish had owned Walker's other inn, the Green Dragon, from 1545 to 1552, and his parents had later been involved in a legal dispute over the ownership of the inn, which is undoubtedly how he met Walker. (80) Some time in August 1587, Walker and Persehouse went to Wrothe's chamber in the Temple and persuaded him to sell them the lease and the bond. (81) They had to pay him a fine of [pounds sterling]10, rather than the original [pounds sterling]5, because John Westerfield's death had made the lease more valuable. (82)

Instead of going to Alice Layston with the documents, however, the pair went to Henry Westerfield and persuaded him to sell them the Kent lands outright, bypassing Alice altogether. They did this by exploiting an ambiguity in Richard Westerfield's will combined with a somewhat obscure corner of property law. Recall that the will had granted the Kent lands to Alice for her lifetime, so that she might provide for her son John with the profits; after her death, Henry was to continue providing for his brother with the profits, and once John died, the lands were to go to any heirs he might have, or, in the absence of such heirs, to Henry and his heirs. However, the will did not provide for the possibility that John might die before Alice and Henry, which is in fact what happened. Alice already had possession of the lands, and had a strong claim to keep them, since they had been granted to her for her life. But the will also said explicitly that Henry would inherit the lands if John died without heirs, providing him with a plausible claim as well; only if this claim was valid would the sale to Walker and Persehouse be valid. Alice demanded that Walker and Persehouse sell her the lease and the bond according to their agreement, but they refused, and instead demanded of her the ownership documents for the lands, which they now claimed for themselves.

After several months in which neither side budged, the tension between Alice Layston and her tenant must have become unbearable. On January 6, 1588, Edward Walker sold his lease of the Cross Keys to John Franklin, citizen and clothworker, and went back to the Green Dragon full time while continuing to battle his former landlady. (83) On February 13, Persehouse and Walker filed suit against Alice in Chancery, accusing her of "misconveyance suppressing or imbeselling" the ownership documents for the Kent lands. They asserted that Henry's claim to the lands trumped hers because of the custom of gavelkind, an ancient form of land tenure that still survived mainly in Kent. Under this custom, property descended to all of a man's sons equally at his death; thus, they claimed, Henry had actually owned half of the lands at his father's death, and after his brother's death he owned them all, giving him the right to sell them. (84) Alice responded by countersuing them on May 13, asking the court to issue a subpoena so that Walker and Persehouse would have to come to court and answer under oath concerning their promise to convey the lease and bond to her. In an obvious bid for sympathy, she called herself "a verye aged woman & without anye ayde or frends to assyst her in her sutes & troubles." She also claimed that Persehouse and Walker "subtillye & craftelye by deceite & covine have allured & entyced" Henry Westerfield, "beinge a simple yonge man," to sell them all his lands, tenements, and hereditaments for one-tenth their value, bringing him to financial ruin. (85)

These cases dragged on for more than two years and were only ended by Alice Layston's death, so that Persehouse and Walker eventually triumphed by default. (86) When Walker made his will fourteen years later on April 20, 1602, among the bequests were lands and tenements in Bearsted and Weavering, Kent, which he left to his son John. (87) Given that Bearsted was (and is) a fairly small village, and no other evidence links Walker to it, or to Kent in general, it seems very likely that this is part of the land that was the subject of the dispute. Persehouse's 1636 will mentions various lands in Staffordshire but none in Kent, but this was nearly fifty years after the dispute. Persehouse, along with his father and various other relatives, had been actively buying and selling land in Staffordshire between 1585 and 1601, and he most likely sold any Kent lands during that time. (88)

Meanwhile, as noted above, John Franklin, citizen and clothworker, was now in charge of the Cross Keys after having purchased the lease from Edward Walker. Franklin had become a freeman of the Clothworkers' Company on July 16, 1582, by redemption, meaning he bought his freedom and must have had some connections. (89) By his own later testimony, Franklin found the Cross Keys in great need of repairs, so he spent considerable money on wainscot, glass, settles (high-backed wooden benches), and ironwork, among other things, to get the inn into presentable shape. (90) He may have done this at least partly to make it more attractive as a playing space, for we know that Strange's Men, at least, were playing there during Franklin's tenure. On November 6, 1589, Lord Mayor Sir John Harte wrote to the Privy Council complaining about his attempt to enforce a recent order of theirs suspending playing within the city. The Lord Admiral's players "very dutifullie obeyed," but the Lord Strange's players "in very Contemptuous manner departing from me, went to the Crosse keys and played that afternoon, to the great offence of the better sorte that knewe they were prohibited by order of your L." (91)

Eight months later, on Thursday, July 9, 1590, Alice Layston's former daughter-in-law Anne Westerfield, widow of her son John, was buried in All-hallows Lombard Street. (92) At six o'clock that same evening, perhaps right after the funeral, Alice sent for Thomas Stallard, Doctor of Divinity, William Horne, and "divers others" (apparently several female servants), and made her nuncupative (oral) will. Describing herself as "Alice Layston widowe ... of the parishe of All Hallowes Lambardstreete London beinge sicke in bodie yet of good and perfect memorye," she took William Horne by the hand, bequeathed to him "all her Landes Leases and goods whatsoeuer," and named him her executor. She must have died almost immediately, for this nuncupative will was written down and proved the following day. (93) For whatever reason, she was not buried in Allhallows Lombard Street, despite apparently dying there; she may have been buried with her first husband Richard Westerfield, perhaps in St. Benet Paul's Wharf, whose registers do not survive from this period.

Who were Thomas Stallard and William Horne, the two friends who were with Alice Layston at her death? Stallard had studied at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, where he received a BA in 1565-66, an MA in 1569, and a Doctor of Divinity in 1585. He was a fellow of Corpus Christi in 1567-70, and served as domestic chaplain to Archbishop Matthew Parker, who had earlier been Master of Corpus. Stallard had been rector of Allhallows Lombard Street in 1573, which is undoubtedly how he met Alice Layston, but since 1574 he had been rector of St. Mary at Hill near Billingsgate, where he was to remain until 1606. (94)

William Home was a longtime resident of Allhallows Lombard Street who had been freed as a Grocer on October 6, 1551, after serving an apprenticeship with John Gresham. (95) At the time of Alice Layston's death, he was living in the parish with his second wife Isabel and his daughter Alice. His sons Thomas and Nicholas also lived in the parish, as did his daughter Margaret and her husband William Albert, citizen and draper, who lived in Lombard Street in a house owned by Home. (96) The lands and leases that Alice Layston bequeathed to William Home did not include the Cross Keys or any of the other properties in her jointure, which were automatically going to William Layston no matter what she did. They also did not include the house in Knightrider Street, which was automatically going to her son Henry Westerfield according to the terms of Richard Westerfield's will. However, that house, which was now subdivided into four messuages, ended up with William Horne in any case; Henry sold three of the messuages to Home shortly after Alice's death, while keeping one for himself, perhaps to live in. (97) It may seem strange that Alice did not mention Henry in her will, but he was already being provided for, and nuncupative wills such as this one do not include much extraneous information. In any case, Henry Westerfield was dead by July 1, 1591, when William Home's will mentions the messuages in Knightrider Street "which I late had and purchased to me & my heires and Assignes for ever of Henry Westerfeilde late citizen and vintenar of London deceased." (98) Within six months after that, Henry's wife Lydia had remarried, for when Home bought the remaining messuage of the Knightrider Street house on January 29, 1592, the seller was John Cadiolde of Cockfield, Suffolk, and his wife "Lidea," the widow of Henry Westerfield, late citizen and vintner of London. (99)

William Home died on May 4, 1592, and was buried in Allhallows Lombard Street on May 9, and his will was proved on June 19. (100) The will shows that he owned or leased numerous London properties besides the Knightrider Street house and the Lombard Street house occupied by his daughter. (101) Most significantly for our purposes, he was leasing the former Lion on the Hoop complex on Gracechurch Street from William Layston, who had inherited it from Alice Layston along with the rest of the jointure properties. (102) Home was subletting one of the houses to John Winge, citizen and saddler, and the other to Elizabeth Fisher, widow; the will specified that Elizabeth Fisher should be allowed to stay in her house for the next two years, and that his sons Thomas and Nicholas should live together in the other house during the same period, with Thomas taking over the lease. On February 9, 1593, William Layston sold the Lion on the Hoop buildings to Thomas Home, who was occupying them along with his brother Nicholas, Isabell Home, widow (their stepmother), and Elizabeth Fisher. (103)

The transfer of the Cross Keys did not go nearly so smoothly. After Alice Layston's death, John Franklin's lease of the Cross Keys had automatically expired, but Franklin assumed that he would be able to get a new lease from William Layston, so he sent his brother George to negotiate. They eventually agreed to a lease for twenty-one years from Michaelmas 1590 at a rent of [pounds sterling]40 a year, otherwise under the same terms as in Richard Ibbotson's lease from Alice Layston. Franklin was to pay a fine of [pounds sterling]200 at the start of the lease, with [pounds sterling]100 due on Michaelmas and [pounds sterling]100 due on Christmas. However, when Franklin brought [pounds sterling]100 to the Cross Keys on September 28, the day before Michaelmas, William Layston was nowhere to be found. It turns out that the day before, Layston had asked George Franklin to come to Gravesend, Kent, to confer about the articles of the lease, and he subsequently refused to grant a lease without such consultation.

On October 22, 1590, accompanied by an alderman's deputy and the constable, Layston tried to evict Franklin from the Cross Keys, but Franklin denied them entry. Layston complained to the recorder of London, then filed suit in Chancery to evict Franklin, whereupon Franklin countersued in Chancery on October 25 to stop the eviction. He said in his complaint that he had spent much money on repairs to the Cross Keys, had bought "greate store of Haye strawe and other fodder" in preparation for the upcoming winter, and had nowhere else to live with his pregnant wife, five children, and other family members if he was evicted. He also claimed that Layston had been posting slanderous bills on the doors of the Cross Keys, thus "troublinge and disturbinge" the guests, and that Layston got all of Franklin's creditors to dun him for money he owed. In his answer, dated November 4, Layston admitted that he had made a verbal agreement with George Franklin about a lease, but said that he was unwilling to grant a lease without consulting about the terms in person. Among other things, he said that the Cross Keys had recently sustained fire damage, and that he and the Franklins had not been able to agree on who was to pay for the repairs. (104) On November 18, Franklin suggested a compromise: he would be allowed to occupy the inn until the following Lady Day (March 25) at a prorated annual rent of [pounds sterling]40, same as in the proposed lease, so that he could use up the hay he had bought and find a new place to live, but after that he would relinquish the inn. The court agreed and issued an order to that effect on November 24, with Aldermen Sir George Barnes and Sir George Bond appointed to make sure the order was carried out. In late January 1591 some of Layston's followers were accused of violating the order, so the sheriffs of London arrested Layston on a writ of corpus cum causa and hauled him into court on February 3 to be interrogated about the violation. After several more appearances by Layston over the following week, the court was satisfied, and the rest of Franklin's tenure passed without incident.

After John Franklin finally left the Cross Keys, William Layston began leasing it to a somewhat unlikely tenant--James Beare, who until recently had been a sailor and privateer by profession. He was apparently active in Chester in 1586, when mayor Edmund Gamell wrote to Sir Francis Walsingham complaining about "two pirates named Wyse and Beare in Pulhelly Road, who intended to lie off Holyhead to intercept all ships trading from those parts into Ireland." (105) Three years later, Beare was master of the Swift-sure, a privateering ship owned by George Ryman and based out of Chichester with letters of reprisal permitting it to capture any ships belonging to the queen's enemies. The Swiftsure had been built three years earlier by Ryman and George Somers, later Sir George, the future New World adventurer. (106) In late 1589, the Swiftsure teamed up with three other ships--the Julian, its pinnace the Delight (both owned by Somers and Amyas Preston), and the Unicorn (owned by William Morecombe)--in an attempt to capture Spanish ships, agreeing to split among them any prize they captured. (107) In October 1589, the four hit the jackpot when they captured two Spanish ships called the St. John Baptist and the Gallego, and later brought them into port at Dartmouth, Devonshire, with a staggering [pounds sterling]30,000 worth of silks, hides, cochineal (a type of red dye), plate, and bullion. James Beare was appointed to observe the unloading of this prize and make an account so that it would be divided fairly, and so that the necessary customs and tenths could be paid to the authorities.

Beare had owned a [pounds sterling]10 share in the Swiftsure, and later sold his share of the [pounds sterling]30,000 prize to a Mr. Tompson, a London merchant. With this money, which must have been considerable, he apparently decided to retire from privateering. Beare presumably knew William Layston from Gravesend, where he lived before moving to London, and where he was still leasing land at his death. (108) On May 27, 1590, Beare was still describing himself as "James Beare of Gravesende mariner," but he probably began leasing the Cross Keys from Layston ten months later on March 25, 1591, as soon as John Franklin's court-ordered tenure ended. (109) He was certainly living in Allhallows Lombard Street by February 20, 1592, when his son Robert was baptized in the parish. (110) He had five more children baptized in the parish over the next decade: John (April 7, 1594), Simon (August 14, 1597), Katherine (November 26, 1598), Mary (January 9, 1600), and William (December 28, 1600), and his will shows that he also had three older children, a son James and daughters Anne and Ellen, both before he moved to the parish. (111)

Playing appears to have continued at the Cross Keys during James Beare's tenure, at least in the early years, to judge by one well-known piece of evidence. On October 8, 1594, Lord Chamberlain Henry Carey wrote to Lord Mayor Richard Martin that "where my now company of players have been accustomed for the better exercise of their quality, and for the service of her majesty if need so require, to play this winter time within the City at the Cross Keys in Gracious Street; these are to require and pray your lordship (the time being such as, thanks be to God, there is now no danger of the sickness) to permit and suffer them so to do." (112) Carey promised Martin that the players would start their plays at two and be done between four and five, that they would not use drums or trumpets to call people to the plays, and that they would contribute to the poor of the parish where they play, in this case Allhallows Lombard Street. Whether or not Martin granted Carey's request, the clear implication is that the Lord Chamberlain's Men were used to playing at the Cross Keys. That company had only been formed the previous spring, but the core was former members of Strange's Men, the same company that had played at the Cross Keys in 1589, while John Franklin was running it.

After he had been running the Cross Keys for more than a decade, James Beare was dragged into a complex, long-simmering legal dispute over the goods taken from the captured Spanish ships in December 1589. George Ryman, the owner of Beare's former ship the Swiftsure, had made his will on March 29, 1591, twelve days before he set sail with three ships on an ill-fated expedition to the East Indies, the first ever attempted from England. (113) In this will Ryman granted all his goods and chattels in trust to his brothers William and John, whom he also named executors. While George was at sea William Ryman, acting as his brother's factor, began settling the remaining customs and other taxes due from the Swiftsure for the captured Spanish prize. In that capacity, on August 2, 1591, he went with William Morecombe, the owner of the Unicorn, to St. Christopher's parish in London and paid [pounds sterling]200 in plate to royal official Edward Moore. Ryman later claimed that he had paid this money to Moore at Morecombe's request and on his behalf, and that Morecombe had verbally promised to repay the money to the Rymans. Morecombe, in contrast, later claimed that this [pounds sterling]200 was paid because Moore had been an investor in the Unicorne; he further claimed that William Ryman owed him [pounds sterling]111, which he (Morecombe) had allegedly paid as custom for George Ryman's portion of the captured goods immediately after the ships were unloaded. (114)

Meanwhile, on September 14, 1591, George Ryman's expedition ran into a storm off the Cape of Good Hope as they were rounding the southern tip of Africa. Ryman's ship, the Penelope, was lost, though the party's other remaining ship, the Edward Bonaventure, continued on to India. When word of this tragedy eventually reached England, William and John Ryman were left in a sort of legal limbo as George Ryman's executors. Because their brother had been lost at sea more than five thousand miles from England, he could not be legally presumed to be dead until some time had passed, and his will could not be proved (and thus his debts fully settled) until he was legally dead. This left the dispute between Morecombe and the Rymans unresolved, much to Morecombe's frustration. At one point he sued the Rymans in the Court of Arches, claiming that by not proving George Ryman's will they were preventing him from collecting on the debts that Ryman owed him, but this suit went nowhere. James Beare drew up several new versions of the account he had made when the Spanish ship were unloaded, including one on May 4, 1597. These mainly supported the Rymans' version of events, but Morecombe still claimed that George Ryman's estate owed him money. (115)

Nine years after George Ryman's disappearance at sea, he was finally considered legally dead, and his brothers proved his will on October 15, 1600. (116) Soon afterward, William Morecombe sued William Ryman first in Queen's Bench, then in the Court of Common Pleas, for the [pounds sterling]111 that Ryman supposedly owed him. (117) After much legal maneuvering, Morecombe convinced a jury in his home county of Devonshire that he was entitled to [pounds sterling]171 in damages from the Rymans. The Rymans responded on October 30, 1602, by bringing an action against Morecombe in the London Sheriff's Court for the [pounds sterling]200 that they claimed he owed them, and soon afterward they sued Morecombe in Chancery over the same debt plus other issues stemming from the division of the Spanish prize. Morecombe retaliated in late 1602 and early 1603 with a flurry of lawsuits in Queen's Bench and Common Pleas that the Rymans claimed were meant to "terrefy" and extract money from them. (118) The Rymans were not deterred, and their Sheriff's Court case came to trial on June 4, 1603, before sheriff John Swynnerton and a jury at the Guildhall. There James Beare and John Ryman both testified that Morecombe had promised to repay the [pounds sterling]200 to William Ryman, and on the basis of their testimony the jury awarded to Ryman damages of [pounds sterling]300 plus court costs. On June 30, Beare gave a deposition in the Rymans' Chancery suit against Morecombe, describing himself as "James Beare of the parishe of Allhallowes Lumberd street london inholder aged 52 yeares or therabouts." (119) Responding to interrogatories from Morecombe's lawyer, he told the same story as in his Guildhall testimony, saying that everyone had agreed at the time that the [pounds sterling]200 was to be repaid by Morecombe to William Ryman, and that his account had reflected this debt.

None of this settled anything, for in the spring of 1604 the Rymans and Morecombe filed dueling suits in the Court of Star Chamber, accusing each other of perjury. The Rymans claimed that Morecombe had only won his Common Pleas suit against them by soliciting false testimony from witnesses, and that he had lied in his answer to their Chancery suit. Morecombe, in turn, claimed that John Ryman and James Beare had committed perjury in their Sheriff's Court testimony against him the previous June. (120) Beare finally filed an answer in the latter suit after a delay of nine months, and he was deposed on February 25, 1605, describing himself as "James Beare of Graci-ostreete London Marriner." He refused to answer most of the questions posed by Morecombe's lawyer, saying they were irrelevant to the issue at hand, and merely reiterated that his testimony to the Sheriff's Court had been truthful. On June 13, John and William Ryman both gave depositions saying essentially the same thing. Unfortunately, the outcomes of these cases are not recorded, and nothing more is heard of the disputes after 1605.

James Beare's entire family survived the terrible plague epidemic of 1603, but on August 8, 1607, his son John was buried in Allhallows Lombard Street. Almost exactly a year after that, with the plague again raging, tragedy struck the family. On August 13, 1608, James Beare's wife ("Mistris Beare") and his two youngest daughters, Katherine and Mary, were buried in the parish, and on the same day Beare made his will. (121) In that will, he called himself "citizen and innholder" and left money to the Innholders' Company for a feast. He also gave forty shillings to be distributed "amongest my tenants in the Yarde of my house the Crossekeyes where I now dwell," and bequeathed to his sons "all suche leases and severall Interests for yeares which I haue aswell of the Mesuage or Inne called the Cross keys in Gracechurch Streete in London as of my landes or tenements in Gravesend in the countie of Kent." Two-thirds of the value of the leases was to go to his son James to pay for the education of James's brother Robert (the child baptized in 1592), who was now a student at Eton College and planning to go to Cambridge, with the other one-third to go to the youngest son, William. His wife's apparel was to go to his surviving daughters, Anne and Ellen, and there is also mention of Anne's daughter Mirrable. Beare also owned a one-fifth interest in a ship, the Anne Awdley, which he left to be divided equally among his children. Two days after making his will, James Beare was buried in Allhallows Lombard Street on August 15, 1608. (122) On March 7, 1609, his eldest son James exhibited an inventory showing that Beare had a net worth of [pounds sterling]843 19s Od at his death, including a lease in the Minories (not mentioned in the will) worth [pounds sterling]21, and the leases of the Cross Keys and the lands in Kent, worth a combined [pounds sterling]75 a year. (123)

By the time Beare died, regular playing had long ceased at all four London inns, including the Cross Keys. The exact date is not known; the mid-1590s are the most common estimate, but some inn playing may have continued into the early seventeenth century. (124) On April 5, 1600, William Layston sold to Richard Cheney of London, goldsmith, the cottages in St. Katherine Cree that he had inherited from Alice Layston, leaving the Cross Keys as the only part remaining from her jointure. (125) He never sold it, passing it down to his descendants, who continued to own it until it was destroyed in the Great Fire of 1666. (126) The Cross Keys was still being remembered as a playhouse then; in 1664, Richard Flecknoe wrote that players in Queen Elizabeth's reign had "set up theaters, first in the City (as in the inn-yards of the Cross Keys and Bull in Grace and Bishopsgate Street at this day is to be seen), till that fanatique spirit which then began with the stage and after ended with the throne banished them thence into the suburbs." (127) However, Alice Layston and the other figures we have seen had already been forgotten, and would remain almost entirely forgotten for another three centuries and more. (128) In rescuing Alice and her associates from obscurity, I hope to restore her to a position of interest as one of the most interesting and important women in the Elizabethan theater.


(1.) Herbert Berry, "Playhouses, 1560-1660," in Glynne Wickham, Herbert Berry, and William Ingram, eds., English Professional Theatre, 1530-1660 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000), 295.

(2.) Herbert Berry, "The Bell Savage Inn and Playhouse in London," Medieval and Renaissance Drama in England 19 (2006): 121-43.

(3.) For Jane Poley, see Herbert Berry, The Boar's Head Playhouse (Washingtond, D.C.: Folger Books, 1986), 23-26; for Anne Bedingfeild, see Eva Griffith, "New material for a Jacobean playhouse: the Red Bull Theatre on the Seckford estate," Theatre Notebook 55 (2001): 5-23; for Susan Baskerville, see Eva Griffith, "Baskervile, Susan (bap. 1573, d. 1649)," Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004.

(4.) David Kathman, "Innyard Playhouses," in Richard Dutton, ed., Oxford Handbook of Early Modern Theatre (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009); David Kathman, "London Inns as Playing Venues for the Queen's Men," in Helen Ostovich, ed., Locating the Queen's Men, 1583-1603: Material Practices and Conditions of Playing (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2009).

(5.) Although I found most of the material here, several key documents were brought to my attention by Oscar Lee Brownstein based on his unpublished research, and the late Herbert Berry provided much invaluable help in the early stages. An earlier version of this paper was presented at the 2007 meeting of the Shakespeare Association of America in San Diego.

(6.) Alice's parentage is mentioned in the answer of a 1569 lawsuit, Harper vs. Layston (National Archives C3/97/47), where John Poore, late of Meopham, Kent, yeoman, deceased, is described as the father of Alice (by then Alice Layston) and of Cicely and Dorothy Poore. The lawsuit involved a building in Meopham called Northwood that John Poore, at his death in 1548, had left to his wife Dorothy for a term of twenty-one years, after which it was to go to his son Thomas, or, if Thomas had no heirs, to his (John's) three daughters. Thomas died with no heirs, after having sold the reversion of the property to John Harper of Cobham, Kent; when Harper tried to claim it after the twenty-one-year term ended in 1569, he sued the three sisters, who had taken possession according to their father's will. Also included as defendants in the suit were John Layston, then married to Alice (the other two sisters were still unmarried), and Thomas Garrett, the second husband and widower of Dorothy Poore (and thus Alice Layston's stepfather).

(7.) London Metropolitan Archives (henceforth LMA) CLA/023/DW/01/245, Hustings Roll 246, #44.

(8.) Guildhall Library MS 15211/1, f. 79 (91).

(9.) John Schofield, ed., The London Surveys of Ralph Treswell (London: London Topographical Society, 1987), 126-28, includes a ground plan of the White Hart and a history of the property going back to 1553.

(10.) Guildhall Library MS 2859, f. 17.

(11.) The evidence for playing comes from a 1572 complaint by Thomas Giles, a haberdasher from nearby Allhallows Honey Lane, who complained that the Revels Office had been lending out their costumes to players, including yellow cloth-of-gold gowns lent to "the horshed tavern In chepsyde" on January 21, 1572. The complaint, British Library MS Lansdowne 13, no. 3, is transcribed by Albert Feuillerat, ed., Documents Relating to the Office of the Revels in the Time of Queen Elizabeth (London: David Nutt, 1908), 409-10, and is discussed by William Ingram, The Business of Playing (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1992), 69-70, and E. K. Chambers, The Elizabethan Stage, 4 vols. (Oxford: Clarendon, 1923), 1:79-80. My book will have much more on the Horsehead, its owner John Langley (uncle and guardian of Francis Langley of the Swan and Boar's Head playhouses), and its leaseholder Christopher Edwards.

(12.) Westerfield leased the cellar from Sir Thomas White, alderman of Cornhill Ward and Lord Mayor in 1553-54. He was leasing the cellar by December 24, 1558, when he was named as the tenant in one of White's wills, and was still there at his death in 1566. White's final will, dated November 8, 1566, and his inquisition post mortem the following year both name Westerfield as the tenant of the cellar, though he had actually died a few months before. See H. E. Salter, "Particulars of Properties in the City of London Belonging to St. John's College, Oxford," London Topographical Record 15 (1931): 99 (where the name is transcribed as "Ric. Westersoulde, vintner," in context an obvious mistranscription), and Sidney Madge, ed., Abstracts of Inquisitiones Post Mortem for the City of London Part II, 1561-1577 (London: British Record Society, 1901), 106 and 109.

(13.) Guildhall Library MS 15211/1, ff. 103r, 107v (Browne's binding, April 16, 1561), 108v (Chatterton's freedom, December 23, 1561), 118r (Rydlay's freedom, April 29, 1566).

(14.) Henry Westerfield, the younger of the two, claimed his freedom in the Vintners' Company on April 6, 1573 (Guildhall Library MS 15211/1, f. 133), which he had to be at least twenty-one years old to do, In a Star Chamber deposition on January 26, 1575, he gave his age as twenty-four years "and above" (National Archives STAC 5/M21/29), and in a Chancery deposition on May 3, 1589, he gave his age as thirtyseven "or therabouts" (National Archives C24/208/I2), all of which implies that he was born about 1551.

(15.) National Archives PROB 11/48/411v-413.

(16.) The quote is from Alice Layston's bill of complaint in Layston vs. Persehowse (National Archives C3/226/84), dated May 15, 1588.

(17.) The signature is at the end of his deposition in National Archives STAC 5/M21/29.

(18.) The Bishop's Head and White Horse were being leased by Thomas Hancock and George Tadlowe respectively in 1543, when Hancock and Tadlowe had to sign bonds promising not to allow plays to be performed in their establishments. I presented much evidence concerning these men and their taverns in "St. Mary Woolnoth: A Forgotten Performance District in 1543 London," a paper written for the 2006 Shakespeare Association of America meeting, and this evidence will be incorporated into my forthcoming book. Abraham leased the Cardinal's Hat from the parish, and the rent is recorded in the Churchwardens' Accounts (Guildhall Library MS 1002/1A).

(19.) On April 30, 1566, London's Court of Aldermen made Fryer sign a bond restricting the times when he could host plays through the end of August; see E. K. Chambers, "Dramatic Records of the City of London: The Repertories, Journals, and Letter Books," in Malone Society Collections, vol. 2, part 3 (Malone Society, 1931), 301. Fryer's will, dated March 5, 1575, and proved October 10, 1576, is National Archives PROB 11/58/193v.

(20.) John Layston gave his age as forty in a deposition taken on May 4, 1565 (National Archives C24/68/21). The marriage of John Layston and Joan Crowley is in the Allhallows Lombard Street parish register (Guildhall Library MS 17613). The date of Robert Crowley's death is from his inquisition post mortem in Madge, Inquisitiones Post Mortems, Part II, 123-24.

(21.) Robert Crowley's will, dated June 12, 1555, with a codicil dated February 20, 1559, is National Archives PROB 11/42B/94v-95v. Interestingly, the original overseer of Crowley's will was Richard Berde, citizen and girdler, who had earlier held the lease on the Bull in Bishopsgate Street, one of the other three inn-playhouses besides the Cross Keys. Berde's death led to the codicil, in which Crowley named a new overseer.

(22.) These dimensions are based on the reconstructed post-Fire version depicted in the 1676 Ogilvy and Morgan map, as reproduced in Ralph Hyde, John Fisher, and Roger Cline, The A to Z of Restoration London (London: Guildhall Library, 1992), 55, 57. However, dimensions given in several pre-Fire sources, including Sir Robert Knolles's will, cited below, show that the reconstruction did not change the inn's dimensions or footprint.

(23.) The Cross Keys had been bequeathed to the College at its founding in 1407 by Sir Robert Knolles, who had become rich as one of the military heroes of the Hundred Years' War. His will, which will be discussed more fully in my book, is LMA CLA/023/DW/01/135, Hustings Roll 135, #88, and his biography can be found in Michael Jones, "Knolles, Sir Robert (d 1407)," Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, September 2004; online ed., May 2006, During the period we are concerned with, both the Cross Keys and the Lion on the Hoop were technically owned by the crown, but controlled by a crown tenant who paid a nominal rent. Such "tenants" (including Alice Layston) were owners for all intents and purposes, since they could hold the properties indefinitely and sell or bequeath them, and I will refer to them as owners in this paper.

(24.) National Archives C66/818, m.18; an English abstract of the grant is in Calendar of the Patent Rolls Preserved in the Public Record Office, Edward VI, vol II. A.D. 1548-1549 (London: His Majesty's Stationery Office, 1924), 324-29, esp. 325.

(25.) A William Johnson, probably but not certainly the same man, was assessed for [pounds sterling]66 13s 4d of goods in 1541 in Allhallows Lombard Street; see R. G. Lang, ed., Two Tudor Subsidy Assessment Rolls for the City of London: 1541 and 1582 (London: London Record Society, 1993), 21. Richard Walton does not appear at all in the 1541 London assessment, and I have been unable to find other useful information about him.

(26.) The date of the purchase is from John Layston's inquisition post mortem, National Archives C142/174/11 (an English abstract is in Madge, Inquisitiones Post Mortems, Part II, 206-7, though it mistakenly gives the year as 1551 rather than 1550). The Scutt on the Hoop had been a brewhouse in 1422 when it was bequeathed to the Tailors and Linen Armourers (the predecessors of the Merchant Taylors) by John Buke. See Reginald R. Sharpe, ed., Calendar of Wills Proved and Enrolled in the Court of Husting (London: John C. Francis, 1890), 2:445, and Charles Pendrill, Wanderings in Medieval London (London: George Allen & Unwin, 1928), 103. As with the Cross Keys, the dimensions of the Lion on the Hoop are based on the 1676 Ogilvy and Morgan map but confirmed by pre-Fire sources, in this case by the deed of Christopher Clifford's 1556 mortgage to John Wetherell, cited below.

(27.) The 1552 mortgage deed is LMA CLA/023/DW/01/245, Hustings Roll 246, #108, and the 1553 sale is described in LMA CLA/023/DW/01/247, Hustings Roll 248, #100.

(28.) The two mortgage deeds are in LMA CLA/023/DW/01/247, Hustings Roll 248, #101 (Clifford's mortgage to Wetherell), and LMA CLA/023/DW/01/250, Hustings Roll 251, #45-46 (Johnson's mortgage to Clifton).

(29.) The deal for the Cross Keys is described in the second interrogatory asked of William Johnson alias Fawne on June 16, 1566, as part of a set of Baron's Court depositions (National Archives E133/1/70).

(30.) These quotations are from William Johnson's answer to the third interrogatory in National Archives E133/1/70. Clifford's deposition, taken on 2 April 1566, stated that he had known Layston for more than twenty years.

(31.) These two sales to Layston are described in his inquisition post mortem, cited above; I have inferred the other transactions from the fact that Layston bought part of the Lion on the Hoop from Johnson rather than Clifford, even though Clifford had bought the whole complex in 1553. Clifford's purchase of the furniture and household stuff is described in his deposition in National Archives El33/1/70.

(32.) I have reconstructed most of the details of this complicated deal from the depositions of Clifford, Johnson, and Clifton in National Archives El33/1/70, no single one of which tells the entire story. The deed of December 26, 1561, by which Richard Clifton sold the Cross Keys to John Layston is LMA CLA/023/DW/01/250, Hustings Roll 251, #113.

(33.) LMA CLA/023/DW/01/250, Hustings Roll 251, #121-22.

(34.) The depositions from this 1566 usury suit, National Archives El 33/1/70, are the source of most of the preceding details about the Cross Keys sale. Clifford's deposition describes the unraveling of the agreement with Layston.

(35.) LMA CLA/023/DW/01/251, Hustings Roll 252, #70. This transaction is also described in John Layston's inquisition post mortem, cited above.

(36.) She was buried in Allhallows Lombard Street on August 18 (Guildhall Library MS 17613). Both of Joan's marriages, to Robert Crowley and John Layston, are described in two related lawsuits, National Archives C3/8/119 and C3/9/1, which are discussed below.

(37.) The deed of jointure is described in John Layston's inquisition post mortem, National Archives C142/174/11. An English abstract of the inquisition post mortem is in Madge, Inquisitiones Post Mortem Part II, 206-7.

(38.) As noted above, Robert Crowley's will, dated June 12, 1555, with a codicil dated February 20, 1559, is National Archives PROB 1 l/42B/94v-95v. The 1548 purchase date is from Crowley's inquisition post mortem, cited below. Neither building is named in the will, the later inquisition post mortem, or the 1570 Chancery suit described below, but they are named in the 1571 Chancery suit and 1572 Hustings Roll deed.

(39.) Madge, Inquisitiones Post Mortems, Part II, 123-24.

(40.) National Archives C3/8/119 ad C3/9/1.

(41.) Layston's date of death is given in his inquisition post mortem, cited above. He was buried on April 3 in Allhallows Lombard Street (Guildhall Library MS 17613).

(42.) The suit is National Archives REQ2/166/169. Margaret Spencer had not been one of the forty-plus Crowley relatives named in Alexander Banks's suit, but there were several Spencers listed there, and I assume she was related to them. It is not clear who Mary Langley was, but she may have been a servant, given that John Layston's servant William Andrews had been his codefendant in the earlier lawsuit.

(43.) According to Alice, John Layston transferred the property to Fanshawe through enfeoffment, a very public form of sale that required witnesses.

(44.) These relatives were John Goldesburgh of Cambridge, butcher; his son Thomas; William Giblet of St. Olave South wark; and William Grange of West Wratlinge, Cambridgeshire, clothworker. The indenture is Hustings Roll 257, #32 (London Metropolitan Archive CLA/023/DW/01/256).

(45.) These quotations are from Alice Layston's bill of complaint in a later lawsuit, REQ 2/148/48.

(46.) National Archives C3/213/57. In her bill of complaint for this suit, dated May 13, 1579, Alice described herself as Alice Layston, widow, of Newport, Salop.

(47.) Guildhall Library MS 33011/3, f. 367.

(48.) Charles William Wallace, "The First London Theatre: Materials for a History," University of Nebraska Studies 13 (1913): 90. The dispute between Burbage and Hind is discussed in detail in David Mateer, "New Light on the Early History of the Theatre in Shoreditch," English Literary Renaissance 36 (2006): 335-75.

(49.) Abraham was Master of the Vintners' Company in 1576-78, and was still alive in 1585, when he had two servants buried at St. Mary Woolnoth. Kenneth Rogers, Old London: Cornhill, Threadneedle Street and Lombard Street, Old Houses and Signs (London: Whitefriars Press, 1935), 12; J. M. S. Brooke and A. W. C. Hallen, eds., The Transcript of the Registers of the United Parishes of S. Mary Woolnoth and S. Mary Woolchurch Haw, in the City of London, from their Commencement 1538 to 1760 (London: Bowles & Sons, 1886), 196-97.

(50.) Wallace, "The First London Theatre," 82.

(51.) Ibbotson gave his age as fifty-five in a deposition in mid-1582 (National Archives REQ2/40/3), and his will, cited below, named Kettlewell in Craven as his hometown.

(52.) Brewers' Wardens' Accounts 1547-62 (Guildhall Library MS 5442/3); St. Andrew Hubbard parish register (Guildhall Library MS 1278/1).

(53.) Allhallows Lombard Street parish register, (Guildhall Library MS 17613). I listed all of the Ibbotsons' children in David Kathman, "Citizens, Innholders, Play house Builders 1543-1622," Research Opportunities in Medieval and Renaissance Drama 44 (2005): 43.

(54.) I also listed these seven apprentices, the dates of their registration, and their hometowns in Kathman, "Citizens, Innholders, Playhouse Builders," 43-44, citing the Brewers' Wardens' Accounts and Court Minutes.

(55.) LMA CLA/023/DW/01/262, Hustings Roll 263, #49.

(56.) The purchase from Heneage is recorded in National Archives C66/1241, with an English abstract in Simon R. Neal, ed., Calendar of Patent Rolls 26 Elizabeth I (1583-1584) C66/1237-1253 (List and Index Society, 2001), 39. The purchases from Cooke and Stepneth are mentioned in Ibbotson's will, cited below.

(57.) Chambers, Elizabethan Stage, 4.134.

(58.) One of the White Horse Yard properties had formerly been in the tenure of Richard Peter and was now occupied by John Williams, citizen and weaver; the other was divided into two tenements occupied by John Hinde and Nicholas Cooke. The Allhallows London Wall property had formerly been in the tenture of Richard Ap Thomas, deceased, and was now occupied by Bonaventure Creake, citizen and grocer. Ibbotson's tenant John Hinde was not the same man who had a dispute with Richard Burbage; the latter lived in Pudding Lane in the parish of St. George, Botolph Lane, and the name was common.

(59.) Hyde, Fisher, and Cline, A to Z of Restoration London, 56, depicts White Horse Yard and the Bull. Since this area of London survived the 1666 fire, the Ogilby and Morgan map is probably a fairly accurate depiction of what the buildings were like a century earlier.

(60.) Ibbotson's deposition in National Archives REQ2/40/3.

(61.) National Archives PROB 11/68/405v; Guildhall Library MS 17613.

(62.) Simon Horspoole lived in Allhallows Lombard Street, in a large house on Gracechurch Street called the Falcon, and was the brother-in-law of Thomas Smythe, who owned the Bell inn, which also hosted plays just north of the Cross Keys. I discuss Thomas Smythe and the Bell in the forthcoming "London Inns as Playing Venues for the Queen's Men."

(63.) Guildhall Library MS 17613. In Kathman, "Citizens, Innholders, and Play house Builders," 44, I mistakenly wrote that the wedding was on March 20, but the eighth is the correct date.

(64.) The structure of this agreement was the same as the jointure agreement by which Alice Layston took control of the Cross Keys for her lifetime after John Layston's death. Henry Smith's three leases, and the trust agreement with Horspoole and Preston, are described in detail in Henry and Emma Smith's bill of complaint in National Archives REQ2/71/80, in which they accused Horspoole and Preston of appropriating the leases for their own purposes. This Henry Smith may have been the son of the Bell's owner, Thomas Smythe, who definitely did have a son named Henry, but I have so far been unable to find any good evidence for the identification.

(65.) The quotation is from Walker's deposition in National Archives C24/230/36. Another deponent, John Harris, said that Mary Ibbotson received her portion on May 13, 1589, after she had married William Havard, and that John Ibbotson received his portion on March 5, 1590, after he had turned twenty-one. Walker's lease of the Cross Keys following Ibbotson is described in National Archives C2/Eliz F8/52, to be described further below.

(66.) The first quotation is from Walker's deposition in National Archives C24/230/ 36, and the second is from National Archives E133/10/1592, the interrogatories from an otherwise lost Barons' Court lawsuit against Walker.

(67.) Walker's 1582 lease of a moiety (i.e. half interest) of the Green Dragon from John White of Edmonton and his wife Joan is in Hustings Roll 266, #8 (LMA CLA/023/DW/01/265). The dates of his occupation of the Green Dragon can be deduced from the St. Ethelburga churchwardens' accounts (Guildhall Library MS 4241/1), which list all the householders in that parish in a consistent order along with their quarterly payments toward the parish clerk's wages. I discuss these accounts in Kathman, "Innyard Playhouses."

(68.) Walker definitely owned both the Bull and the Green Dragon when he made his will on April 20, 1602 (National Archives PROB 11/99/269). He said in the will that he had "lately" purchased the Bull from George Mease, but I have not been able to find a record of the exact date.

(69.) Saddlers' Audit Book 1555-1822 (Guildhall Library MS 5384).

(70.) National Archives PROB 11/63/17.

(71.) Centre for Kentish Studies P285/1/1, which records that Tuttesham "was marryed to one Leastons widdowe of grauesend." I am grateful to Debbie Hogan of the Centre for Kentish Studies in Maidstone for finding and photographing the record for me.

(72.) These quotations are from Alice Layston's bill of complaint in National Archives REQ 2/148/48.

(73.) All the quotations in this paragraph are from National Archives REQ 2/148/48.

(74.) The decree book covering the relevant period, National Archives REQ 1/14, has suffered extensive water damage. I searched the legible parts, but found no mention of this case.

(75.) In Wrothe's will (National Archives PROB 11/117/118-119v), dated August 14, 1610, he left to his sister Anne Shirley a house in Bexley called Blunden Hall, which he was leasing to her for a term of sixty years.

(76.) The lease and the bond are described in Alice Layston's bill of complaint in National Archives C3/226/84, which is also the source of the quotations in this paragraph.

(77.) John Westerfield's marriage is recorded in Guildhall Library MS 7493, a transcript of which is on Alan Nelson's Web site at A license for the marriage had been obtained on February 8, as recorded in Joseph Foster, ed., London Marriage Licenses, 1521-1869 (London: Bernard Quaritch, 1887), 1440, where John Westerfield is described as a "vintner." Though the records of the Vintner's Company do not contain any record of John claiming his freedom in the company by patrimony, as Henry certainly did, it was not uncommon for adult sons of freemen to describe themselves as being of their father's livery company, whether or not they had formally registered with the company.

(78.) Henry Westerfield's marriage is recorded in the parish register of St. Mary, Bury St. Edmunds, in the Bury St. Edmunds branch of the Suffolk Record Office. I am grateful to Jean Deathridge of that branch for finding the exact date of the marriage for me. Andrew Skinner's will, dated November 25, 1592 and proved February 7, 1593, is National Archives PROB 11/82/360-360v. In it he bequeaths [pounds sterling]5 and his best carpet to "my daughter Cadiolde," Lydia's married name with her second husband John Cadiolde.

(79.) Allhallows Lombard Street parish register (Guildhall Library MS 17613).

(80.) The Green Dragon will be discussed more in my book, but Myles Wymbish's ownership of it and the later dispute are described in National Archives C3/89/5. Myles Wymbish's 1552 will, including bequests to his daughter Alice (John Perse-house's mother), is National Archives PROB 11/35/236-236v.

(81.) A record of the Inner Temple parliament held on November 26, 1587, shows that Thomas Wrothe was sharing a chamber with "Mr. Otley" in an upper chamber in "Mr. Bradshaw's Buildings"; see F. A. Inderwick, ed., A Calendar of the Inner Temple Records (London: Henry Sotheran, 1896), 1:347-48.

(82.) This paragraph is based on Alice Layston's bill of complaint in National Archives C3/226/84, which is also the source of the quotation.

(83.) The sale of the lease is described in Franklin's bill of complaint in National Archives C2/Eliz F8/52. Both Franklin's bill of complaint and William Layston's answer have suffered considerable damage, obscuring some details.

(84.) National Archives C2/Eliz/P11/31. For more on gavelkind, see A. W. B. Simpson, An Introduction to the History of the Land Law (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1961), 21, and Michael Zell, "Landholding and the Land Market in Early Modern Kent," in Early Modern Kent 1540-1640 (Woodbridge, Kent: Boydell Press, 2000), 39-74, esp. 40-49.

(85.) National Archives C3/226/84. Alice Layston's quotation about herself is from her bill of complaint, and her quotation about Henry Westerfield is from her replication.

(86.) On July 2, 1590, one week before Alice Layston's death, the Court of Chancery issued a decree in the case of Alice Layston v. John Persehowse and others, saying that if the defendants could show no cause for stay of publication, then publication would be granted. This decree is recorded in National Archives C33/79, f. 793v and C33/80, f. 789v.

(87.) National Archives PROB 11/99/269-270v. Weavering is the village directly west of Bearsted.

(88.) The will is National Archives PROB 11/171/229v-303. For the buying and selling of land in Staffordshire by Persehouses, including John the younger (our man), see Collections for a History of Staffordshire (London: Harrison and Sons), vol. 15 (1894), 165, 188, 191, 193-94, 197; vol. 16(1895), 102, 111, 113, 132, 139-40, 174, 178, 191, 197, 198. 200, 201, 206, 210.

(89.) Clothworkers' Hall, Clothworkers' Orders of Courts 1581-1605, f. 15. Franklin may have been related to William Franckland, a prominent Clothworker and benefactor of the company who had died in 1577, but I have found no specific connection between them.

(90.) This testimony is in Franklin's bill of complaint in National Archives C2/Eliz F8/52, described more fully below.

(91.) Transcribed in Chambers, The Elizabethan Stage, 4:305.

(92.) Allhallows Lombard Street parish register (Guildhall Library MS 17613). She had been called Agnes in the record of her marriage to John Westerfield, but Anne and Agnes were interchangeable names in early modern England.

(93.) National Archives PROB 11/76/26v.

(94.) John Venn and J. A. Venn, Alumni Cantabrigienses (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1922-54), 1405. Christopher Marlowe and John Fletcher both studied at Corpus Christi College, though not until after Stallard's primary time there. Marlowe was a student when Stallard got his DD in 1585, but there is no evidence that the two men knew each other.

(95.) Grocers' Wardens' Accounts 1534-55 (Guildhall Library MS 11571/5).

(96.) Thomas and Nicholas Horne were baptized in Allhallows Lombard Street on September 14, 1558, and March 2, 1561, respectively, and were both made free of the Grocers by patrimony on October 9, 1587 (Guildhall Library MS 11571/7). William Horne's other daughter Mary lived with her husband Daniel Dickinson, citizen and draper, in St. Antholin parish, about five hundred yards to the west. After Alice Horne married Roger Spratt, citizen and draper, in Allhallows Lombard Street on February 2, 1591, they also lived in St. Antholin.

(97.) Henry Westerfield's sale of the house is noted in William Horne's will, cited below.

(98.) National Archives PROB 11/80/28. I have not found a record of Henry Westerfield's burial; this may be because he was living in the Knightrider Street house in the parish of St. Benet Paul's Wharf, whose burial records do not survive from this period.

(99.) LMA CLA/023/DW/01/271, Hustings Roll 272, #8.

(100.) Allhallows Lombard Street parish register (Guildhall Library MS 17613). The date of Horne's death is from his inquisition post mortem, an English abstract of which is in Edward Alexander Fry, ed., Abstracts of Inquisitiones Post Mortem for the City of London Part III, 1577-1603 (London: British Record Society, 1908), 193-95.

(101.) Home owned several messuages in St. Botolph Bishopsgate, some of which had been owned by his wife Isabel's first husband, and some of which he had bought from William Abraham, the trustee of the Cross Keys and friend of Alice Layston's first husband. He also owned a complex of buildings called the Wrestlers on Bishops-gate Street, St. Ethelburga parish, purchased of Matthew Piggott, and was leasing a messuage called the Jackanapes in St. John Zachary from the Dean and Chapter of St. Paul's.

(102.) The will does not name the Lion on the Hoop, which seems to have lost its sign by this time, but it is clear from the description and the later deed of sale that this is the same property.

(103.) LMA CLA/023/DW/01/272, Hustings Roll 273, #9. According to the deed of sale, the property stood between a messuage of William Layston (the Cross Keys) on the west, Gracechurch Street to the east, a messuage of John Bendy to the north, and a messuage of Thomas Sherman, citizen and grocer, to the south. Bendy occupied a shop just south of the gate to the Bell inn, and Sherman occupied a shop north of the Cross Keys gate. In "London Inns as Playing Venues for the Queen's Men," I discuss a 1597 lawsuit by John Bendy against Henry Haughton, the leaseholder of the Bell, from whom Bendy was subleasing his shop.

(104.) Franklin's bill of complaint and Layston's answer, from which most of the details in this paragraph come, are part of National Archives C2/Eliz F8/52. All the later developments, plus a few from between Franklin's bill and Layston's answer, are recorded in National Archives C33/82, ff. 87v, 93v, 116, 169-169v, 184v, 194, 201-201v, 315, 342v, 352, 366, 373v, and 379.

(105.) Robert Lemon, ed., Calendar of State Papers, Domestic Series, of the reign of Elizabeth, 1581-1590 (London: Her Majesty's Stationery Office, 1865), 351.

(106.) Kenneth R. Andrew, Elizabethan Privateering: English Privateering During the Spanish War, 1585-1603 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1964), 93. Ryman's surname is given as "Raymond" by Andrew and most other modern sources, but he called himself "Ryman" in his will, and was so called in most of the lawsuits cited below. In 1610 Somers was admiral of the Sea Venture, whose wreck in Bermuda on its way to the Jamestown colony probably inspired Shakespeare's The Tempest. See William Sears Zuill sen., "Somers, Sir George (1554-1610)," Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004, http://www.ox

(107.) The four ships and their activities in 1589 are described in Andrew, Elizabethan Privateering, 93, 249, 253, 258; in a set of depositions taken in the High Court of Admiralty on May 27, 1590 (National Archives HCA 13/28, ff. 409-414v); in a 1592 lawsuit, Christmas vs. Morcombe (National Archives REQ 2/186/39); and in the later lawsuits cited below. Beare described the capture in some detail in his 1590 deposition (National Archives HCA 13/28, ff. 413-414), though he could not remember the exact date when it occurred, and he described how he sold his share of the prize in his deposition in National Archives C24/301/61.

(108.) Beare's leases in Gravesend are mentioned in his will (National Archives PROB 11/112/187v-188v) and the inventory of his goods (London Metropolitan Archive CLA/002/01/1, f.275v-276), both described below. He also owned a house and twenty-one acres of land in "Bastall," Kent (probably Borstal).

(109.) National Archives HCA 13/28, f. 409.

(110.) Guildhall Library MS 17613 (parish register).

(111.) Guildhall Library MS 17613. Only Mary and William are specifically recorded as children of James Beare, since the parish clerk only started naming fathers in 1599, but James, Robert, William, Anne, and Ellen are named in James Beare's will, cited below, by which time the other children were dead.

(112.) Berry, "Playhouses," 304.

(113.) Ryman's will is National Archives PROB 11/96/553, and his expedition to the East Indies is described in Andrew, Elizabethan Privateering, 93, and in Robert Kemp Philp, The History of Progress in Great Britain (London: Houlston and Wright, 1859), 327. It became famous through its inclusion in the second edition (1598-1600) of Richard Hakluyt's Voyages and Discoveries; see, for example, the modern edition edited by Jack Beeching (London: Penguin, 1972), 360-69.

(114.) William Ryman's and William Morecombe's versions of these events are given in their very detailed bills of complaint in Ryman v. Morecombe (National Archives STAC 8/248/5) and Morecombe v. Ryman and Beare (National Archives STAC 8/210/ 32), each of which quotes various earlier lawsuits.

(115.) The loss of George Ryman's ship is described in the account in Hakluyt's Voyages and Discoveries, cited above. The Court of Arches suit is described in the Ryman's bill of complaint in National Archives STAC 8/248/5; the original, along with nearly all early Court of Arches proceedings, perished in the Great Fire of London in 1666. The 1597 account is described in Morecombe's bill of complaint in National Archives STAC 8/210/32.

(116.) The period after which a missing person is presumed dead is now seven years in English common law, but this presumption did not become codified until the Bigamy Act of 1604; see James Bradley Thayer, A Preliminary Treatise of Evidence at the Common Law (Boston: Little, Brown, 1898), 319-21.

(117.) This suit, technically an action of trespass upon the case, is described in detail in the Rymans' bill of complaint in STAC 8/248/5.

(118.) These suits alleged, among other things, that shortly after the unloading of the Spanish ships, William Ryman had appropriated for his own use goods belonging to Morecombe, including two silver bars worth [pounds sterling]300 and ten chests of "Quythenall" worth [pounds sterling]700. All the suits are described by the Rymans in STAC 8/248/5.

(119.) National Archives C24/301/61. George Somers had given his deposition in the case almost four months earlier on March 4.

(120.) Ryman v. Morecombe (National Archives STAC 8/248/5) and Morecombe v. Ryman and Beare (National Archives STAC 8/210/32). Neither bill of complaint is dated, but Morecombe's answer in the first suit is dated May 7, 1604, and the demurrer of the Rymans and Beare in the second suit is dated May 9, 1604. Beare did not file an answer until February 12, 1605.

(121.) Guildhall Library MS 17613 (parish register); National Archives PROB 11/ 112/187v-188v (James Beare's will). The will was proved on September 29, 1608. Beare's son Simon, baptized in 1597, is not mentioned in the will and had presumably died, though his burial is not recorded in the parish register.

(122.) Guildhall Library 17613.

(123.) The inventory is in Common Serjeants Book I, 1586-1614 (London Metropolitan Archive CLA/002/01/1), f.275v-276. It reveals that Beare's daughter Anne was married during his lifetime, and that since his death his daughter Ellen had married Thomas Joyce of Gravesend, baker.

(124.) Berry, "Playhouses," 304-5, presents the evidence for the traditional estimate, and Menzer, "The Tragedians of the City?" argues for a later date.

(125.) National Archives C54/1657.

(126.) The history of the Cross Keys in the decades before the fire is recounted in a case in the ad hoc Fire Court, abstracted in Philip E. Jones, ed., The Fire Court, vol. I (London: William Clowes & Sons, 1966), 39-40. I will go into this history in my book.

(127.) Berry, "Playhouses," 305.

(128.) An English abstract of John Layston's inquisition post mortem, which mentions the Cross Keys, was printed in 1901, as cited above, but as far as I can tell it has never been noted by theater historians before. The reference to the Cross Keys as being Richard Ibbotson's house in 1579 was printed by Charles William Wallace in 1913, also as cited above, but it was included as part of a massive transcription of lawsuits involving the Theater, and has only been mentioned in passing by theatre historians since then.
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Author:Kathman, David
Publication:Medieval and Renaissance Drama in England
Article Type:Report
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Jan 1, 2009
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