Elizabeth Beeston, Sir Lewis Kirke, and the Cockpit's Management during the English civil wars.
The orchestrated raids on London playhouses by parliamentary soldiers perhaps best illustrate this ideological division. Parliament's anti-theatrical legislation and the attempts to enforce it have been well studied. But one detail that has escaped attention is the lack of a uniform response on the part of players and spectators as the pikes were thrust into pits and galleries. During a major incursion, for instance, which accompanied the Commons' proposal to try the king for treason late in 1648, degrees of passivity and active opposition were reported: The Souldiers seized on the Players and their Stages at Drury-lane, and at Salisbury Court. They went also to the Fortune in Golden-lane, but found none there. but lohn Pudding dancing on the Ropes, whom they tooke along with them. In the meane time the Players at the Red Bull, who had notice of it, made haste away, and were all gone before they came, and tooke away all their acting cloathes with them. But at Salisbury Court they were taken on the Stage the Play being almost ended, and with many Linkes and lighted Torches they were carded to White-Hall with their Players cloathes on their backs. In the way they oftentimes tooke the Crown from his head who acted the King, and in sport would oftentimes put it on again. [...] They made resistance at the Cockpit in Drury Lane. which was the occasion that they were bereaved of their apperell, and were not so well used as those in Salisbury Court. who were more patient, and therefore at their Re(easement they had their cloaths returned to them without the least diminution: After two days confinement. they were ordered to put in Bayle, and to appeare before the Lord Mayor to answer for what they have done according unto Law.(3)
In this instance, all the public playhouses were targeted but a vigorous confrontation occurred only at the Cockpit in Drury Lane. Why did the occupants of the Red Bull not revolt in a similar way, and what explains the greater patience of those at Salisbury Court? My concern in this essay is the extent to which "resistance at the Cockpit" might have distinguished its reputation from those of London's other wartime venues. That most of the actors remained loyal to Charles I partially resolves the matter. According to Wright's Historia Histrionica, John Lowin, Joseph Taylor, and Thomas Pol-lard--the leaders of the King's Men in the 1630s--were among the Cockpit's actors in 1648. More recently, Judith Milhous and Robert D. Hume have shown that nearly every actor working in Drury Lane in 1647 and 1648 had either fought in the king's armies or served the exiled Prince Charles on the continent.(4) The presence of these confirmed royalists has something to do with the Cockpit's obstinacy. However, new evidence suggests that a more comprehensive explanation must also factor in the managerial partnership of the theater's mid-century proprietors, Elizabeth Beeston (alias Hutchinson) and Sir Lewis Kirke. The Beeston family had long operated in Drury Lane, and the Cockpit came into Elizabeth Beeston's possession when her husband, Christopher Beeston, died in 1638. Kirke was a friend of the family, a sea captain, and a military officer whom Elizabeth subsequently married. The couple owned the Cockpit for a period of eighteen years, yet their precise role in its story--and indeed in theater history--remains largely unexamined. A substantial documentary basis fortunately enables us to reconstruct aspects of their personalities, their professional experience, and the strong political conviction they evidently shared during the crisis of the 1640s. Cumulatively, this information clarifies why so many players loyal to the Crown gravitated toward Drury Lane after 1642 and offers a refined context in which to consider the struggle for the Cockpit on the eve of the republican revolution.
"Mrs Beestone's Playhouse," 1638-1642
Christopher Beeston (alias Hutchinson) became one of London's foremost theatrical businessmen when he financed and built the Cockpit auditorium in 1617. In the decades that followed, he would carve out a unique managerial role for himself at the head of successive playing companies in Drury Lane, reinforcing his position by amassing a private treasury of playbooks and costumes, consolidating distinct forms of professional authority, and swaying powerful patrons in the Herbert family to create for him the office of Governor of the King and Queen's Young Company.(5) When terminal illness brought this long career to an end in October 1638, Beeston's survivors faced the challenging problem of how to perpetuate an enterprise founded largely on one man's autocratic personality and individual management style(6) A single successor was unlikely to fill to void. Seventeenth-century testators. moreover, felt intensely obligated to redistribute their estates equitably between their spouses and children. By 163.8, Christopher's wife Elizabeth, his son William (by his first wife, Jane), his daughters Anne, Margaret, and Elizabeth, Anne's husband, the actor Theophilus Bird, and their young son Christopher, all depended financially on the Cockpit's continued profitability. Some combination of professional pragmatism and familial duty would therefore seem to explain the decision to split Beeston's managerial role into constituent parts: his son William, bred up in the art of playing, would thereafter govern the Cockpit's actors; his widow Elizabeth would preside over the fabric of the theater.
This division of labour is worth reiterating because confusion surrounding it has obscured one woman's significant role in pre-Restoration theater his-tory.(7) Christopher Beeston divided his estate between four people. He did not own the ground on which the Cockpit stood, but to William he left freehold property in Shoreditch and Lincoln's Inn Fields. William's sister Anne and her son Christopher each received legacies of [pounds sterling].300, the resale value of two houses in Covent Garden. Elizabeth, the will's executrix, was then granted "the residue of all and singuler [of her husband's] goodes and ChattelIs what-soeuer."(8)Contracts conveying leased property were legally moveable, so the Cockpit lease was among Elizabeth's "residue," a fact confirmed by the general awareness afterward of who carried the keys to the theater. In June 1639, for instance, residents of Drury Lane complained about noise arising from a tavern next to "Mrs Beestones Playhouse."(9) In June 1640, the Lord Chamberlain recognized "that lease which Mrs Elizabeth Bieston alias Hucheson hath or doth hold in the sayd Playhouse."(10) By Elizabeth's own testimony in the Court of Chancery in 1651: "Christopher Beeston did by his last will in writing giue and bequeath all the term & interest and estate of the said Christopher with the said lease vnto her ... [and] she ... after the decease of the said Christopher Beeston into the said premisses entred and was lawfully possessed thereof."(11) Recognizing this bequest is important because, in effect, it establishes Beeston as the first recorded woman to own and manage one of London's major purpose-built commercial playhouses.
She had joined the Beeston clan sometime before September I I, 1634 when the dying player Thomas Basse left rings of remembrance to his "Lou-inge freindes Mr Christopher Beeston and Elizabeth his wife."(12) I have been unable to determine more about her earlier life, but her burial in St. Giles in the Fields on December 20, 1663 suggests she may have been considerably younger than her husband."(13) The bequest of the playhouse was designed to provide Elizabeth with income, but it also reflects confidence in her ability to supervise its business. It was not uncommon for Widows to inherit enterprises to which they were already substantially contributing, such as the keeping of inns, the manufacture of clothing, brewing, baking, and printing.(14) Had the widow Beeston found commercial theater distasteful, we can expect her to have liquidated her assets, but instead she retained the Cockpit's lease until its expiration in 1656. Something of the strong personality underlying this commitment emerges from an evocative anecdote in surviving legal testimony. Conducting business with a fellow Londoner in the early 1650s and dissatisfied with the negotiation, she reportedly cut the discourse short, saying curtly, "if that is all you will doe I thanke you for nothing"; she then "kissed her hand" and "made a legg like a man" and "went her way."(15 Performative gestures of this kind must have been useful in the predominantly male-oriented theater world.
Before his death. Christopher Beeston took care to emphasize his wife's unique qualification as a steward of his affairs: "by reason I doe owe many izreate debtes," he said, "and am engaged for greate sommes of money, which noe[t] one but my wife vnderstandes, where or how to receaue pay or take in, I therefore make her ... my full and sole executrix."(16) This was relatively common as well. In addition to prescribed domestic tasks, seventeenth-century businesswomen routinely kept account books, acted as agents in London markets, and cultivated household credit by issuing small loans and pawn broking.(17) The case of Agnes Henslowe, Philip Henslowe's wife, provides an instructive precedent: records show her lending money to players in her husband's name and collecting silk stockings and cloaks as security, a clever choice of collateral given their utility onstage should the players fail to repay.(18) Elizabeth Beeston may have conducted similar business in Drury Lane as her managerial work primarily involved playhouse finance and the provision of production materials.
By the terms of her husband's will, she became a major stakeholder in the King and Queen's Young Company in 1638 and something like its treasurer:
whereas I stand possessed of flower of the Six shares in the Company for the King and Queenes service, at the Cockpitt in drury lane I declare, that twoe of my said flower shares bee deliuered vp, for the advancement of the said Companie, and the other twoe I be] to remaine vnto my said Executrix. as ruffle and amplie as if I lived amongest them (19)
One notes the rhetorical gesture here--"as fullie and amplie as if I lived amongest them"--calculated to ease the transfer of control, anticipating perhaps some reluctance to recognize a woman's authority. Implicit also is the understanding that Elizabeth's shares would cover the playhouse's operational expenditures, certainly the yearly rent of E.45 and probably also salaries for hired hands, wax or tallow for light, coal for heat, rushes and flowers, licensing fees, and local poor relief.(20)
A more explicit clause in the will indicates she also furnished the Cockpit's tiring house with costumes: "my said executrix shall for the said twoe shares prouide and finde for the said Companie, a sufficyent and good stock of apparell fitting for theire vse."(21) Managing a theatrical wardrobe required an eye for style and contacts in the local clothing and textile trades. Early modern women tended to clothe their families and servants, so Beeston likely had some familiarity with these markets: she undoubtedly acquired deeper practical knowledge from her husband who for years purchased apparel for Queen Anne's Men.(22) Skilled needleworkers were fixtures of the theaters, manufacturing and repairing the players' clothes. Henslowe refers to the position of the "tyerman," for instance, a hired person who bought and designed costumes for the Rose. The housekeepers of the Whitefriars theater in 1608 made similar provision for a "tyrewoman," and Crosfield's diary points to the formalization of the position by the Caroline period, noting that Richard Kendall, a tailor, served as "one of y 2 Keepers of the Wardrobe" at Salisbury Court in 1634.(23 )It is tempting to speculate that a similar role in the Cockpit's tiring house was Elizabeth's point of entry into the theater world. Certain at least is her husband's trust in her ability to outfit a repertory that increasingly featured elegant social comedies and masque-like pastorals. Plays such as Ford's The Lady's Trial (1638), Nabbes's The Bride (1638), Glapthome's Argalus and Parthenia (c. 1639), and Brome's The Court Beggar (c. 1639) clearly foreground sumptuousness in a manner attuned to the fashion consciousness of elevated Caroline audiences.(24) One imagines Elizabeth moving busily in the years 1638 to 1642--and perhaps earlier--conversing with clothiers in city markets, supervising needlework in the tiring house, inventorying chests and presses, and overseeing the countless backstage arrangements of the actors' cosmetics, hair, hats, dresses, cloaks, scarves, gloves, belts, and shoes.
Previously unexamined records in the Privy Council Register show that only six months after burying her husband, Beeston pursued an entrepreneurial idea of her own. In the spring of 1639, she partnered with a local vintner, George Li'grave, and a mysterious figure known only as "John with the one eye" to convert one of the Cockpit's neighboring buildings into a tavern. "The George" faced onto Drury Lane, its back wall"abutting on the Cock-pitt" in the triangular block behind it. Both buildings were Beeston's by right of her lease. Playgoers normally entered the theater through a courtyard accessible both from Drury Lane to the west and from Great Wild Street to the east, but Beeston and Lilgrave's plan was to create a third entrance, connecting the two edifices with "a back door from the said playhouse to the said Taverne." The adjoining tavern would increase foot traffic around the playhouse, potentially growing its clientele, while the new door would usher playgoers into the George after an afternoon's performance, promoting the sale of wine and food. Unfortunately, the plan brazenly violated a ban on new taverns in the area. On April 17, the Privy Council issued"a Warrant to commit Elizabeth Beeston alias Hutchinson Widdow, safe prisoner to the ffleete" where she was held for two nights before agreeing by bond not to collude further with Lilgrave. Surprisingly, and to the consternation of nearby residents, the George did not immediately close. Several "persons of qualitie" soon complained to the Privy Council that contrary to the prohibition "wine hath... been drawen and sold in that House adioyning to Mrs Beestones Playhouse." On April 28, to prevent the further disturbance of "divers noble personages and others of the qualite inhabiting nere the same," Justices of the Peace were ordered to arrest anyone attempting"contemptuously ... either to drawe any Wyne in the said house or to hang vp a Signe, Bush, or any other signall of a Taverne there."(25) This renewed pressure led Lilgrave finally to abandon the plan, and Beeston set aside her project of running the theater and tavern together.
Beeston's bold defiance of the wine-drawing ban is likely explained by her later claim that administering her husband's estate left her "very much weakened and impayred" financially.(26) An attorney, William Small, held in trust for her a complex set of bonds, counter bonds, and other financial instruments, the details of which are only partially perceptible in extant legal documents. We learn, for instance, that in 1634 Christopher Beeston did business with the entrepreneurs behind the luxurious Shaver's Hall gaming house in the Haymarket. Heading this syndicate was the ambitious Simon Osbaldes-ton, barber to Philip Herbert, the fourth Earl of Pembroke. Osbaldeston's status as Herbert's client, according to Elizabeth, led her husband--also a Pembroke client--to be "drawne and persuaded" to pledge security for a loan that Osbaldeston and his partners were seeking of over [pounds sterling]400. Their creditor was Sir John Danvers of Chelsea, a Herbert kinsman, later an opponent of the king. When Osbaldeston and company eventually defaulted and fled the law in November 1639, the frustrated Danvers sought Christopher Beeston as the surety. Finding him deceased, he pursued Beeston's widow and executrix instead, prosecuting a successful suit against her in the Court of Common Pleas and forcing her "to defend such goods as she had and to obscure her selfe." She alleges being"put to greate cost and chardges," even traveling "at several] tymes and to several! Countyes in search of the fugitive Osbaldeston and his partners.(27)
Further complications arose in the spring of 1640 when William Davenant displaced William Beeston as the governor of the Cockpit's actors, drawing the theater into a sensitive political situation. The younger Beeston had assumed his father's office in April 1639, two weeks before Elizabeth's arrest in the George tavern affair. In May 1640, his actors performed an unlicensed play critical of the king's recent military embarrassment by the Scots. Beeston was jailed and the Revels Office closed down the Cockpit for four days. Elizabeth was left to oversee affairs alone until Davenant's installation on June 27, 1640.28 How she felt about this incursion by courtiers from above her sphere is not known. Hotson points out that only ten days after Dave-nant's arrival, Elizabeth mortgaged her lease on the theater to secure a [pounds sterling]150 loan from the player William Wilbraham. Bentley speculates the money was used to fund Davenant's scenic innovations: however, what we have seen of Beeston's active managerial involvement so far calls into question the longstanding assumption that Davenant exerted impresario-like power at the Cockpit.(29)
Other plausible explanations for the mortgaging of the share emerge from the financial business outlined above. As late as February 1642, Beeston claims she was "still in greate danger and feare" of bearing the cost of the debt to Sir John Danvers. having by then paid only [pounds sterling]200 of the principal sum.(30) She may therefore have borrowed the money to satisfy a portion of this debt. It will be remembered, too, that she was allegedly "put to great cost and chardges" pursuing the Shaver's Hall syndicate beyond London--so possibly the money financed her manhunt. A third possibility is that she was offsetting debt and credit in a familiar modern manner. Her unpublished probate inventory of 1671 reveals that on September 29, I640--just two months after she mortgaged the Cockpit lease--she loaned [pounds sterling]200 to "Robert Lord Rich," son of the second Earl of Warwick.(31) Perhaps the purpose of taking the Wilbraham loan was to credit Rich? There is no way to be sure, but this pattern of borrowing and lending does usefully demonstrate how the Cockpit's finances came to be entangled with business affairs involving people beyond the theatrical pale. As Craig Muldrew's study of early modern credit networks has shown, most seventeenth-century households were in this way "enmeshed within the increasingly complicated networks of credit and obligation" that structured the English economy. These webs of economic dependency had the effect of linking people in unpredictable ways through "numerous reciprocal bonds of trust in all the millions of bargains transacted."(32) It is in traces of these transactions, at the very edges of theatrical commerce, that we sometimes discover formerly obscure people making unexpected entrances into theater history--such is the case of Lewis Kirke.
Sir Lewis Kirke's "valiant exploytes," 1599-1642
According to William Wilbraham, Elizabeth Beeston was prepared to offer an "assignment of ye playhouse" as security when she sought to borrow [pounds sterling]150 in July 1640. Wilbraham initially refused, uncomfortable with the risk. They negotiated further and finally agreed on "other collateral! security" in the form of"ye bond of Leawys Kirke."(33) Kirke was unknown to theater historians before 1928 when Hotson first reported a few sparse facts connecting him to the Cockpit. Having discovered Christopher Beeston's will, Hotson noted its bequest of a gold ring to the manager's "Noble friend Captaine Lewes Kirk," accompanied by a request that Kirke assist Elizabeth Beeston with the estate's administration. He also observed that the captain and the widow subsequently married, that Kirke fought for the king in the wars, and that the couple witnessed a legal dispute in London over the ground on which the Cockpit stood before their lease expired in 1656.(34) Hotson's primary interest was in theatrical buildings, so he did not delve into questions that concern me here, namely how Kirke came to know the Beestons, how he might have conceived ownership of the Cockpit, and whether his politics had anything to do with violence there in the 1640s. New evidence illuminates all of these issues. Unbeknownst to Hotson, historians since the nineteenth century have been cognizant of Kirke not only for his part in the English civil wars but as a member of a prominent trading family specializing in wine, fur, and fish, and as a significant figure in the early conflict between England and France in North America. The 0,1ford Dictionary of National Biography overlooks his career, but detailed entries on Kirke and two of his brothers appear in The Dictionary of Canadian Biography, complementing a detailed study of the family's exploits, Henry Kirke's The First English Conquest of Canada (1871).35 A survey of this scholarship reveals that just as theater historians have overlooked the larger scope of Kirke's life, historians of early Canada and the English civil wars have yet to register his involvement in the London theater. A more holistic biographical portrait is therefore needed to bring these separate dimensions of his experience together.
Lewis Kirke belonged to an industrious merchant family with roots both in Derbyshire and Dieppe. His father Gervase Kirke (1568-1629) was an English mercer who prospered importing French wine to London and speculating in early voyages to North America. While trading in France in the late 1590s, Gervase married Elizabeth Goudon and they had eight children: David, Lewis, Thomas, John, James, Peter, Catherine and Mary. Lewis was born in 1599 and evidently remained a French national until 1622 when the Kirke siblings were naturalized by Parliament as English subjects. His father's trade and his own later career suggest Kirke spent his youth on the water with his brothers, trafficking Bordeaux and Cognac wines across the English Channel on sack ships.(36) Wine remained the core family business for decades, but like other early modern merchants the Kirkes were flexible. They decisively changed course, for instance, in 1627 when the Anglo-French coalition against Spain degenerated into military conflict. Rather than contribute to the Duke of Buckingham's naval campaign against French ports, the Kirkes channeled their knowledge of trans-Atlantic shipping into war profiteering. That winter they secured letters of marque authorizing vessels captained by three Kirke brothers to target French colonial interests abroad under the auspices of a Company of Adventurers to Canada.(37)
In March 1628, David, Lewis, and Thomas Kirke led a fleet across the Atlantic and by June it had sailed down the "River of Canada" (the Saint Lawrence) into territory claimed by the French. Their objective was to seize Quebec, the strategic heart of New France, and monopolize the lucrative trade in fur with aboriginal people in the Saint Lawrence valley. The brothers had begun to lay siege to a smaller French settlement at Cape Tourmente when word arrived of a second, larger fleet approaching, through the gulf. It consisted of French ships carrying colonists, priests, and provisions for Quebec and its admiral, Claude de Roquemont, represented Cardinal Richelieu's Compagnie des Cent-Associes. The Kirkes surprised de Roquemont near Gaspe where the unprepared French soon exhausted their ammunition and surrendered. With Quebec isolated and the spoil of the French fleet before them, the Kirkes postponed their assault and sailed back to Europe for ransom. (38)
In the wake of English humiliation at La Rochelle that autumn, news of the Canada expedition was welcome in London. A jingoistic ballad circulated entitled En glands Honour Re[v]iued by the valiant exploytes of Captain Kirke, and his adherents, the doggerel of its penultimate stanza reading:
Thus our valient Captaine Kirk. Did the French men soundly jerk. And punch last honour vnto h's natiue land Oh had we many like to him. Then England would in credit swim. And France nor Spathe could not against us stand.(39)
The Kirkes exhibited a Huron Indian at the Royal Exchange, proclaiming him the "Prince of Canaday" in a ploy to secure investment in a second voyage to New France. In the eyes of the French, the Kirkes were traitors. They reportedly received "fowle discourtesies" in Dieppe while repatriating their prisoners, and their effigies were burned in a Paris street.(40) Their notoriety grew when they were authoriZed to return to Canada "in a warlike manner" the next year and seize Quebec's fur trade.(41) Deprived of de Roquemont's provisions and backed by fewer than fifty settlers, Samuel de Champlain, the garrison's French governor, was dangerously compromised. He could do little but negotiate terms when the Kirkes marched English soldiers up the promontory to occupy the fort and raise their ensign on July 20, 1629. The articles of Quebec's capitulation preserve the earliest known sample of Lewis Kirke's signature.(42)
Champlain's Les voyages de la nouvelle France occidentale (1632) describes "Capitaine Louis Guer," then thirty years old, in some detail. Champlain says Kirke showed his captives "toutes sortes courtesoisies," being more French than English in disposition: "Louis Quer estoit courtois, tenant tousiours du naturel Francois, & d'aymer la nation ... ii desiroit obliger en tant qu'iI pouuoit ces families & autres Francois a demeurer, aymant mieux leur conuersation & entretien que celle des Anglois, a laquelle son humeur monstroit repugner."(43) This temperament explains why he was chosen to govern Quebec between 1629 and 1632 while his brothers escorted Champlain and a fortune in animal fur back to London. Kirke's occupation of the fort was reportedly benevolent. He offered wine from his stores to the Jesuit and Recollet orders for mass and in return accepted gifts of books and pictures. Present was a boy from Madagascar, brought by David Kirke and sold to the French for fifty crowns, christened Olivier Le Jeune--the first black African to live in the St. Lawrence region. Kirke urged farmers to remain and became a godparent to a French child born at the habitation in 1631. Tolerance may have come effortlessly, but it was also good policy as the English depended upon French experience to survive the climate and manage relations with indigenous tribes.(44)
Unfortunately for the Canadian Adventurers, London and Paris brokered peace within a month of the Kirkes' second voyage. In 1630, Charles I vowed to return Quebec in exchange for an unpaid portion of the queen's dowry, and the signing of a 1632 treaty required Lewis Kirke to relinquish command of the garrison. French merchants pressed hard for their merchandise, forcing the Kirkes to fight for the pelts they had seized.(45) A court of Admiralty ordered the bulk of the stock returned to the Compagnie des Cent-Associes and the Kirkes caused a minor fiasco when they defied a Privy Council order to give the Lord Mayor the keys to the family's Bishopsgate and Canning Street warehouses. They played a shell game with thousands of furs, moving them from ship to warehouse, even breaking into a government storehouse to reclaim them after they were sequestered. In the end the Kirkes managed to process some of the furs, some "perished with wett," and the rest were restored to the French.(46) Despite the king's promise, compensation in the order of [pounds sterling]50,000 was never paid.
Other honors were forthcoming, however. The family's coat of arms was augmented to include a lion rampant "Cohered with a chaine Argent" to reflect the brothers' "surprizeinge and takeinge of the Countrie of Canida" and their having "vanquished and overrane and brought ... Monsieur de Rockmond prizoner into England."(47)) Royal theatrical entertainment acknowledged the Canada expedition as well. A masque by William Drummond written for the king's coronation visit to Scotland in 1633 features Jove prophesying a Caroline dominion over all "new found worlds," including "Canada the unknowne sourse." This was implicit praise for David Kirke, whom the king knighted a few days later in the home of a Scottish gentleman. The Kirke adventure probably also informs an anti masque by Aurelian Townsend thought to have accompanied a performance of the French play Flori-mene before Henrietta Maria circa 1635. Its text refers to a "Man of Canada," a crude caricature of a Montagnais or Huron Indian who, "rough and rude / with bare, nimble feet," joins an exotic company of Egyptians, Italian pantaloons, and Spanish soldiers in a song of thanksgiving for the civilizing power of the queen's neoplatonic love.(48)
Contrary to these fantasies.. Lewis Kirke's later Canadian ventures were fraught with problems. In 1633, risking the peace with France, the Kirkes claimed new fur-trading rights in the Saint Lawrence region. Lewis Kirke outfitted the Mary Fortune that year and travelled as far as the Gulf of Saint Lawrence before a French vessel captured his ship and impounded its estimated [pounds sterling]12,000 of cargo. Petitions sent to the French court brought him no redress. When he tried to exercise the patent again a year later, a storm stranded him at Plymouth and he finally aborted the project.(49) His brothers would persist, however, and a brief summary of their mercantile activity will help to contextualize Kirke's subsequent association with the Beestons and the Cockpit. On November 13, 1637, the king issued a land grant for the whole of Newfoundland to four men: James Hamilton, Marquis of Hamilton; Philip Herbert, the Earl of Pembroke; Henry Rich, the Earl of Holland; and Sir David Kirke. Sir David was to serve as the partnership's overseas manager at the settlement known as Avalon. Its former governor, George Calvert, Lord Baltimore, had abandoned the site in 1629 to plant the colony of Maryland in the warmer Chesapeake Bay.(50) Sir David settled in the southeastern harbor of Ferryland, off the Grand Ranks. and quickly established a profitable system of impositions on foreign fishermen; at the same time, he worked closely with younger brothers James and John, managers of the family's London trading house, to ship cod, wine, and oil between docks in Canada, New England, and Europe.
Lewis Kirke, meanwhile, entered into the king's "great business" of asserting English sovereignty over the waters around Britain. In the 1620s and 30s, a rise in French and Dunkirk privateering and slave raiding by North African"corsairs (the Sallee "Turks," or "Moors") posed a threat to which a retooled Caroline navy addressed itself.(51)Kirke captained the Leopard in the first ship money fleet of 1634-35, charged with licensing Dutch fishing busses, convoying English travelers and goods, and exacting salutes from foreign vessels.(52) His signed letters in the State Papers point to continued service in the fleets of 1636 and 1637 as captain of the Repulse, the aging ship that once carried the Earl of Essex to Cadiz. An outbreak of "spotted feaver, full of spotts" crippled Kirke's crew in the summer of 1636, and he soon reported the Repulse to. be "so leakie" and its main yard so "rotten" that it was decommissioned.(53) Perhaps growing disillusioned under these conditions, he refused to serve under Captain William Rainsborow in an expedition against Sallee in early 1637, petitioning the Privy Council instead to engage in priva-teeting against the French. After testifying before a commission investigating the poor victualing and clothing of English sailors, he extricated himself from service late in 1637 and again crossed the Atlantic to assist his elder brother with fishing impositions in Newfoundland.(54)
On the evidence of Christopher Beeston's will, Kirke was back in London by October 1638. On what basis, then, did the theater manager and the naval captain become personal friends? The two demonstrably shared social contacts and social space, and I suspect their most significant connection was Philip Herbert, the aforementioned Earl of Pembroke. As noted above. Beeston secured the patronage of this powerful magnate by 1634 and was engaged in business with fellow Pembroke clients such as the barber Osbaldeston. By the mid-1630s, Kirke also seems to have belonged to this network. On June 19, 1635, "the ship of Captain Cherch" was scheduled to carry the Earl's two sons to Dieppe on the first leg of a voyage to Rome. Pembroke, furthermore. jointly held the patent to the Northwest Passage Company to which Kirke's father belonged, and he was, as I have shown, one of the noble patentees in the Newfoundland enterprise managed by Lewis's brother after 1637.(55)
It is also apparent that a community of naval officers and colonialists were living and socializing in the vicinity of the Cockpit at this time. In 1634 and 1635, Beeston rented his Covent Garden house at 6 Henrietta Street to William Monson, Viscount Castlemaine; he was son of Sir William Monson, Vice Admiral of the Caroline navy and Lewis Kirke's superior officer.(56)) An expense account kept for Sir Edward, Viscount Conway, a naval volunteer, records regular payments for playgoing at the Cockpit and Blackfriars in of 1634-35.(57) In 1635, two men began to sell copies of a book called A Relation of Maryland out of their west London residences. According to its title page, one of the vendors, William Peasley, lived in a house "on the back-side of Drury-Lane, neere the Cock-pit Playhouse."(58) Peasley was the personal secretary of Sir George Calvert, Lord Baltimore throughout the 1620s, and both men were in Newfoundland during the Kirkes' occupation of Quebec. Peasley later married Baltimore's daughter, and it was his family that the Kirkes replaced when they moved into the governor's mansion at Ferryland in 1637.(59) The playwright Thomas Heywood, Christopher Beeston's longtime associate, also maintained ties to the Caroline navy which potentially account for the Kirke-Beeston affiliation. In 1634, as the king was surveying the rebuilding of his fleet in the Woolwich dockyards, he stepped aboard Kirke's ship the Leopard and in a moment of inspiration ordered Captain Phineas Pett to build his great English flagship, The Sovereign qf the Seas. It launched three years later, the largest and most expensive vessel of its day. To enhance its magnificence, the navy's carvers Matthias and John Christmas sculpted decorative allegorical figures in wood along the ship's exterior. Heywood received the commission to design these allegories, having formerly collaborated with the Christmases on city pageants. Heywood wrote A True Description of his Majesties Royal! and most Stately Ship to commemorate the work in 1637, and its second edition reveals the playwright's social familiarity both with the "prime Worke-men" who fashioned the ship's "inimitable Fab-ricke" and the "prime Officers" aboard it. First among those Heywood names is "Captaine WILLIAM COOKE" of Trinity House. formerly the master of the Repulse under Captain Lewis Kirke. (60) The personal friendship that developed, therefore, between Lewis Kirke, a ship's captain, and Christopher Beeston, a theater manager, is consistent with a larger pattern of Caroline social interaction. The presence of naval officers and colonial investors in the neighborhood of Drury Lane may furthermore explain the many travel and adventure plays that Beeston purchased for his Cockpit repertory. For seafarers like Kirke, dramatizations of piracy, slave trading. and merchants lost at sea in Massinger's The Renegado (1624), Heywood's The Captives (1624), The Fair Maid of the West Parts] and 2 (revived 1631), and Shirley's Hyde Park (1634) were not merely fantastic plot turns--they evoked authentic experience.
have shown that Kirke was reinforcing Elizabeth Beeston's credit by the summer of 1640, and emerging biographical details suggest he also may have facilitated her [pounds sterling]200 loan to Robert, Lord Rich that autumn. Rich, a royalist Member of Parliament, was heir to Robert Rich, second Earl of Warwick, the powerful head of the Providence Island Company. His uncle was Henry Rich, the Earl of Holland, one of the three noble patentees in the Kirke family's Newfoundland enterprise. Rich and Kirke probably knew each other through this shared colonial background. They were also ardent royalists. In the summer of 1642, both men promptly rode north to support the king, a move that spurred Rich's impeachment. In September 1640, at the time of Beeston's loan to Rich, the Scots were successfully repelling Charles's army in the north, the Long Parliament was assembling, and the crown was desperately soliciting money from all possible sources in London. Under these conditions, we might plausibly speculate that Kirke put the politically likeminded Rich in touch with Beeston, either to secure ready money for Rich's residency in the new parliamentary session, or to assist his financing of the king during the Bishop's Wars (61)
Kirke's involvement with Beeston and her theater soon faced a major disruption. Early in 1641, he was accused of invading the home of a fellow English captain with a gang of men and stabbing him to death. On evidence presented in the King's Bench, a grand jury convicted Kirke of homicide, but he was later released when it was shown that Henry Parker, Lord Morley delivered the killing blow. For months, Parliament debated the conflicting appeals in the case.(62) Kirke seems to have been at liberty by the autumn. On September 1, the House of Commons granted him permission to post bail for Richard Kilvert, the notorious London solicitor who conspired with the Marquess of Hamilton and alderman William Abell to pressure London's vintners to accept illegal duties on imported wine. This deeply unpopular scheme aimed to generate revenue for the king but in effect it enabled monopolizing merchants like Richard's brother, Roger Kilvert, a business associate of Lewis Kirke's family, to reap profit from wine sold in fixed amounts at a fixed price. A lost Red Bull play on the scandal, The Whore New Vamped, excoriated the monopolists in the court of public opinion. But Kilvert escaped further incrimination and was free to repay his debt to Kirke in the years ahead, as I will shortly suggest.(63)
There are hints that by the summer of1642, while awaiting judgment on his appealed conviction, Lewis Kirke may have rekindled his connection with the Beestons and their theater. An enigmatic "Mr. Kirke" visited Sir Henry Herbert at the Revels Office that June with two new plays in hand for licensing, the last recorded before the wars. Herbert's record mentions no playhouse or company affiliation, only that one manuscript concerned the recent revolt in Ireland (in which Kirke's brother Thomas participated as a royalist soldier) and that he burned the second manuscript for its ribaldry! (64) Scholars traditionally identify "Mr. Kirke" as John Kirke, a playwright connected to Prince Charles's Men (and of no apparent relation to the Kirkes in question). However, Lewis Kirke seems an equally plausible candidate.(65) William Bees-ton's insubordination had strained his family's formerly close relationship with its backers in the Revels Office, and the Kirkes were exploiting advantageous connections to the Earl of Pembroke, the man to whom Sir Henry Herbert also owed his office. Herbert and Kirke were members of the same clientele, and later evidence suggests they knew each other personally.(66) Suggestive, too, is the fact that Sir Henry's brother, Thomas Herbert, briefly a deputy of the Revels in 1637, was one of Kirke's fellow captains in the royal navy. Perhaps the Beestons enlisted their "noble friend," plainly a restless man, landlocked and legally in limbo in 1642, to intercede on their behalf by bringing a pair of risque new plays to the censor? This remains speculative, but we can at least be certain that Kirke's relationship with Elizabeth Beeston was evolving because less than four years later they were married and Kirke legally assumed ownership of Cockpit.
The Kirkes, Royalism, and the Cockpit, 1642-1656
On August 15, 1642. a week before the king's standard rose at Nottingham, the House of Lords observed that "one Kirke, dwelling at The Golden Anchor, in Kingestreat hath conveyed privately away divers Pistols and Sad-d1es."(67) Riding north from Holborn with his cavalry equipment, Kirke took up a series of prominent positions in the royal army, commanding troops of horse and foot under Prince Rupert in campaigns at Edgehill (October 1642), Cirencester (February 1643), and Newbury (September 1643).(68) A ghost story in the wake of the traumatic fighting at Edgehill describes "Colonel Lewis Kirke" and other "Gentlemen of credit" investigating reports of a haunted battlefield, "wherein they heard and saw ... divers of the apparitions, or incorporated substances, by their faces, as that of Sir Edmund Varney, and others that were there slaine."(69) When the court relocated to Oxford in April 1643, Kirke was knighted and temporarily appointed governor of the crowded city garrison. By 1644, he was mustering troops at Bridgnorth. Shropshire where he dined several times in the governor's residence with the king.(70) In June 1645, after Parliament's decisive victory at Naseby, history nearly took a radical turn. when Cromwell stopped at Bridgnorth to inspect its defenses and Kirke ordered snipers to tire upon him. A pamphlet reports the close encounter: "a brace of musquet buletts, shot from the enemies works, hit a Cornet of his regiment with whom the Lieutenant General was then talking, but blessed be God the person aimed at escaped without any hurt.(41) Before Bridgnorth slipped from his control in March 1646, Kirke made a dramatic final attempt to hold his position, raining down shot from the high ground on advancing soldiers. As the parish church was seized and made an ammunition store, Kirke ordered it bombarded with granadoes and the resulting fire immolated the town. Only deprivation finally forced his surrender and return to London.(72)
When the defeated soldier returned to the capital in December 1646, he was married to Elizabeth Beeston alias Hutchinson. I have not found a record of the ceremony taking place in London. and it may have occurred beyond the city as early as 1643. By that year. the political environment would have made operating a playhouse very difficult. Fearing a royalist siege, Parliament's supporters were melting precious metals into weapons, rounding up horses by the thousands, and erecting elaborate fortifications around the city gates. Charles's followers, by contrast, were clamoring for armaments and intelligence, rallying to the field, and migrating to Oxford and its surroundings. Beeston's activity at this time has never been determined, but she probably followed the courtly entourage north in 1642 or early 1643.(73)
Intriguingly, in the winter of 1643, one "Elizabeth Hutchinson" was arrested in London and brought before the Committee for Examinations, the primary inquisitorial body of the House of Commons. Initially authorized to call witnesses and search houses, the Committee saw its mandate expand as the war unfolded to include the imprisonment of suspected persons, administration of the oath of allegiance, and the investigation of espionage. In essence, it functioned to identify Parliament's adversaries and adjudicate cases of suspected subversion: (74) On December 25, 1643, the Committee ordered the parliamentary sergeant-at-arms John Hunt to discharge Hutchinson from custody on the condition that she "goe to her lodging at Witney [Oxfordshire] and not return [to London] without a justifiable Passe."(75) Beneath the text of the obligation is Hutchinson's mark, an unsteadily inscribed cross, and the signatures of two witnesses, John Felton, and the London solicitor Richard Kilvert. Precise details of her case were regrettably lost when the Committee's records burned in the Westminster fire of 1834, but given the Committee's mandate it seems clear that she was a suspected political dissident. Was "Elizabeth Hutchinson," in fact. Elizabeth Beeston alias Hutchinson? Beeston made regular use of the surname she inherited, and she would retain it after marrying Kirke.(76) Witney was a royalist stronghold about nine miles from Lewis Kirke's residence at Oxford in 1643, which could also argue in favour of the identification. It is worth noting, too, Richard Ki'yen's involvement: Sir Lewis had been authorized to bail him two years earlier, and it will be recalled that Richard's brother, the wine monopolist Roger Kilvert, was a Kirke family associate. If Beeston and Kirke had married by this time, and if she required the aid of a lawyer. Kilvert might conceivably have attended to her release at Kirke's behest.
If we accept Hutchinson and Beeston/Kirke to be the same person, we further need to consider the question of why she warranted the suspicion of the Committee for Examinations. Why did Parliament deem it necessary to exile her from London? A probable inference is that she was suspected of belonging to the considerable network of messengers and spies known to be carrying concealed correspondence and printed propaganda between London and Oxford at this time. As Geoffrey Smith has demonstrated, the height of this clandestine activity was late 1643 and early 1644, and it involved many women. As non-combatants capable of moving discretely, sometimes in disguise, these "she Informers" proved efficient gatherers and transmitters of intelligence. The Committee for Examinations, the eyes and ears of Parliament, relied upon its own agents to detect and intercept them.(77) The arrest of "Elizabeth Hutchinson," therefore, a woman found to be traveling between London and Witney, the strategic gateway between the king's court and the western counties, may well have been triggered by suspicions of espionage. If it was indeed Elizabeth Beeston alias Hutchinson (possibly now Dame Elizabeth Kirke alias Hutchinson) interrogated that December, and if the Examinations committee was cognizant of her connections to maligned royalists like Kirke and Lord Rich, there could be little question of her allegiance.
Sir Lewis's unconcealed royalism and the circumstantial evidence pointing to Elizabeth's shared conviction raises the question of the extent to which politics rather than financial necessity informed their decision to re-open the Cockpit in late 1646. Certainly they felt the economic imperative: rent was in arrears and various claimants to the ground were competing to collect pay-ment.(78) Elizabeth would have liquidated her valuable stock of playing apparel rather than sacrifice it to moths, and as a defeated royalist combatant, Sir Lewis's estate in the Savoy had been sequestered, forcing him to recover it at a rate of [pounds sterling]151 (a tenth).(79) The Kirkes left no direct evidence of their intentions, but in light of their ideological engagements, it is hard to imagine them overlooking the opportunity to deploy an instrument such as the theater in the service of the struggling royalist cause. Even if financial concern in part motivated their decision to re-open the Cockpit, their tenure in Drury Lane during the second civil war could not have been perceived as politically neutral.
Upon returning to London, the couple moved immediately to regain the playhouse share mortgaged to William Wilbraham in 1.640. Wilbraham says that Elizabeth, "ye now Lady Kirke," approached him requesting that he "make assignment of his interest in ye said Playhouse vnto James Kirke." This was Sir Lewis's younger brother, a wine merchant living in St. Andrew Undershaft.(80) Wilbraham agreed. James Kirke testified in Chancery that he had no personal interest in the theater business but purchased the share to restore control of the Cockpit to his brother and sister-in-law: This name was therein vsed onely in trust for the behoofe of the said Sr Leawys Kirke ... and dame Elizabeth his wife."(81) By the common law of coverture, Lewis Kirke now legally owned the Cockpit theater.(82) Dame Elizabeth's experience and professional connections were crucial to restarting the enterprise, but Sir Lewis had perhaps also formed relationships with players. he fought alongside at Edgehill and elsewhere. While it is true that the pre-war venues most familiar to the king's actors, the Globe and the Blackfriars, were simply unavailable, the confluence of former King's Men at the Cockpit in 1647 and 1648 may owe more to military networking, than we have previously recognized.
Although never entirely suppressed during the wars, theater could be dangerous business. In reopening their playhouse, the Kirkes clearly hazarded their reputation and property. By 1647 and 1648, playbills were being thrown into passing coaches and royalist newsbooks taunted the godly, saying that "where a dozen Coaches Tumble after Obadiah Sedgwick Threescore are observed to wheele to the Cockpit."
The Kirkes reportedly generated "a very extraordinary profit," especially during Michaelmas when they earned "by acting of plays there about xxx or x1' a night." The "company or socyety of players" with whom they were conspiring by January 1648 included the elderly John Lowin, Richard Robinson, Robert Benfield, Thomas Pollard, Hugh Clarke, Stephen Hammerton, and Theophilus Bird--all formerly of the king's company. The diarist John Evelyn saw them perform a tragicomedy in Drury Lane on February 5, 1648, a rare pleasure he wrote "after there had been none of these diversions for many Yeares during the Warr."(83)
Periodic raids dispersed their audience"like a company of drowned Mice."(84) The revivified anti-theatrical ordinance of February 1648 directly targeted playhouse managers, authorizing officials to forcibly confiscate assets in cases of non-compliance and"to pull downe and demolish ... all Stage-Galleries, Seates, and Boxes."(85)These measures reflect to some degree the religious prejudice of the House of Commons, but the more acute tension was political. An earlier order of July 1647 extending the 1642 ban for six months had been an emergency response to the struggle between Presbyterians and Independents in government: violent demonstrations by unpaid soldiers had broken out in Westminster and the army had threatened to occupy the city. The more severe 1648 ordinance notably coincides with Parliament's push to forego a negotiated settlement with the king and rioting by royalists and apprentices demanding a return to stable government. To the king's polemicists, it was a fear of "dangerous Assemblies" that motivated anti-theatricalism."(86)Playhouses buzzed with news, opinion, and conversation. They housed an art that easily accommodated political subject matter and shaped public perception. In the words of Mercurius Melancholicus: "there you may see Treason courting Tyranny, and Faction prostituted to Rebellion; there you may see (as in a mirrour) all State-judglings, clenly conveyances, and underhand dealings pourtray'd to the life."(87) For this reason, wrote Mercurius Elencticus, "the Members are perplexed with the Playhouses" and "no Stages must be tollerated but that at Westminster: [where] None act Cataline but themselves."(88) According to the Venetian ambassador,"the government dreads gathering of the people, all conventicles and meetings are forbidden, and plays and parties in particular, from fear that under the guise of recreation they may be plotting something against the present rulers."(89) This concern was founded: on Accession Day in March 1648, the streets filled with crowds lighting bonfires, drinking to the king's health, and threatening to butcher his keeper Hammond. A month later, when the city's trained bands suppressed a game of tip-cat in Moorfields, thousands of agitated apprentices marched into the Strand toward Whitehall, crying "Now for King Charles!" Cromwell's cavalry dispersed the mob violently and two people were grievously injured. Clearly, there was a sustained current of fidelity in London to the monarchy.(90)
The regrouping of former king's actors under the Kirkes' roof noticeably coincides also with Humphrey Moseley and Humphrey Robinson's publication of Comedies and Tragedies Written by Francis Beaumont and John Fletcher Gentlemen (1647). The folio's dedicatory epistle is subscribed by Lowin, Taylor, and other Cockpit players, whose role in bringing the work to press suggests they were simultaneously acting its plays.(91) We can positively identify only one play acted at the Cockpit in this period, an evocative one: The Bloody Brother (also known as Rollo the Duke of Normandy), originally written in the 1610s for the Globe and Blackfriars by Fletcher (possibly in collaboration with Massinger and others) and revived at court in the late 1630s.(92)According to Historia Histrioniat:
in the Winter before the King's Murder. 1648... . they continu'd undisturbed for three or four Days: but at last as they were presenting the Tragedy of the Bloudy Brother, (in which Lowin Acted Aubrey, Tayler Rollo, Pollard the Cook. Burt Latorch, and I think Hart Otto) a Party of Foot SouIdlers beset the House. surprised 'em about the middle of the Play. and carried 'ern away in their habits, not admitting them to Shift. to Hcaton-house then a Prison, where having detain'd them sometime, they Plunder(' them of their Cloths, and let 'em loose again.93
Wright's report corroborates the essential details of the raid cited at the outset of this essay. A third surviving account reveals that members of Parliament expelled in Pride's Purge for their willingness to negotiate with the king were among the audiences that day.(94) Charles I was in captivity, and his trial and beheading were only a month away. Considering the charged atmosphere and the rough handling of the obstinate players, their staging of The Bloody Brother strongly suggests their discursive participation in the political controversy.
The play depicts the struggle between two sons of a deceased Norman duke and the breakdown of civil order that follows one brother's assassination of the other. An atmosphere of fear and distrust permeates the action, and its central thematic concern is the difficulty of retaining honor in the shadow of repressive despotism. In a key scene, staged to resonate with downtrodden royalists, two competing visions of political virtue are held in tension. The philosophical Lord Aubrey articulates the first--that of passive resistance--after Rollo murders his brother Otto in the sight of their horrified mother and sister:
Complaints of it are vaine. and all that rests To be our refuge (since our powers are strengthlesse) Is to conforme our wills to suffer freely What with our murimicrs we can never master. Ladies be pleas'd with what heavens pleasure suffers. Erect your Princely countenances and spirits. And to redresse the mischiefe now resistlesse. Sooth it in slim. rather than curse or crosse it. Which all amends and vow to ii our best. But till you may performe it let it rest.
Veteran actor John Lowin, a longtime servant of the king, played Aubrey in this instance. Would he have passed over the opportunity to cornmunicate the moment's "hidden transcript" by gesturing toward the necessity of resilient quiescence beyond the playhouse? (95) Aubrey's prescription for "mischiefe now resistlesse"--public conformity, stoical fortitude, and the belief that tyranny is too poisonous to sustain itself--is widely echoed elsewhere in royalist propaganda. Against this view is set the blunt vocal opposition of Sir Gisbert, one of Rollo's failed counselors:
Those temporizings are both dull and servile. To breathe the free ayre of a manly soule Which shall in me expire in execrations Before for any life I sooth a murderer.
For speaking out against Rollo's act of fratricide. Gisbert is summarily executed, his severed head paraded onstage and his body cast unceremoniously to animals. The stark juxtaposition of responses dramatizes the ethical dilemma universally experienced under politically repressive conditions: should one cautiously temporize and await opportunity, or actively rebel and risk violent reprisal? Aubrey survives to seize power by the play's conclusion, suggesting an endorsement of the first principle, and it was one many royalists believed in. And yet when Parliament's soldiers leveled their pikes at the Cockpit's actors and audiences in December 1648, such patience was unattainable. The response was instead more akin to Gisbert's naked anger, inspired, I suspect, by the physical presence of the Kirkes and their reflexive, aggressive brand of royalism.
Circumstantial evidence again points to Lewis Kirke in particular as the catalyst. London had come under the military control of Major General Philip Skippon, Kirke's adversary at the battle of Newbury and an outspoken advocate for the rooting out of London's"malignants." On July 26, 1648, the Commons had urged that the enforcement of its anti-theatrical law:
be referred to the Committee of the Militia of Westminster, with such Forces as they shall think fit, to take care, that the Stages. Boxes, Scaffolds, Seats, and Forms, in the several Playhouses within the County of Middlesex, be forthwith taken down; and the Materials thereof made unuseful for that Service for the future: And that Major General Skippon be desired to advise with the said Committee about the same; and to assist them with Horse, if Need be.
A Provost Marshal was deputized that September with twenty-one other men to coordinate the armed disruption of playing.(96) At the same time, the revolutionary Council of State was expressing anxiety about the Kirke family's activities in Newfoundland. In February 1649, four hundred sailors were denied passage in "ships going thither to fish for Sir David Kirke," the worry being that some designe of danger may be carried on under that pretense," namely the creation of a naval force meant to assist Prince Rupert's reconstituting royalist fleet.(97) When Puritan merchants branded Sir David "a known malignant and inveterate enemye to the present state and government," he was recalled and the plantation's financial and political activity was put under review. He died in a London prison in 1654.(98) Only after signing two [pounds sterling]1000 bonds and vowing to do "nothing prejudicial' to the Commonwealth" was Sir Lewis authorized to attend to his brother's affairs overseas. Eventually, it seems, James Kirke travelled in his place. (99) Sir Lewis would remain a person of political interest to the Council throughout the Interregnum. As late as May 1655, amid new fears of royalist insurgency, the spy Henry Manning wrote to Cromwell's Secretary of State, John Thurloc, urging him to "remember" active royalists in London, among them "Sr Luis Kirke," one of the city's "weekely Intelligencers."(100)
Perhaps the only thing murkier than mid-seventeenth-century espionage from our present vantage point is mid-seventeenth-century theater. Caution with respect to the evidence permits its to conclude that throughout the 1640s the Kirkes were politically motivated and possessed the means in the form of their playhouse to organize unreconstructed London royalists, agitate for non-capitulation to Parliament, and facilitate intelligence gathering for those still fighting on behalf of the Stuarts. Their management of the Cockpit between 1646 and 1649 can be considered analogous to other acts of cultural resistance in the period, such as celebrating feast days. drinking and singing tavern ballads, and reading dramatic literature."(101) From the Kirkes' perspective, the Cockpit must have seemed increasingly unmanageable after January 30, 1649. In March of that year, soldiers again stormed Drury Lane and damaged the theater's interior. The Kirkes permitted William Beeston to invest in repairs in 1651 but then refused to relinquish control of the property, leading him to pursue instead a renewed venture at the Salisbury Court. The Protectorate's crackdown on delinquency between 1653 and 1655 apparently succeeded in preventing further performances at the Cockpit until Davenant's "moral representations" of music, dance, and recitation were licensed there in the spring of 1656. On April 1 of that year. the Kirkes' lease on the stage--and evidently their willingness to persist in the erratic business of managing it--ended. They retired to a residence called the Corner House in Holborn, living on income from other property in Covent Garden. After the Restoration, the surviving Kirke brothers pressed on for restitution of their Canadian trading rights, but Charles II granted them to others, including the dramatist Thomas Crowne.(102) Sir Lewis Kirke's loyalty was modestly rewarded in 1660 with the court office of Paymaster of the Gentlemen Pensioners. Soon after sitting on the grand jury that tried twenty-nine regicides in Hicks Hall, he fell ill and died.(103) His last will and testament, dated August 21, 1663, leaves [pounds sterling]100 to Elizabeth along with the couple's "best Arras hangings." Elizabeth died four months later, and the reversion of the estate went to Kirke's surviving brother John, with gifts traveling across the Atlantic to nephews in New-foundland.(104)
The careers of Elizabeth Beeston (Kirke alias Hutchinson) and Sir Lewis Kirke illustrate some of the ways in which personal and political motivations shaped seventeenth-century London theater management. This essay has sought to clarify the couple's handling of its inherited portion of Christopher Beeston's theatrical business while shedding light on the way dissident royalist energy came to be concentrated in Drury Lane during the crisis of the 1640s. As an active manager of the Cockpit's finances and tiring house between 1638 and 1642, Elizabeth Beeston demands greater recognition. No woman occupied an analogous professional position again until Lady Mary Davenant inherited her husband's interest in the Duke's Company in 1668 and fulfilled his plan to build the Dorset Garden theater in 1671.(105) Fleshing out Hotson's bare-boned description of Sir Lewis Kirke as a gentleman pensioner and Royalist officer, I have shown that he was also a French emigre to England, a wine merchant, a governor of Quebec, a ship money captain, and a participant in the Cockpit's wartime management. Finally. I have argued that the Beeston-Kirke association infused the Cockpit with robust royalist feeling during the civil war era, and that the couple's physical presence in the playhouse likely motivated the heightened resistance observed there by contemporaries. Further facts remain to be determined about these and other mid-century theater proprietors, and they are required if we are to further differentiate the character and reputations of the active wartime playhouses. Who among the Fortune's consortium of sharers, for instance, insisted it function "in the nature of a playhouse" during the lease of Tobias Lisle? Was ideology a factor in William Beeston's negotiations with the Sackvilles and Sir Kenelrn Digby to keep the Salisbury Court theater open after 1649? And what led the Red Bull's "straight lac'd Governors" to persist in hosting drolls by "stealth" and "connivance" during the bleakest days for players in the 1650s? (106)
I wish to gratefully acknowledge both the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada and the University of Toronto for supporting this research.
(1.) Martin Butler. "Review of Winter Fruit, English Drama 1642 to 1660," Shakespeare Quarterly 49 (1998): 93.
(2.) Key studies of the period include: Hyder E. Rollins, "A Contribution to the History of the Commonwealth Drama," Studies in Philology 3 (1921): 267.-333; Leslie Hotson, The Commonwealth and Restoration Stage (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1928): Louis B. Wright. "The Reading of Plays during the Puritan Revolution," Huntington Library Bulletin 6 ( I 93 1): 73-108: Lois Potter. Secret Rites and Secret Writing: Royalist Literature. 1641-1660 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1989): Dale B. J. Randall, Winter Fruit: English Drama, 1642-1660 (Lexington: University of Kentucky Press, 1995): John H. Astington, "Acting in the Field," Theatre Notebook 60 (2006): 129-33: Astington, "Actors and the Court after 1642." Early Modern Literary Studies 15, Article 6 (2007). http://purl.ocic.org/emls/Si15/astiacto.html and N. W. Bawcutt, "Puritanism and the Closing of the Theatres after 1642." Medieval and Renaissance Drama in England 22 (2009): 179-200.
(3.) The Kingdomes Weekly Intelligencer, January 2-9, 1649. 1210-11 (British Library E537.22).
(4.) James Wright. Historic, Histrionic:a (London. 1699), 8; Judith Milhous and Robert D. Hume. "New Light on English Acting Companies in 1646. 1648. and 1660," Review of English Studies 168 (1991): 488-98. Milhous and Hume argue that Wright's list of Cockpit actors conflates two companies from earlier and later periods of 1648. They propose that Lowin and Taylor were at the Cockpit earlier that year but were not leading sixteen other sharers acting there by December. a group that included Charles Hart, Nicholas Burt. and Walter Clun. In this essay, 1 follow Wright in assuming Lowin and Taylor were present in late 1648 but my conclusions, as will be apparent, do not fundamentally depend on these actors belonging to the company at the end of that year.
(5.) Christopher Matusiak. "Christopher Beeston and the Caroline Office of Theatrical 'Governor'," Early Theatre II, no. 2 (2008): 39-56.
(6.) E. A. J. Honigmann and Susan Brock. eds. Playhouse Wills: 1558-1642 (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1993). 191-93.
(7.) See, for instance, the reference to William Beeston as the "property-owner of the playhouse" in Andrew Gurr's influential The Shakespearian Playing Companies (Oxford: Clarendon, 1996), 425.
(8.) Hon igmann and Brock. Playhouse Wills, 192.
(9.) The National Archives UK (hereafter TNA) SP 16/424 1. 240.
(10.) E. K. Chambers, ed.. "Dramatic Records: The Lord Chamberlain's Office," Malone Society Collections 2.3 (1931): 395.
(11.) TNA C 10/35/29.
(12.) Honimann and Brock, Playhouse Wills, 178.
(13.) London Metropolitan Archives microfilm X105/036 (St Giles in the Fields burials. 1626-68). The register records the name "Lady Elizabeth Kirke," Beestons title and surname upon remarriage. I thank John Astington for checking this reference for me. A probate inventory dated June 22. 1671 (TNA PROB 4/13220) shows that Elizabeth's sister. Mary Haynes, administered her estate after an unusually long delay. The "marke of MH Mary Haines" appears earlier on Christopher Beeston's will, which she witnessed (Honigmann and Brock,. 193). "Mrs Mary Haynes" is also the recipient of [pounds sterling]50 in the will of Sir Lewis Kirke (cited below, note 104).
(14.) See Richard Grassby, The Business Community of Seventeenth-Century England (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. I 995). 317-23. and Marjorie Ken-iston McIntosh, Working Women in English .Soricty, 1300-1620 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 2005), 119-218.
(15.) TNA C 24/798.
(16.) Hon igmann and Brock. Plcoliouse Wilk 192.
(17.) Grassby, Business Community, 318-19. See also Grassby. Kinship and Capitalism: Marriage, Family. and Business in the English Speaking World, 1580-1740 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2001), 92-97.
(18.) R. A. Foakes. ed. Henslowe's Diary, 2nd ed. (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002), XXV-XXVii, 60, 62, 230.
(19.) Honigmann and Brock, Playhouse Wills. 193.
(20.) TNA C 2/Chasl/H44/66. After the Restoration, Thomas Cross would occupy an analogous position as "treasurer" of the Duke's Theatre. His duties included "paying the whole charge of the House weekly. that is to say, the Salaries of all hireling Players both men and Women, Music Masters, Dancing Masters, Scene-men. Barbers. Wardrobekeepers, Door-keepers. and Soldiers besides Bills of all kinds as for Scenes, Habits, Properties, Candles, Oils, and other things, and in making and paying (if called for) all the Dividends of the Sharers," cited in Judith Milhous, Thomas Betterton and the Management of Lincoln's Inn Fields. 1695-1708 (Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 1979), 13-14.
(21.) A codicil later changed the bequest to one and a half shares. the remaining half-share going to. William Beeston "for his Care in the business," that is, to promote cooperation between stepmother and son (Honigmann and Brock, Playhouse Wills, 193).
(22.) These dealings with London clothiers are outlined in the Court of Requests case of Smith v. Beeston transcribed in C. W. Wallace, "Three London Theatres of Shakespeare's Time," Nebraska University Studies (1909): 318-37.
(23.) Foakes, Henslowe's Diary, 180, 218-19, 224; The Diary of Thomas Crosfield ed. Frederick Boas (London: Humphrey Milford, 1935), 71-72. Sixteenth-century revels accounts variously refer to women's skill in styling hair, head attires, and make-up for court entertainment. Caroline theater's attunement to elite social refinements suggests a similar prioritization of this aesthetic work.
(24.) For the Cockpit's repertory from 1638 to 1642, see N. W. Bawcutt, ed. The Control and Censorship of Caroline Drama: The Records of Sir Henry Herbert, Master of the Revels, 1623-73 (Oxford: Clarendon Press. 1996), 202-9 and Chambers, 389-90.
(25.) TNA PC 2/50 f. 131r. 132r. 135v, 150v; TNA SP 16/424 t'. 240 (calendared June 1639 but properly April 1639). On the location of the playhouse, see TNA C 2/ChasI/H28/26, C 2/Chasi/H44/66, and Graham F. Barlow, "Wenceslas Hollar and Christopher Beeston's Phoenix Theatre in Drury Lane," Theatre Research International 13. no. 1 (1988.): 30-44.
(26.) TNA C 2/ChasI/P6/6. Hotson calendars this testimony in The Commonwealth and Restoration Stage but does not discuss it.
(27.) For further analysis of the Shaver's Hall project, see Matusiak, "Christopher Beeston," 44-46.
(28.) Bawcutt, Control and Censorship, 1996, 207-8; Chambers."Dramatic Records," 393-95.
(29.) Hots-on, Commonwealth and Restoration Stage, 94; G. E. Bentley, The Jacobean and Caroline Stage (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1941-68), 6:75.
(30. TNA C 2/ChasI/P6/6.
(31.) TNA PROB 14/13220.
(32.) Craig Muldrew, The Economy of Obligation: The Culture of Credit and Social Relations in Early Modern England (New York: St. Martin's Press, 1998). 95-97.
(33.) TNA C 10/36/118. This document does not appear in Hotson's survey of Chancery records in The Commonwealth and Restoration Stage.
(34.) Hotson. Commonwealth and Restoration Stage, 91-100, 129 n37.
(35.) The Dictionary of Canadian Biography Vol.!. 1000-1700 (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1966.) 404-9: Kirke, The First English Conquest of Canada (London: Bemrose & Sons. 1871).
(36.) Kirke. First English Conquest, 206-08. The Kirke coat of arms is reproduced in The Visitation of London An/u) Domini 1633, 1634, and 1635, ed. Joseph Jackson Howard (London: Publications of the Harleian Society, 1883). 33. In 1610. Gervase Kirke was among the "Company of Merchants of London. discoverers of the Northwest passage" who financed voyages by Thomas Button and William Gibbon to Hudson Bay. see Calendar of State Papers, Colonial Series, Vol. 2. East Indies, China, and Japan /573-16/6i ed. W. Noel Sainsbury (London: Longman. Green, Roberts. 1862), 238-41. For Kirke's naturalization, see Journal of the House of Lords (London. 1802), 3:30-32, 36. On the family's wine enterprise, see Peter Pope. Fish into Wine: The Nevtfoundland Plantation in the Seventeenth Century (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2004). 80-90.
(37.) TNA SP 16/115 f. 99. SP 16/130 17.
(38.) H. P. Biggar. The Early Trading Companies of New France (Toronto: University of Toronto Press. 1901), 135-37; Acts of the Privy Council of England, Colonial Series Vol. 1, 1613-1680, ed. W. L. Grant (Hereford: Anthony Brothers, 1908). 13435, 139-49, 170-83; Samuel de Champlain. The Works (dSainuel de Champlain, ed. H. P. Biggar (Toronto: Champlain Society, 1933), 5:275.
(39.) M[artin] P[arker?1, Englands Honour re[vilued by the valiant exploytev of' Captain Kirke, and his adherents, who ivith three Ships, vis. the Ahigale Admiral'. the Charitie vice Admiral!, and the Elizabeth the reare Admiral!: did many admirable exploytes ... [and] The Second Part: lin the Same Tune (London:"M. Trundle. n.d. [16281). The National Library and Archives of Canada (hereafter LAC) holds the unique copy.
(40.) Kirke, First English Conquest, 66-67: The Diary of John Rous. ed. Mary Anne Everett Green (London: Camden Society. 1856), 32-33; "The Kirke Case [16831." Sessional Papers of the Dominion qr. Canada: Volume 6, Filth Session of the Seventh Parliament, Session, 1895, 8Bix (Ottawa: S.E. Dawson. 1895).
(41.) The royal commission of February 4, 1629 is reprinted in David Laing. ed.. Royal Letters, Charters, and Tracts Relating to the Colonization of Nevi. Scotland, and the Institution of the Order of Knight Baronets of Nova Scotia, 1621-1638 (Edinburgh: G. Robb, 1867). 47. The letters of marque (TNA SP 16/130 1. 42) are dated March 19, 1629.
(42.) LAC R9945-0-1-F. collection concernant la capitulation de Quebec de 1629 (formerly LAC MG18-NI. facsimile of Archives des Affaires Etrangeres. Paris, France. Cormspondances Angleterre, vol. 43 f. l92-94): Champlain. Works 5:27982. 6:53-54.
(43.) Champlain. Works, 6:55. 71.
(44.) Ibid., 6:64, 67-68. 70-71. 125; Paul Le Jeune. "Relation dc cc qui s'est passe en la Novvelle France. en l'annee 1633," Jesuit Relations and Allied Documents, 1610-1791, ed. Reuben Gold Thwaites (Cleveland, OH: Burrows Brothers, 1897) 5:196-97. The wills of two of Kirke's men who died in Canada survive: "Robert Lambert being enterteyned in the service of Captaine Lewis Kirke at Kebecke in Cannedy," April 11, 1631 (TNA PROB 11/160 f. 408) and "George Breach late Soul-dier vnder the Commaund of Captaine Lewis Kirke at the ffort of Kebecke in Cannedy," July 1, 1631 (TNA PROB 11/150 f. 325)
(45.) On April 15, 1630, Secretary Viscount Dorchester informed Isaac Wilke, the English ambassador to Paris, that "Kebec (which is a strong fortified place in the River of Canada, wc" the English took) his Me. is content should be restored because the French were removed by strong hand and whatsoever was taken from them in that Fort shall be restored likewise" (Laing 56). John Pory reported to Sir John Puckering on January 13. 1631 that "the bait" to "allure" the French into negotiation for the queen's dowry was "the fort of Kebeck. in Canada, to get it out of Captain Kirk's clutches; the trade in beavers and otters, which they want to enjoy by the possession whereof, having been worth unto them, communibus annis, [pounds sterling]30.000 by year," transcribed in Thom-as Birch. Court and Times of Charles I (London, Henry Colburn 1848), 2: 89-93. Charles authorized Wake by letter on June 12, 1631 to negotiate "the rendition of Quebec" and "the retyiing of or subjects out of Canada," provided his ambassador secure "the remainder of the porcion money" and "an abolition ... of all acts published in France against any, particularly the three brothers, the Kirks, :employed in that occasion," transcribed in Report on Canadian Archives, 1884, ed. Douglas Brymer (Ottawa: Maclean, Roger & Co., 1885). lx--Ixii. For the "Traite entre les Deux Rois pour le Retablissernent du Comerce fait a S. Germain en Laye le 29 Mars 1632," see Foedera, Conventiones, Literae et Cujuscunque Generis Acta Publica (London: J. Tonson, 1732), 364-65.
(46.) Acts of the Privy Council of England, 136-48.
(47.) TNA SP 16/204 1. 7-9.
(48.) William Drummond, The Entertainment of the High and Mighty Monarch Charles King of Great Britaine, France, and Ireland, into his acmcient and royal/ City of Edinburgh, the fifteenth of lune (Edinburgh, 1633). DI v. For David Kirke's knighthood, see William Shaw, The Knights of England (London: Sherratt & Hughes. 1906), 2:201. Stephen Orgel reproduces the antimasque in "Porimene and the Ante-Masques," Renaissance Drama 4(1971): 149-53.
(49.) TNA SP 16/353 f. 4; LAC MG 21 vol. 2 f. 143, Thomas Povey fonds: "An Account of Nova Scotia [16611" (archivist's transcription of BL Egerton MSS 2395 f. 326-27).
(50.) TNA CO 195/1 f. 11-27, "A Grant of Newfoundland to the Marquesse Hamilton. Earl of Pembroke, Earl of Holland, Sr David Kirke and their heires," transcribed in Keith Matthews, Collection and Commentary on the Constitutional Laws of New-ftmndland (St. John's: Maritime History Group, 1975). 82-116.
(51.) Brian Quintrell. "Charles I and his Navy in the 1630s," Seventeenth Century 3 (1988): 161-6.3; Kenneth R. Andrews, Ships, Money and Politics: Seafaring and Naval Enterprise in the Reign of Charles I (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1991), 128-83.
(52.) "Captain Lewis Kerke [ofl the Leopard" appears in a description of the 1634 fleet, dated March 30. 1635 (TNA SP 16/285 1. 132). He commanded a crew of 160 men for the daily wage of 6s 8d, see The Naval Tracts of Sir William Monson, ed. M. Oppenheim (London: Navy Records Society, 1902). 3:224. On August 10. 1635, he escorted Lord Scudamore to Calais in "much thunder lightning and rain," and on August 22, 1635. he guarded a convoy of English merchants transporting "much silver" to Dunkirk ("A Relation of the passages that daily happened ... from the time that the shipps men all together in the Downes 28 May the 8th of October" (TNA SP 16/299 f. 55, 62-63). Throughout that summer, Kirke was patrolling the Channel with instructions to protect English vessels from "those ffrench and Hollanders ... torturinge his Majesty's subjects on these Costs" (TNA SP 16/296 f. 142. SP 16/299 f. 63). A letter of August 27 by the Earl of Lindsey describes a tense encounter during this mission between the Leopard and Dunkirkers (TNA SP 16/296 f. 83). On October 28, 1635, Kirke wrote that he was searching "all Crooks about the Isle of wight & hampton water" in an effort to apprehend "a crew of piratical! fellowes" (TNA SP 16/300 f. 115). On June 27,1636. the Admiralty noted his capture of a French sloop suspected of "nillaging and robbing his Majesty's Subjects" (TNA SP 16/327 1. 152)..
(53.) Kirke's surviving naval letters include: TNA SP 16/299 f. 46 (October 7, 1635), SP 16/300 f. 50 (October 22, 1635), SP 16/300 f. 115 (October 28, 1635), SP 16/300 f. 131 (October 30, 1635), SP 16/303 f. 97 (December I 1635), SP 16/319 f. 43 (April 21, 1636), SP 16/322 1. 110 (May 29, 1636). The infection aboard the Repulse is described in SP 16/330 f. 123 and SP 16/331 f. 6. On the ship's disrepair, see SP 16/336f. 151.
(54.) TNA SP 16/363 f. 193-95: L. D. Seise[degrees], "Testimony Taken in Newfoundland in 1652.- Canadian Historical Review 9 (1928): 249: Peter E. Pope. "Baltimore vs. Kirke, 1651: Newfoundland Evidence in an Interregnum Lawsuit," Avalon Chronicles 3 (1998): 63-98.
(55.) Calendar of State Papers Relating to English Affairs in the Archives rf Venice. ed. Allen B. Hinds (London: H.M. Stationery Office. 1921), 23:403-4: Calendar of Slate Papers, Colonial, 2: 238-41.
(56.) F. H. W. Sheppard, ed. Survey of London Volume 36: The Parish of Sr. Paul Covent Garden (London: London City Council. 1970). 298-99. fig. 45. A vintner named Robert Brasieur operated "the Paris ffrenchman" seven doors down on Henrietta Street, one of several taverns that resisted orders to "pull downe theire bushes" in 1633-34 (TNA SP 16/254 f. 50). Given the Kirkes' trade in wine, one could conjecture an encounter there between a French-horn mariner and a local landlord/theater manager.
(57.) TNA SP 16/285 f. 43-50.
(58.) Anonymous. Relation of Maryland. together with a Map of the Countrey, the Conditions of Plantation, His Majesties Charter to Lord Baltemore, translated into English, These Bookes are to bee had, at Master William Peasley Esq: his house, on the back-side of Drury Lane, neere the Cock-pit Playhouse: or in his absence, at Master loin? Morgans House in High Hol bourn, over against the Dolphin (London 1635).
(59.) Gillian Cell. Newfound/and Discovered: English Attempts at Colonization, 1610-1630 (London: Hakluyt Society, 1982), 250-53.
(60.) The Autobiography of Phineas Pea, ed. W. G. Perrin (London: Navy Records Society, 1918), 156, 166: David Bergeron. "The Christmas Family: Artificers in: English Civic Pageantry," English Literary History 35(1968): 359.-61: Thomas Heywood, A true description of his Majesties Royal! and most stately ship called the Sov-eraign of the Seas, built at Wolwitch in Kent 1637 (London 1638). 46-50.
(61.) Robert Lord Rich attended Strafford in his final hours, see A briefe and perfect relation, of the answeres and replies of Thomas Earle of Straffbrd (London 1647). 104 (BL E417.19). For his military contribution in 1642, see A cattalogue of the names of the Dukes Marquesses. Ear/es and Lords that have absented themselves ft-inn the Parliament, and are now with his Majesty at Yorke (London 1642), .A2r (BL E64.4), catalogue of the names of the Lords that subscribed to levie horse to assist His Majestic in defence of his royal' person (London 1642), and Edward Peacock. The Army Lists of the Roundheads and Cavaliers (London: John Camden Hotten, 1863), 6, 30. On the Rich family's colonial activity, see W. Frank Craven. "The Earl of Warwick, a Speculator in Piracy," The Hispanic American Historical Review 10 (1930): 457-79 and John Louis Beatty. Warwick and Holland (Denver: Allen Swallow, 1965) 16-17, 30, 86-88.
(62.) Glimpses of the case appear in Journal o f the House of Lords, 4:148, 272, 282, 295. 548, 565, 5: 64-65, 67-68. 71. and in witness lists, affidavits, and petitions of the victim's kin in the Parliamentary Archives, HUPO/J0/10/1 f. 49-51, 62, 69, 115, 120, 122 and HUPO/J0/10/14/8/3582. In the summer of 1640, Kirke, Lord Morley and "one Jenkins" allegedly assaulted Captain Peter Clarke "in the night tyme ... the mortall wound given by the Lord Morley" who then "liedde, and forsooke his owne Lodgeing," where "his gloue and his ruffe were found ... bloudy." Morley was reputedly prone to Violence when in the "high Distemper of Wine," see The Earl of Strafforde's Letters and Dispatches, ed. William Knowler (Dublin: Robert Owen, 1740), 1:225, 335. After an initial conviction, Kirke was seemingly retried and then either acquitted or pardoned (HL P0/J0/10/1 f. 51).
(63.) Dagmar, Freist, "Kilvert. Richard (c. 1588-1650)," Dictionary of National Biography (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004), 31:578-79. Those authorized to bail Kilvert in 1641 were "Thomas Powlett of Melplash. in the County of Dorsett, Esquire; Charles Cotton, of Beresford, Esquire; Edward Watkins, Esquire, chief Searcher of the City of London; Lewes Kirke, of London. Esquire, Roger Kilvert, of London. Merchant; jo. Kirke. of London, Merchant," Journal of the House of Commons (London 1802), 2:278-80. Kirke's potential connection to Cotton, a friend of Ben Jonson, John Seldon. Isaak Walton and others, is intriguing and invites further exploration. For The Whore New Vanzped, see The Lost Plays Database: http:// www.lostplays.org/index.php/Whore_New.i/amped_The
(64.) Bawcutt, Control and Censorship, 1995. 211.
(65.) Bentley, Jacobean and Caroline Stage, 2:492-93, 4:710-15.
(66.) "L.Kirke" is one of three signatures subscribed to "Mr KILLEGREWE'S Promise to Pay the Costs of Suite against the Players," a document in a Restoration lawsuit involving Sir Henry Herbert and Thomas Killigrew (Bawcutt, Control and Censorship, 1995, 265).
(67.) Journal of the House of Lords, 5:289.
(68.) A Particular Relation of the Action before Cyrencester (or Cycester) in Glocestershire (Oxford 1643). 7-8, 15; P. R. Newman, Royalist Officers in England and Wales: A Biographical Dictionary (New York: Garland, 1981), 216-17; Ronald Hutton. The Royalist War EllOrt /642-1646 (London: Longman. 1982), 132, 156. 182, 194.
(69.) A Great Wonder in Heaven Shewing the Late Apparitions and Prodigious Noyses of War and Bawls, Seen on Edge-Hill near Keinton in Northamptonshire (London January 23. 1642/43), 7 (BL E85.41).
(70.) "Sir Lewis Kirke Governor: of the Cittie of Oxford""ordered "Powder, Shott. Match. Armes and all other manner of Ammunition" on April 24. 1643, see Ian Roy, The Royalist Ordnance Papers 1042-1646 (Oxford: Oxfordshire Record Society, 196:3-1975), 2:219., 476. He had been knighted one day earlier at Oxford" (Shaw, 2:215). Several of Kirke's workmanlike letters to the king and Prince Rupert from 1644 and 1645 survive. see BL MS Add. 18981. vol. 2 f. 103, 139., 153, 225 and vol. 3 f. 36.
(71.) Quoted in G. Bellet, Antiquities of Bridgnorth with some Historical Notices of the Town and Castle (London: Longmans, 1856). 149.
(72.) Ibid., 162-73, 229-33: Military Memoir of Colonel John Birch ... Written by Roe, his Secretary, ed. John Webb (London: Camden Society. 1873), 102. Competing petitions concerning property Kirke allegedly seized in wartime are preserved in the Parliamentary Archives. HL/PO/J0/10/1 f. 266, 273.
(73.) A Declaration of the Lords and Commons Assembled in Parliament ... also an Ordinance of both Houses/or the Suppressing of Stage-plaves (London. September 3, 1642), A4r (BL E115/15). Ian Roy, "'This Proud Unthankefull City': A Cavalier View of London in the Civil War.- London and the Civil War; ed. Stephen Porter, 156 (London: Macmillan, 1996).
(74.) William Epstein. "The Committee for Examinations and Parliamentary Justice. 1642-1647." The Journal of Legal History 7 (1986): 3-22.
(75.) TNA SP 16/498 f. 79. I interpret "lodging" here to mean a temporary residence.
(76.) Her probate inventory, for instance, identifies her as "Dame Elizabeth Kirke (alias Hutchinson)" (TNA PROB 14/13220).
(77.) On female spies. especially those conducted by Dr. John Barwick at Durham House. see Geoffrey Smith, Royalist Agents, Conspirators, and Spies: Their Role in the British Civil Wars, /640-1660 (Farnham: Ashgate, 2011), 42-45. See also Epstein, "Committee for Examinations," 6-9..
(78.) For this aspect of the Cockpit story, see Hotson. Commonwealth and Restoration Stage, 94-98.
(79.) calendar or the Proceedings of the Committee pr Compounding with Delinquents ... 1643-1.660 (London: Her Majesty's Stationery Office. 1889-92), 2: 1596-97.
(80.) TNA C 2/ChasI/H28/26; Parliamentary Archives I-IL/PO/JO/10/i f. 49. James Kirke's will (TNA PROB 11/2591. 88) indicates he lived until November 25, 1656. .
(81.) TNA C 10/36/116. Hotson's survey of Chancery records overlooks this document.
(82.) See Amy Louise Erickson, Women and Property in Early Modern England (London: Routledge. 1993). 24-25, 100-1. Elizabeth describes herself in a Chancery pleading of 1650 as "Covert Baron and the lawfull wife of ... Sir Lewis Kirke" (TNA C 7/181/44).
(83.) For the details in this paragraph, see TNA C2/108/34. quoted by Hotson, Commonwealth and Restoration Stage, 94-95; Mercurius Elencticus, January 19-26, 1647/48, 66 (BL E423.25); Milhous and Hume. "New Light," 487-509; The Diary of John Evelyn, ed. E. S. De Beer (London: Oxford University Press, 1959), 272. During this period, the Kirkes may also have revived the scheme to open the adjoining George tavern (now demised to one Knightly Lucas), a logical plan given Kirke's contacts in the wine merchant community (c.f. TNA C 2/Chasl/H28/26).
(84.) A gloating phrase used in Perfect Occurrences, October 1-8, 1647, 281 [mis-paginated. 178] (BL E518.42); see also Hotson.. Commonwealth and Restoration Stage, 24-38.
(85.) Order of the Lords and Commons ... For Suppressing of Publique Play-Houses, Dancing on the Ropes, and Bear-ba itings (London July 17, I 647); Ordinance of the Lords and Commons Assembled in Parliament lbr the Utter Suppression and Abolishing of all Stage-Playes and Interludes (London February I I. 1647/48), 3-5 (BL E426.22).
(86.) Mercurius Melancholicus, September 4, 1647, 2 (BL E405.24); Samuel R. Gardiner. History of the Great Civil War (London: Longmans, Green and Co., 1893), 3:292-93. 302-05, 345-47, 4:45-46, 51 68-69. 97-98, 121-22. 126-28.
(87.) Mercurius Melancholicus, January 22-29. 1647/48, 130 (BL E423.30).
(88.) Mercurius Elencticus, January 19-26. 1647/48), 66 (BL E423.25).
(89.) Calendar of State Papers Relating to English Affairs in the Archives of Venice, Vol. 30, 1655-1656 (London: H.M. Stationery Office, 1930), 165.
(90.) Gardiner, History of the Great Civil War, 4: 94, 97-99; Ian Gentles, "The Struggle for London in the Second Civil War," The Historical Journal 26 (1983): 287-91.
(91.) Louis. Wright, "The Reading of Plays," 1931,. 80-85.
(92.) The Dramatic Works in the Beaumont and Fletcher Canon, ed. Fredson Bowers (Cambridge Cambridge University Press, 2008), 10:147-65. Jonson's Sejanus--a tragedy of political faction and repressive tyranny in the vein of The Bloody Brother--was reportedly also acted at the Cockpit in this period, though the evidence is less reliable, see Hyder E. Rollins, "The Commonwealth Drama: Miscellaneous Notes," Studies in Philology 20 (1923): 57.
(93.) James Wright. Historia Histrionica, 8-9.
(94.) Perfect Occurrences, December 29 January 5, 1648/49, 784 (BL E527.3).
(95.) James C. Scott outlines this form of subcultural critique in DOMillati.011 and the Arts of Resistance: Hidden Transcript's (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1990), esp. 120-35.
(96.) Journal of the House of Commons. 5: 648; Hotson, Contral. and Censorship, 38-39; Gentles, "Struggle for London," 291-302.
(97.) TNA SP 25/94 f. 7. On November 11, 1648. two months before his execution, Charles I wrote to Sir David Kirke requesting that he accommodate Lady Frances Hopkins and her family. They had become political refugees after Sir William Hopkins hosted the king on the Isle of Wight (BL MS Egerton, 2395 f. 36). Lady Hopkins (formerly Frances Andrews) was Kirke's sister-in-law.
(98.) Sir David Kirke's nuncupative will is dated January 28, 1654 (TNA PROB 11/ 240 f. 177). When he returned to London, the descendants of George Calvert, Lord Baltimore prosecuted a land claim in court. arguing that Kirke had illegally appropriated the Ferry land settlement in 1637. This proved convenient for the Council, which ignored Sir David's petitions from prison (Journal of the House of Commons. 7:97), effectively allowing him to die in jail. His wife Sara and their sons (George, Philip and Jarvis) continued to govern Ferryland until 1697 when they were displaced by the French. Sir Lewis Kirke's will (cited below. note 104) suggests that he quietly took over portions of his brother's estate in trust, thus sheltering it from the government.
(99.) TNA SP 25/120.f. 19, "List of Recognizances to the Council of State- (entry for May 25. 1650). The family may have been relieved of some political pressure by younger brother John Kirke's business connections to prominent Independents, including William Berkeley, an alderman thought to be involved in the Canadian ventures of the 1620s and 30s (Pope, Fish into Wine, 83-86).
(100.) TNA SP I 8/97 F. 219-20. On Manning. see A Collection of the State Papers of John Thur/n' (London: Woodward. 1742). 4:149. 269, 290-91, 293. 718 and Smith, Royalist Agents, 183-200. David Underdown analyzes the insurrections of 1654 and 1655 in Royalist Conspiracy in England 1649-/660 (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1960), 97-158.
(101.) Firth, 644-48; Potter, Secret Rites, 32-37.
(102.) LAC MG 21, vol. 2 1. 151-53 (archivist's transcription of BL Egerton 2395 f. 340-41).
(103.) TNA SP 29/19 .1. 80;. SP 29/28 F. 46; A Collection of the Most Remarkable and Interesting Trials (London: R. Snagg, 1775), 133.
(104.) TNA PROB 11/312 1. 131-33, will of Sir Lewis Kirke, August 21, 1663.
(105.) Philip H. HigliiIl Jr.. Kalman A. Burnim, and Edward A. Langhans, eds., Dictionary of Actors, Actresses, Musicians, Dancers, Managers & other Stage Personnel in London., 1660-1800 (Carbonsdale: Southern Illinois University Press. 1973-93). 4:166-68.
(106.) Hotson. Commonwealth and Restoration Stage, 43-48. 100-106: Gerard Lan-gbaine. An Account of the English Drantatick Poets (London 1691), 89.
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|Date:||Jan 1, 2014|
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