Rogues & Vagabonds

theatre, film & tv past and present 2001-2008 & 2013…

Christopher Marlowe In Norton Folgate | Spitalfields Life

Originally posted on Spitalfields Life

Towards the end of the sixteenth century, Shoreditch and Norton Folgate comprised theatre land for Elizabethan London, with a monument in St Leonard’s Church today commemorating the actors who once lived locally and tax records suggesting William Shakespeare was a parishioner of St Helen’s, Bishopsgate, in 1598.

A warrant issued in September 1589 for the arrest of the mysterious yet charismatic tragedian & poet Christopher Marlowe confirms that the twenty-five year old writer was resident in the Liberty of Norton Folgate. He shared lodgings with fellow playwright Thomas Kyd and his Cambridge friend Thomas Watson, the poet, lived nearby. Marlowe’s plays were likely to have been performed at The Theatre in New Inn Yard and The Curtain in Curtain Rd at this time.

“Thomas Watson of Norton Folgate in Middlesex County, gentleman, and Christopher Marlowe of the same, yeoman….were delivered to jail the 18th day of September by Stephen Wyld, Constable of the same on suspicion of murder” reads the warrant.

The story goes that Marlowe was set upon in Hog Lane – now Worship St – by William Bradley, an innkeeper’s son, over an unpaid debt and Thomas Watson intervened with his sword to protect his friend, stabbing Bradley to death. Although Marlowe took flight, he was arrested and imprisoned in Newgate with Watson for a fortnight. On 3rd December, they were tried and, after Watson’s claim of self-defence was accepted, both were discharged with…

Read original: Christopher Marlowe In Norton Folgate | Spitalfields Life.

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