The trial of Sir Walter Ralegh: a transcript

Sir Walter Ralegh was tried for treason in the great hall of Winchester Castle on Thursday 17 November 1603. As with almost all treason trials of the period, the result was a foregone conclusion: he was found guilty. The jury took less than fifteen minutes to reach its conclusion, surprising even the king's counsel, the … Continue reading The trial of Sir Walter Ralegh: a transcript

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Kevin Sharpe (1949-2011)

I was very sorry to read on Twitter yesterday of the death of historian Kevin Sharpe. I cannot claim any direct connection with him, but as a postgraduate student in the late 1980s, I found his writing thrilling. Intellectual excitement isn’t much remarked on these days as a class of pleasure, but reading work which … Continue reading Kevin Sharpe (1949-2011)

The persecution of Edward Rookwood: a Catholic victim of Elizabethan state power

There was politics behind the choice of East Anglia for Elizabeth’s summer progress in 1578. During the course of the summer, Elizabeth stayed twice with Philip Howard, Earl of Surrey – heir of the foolish traitor Thomas Howard, fourth duke of Norfolk – just turned 21 that June. Kenninghall, Norkolk's great palace, had been shuttered … Continue reading The persecution of Edward Rookwood: a Catholic victim of Elizabethan state power

Thomas Kyd: fragments of a life

The life and work of Thomas Kyd offer a perfect example of the problems posed by the erosion of evidence over time – see my post here – since what little we do know seems wholly arbitrary in its survival, yet also hints at the enormity of what we have lost. Kyd, a prosperous scrivener’s … Continue reading Thomas Kyd: fragments of a life

The Mayor of London and Lord Strange’s Men

Hobbinol’s excellent post on the Elizabethan theatre and the plague has reminded me – somewhat tangentially, I accept – of one of my favourite anecdotes from the Tudor theatre. Perhaps anecdote is the wrong word. In some respects it is a pretty insignificant event, but I think it reveals a great deal about the tensions … Continue reading The Mayor of London and Lord Strange’s Men

More on the Shakespeare authorship question

Many thanks to those who have taken the time to comment on my previous post on the Shakespeare authorship controversy. Since one of those, from Howard Schumann – sorry I can't work out how to link to it – is from an Oxfordian perspective, I thought I should reply more fully. My general point is … Continue reading More on the Shakespeare authorship question