Black Dog of Newgate, Parts 1 and 2

Black Dog of Newgate, Part I (1602)

John Day, Richard Hathaway, Wentworth Smith, and "the other poete"

Black Dog of Newgate, Part 2 (1603)

John Day, Richard Hathaway, Wentworth Smith, and "the other poete"

Historical Records

Payments for Part 1 (Henslowe's Diary)

F. 118 (Greg I.185)
pd at the a poyntment of John ducke the
24 of novmbʒ 160[3]2 to mr hathwaye [blacke doge of] in earneste 
of a playe called [John dayes [comodye]] the some of ... xxxxs
“The Discovery of a London Monster, called The Blacke Dogg of New-gate …” Guildhall Library, City of London. Reproduced by permission. (see Possible Narrative and Dramatic Sources or Analogues below)

Lent vnto xpofer beston & Robart palante the
26 novembʒ 1602 to paye vnto John day mr smythe
mr hathway & the other poete in parte of payment
of the playe called [John dayes comody] the some of ...  xxxxs
the blacke dogge of newgate

F. 118v (Greg I. 186)
pd at the apoyntment of the company the 20
of desembʒ 1602 vnto mr hathewaye mr symthe & 
John daye & the other poyet in fulle payment for
a playe called the blacke dogge of newgat some of  ... xxxxs

F. 119 (Greg I. 187)
Lent vnto John dewcke the 10 Janewarye
1602 to by Lame skenes for the blacke
dogge of newgate the some of ...      xs

pd more for the company the 16 of Janewarye
1602 vnto Goodman freswatr for [c] a canves
sewt & skenes for the black doge of newgate xijs

Payments for Part 2 (Henslowe's Diary)

F. 119v (Greg I. 188)
Lent vnto John Lewen vpon John duckes noote
of his hande the 29 of Janewarye 1602 to geue in earneste
of the second part of the boocke called the blacke dooge
of newgate vnto mr hathwaye & John daye & mr smythe
& the other poete the some of   ...      iiili

pd at the apoyntment of John ducke the 3 of
febreary 1602 vnto mr hathwaye mr smythe John
daye & the other poet in fulle payment for the
boocke called the second parte of the blacke dooge
the some of    ...   iiijli

F. 120 (Greg I. 189)
Pd vnto the tyerman for the companye 1602
to bye viij yrdes & a hallfe of blacke satten
at xijs a yrde to macke a sewt for the 2 parte
of the blacke dogge the some of      ...         vli ijs

Lent vnto Thomas blacke wode the 21 of febreary
1602 to geue vnto the 4 poetes in earneste of ther
adicyones for the 2 parte of the blacke doge    ...    xs

Lent vnto Thomas black wode the 24 of febreary
1602 to geue vnto the 4 poetes in parte of paymente
for ther adycyons in the 2 parte of the blacke doge  ...  xs

Lent vnto John dewcke the 26 of febreary 1602
to paye the poetes in fulle payment for ther
adycyones for the 2 parte of the blacke doge the some
of           ...    xxs

Stationers' Register

S.R.1, 3.6b/56 (CLIO)

                                                                        22 December 1595

John Danter.     Entred forcopies vnder th[e h]andes of bothe the wardens
   iij ballades the firste the Deathe of Sir Roger Williams the
   Second the Divelles wake / and the Third Luke Huttons
   Lamentacon       .       .       .       .       .       .       .       .        xviijd

                                                                        8 die Januaris

Gabriell Sympson     Entred for their Copie vnder the hands of the wardens, a booke
william white    intituled, The black Dogge of Newgate bothe pythie and profitable for all
    Readers       .       .       .       .       .       .       .       .        vjd

S.R.1, 3.7b/58 (CLIO)
                                                                        9 Februaris (1595/6]

Symon Stafford    Entred for his copie vnder the handes of the wardens. The black
   Dog of newgates Lmentation for all his knauery. vilany bribery and
[Gabriel] Simpson    intituled, The black Dogge of Newgate bothe pythie and profitable for all
   Conny catchinge to the Tune of 'HUTTONs Deldul' .        .        .        vjd

Theatrical Provenance

The play belonged to Worcester’s Men, who leased the Rose playhouse in August 1602 where they played through May 1603.

Probable Genre(s)

Comedy (Henslowe’s entries); “Topical Play” (Harbage)

Possible Narrative and Dramatic Sources or Analogues

“The Discovery of a London Monster, called The Blacke Dogg of New-gate …” EEBO

The first edition (Simpson and White) calls this work simply The Black Dog of Newgate. Subsequent editions (1612, 1638) carry the vivid title-page illustration and the revised title, beginning with "The Discovery of a London Monster, called, The Blacke Dogg of New-gate." The story concerns the apparition of a black dog, "gliding vp and down the streets a little before the time of Execution," and legends associated with that "walking spirit" (A4v).

“Luke Hutton’s Lamentation” (EBBA)

The ballad opens with a conventional lament by Hutton of his imprisonment and impending execution (it includes a claim that his parents were well-born and he disobeyed them). Hutton, not yet 20 years old, describes his criminal behavior, mainly highway robbery (not murder) with 12 fellows he dubs his “apostles.” There is a hint of Robin-Hoodishness in his hitting rich men for their gold. In one stanza, Hutton says he was made a jailor (a common practice, rather like a fox guarding the henhouse) and he set the prisoners free. Claiming a three-year career, he recounts some details of his life: he was born on St. Luke’s Day, and to celebrate his birthday he had robbed 19 men. He was caught in London but taken to York to stand trial. Nine score and seventeen felony indictments were delivered against him (197). As the ballad concludes, he is waiting to ascend the gallows to be hanged. EBBA

References to the Play

Probably, as in most mentions of the "Black Dog of Newgate," the reference is to the notorious criminal, not the play; nonetheless, the following passage from The Witch of Edmonton by Thomas Dekker, John Ford, and William Rowley shows that the subject remained current for many years. Here, Old Banks, a countryman, and his son (Cuddy) talk about the dog Cuddy has seen:

Old Banks: What manner of dog is it? didst ever see him?
Cuddy: See him? yes, and given him a bone to gnaw twenty times. The dog
is no court-foisting hound that fills his belly full by base wagging his tail;
neither is it a citizen's water-spaniel, enticing his master to go a-ducking
twice or thrice a week, whilst his wife makes ducks and drakes at home: this is
no Paris-garden bandog neither, that keeps a bow-wow-wowing to have butchers
bring their curs thither; and when all comes to all, they run away like sheep:
neither is this the Black Dog of Newgate. (act 4, scene 1)

Critical Commentary

Malone made no comment on either part of "Black Dog of Newgate" (p. 316). Collier tied the plays to the tract by Luke Hutton (p. 45, n1); otherwise his interests were on the mention of Robert Pallant, which he believed was the "earliest" of the man as an actor (p. 245, n1) and on the fact that Henslowe continued not to name one of the dramatists (p. 245, n1; p. 246, n3; p. 248, n1). Fleay, BCED suggested that the unnamed "other poet" was William Haughton but did not list the play among Haughton's credits (1.108; 1.272-4).

Greg II repeated Fleay's suggestion but disagreed because Haughton did not otherwise write for Worcester’s Men. He cited as source a now-lost chapbook “said to have been printed before 1600, and ascribed to Luke Hutton who was executed in 1598” (#273 & #277, p. 233), and he noted the title and provenance of the ballad, “The Discovery of a London Monster, called, The Blacke Dogg of New-gate ...".

Roxburge Collection: the headnote to “Luke Hutton’s Lamentation” comments on the popularity of the ballad, quoting Collier’s comments in his ballad collection. The headnote also quotes C. H. Cooper as believing that Luke Hutton was probably a younger son of Matthew Hutton, Archbishop of York in 1595. The headnote provides additional details of Luke's life: he matriculated at Trinity College, Cambridge (1582); dropped out and turned to criminal activity including highway robbery; and he wrote "The Black Dog of Newgate" from prison.

Spraggs adds the following details in a note on Luke Hutton's Lamentation ("Outlaws and Highwaymen"):

(1) Hutton probably did not write the ballad; he was in jail when it was first registered at Stationers' Hall (22 Dec 1595) and "still alive ... on 16 February 1596" and in Newgate; he was subsequently sent to York and hanged. She points out the mismatch of information in the ballad, the earliest surviving copy of which is dated 1598, with the 1595 registration in that the surviving 1598 copy claims to have been written on the day before Luke's hanging in York, an event that hadn't happened when the ballad was first registered (1595).
(2) the "two undoubted works" by Hutton "are a lengthy verse repentance and a pamphlet on the abuses of Newcage officers called The Black Dog of Newgate."

Wiggins posits initially that the theatrical narrative was "how Newgate prison came to be haunted by the ghost of a black dog (#1381). This is the story in "The Discovery of a London Monster, called The Blacke Dogg of New-gate"; details include famished prisoners who cannibalize a scholar "imprisoned … [for] witchcraft"; in the shape of a black dog, the scholar haunts them in prison and "takes his revenge" even after they escape [#1381). However, put off by the goriness of the narrative for a play called a comedy by Henslowe, Wiggins draws back from that proposal (at least for part 2) and offers instead "a comedy dealing —whether satirically farcically, or romantically—with events in and around the prison, perhaps exploiting an alternative reading of the title-phrase as a nickname for the jailer" (#1381). Wiggins does not mention the ballad of Luke Hutton, either in terms of part one of "Black Dog" (#1381) or part 2 (#1389).

For What It's Worth

McMullan defines “black dog” as a canting term that refers to a warrant system by which a person (often himself a criminal) arrested others on mere suspicion of a crime and bullied them into providing information with threats of prison time for themselves. Such warrants were gotten from justices of the peace and the privy council (p. 149). According to McMullan, “[t]he main idea of the black dog system was to prolong the possibilities of intermediary payoffs from thieves and to amass intelligence” (p. 151).

St. Luke’s Day is 18 October.

Works Cited

English Broadside Ballad Archive, University of California, Santa Barbara EBBA
McMullan, John L. The Canting Crew: London’s Criminal Underworld 1550-1700. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers UP, 1984.
Spraggs, Gillian. "Outlaws and Highwaymen"

Site created and maintained by Roslyn L. Knutson, Professor Emerita, University of Arkansas at Little Rock; last updated, 7 February 2012.