Funeral of Richard Coeur de Lion, The

Henry Chettle, Michael Drayton, Anthony Munday and Robert Wilson (1598)

Historical Records


To playwrights in Philip Henslowe's diary

Fol. 46 (Greg I.87)

lent vnto mr willsone the 13 of June 1598 [called] vpon }
a bocke called Richard cordelion funeralle . . . . . . . . . } vs
lent vnto cheattell the 14 of June 1598 in earneste of }
a boocke called Richard cordeliones funeralle . . . . . . } vs

Fol. 46v (Greg I.88)

lent vnto Cheattell the 15 of June 1598 in }
earneste of ther boocke called the funerall } vs
of Richard cvrdelion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . }
lent vnto cheattell willsone & mondaye }
the 17 of June 1598 vpon earneste of ther }
boocke called the funerall of Richard }
cordelion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . } xvs
lent vnto mr cheattell the 21 of June 1598 }
in earneste of a boocke called the fenerall }
of Richard cvrdelion the some of . . . . . } xxvs
J saye xxvs wittnes wm birde . . . . . . . . . . }
lent vnto anthony mvnday the 23 of June 1598 }
in earneste of a boocke called the fenerall of } xxs
Richard cvrdelion the some of . . . . . . . . . . . . . . }
lent vnto mr drayton the 24 of June 1598 }
in earneste of a boocke called the funerall of } xxxs
Richard cordelion the some of . . . . . . . . . . . . . }
lent vnto mr willson the 26 of June 1598 }
the some of xxs wch is in full paymente of } xxs
<of> his þte of the boocke called Richard cordelion }
funerall . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . }
& so mr willson Reasteth in my deate albeinge }
payd [xxvs] . . . pd xs Rest to pay xs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . }

Government Documents

Dramatic Records of Sir Henry Herbert

Revels Documents, 1660-1673 (Bawcutt 249, item R29):

A declaration under William Earle of Pembrokes Hande of the Antient powers of the Office dated the 20th of Nouemb. 1622.
Seuerall Plays allowed by Mr Tilney In 1598. which is .62. years since.

Sir William Longsword allowed to be Acted the. 24. May. 1598
The Faire Mayd of London
And Richard Cordelyon.
Kinge and noe Kinge to be Acted In 1611 & ye same to be printed,
Allowed by Sir George Bucke
And Hogg Hath Loste His Pearle by Sir George Buck.
Richard Hall

A variation of this note was subsequently reproduced in the "Breviat of Sir Henry and Simon Thelwall v. Thomas Betterton" (Bawcutt 255, item R33):

A Declaration under William Earle of Pembrokes hand of the Ancient Powers of the Office Dated Nouember 20. 1622.
Seuerall Plays allowed by Mr Tilney In 1598. As

Sr William Longsword Allowed to bee Acted in 1598.
The Fair Maid of London
Richard Cor de Lyon.
See the Bookes

Allowed by Sir George Buck

King and Noe Kinge to bee Acted in 1611. and the same to bee Printed
Hogg hath lost his Pearle and hundreds more
Richard Hall

Joseph Quincy Adams includes transcriptions of both, with minor differences, in the "Miscellaneous Papers" section of his edition of Herbert's records (Adams, 105; Adams, 112).

Theatrical Provenance

The Admiral's men were at the Rose when Henslowe paid £6 5s to Chettle, Drayton, Munday and Wilson for this play. Herbert's records of Tilney's Elizabethan licences need not be taken as evidence that the play survived into the Restoration; Tilney's licencing refers to two extant plays (The Hog Hath Lost Its Pearl and A King and No King) as well as the lost "William Longsword", "Fair Maid of London" and "The Funeral of Richard Coeur de Lion".

Probable Genre(s)

History (Harbage).

Possible Narrative and Dramatic Sources or Analogues

In April 1199, Richard was killed whilst besieging the viscount of Limoges’ castle at Chalus-Chabrol. With only an iron helmet for protection, no armour, Richard set about inspecting his army’s progress. A lone enemy crossbowman (himself protected only by a frying pan for a shield) managed to hit Richard’s shoulder; the king retired to his tent to avoid alarming his men, but the barb from the bolt could not be removed successfully, and Richard’s wound became gangrenous (Gillingham 324). He died shortly thereafter. There does not appear to be anything especially distinctive about Richard’s funeral, though he did leave detailed instructions about what was to be done with his body, specifying distinct final resting paces for his heart (Rouen), his brain and entrails (Charroux), and the remainder of his corpse (with crown and regalia) to be buried at Fontevraud (Gillingham 324-25). It seems probable, then, that Richard’s death formed at least part of the action of this lost play.

References to the Play

(See Critical Commentary below)

Critical Commentary

Greg II thought this play was connected to Munday's two Robin Hood plays (The Downfall of Robert Earl of Huntingdon and The Death of Robert Earl of Huntingdon); "The Funeral of Richard Coeur de Lion" being the "second part of a trilogy" (#137, pp. 193-4). He notes that:

At the end of the Downfall a second part is promised to include 'The manner of his [Richard's] royal funeral.' This does not appear in the Death. Either it was entirely omitted, or more probably the short passage in the original second part was removed and expanded into the Funeral of Richard Coeur-de-Lion (137) of June 1598. (#125, #127, p. 190)

McInnis canvasses options for the relationship of "Fortune's Tennis, Part 2" to other plays in the Admiral's repertory, and suggests the 4th Crusade-related plays as one possible context: these include "The Funeral of Richard Coeur de Lion", "William Longsword", and Munday's Robin Hood plays (115-16).

Hirrel, in the context of assigning Henslowe's inventory list of March 1598 to the following year (March 1599), suggests that the "shelde, with iij lyones" was Richard's, and was "no doubt ... used in the play Henslowe records as 'the funerall of Richard cordelion'" (Advance Access 5). He suggests that "[t]he play presumably dressed [Richard's] end as a more heroic form of combat, one requiring a shield. In any event, Richard's shield probably was used often in the play, during both the siege and the funeral" (Advance Access 5).

For What It's Worth

Richard's half-brother was William Longespée, 3rd Earl of Salisbury (1167-1226) who may have been the subject of the lost "William Longsword" play written by Drayton for the Admiral's at the Rose in 1598.

Works Cited

Gillingham, John. Richard I. New Haven: Yale UP, 1999.
Hirrel, Michael J. "Alcazar, The Lord Admiral's, and Aspects of Performance." 'Review of English Studies' Advance Access published 22 Aug 2014. doi: 10.1093/res/hgu067.
McInnis, David. " '2 Fortune's Tennis' and the Admiral's Men." Lost Plays in Shakespeare's England. ed. David McInnis and Matthew Steggle. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2014. 105-126.

Site created and maintained by David McInnis, University of Melbourne; created 16 October 2013; updated 24 March 2015.