Henry I, Life and Death of

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Anon. (1597)
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Historical Records

Performance Records (Henslowe's Diary)

F. 26v / Greg 1.52

Maye 1597
26 ne.. tt at harey the firste life & deth. . . . . . . . . . 02|10|01 — 03 — 09


F. 27 / Greg 1.53

Maye 1597
30 tt at harey the fyrste life & deth. . . . . . . . . . . . 00|19|06 — 00 — 00
June 1597
8 tt at harey the firste liffe & death. . . . . . . . . . 00|12|06 — 00 — 00
14 tt at harey the fyrste life & death. . . . . . . . . . 00|14|00 — 00 — 00
24 tt at harey the firste . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 00|14|00 — 00 — 00
July 1597
1 tt at harey the firste. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 00|06|01 — 12 — 11




Theatrical Provenance


The Admiral's men performed "Henry I" at the Rose in the late spring of 1597.


Probable Genre(s)

History (Harbage)


Possible Narrative and Dramatic Sources or Analogues


Presumably the playwright/s used such standard historical sources as Holinshed's Chronicles.


References to the Play


None specifically identified.


Critical Commentary


Theater historians from Greg to Wiggins assume that this play was a straight-forward biopic.


For What It's Worth


It is curious that the old play, "Bellendon," is revived on 31 March 1597 and given seven performances that run to 25 June. Was there perhaps there is a narrative reason in the acquisition and staging of "Henry I"? A lost ballad connects Henry I and Bellendon:


Tho. Gosson/ Entred for his copie vnder thand of mr warden Cawood, a booke intituled The famous Cronicle of Henrye the first, with the life and death of Bellin Dun the firste thief that ever was hanged in England." (S.R. I, 2.307b/650 CLIO; Greg, BEPD, I.11) 

On 14 and 15 June, "Henry I" and "Bellendon" were played in serial order, and the pairing was repeated a week later on 24 and 25 June. Was this scheduling just a coincidence?


Works Cited




Site created and maintained by Roslyn L. Knutson, Professor Emerita, University of Arkansas at Little Rock; updated 15 November 2019.