- 1 Historical Records
- 2 Theatrical Provenance
- 3 Probable Genre(s)
- 4 Possible Narrative and Dramatic Sources or Analogues
- 5 References to the Play
- 6 Critical Commentary
- 7 For What It's Worth
- 8 Works Cited
Performance Records (Henslowe's Diary)
F. 25v (Greg, I. 50)
ye 4 of desembʒ 1596 ne ………. Res at valteger ………. ls ye 8 of desembʒ 1596 ………. Res at valteger ………. xxxvs ye 16 of desembʒ 1596 ………. Res at valteger ………. xxxvs ye 21 of desembʒ 1596 ………. Res at valteger ………. xxvs ye 24 of desembʒ 1596 ………. Res at valteger ………. xijs ye 39 of desembʒ 1596 ………. Res at valteger ………. xxijs ye 1 of Jenewary 1596 ………. Res at valteger ………. xxxxvs ye 8 of Janewary 1596 ………. Res at valteger ………. xijs ye 21 of Janewary 1597 ………. Res at valteger ………. xijss
F. 26 (Greg, I. 51)
- Under the heading, "Jn the name of god amen begininge the 25 of novembʒ 1596 as foloweth the lord admerall players":
ffebreary 1597 . . 5 . . ne.. . . tt at valteger. . . . . . . . . . 01|09|05-13-09 begynyng in leant march 1597 . . 12 . . . . tt at valteger. . . . . . . . . . 00|18|09-01-04 Easter mvnday . . 28 . . twesday . . 29 . . wensday . . 30 . . mr pd . . 31 . . Aprelle 1597 2 tt at valteger. . . . . . . . . 00|04|01-01-00
Payments for Apparel (Henslowe's Diary)
F. 22v (Greg, I. 44).
- lente vnto my lord admerall players at several
- tymes in Redey money as foloweth 1596
- lent vnto Jeames donstall for to by thinges for the
- playe of valteger …………… vli
- lent vnto marten slater to by coper lace & frenge for
- the playe of valteger the 28 of november 1596 ………… xxxxs
- lent vnto marten slater the 29 of november 1596 to by for the play
- of valteger lace & other things ……… xxvs
Payments to Playwrights (Henslowe's Diary)
F. 95 (Greg, I. 151)
- Pd at the apoyntment of the company veto
- my sonne E Alleyn for a Boocke called [m]vorti[m]ger
- the 20 of november <the> 1601 the some of ……… xxxx<sp>s</sup>
Under the heading, The Enventary of all the aparell for my Lord Admiralles men, taken the 10 of march 1598.— Leaft above in the tier-house in the cheast (Greg, Papers 116).
- Item, j payer of hosse, & a gercken for Valteger.
Under the heading, The Enventorey of all the aparell of the Lord Admeralles men, taken the 13th of Marche 1598, as followeth: (Greg, Papers 118-19)
- Item, Valteger robe of rich tafitie.
"Valteger" was performed by the Admiral's players at the Rose, 1596-7. It was given thirteen performances and returned receipts of 23s. to Henslowe on average. If the play called "henges" by Henslowe is a fourteenth performance of "Valteger," the play returned an additional sum (impossible to calculate because of Henslowe's opaque accounting system in June 1597). The play was probably revived shortly after November 1601, at which time the company purchased the script from Edward Alleyn.
Possible Narrative and Dramatic Sources or Analogues
The website, Vortigern Studies (Vermaat), provides a substantial amount of information about Vortigern and his times.
References to the Play
Greg considered "Vortigern" to be the "henges" on 22 June 1597, but he was dubious about its having a connection to the much later play, Hengist King of Kent by Thomas Middleton (II.181, Item 95).
Gurr sees no reason to connect "Vortigern" with Middleton's play "unless Middleton chose to rewrite this older play in about 1615 for the King's Men" (223n).
White considers "Vortigern" an "'Arthurian play' because Arthur's father, Uther Pendragon, figures significantly in all versions of the title character's career" (151). White associates "Vortigern" with "Uther Pendragon" as a narrative and theatrical serial. In the story, Vortigern is vanquished by Uther Pendragon and his brother (Aurelius), who thus reclaim their father's throne. On stage, the plays are sequenced as follows: "Vortigern" retires on 2 May 1597, "Uther Pendragon" debuts on 29 May, and "Vortigern" reappears (as "henges") on 22 June, on the heels of Henslowe's last recorded performance of "Uther Pendragon" on 13 June.
Wiggins, Catalogue explores the possibility that the "Fierdrackes sewtes for Dobe" (Greg, Papers, Appx. I.i, 114) were for "Vortigern" (#1048).
For What It's Worth
The entry of "henges" (regularized to "Hengist" by Greg [2.180] and Foakes ) is taken to be yet another performance of "Vortigern." White agrees (152).
midsomer daye . . 22 . . . . tt at henges. . . . . . . . . . 00|06|00-11-06
The item, "Vartemar sewtte," in Henslowe's inventory for 13 March 1598 has been read as "Valteger's suit" (Greg, Papers 119), though it may simply refer to Vortigern's son Vortimer, who may well have had a role in the play.
Site created and maintained by Roslyn L. Knutson, Professor Emerita, University of Arkansas at Little Rock; created 2 March 2013; updated, 6 December 2019.