Welshman, The

Anon. (1595)

Historical Records

Performance Records

Playlists in Philip Henslowe's diary

Fol. 14 (Greg, I. 27)

ye 29 of novmbʒ ……… Res at the welche man ……… vijs

Theatrical Provenance

Henslowe's entry for "the welche man" occurs in the fall of 1595, which was the second season of the Admiral's men at the Rose, following their reconfiguration as a company in May 1594.

Probable Genre(s)

History? (Harbage)

Possible Narrative and Dramatic Sources or Analogues

Henslowe's entry for this item is so generic that scholars have sought its identity in plays with Welsh characters. See Critical Commentary below for their choices.

References to the Play

None known.

Critical Commentary

Fleay, BCED gathers together the guesses of Malone and Collier in asserting that Robert Armin's The Valiant Welshman is the play listed by Henslowe on 29 November 1595 as "the welche man" (I.26-27). Fleay's path there is tortured. Malone makes no comment on "the welche man" in 1790, but he does annotate Henslowe's entry on 13 March 1598 for a play "wher in is a parte of a weallche man written" as being "[p]erhaps The Valiant Welshman, printed in 1615" (p. 297). Collier, in his edition of Henslowe's diary in 1845, tagged Henslowe's 29 November 1595 entry of "the welche man" with a note that the play "as Malone supposes, might be Robert Armin's "Valiant Welshman" (p. 61).

Greg II offers an alternative for the Malone-Collier-Fleay lumping of "the welche man" with Armin's Valiant Welshman by suggesting that "the welche man" was yet another performance of "Longshanks," which the Admiral's men had introduced "ne" on 29 August 1595 and continued into July 1596 in Henslowe's records (#83, p. 178). His path, like Fleay's (above) is also tortured. Greg begins by naming a later Henslowe entry for "Welchmans Price" in the March 1598 inventory of playbooks, following Fleay in renaming the play "Welchmans Prize" (BCED, 2. 307 #207). But he immediately dismisses that identification, asserting that Welchmans Prize" is a duplicate title for "The Famous Wars of Henry I and the Prince of Wales" (#83, p. 178). Next he dismisses the identification of "the welche man" with Armin's play, implying that it did indeed belong to 1610 or thereabouts. Having thus cleared away the debris of links either to the "Welchmans Price" in Henslowe's inventory of playbooks in 1598/9 or Armin's Valiant Welshman c. 1610, Greg adds the one performance of "the welche man" to the November offerings of "Longshanks" in 1595.

Knutson accepts Greg's suggestion of "welche man" as a mistake for an entry of another performance of "Longshanks" (p. 214, n. 14).

Gurr gives "the welche man" an independent identity as The Welshman and assigns it to 1594 (p. 220, #44). Not mentioning a connection with "Longshanks," he disengages it from "The Famous Wars of Henry I and the Prince of Wales" (p. 220, n49). (He assigns the title, "The Welshman's Prize" to "The Famous Wars of Henry I and the Prince of Wales" [p. 234, #90]). He considers The Welshman among those plays with "only a single performance marked as 'ne'" in Henslowe's Diary (p. 94), even though "the welche man" is not so marked in the diary.

Wiggins, Catalogue gives the most full-throated endorsement of "the welche man" as a play in its own right (#882), ignoring the suggestions of Malone, Collier, Fleay, and Greg that attempt to link it with variant titles of plays that featured a Welsh man. In contrast to Gurr's cluster of single-performance plays marked "ne," Wiggins identifies a cluster of single-performance plays not marked "ne," to which grouping he adds "the welche man" (see "Osric" #867 for his discussion of the category).

For What It's Worth

Curiously, Wiggins, Catalogue does not mention "The Welshman" (his title for Henslowe's "the welche man") in a discussion of "Longshanks" (#1007), though the solo recorded entry of "the welche man" occurs in the middle of the 14-performance run of the former play: 8/29-7/9 for "Longshanks"; 11/29 for "the welche man". Also, Wiggins puts "the welche man" (#882) in chronological order after Edward I (#881) but makes no connection between the two titles. Noting the "poor business" done by "the welche man," Wiggins points out its "failure to return to the repertory hereafter" (#882). He does not make clear how "the welche man" c. 1593 and the apparent "poor business" of November 1595 synch up.

Works Cited

Gurr, Andrew. Shakespeare's Opposites: The Admiral's Company 1594-1625. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2009.
Knutson, Roslyn Lander. The Repertory of Shakespeare’s Company, 1594-1613. Fayetteville: University of Arkansas Press, 1991.

Site created and maintained by Roslyn L. Knutson, Professor Emerita, University of Arkansas at Little Rock, updated 3 June 2016.