Martin Slater (or "Slaughter"), "citizen and ironmonger," was a player and entrepreneur; he also acquired playbooks.
Private Life: Slater married Susan Wilkinson on 1 May 1594 in the parish of St. Botolph Aldgate. The couple had ten children by 1608. From Easter 1595 to Easter 1602, Slater lived in St. Saviour's parish, Southwark. He is called "citizen and ironmonger" in a bond in 1603 to pay an orphan's portion (£20) for John, son of Richard Nicholls, a barber surgeon. Also in 1603, he claimed residence in St. Leonard, Shoreditch, when he and his wife gave evidence against a burglar in Newgate. Slater engaged in transactions with Henslowe, and he was occasionally in legal suits (for more details on business, legal and otherwise, see Eccles and Nungezer). He was buried in St. Saviour's on 4 August 1625.
Player: Slater was a member of the Admiral's players from 1594 to 1597. He appears in the Plot of "Frederick and Basilea," in the part of Theodore. In his diary, Philip Henslowe noted Slater's departure from the company on 18 July 1597. Slater appears to have gone to Scotland, where he had some kind of business with the player, Lawrence Fletcher, the same Fletcher who turned up in 1603 on the patent list for the King's men. By 1603, Slater was with the Earl of Hertford's players, who performed at court on 6 January 1603. Subsequently he joined Queen Anne's men, who played at the Boar's Head and Curtain as well as in the provinces; he was fellows there with Robert Lee and Roger Barfield, among others. His association with Queen Anne's players off and on through 1625 represents his longest tenure with one company and strongest loyalty in that he attended the funeral of the queen on 13 May 1619.
Entrepreneur: In 1608 Slater was the manager of the Children of the King's Revels at the Whitefriars playhouse, a short-lived enterprise. If not literally manager of Queen Anne's players, he was a high-profile member, including being involved in company law suits.
Acquisition of Playbooks: On 18 May 1598, about a year after he had left the Admiral's men, Slater sold back to them five of their plays for the sum of £8: "Pythagoras," the two parts of "Hercules," "Phocasse (Focas)," and "Alexander and Lodowick." Apparently the price was not quite right for the latter play, and Slater received another 20s. on 18 July 1598 to turn over the script of "Alexander and Lodowick." One of Slater's legal suits involved a play manuscript that had belonged to Thomas Downton, who sued for its return and won £11 11s.
NB: This entry relies heavily on the following sources: Bentley, II, 574-75; Mark Eccles, "Elizabethan Actors IV: S to End," Notes and Queries 238 (1993): 165-76, esp. 169-72; and Edwin Nungezer, Edwin. A Dictionary of Actors. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1929. 329-31.
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- ► Admiral's (1 C, 143 P)