English Fugitives, The

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William Haughton (1600)

Historical Records


To playwrights in Philip Henslowe's diary

Fol. 68v (Greg, I. 120)

Lent vnto wm harton the 16 of aprell 1600 in }
earneste of a Boocke called the Ingleshe } xs
fegetives the some of . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . }
                        W Haughton

Item receiued more of mr Henchelowe in }
earnest of ye englishe fugitiues on the 24th } 20s
of Aprill.      by me receiued . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . }
                         W Haughton

Theatrical Provenance

The Admiral's men, for whom Henslowe purchased "The English Fugitives" from William Haughton, were anticipating a move to the Fortune playhouse in April 1600, when this sale took place. The company were performing at their new playhouse by the fall of the year.

Probable Genre(s)

Topical Play? (Harbage)

Possible Narrative and Dramatic Sources or Analogues

See Critical Commentary, below.

References to the Play

None known.

Critical Commentary

Collier, having noted Haughton's autograph signature, guessed "that the play was on the story of the Duchess of Suffolk, afterwards dramatised by Drue, and printed in 1631." He added, without providing further identification, that "it was the subject of a well-known ballad" (p. 168, n.2).

Fleay, BCED, uncharacteristically, did not repeat Collier's suggestion or add one of his own (1.#9*, p. 273).

Greg II had several ideas on the subject of "The English Fugitives" (II. 212, Item # 201). Adding to Collier's guess that the subject was Duchess of Suffolk, he provided Thomas Drue's affiliation with Palsgraves men and assigned that play to 1624 and observed that "The English Fugitives" might have been "an old stock piece." Greg also considered a link with "Robin Hood's Pennyworths," also a lost play by Haughton (Greg was perhaps thinking \of Robin Hood's band as the fugitives). In this context, he tallied other partial payments to Haughton that might add up to the purchase of an entire play, finding payments totalling £4 for the Robin Hood play in Dec-Jan 1600-1. However, Greg was enthusiastic only about two tracts published in 1595: "The Estate of English Fugitiues vnder the king of Spaine and his ministers," and "A Discourse of the Vsage of the English Fugitiues by the Spaniard." He suggested that these two texts, one of which is connected to Sir. L. Lewkenor, "might repay investigation" (# 201, p. 212).

Knutson groups "The English Fugatives" with those projects in Henslowe's accounts for which the partial payments cannot be reasonably explained (p. 163).

Gurr does not pursue any of these suggestions for the narrative materials behind Haughton's project, "The English Fugitives" (#150, p. 251).

Wiggins, Catalogue, however, endorses Greg's suggestion about the Lewkenor tracts, which he labels the probable sources of the lost play. He adds that the fugitives were "Catholic Englishmen" who were "not treated as well as they expected to be" by the Spaniards to whose country they had fled (#1248).

For What It's Worth

Works Cited

Gurr, Andrew. ‘’Shakespeare's Opposites: The Admiral's Company 1594-1625.’’ Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2009.
Knutson, Roslyn L. “The Commercial Significance of the Payments for Playtexts in Henslowe’s Diary 1597-1603.” Medieval and Renaissance Drama in England 6 (1991): 117-63.

Site created and maintained by Roslyn L. Knutson, Professor Emerita, University of Arkansas at Little Rock; created 31 October 2009, updated 13 August 2012.