Sir John Oldcastle, Part 2

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Michael Drayton, Richard Hathaway, Anthony Munday, Robert Wilson (1600)

Historical Records

Henslowe's Diary

F. 65 (Greg I.113):

this 16 of october 99
Receved by me Thomas downton of phillipp
Henchlow to pay mr monday mr drayton & mr wilsson
& haythway for the first parte of the lyfe of
Sr Jhon Ouldcasstell & in earnest of the
Second parte for the vse of the compayny
ten pownd J say receved ... 10li

F. 66v (Greg I.116) [19 - 26 December 1599]

Receued of mr Henchlow for the vse
of the Company to pay mr drayton
for the second parte of SrJhon ould
Casell foure pownd J say receud ... iiijli
per me Thomas Downton

F. 68 (Greg I.119)

dd vnto the littell tayller at the apoyntment
of Robart shawe the 12 of marche 1599 to macke
thinges for the 2 parte of owld castell some of ... xxxs

Stationers' Register

Arber 3.63/169

11 August 1600

Thomas Pavier Entred for his copies vnder the handes of master VICARS and the wardens. These iij copies


The first parte of the history of the life of Sir JOHN OLDCASTELL lord COBHAM.

Item the second and last parte of the history of Sir JOHN OLDCASTELL lord COBHAM with his martyrdom

Item ye history of the life and Deathe of Captaine THOMAS STUCLEY, with his Mariage to ALEXANDER CURTIS his daughter, and his valiant endinge of his life at the battell of Alcazar ... xviijd

Theatrical Provenance

The Admiral's Men purchased Sir John Oldcastle in two parts starting on 16 October 1599 during their final year at the Rose. Sometime between 1 and 8 November 1599, the company paid the four poets (Drayton, Hathway, Munday, and Wilson) 10s. "as a gefte" at the debut of the first part (Greg I.113). The second part was finished by March 1600. Drayton had taken payment for it in mid-December, perhaps as representative of the consortium of poets or perhaps for completing the play on his own, and it went into production with the purchase of 30s. worth of things. Both parts were registered at Stationers' Hall by Thomas Pavier on 11 August, but only the first part apparently went on to the print shop of Valentine Sims; it was published in 1600 and 1619 (with a date of 1600).

In August 1602 Worcester's Men paid Thomas Dekker 40s. "for new a dicyons in owldcastelle" (Greg I.179). They bought a suit for the play on 21 August, along with another suit and a satin doublet (£12). On the same day they also bought "the turckes head & ij wemens gownes mackenge & fresh watr for owld castell (£3 10s). On 7 September 1602 they paid Dekker another 10s. "for his adicions in owld castell" (Greg I.181).

What play is this? Greg supposed that it was the Admiral's part one (II.206, Items 185 & 186). Corbin and Sedge decide that both "plays were revived in late 1602" (9).

Probable Genre(s)

History (Harbage)

Possible Narrative and Dramatic Sources or Analogues

The Oxford DNB includes the life of Oldcastle.

John Foxe describes the execution of Sir John Oldcastle in Lincoln's Inn Fields in 1419 (Actes and Monuments... or Booke of Martyrs. The Variorum Edition. Sheffield: hriOnline, 2004. Web).

The entry in the Stationers' Register makes it clear that the second part of the play dramatized the martydom of Oldcastle, "with galowes chaines, and fyre" (Foxe).


References to the Play

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Critical Commentary

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For What It's Worth

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Michael Drayton, Richard Hathaway, Anthony Munday, Robert Wilson

Works Cited

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