Welshman, The

Anon. (1595)

Historical Records

Performance Records (Henslowe's Diary)

F. 14 (Greg, I. 27)

ye 29 of novmber ……… R[d] 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

Scholars have historically linked "the welche man" with "Longshanks," which the Admiral's men introduced on 29 August 1595 and had in production through November into July 1596 (July 9). The identity of the Welsh man to whom the title refers depends upon which reign of English kings one assumes that Welsh man himself played a part.

References to the Play

None known.

Critical Commentary

Fleay gathered together the guesses of Malone and Collier in asserting that Robert Armin's The Valiant Welshman was the play listed by Henslowe on 29 November 1595 as "the welche man" (BCED, I.26-27). Fleay's path there was tortured. Malone had made no comment on "the welche man" in 1790, but he did annotate Henslowe's entry on 13 March 1598 for a play "wher in is a parte of a weallche man written" (F. 45) as being "[p]erhaps The Valiant Welshman, printed in 1615" (Malone, Vol.1, part 2, p. 297). Collier, who intervened with an 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 supposed, might be Robert Armin's "Valiant Welshman" (Collier).

For What It's Worth

Henslowe's mention in the payment of 13 March 1598 of a Welsh man (in a separate entry from the subsequent title, "Famous Wars of Henry I and the Prince of Wales") precipitated a lumping of Chettle, Dekker, and Drayton's play with other titles in the diary. Malone footnoted the entry of "A Booke wherein is a Part of a Welshman" with the suggestion that the play meant was The Valiant Welshman (presumably Robert Armin's play, c. 1612, Q1615 (I, pt..2, p. 309). Collier rejected Malone's supposition, suggesting instead that Henslowe's entry on 29 November 1595 ("The Welshman") was more likely Armin's play (Collier, p. 120). Fleay ignored the entanglement of ("The Welshman") of 1595 with Henslowe's entry on 13 March 1598 (above) but introduced another identification, that being the Chettle-Dekker-Drayton play with "Welchmans price" in Henslowe's inventory of playbooks in March 1598. That is the lumping that scholars have perpetuated (as well as the change from "price" to "prize"), excepting Wiggins (#1114, #1115). Gurr specifically decouples "The Famous Wars of Henry I and the Prince of Wales" from the 1595 ("The Welshman") (p. 234, n. 79), as does Wiggins (#882).

Works Cited

Collier, John Payne, ed. The Diary of Philip Henslowe. London: Printed for The Shakespeare Society. 1845. Collier
Gurr, Andrew. Shakespeare's Opposites: The Admiral's Company 1594-1625. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2009.
Malone, Edmond. The Plays and Poems of William Shakspeare. 10 vols. London: H. Baldwin, 1790..

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