Welshman, The

Anon. (1595)

Historical Records

Performance Records

Playlists in Philip Henslowe's diary

Fol. 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, BCED 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" (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" (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" (p. 61).

Greg offered 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 (Greg, II, 178 Item #83). He mentioned a later Henslowe entry for "Welchmans Price" in the March 1598 inventory of playbooks, following Fleay in renaming the play "Welchmans Prize", but he dismissed that link immediately (after having lumped "Welchmans Price" with Henslowe's entry on 13 March 1598 of "a boocke wher in is a parte of a weallche man" [F.45]) as belonging to "The Famous Wars of Henry I and the Prince of Wales."

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

Gurr, not mentioning a connection to "Longshanks," disengages "the welche man" from "The Famous Wars of Henry I and the Prince of Wales" to which title he adds "The Welshman's Prize" (p. 220, n. 490). He considers "the welche man" among those plays with "only a single performance marked as 'ne'" in Henslowe's Diary, even though "the welche man" is not so marked (p. 94).

Wiggins gives the most full-throated endorsement of "the welche man" as a play in its own right, ignoring the suggestions of Malone, Collier, Fleay, and Greg that attempted to link it with variant titles of plays that featured a Welsh man (#882). 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 #867).

For What It's Worth

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.
Knutson, Roslyn Lander. The Repertory of Shakespeare’s Company, 1594-1613. Fayetteville: University of Arkansas Press, 1991.
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.