Tag Archives: Edward Alleyn

Reversal of Fortune (1621)

Fortune Theatre window, St Giles Cripplegate

On this day in 1621, the “Fortune Theatre”, built by “Good Master” Edward Alleyn in 1600, burnt down …

Plaque.JPG

The site of the theatre is marked by a plaque on Fortune Street.

Edward Alleyn and Fortune Theatre windows, St Giles Cripplegate.JPG

Both the theatre and Alleyn are commemorated in a stained glass window in the church of St Giles Cripplegate.

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Alleyn is also commemorated by a statue in Dulwich College.

Readers interested in further information on the theatre and on the contemporary scene are referred to Julian Bowsher’s excellent recent book entitled “Shakespeare’s London Theatreland” (Museum of London Archaeology, 2012).

On This Day In London History

On this day, December 9th, in London history …

“Bere-beyten on the Banke side” 

A Medieval depiction of bear baiting - Copy

In 1554, Henry Machyn wrote in his diary:

“The sam day at after-non was a bere-beyten on the Banke syde, and ther the grett blynd bere broke losse, and in ronnyng away he chakt a servyng man by the calff of the lege, and bytt a gret pesse away, and after by the hokyll-bone, that with-in iii days after he ded”.

Reversal of Fortune 

In 1621, the Fortune Theatre, built by “Good Master” Edward Alleyn in 1600, burnt down.

The site of the theatre is marked by a plaque on Fortune Street.

Fortune Theatre plaque - Copy

Both the theatre and Alleyn are commemorated in a stained glass window in the church of St Giles Cripplegate.

The Fortune Theatre (left) and Edward Alleyn (centre), St Giles Cripplegate - Copy

Readers interested in further information on the theatre and on the contemporary scene are referred to Julian Bowsher’s excellent recent book entitled “Shakespeare’s London Theatreland” (Museum of London Archaeology, 2012).

“Fire-Time”

In 1666, Samuel Pepys wrote in his diary:

“[T]o my chamber, and there begun to enter into this book my journal for September, which in the fire-time I could not enter here, but in loose papers”.

Dulwich

Plaque above chapel door

Another in the occasional series on “Far-Flung Lost London” …

The ancient Manor of Dulwich is thought to take its name from the Old English “dile”, meaning “dill” (a culinary and medicinal herb), and “wisc”, meaning “meadow”.  It was first recorded, as Dilwihs, in 967, when it was granted by the Saxon King Edgar the Peaceful to one of his Thanes.  It was later recorded, as Dilewic, in 1127, when it was granted by the Norman King Henry I to Bermondsey Abbey.  It remained in the possession of the Abbey until the Dissolution of the Monasteries, and in 1544 was sold by Henry VIII to Thomas Calton.  It then passed down through Calton’s family until 1605, when it was sold by  Francis Calton, Thomas’s grand-son, to the actor and theatrical entrepreneur Edward Alleyn, who, with Philip Henslowe, co-owned the “Fortune”  and “Rose” play-houses.

Dulwich College

Alleyn built the “College of God’s Gift” in Dulwich between 1613-1619, and was buried in the chapel there in 1626.  Early on in the  Civil War of 1642-1651, the Fellows of the College pawned its silver plate to raise funds for the Royalist cause.  Later, by way of retaliation, Parliamentarian  troops quartered here melted lead coffins and organ pipes to make munitions!

The Old College was dissolved in 1857, but its buildings still stand, including what is now the Dulwich Picture Gallery, originally built by Sir John Soane in 1811-1814 to house artworks bequeathed to the college.

The nearby New College was built by Charles Barry in the years leading up to 1870.