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REQ 1/30, p.761

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REQ 1/30, p.761
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Institution Rights and Document Citation

 

Images reproduced by permission of The National Archives, London, England.

Terms of use
The National Archives give no warranty as to the accuracy, completeness or fitness for the purpose of the information provided.
Images may be used only for purposes of research, private study or education.  Applications for any other use should be made to The National Archives Image Library, Kew, Richmond, Surrey TW9 4DU, Tel: 020 8392 5225   Fax: 020 8392 5266.

Document-specific information
Creator: Court of Requests
Date: 1619-1620
Repository: The National Archives, Kew, UK
Call number and opening: REQ 1/30, p.761
View online bibliographic record

 

Item Creator
Court of Requests
Item Date
1619-1620
Repository
The National Archives, Kew, UK
Call Number
REQ 1/30, p.761

Institution Rights and Document Citation

 

Images reproduced by permission of The National Archives, London, England.

Terms of use
The National Archives give no warranty as to the accuracy, completeness or fitness for the purpose of the information provided.
Images may be used only for purposes of research, private study or education.  Applications for any other use should be made to The National Archives Image Library, Kew, Richmond, Surrey TW9 4DU, Tel: 020 8392 5225   Fax: 020 8392 5266.

Document-specific information
Creator: Court of Requests
Date: 1619-1620
Repository: The National Archives, Kew, UK
Call number and opening: REQ 1/30, p.761
View online bibliographic record

 

In 1606 John Witter of Mortlake, Surrey, married Anne Phillips, widow of Augustine Phillips, a member of the King’s Men who had died in 1605. Though Anne was both a beneficiary and the executrix of her deceased husband’s estate, a clause in Phillips’s will stipulated that, should she re-marry, the executorship of the estate, including the Phillips share in the Globe, would pass to his overseers John Heminges, Richard Burbage, and William Slye, who were principal actors with the King’s Men, and to Timothy Whitehorn. Accordingly, in 1607, a year after Anne’s remarriage, the executorship passed to John Heminges (Playhouse Wills, p. 74). Following Anne’s death in January 1618, Witter sued Heminges and Henry Condell for her share in the Globe. The resulting lawsuit, from which eight documents survive, provides useful information on the Globe site and the Globe playhouse. One document, the Answer of Heminges and Condell specifically names William Shakespeare.

This Final Decree in the case of Witter v. Heminges and Condell amounts to an absolute legal victory for the defendants, and, by extension, for the Globe site and the Globe playhouse. Not only is Witter’s case dismissed, but he is ordered to pay costs.

It seems, however, that Witter simply let the case go.

Semi-diplomatic transcription

[This transcription is pending final vetting. Transcription based on Charles William Wallace, "Shakespeare and his London Associates, As Revealed in Recently Discovered Documents" University of Nebraska Studies, vol. 10 no. 4 (1910), 76.]

xxix die Novembris Ao &c 18o et 24o

[Left margin:] Witter | Heminges

Whereas Iohn Witter long sithence exhibited his bill of complaint
vnto the Kinges maiestie & his highenes Counsaill in his honorable Court of
Whitehall at Westminster against Iohn Heminges gent & Henry Cundall
defendantes, Vnto which Bill the said defendantes forthwith made theire full and

...

page 762

perfect answeres, Wherevnto the complainant replyed & examined certen witnesses above two Termes now past, & hath ever sithence fayled to proceed in his said cause as by the due & ordinary course of this court he ought to haue done  It is therefore by his maiesties said Counsaill of this court ordered that the same matter be from henceforth out of this court cleerely & absolutely dismyssed forever, & the said defendantes are licensed to depart at theire liberties sine die [without a time-limit, i.e., immediately], And it is further ordered that the complainant shall vpon sight or knowledge hereof content & pay vnto the said defendantes the full somme of xxs for theire costes herein most wrongfully susteyned./

To learn more, read Alan H. Nelson's essays on lawsuits in Shakespeare's England, and the 1599 lease of the Globe playhouse site.

Written by Alan H. Nelson

Sources
Charles William Wallace, "Shakespeare and his London Associates, As Revealed in Recently Discovered Documents" University of Nebraska Studies, vol. 10 no. 4 (1910), 76.

 
Last updated May 14, 2018