Living with Shakespeare: Saint Helen's Parish, 1593-1598

Living with Shakespeare: Saint Helen's Parish, 1593-1598

by Geoffrey Marsh


Available for Pre-Order. This item will be available on May 30, 2021


In the 1590s, Shakespeare was working with and writing for the Lord Chamberlain’s Men at The Theatre, Shoreditch while he was living in the parish of St. Helens, Bishopsgate Street. Living with Shakespeare examines his parish, church, locale, neighbours and their potential influences on his writing—from the radical ‘Paracelsian’ doctors, musicians and public figures—to the international merchants who lived nearby. Packed with new discoveries from difficult-to-access manuscript records this book reveals the parish’s complex social, religious, political and neighbourly intersections and influences.

Taking a section of Shakespeare’s life, (c. 1593-1598), as he evolved from new ‘arriviste’ in London to established theatre professional, the book examines the 100 or so families who lived in his parish and demonstrates how their interests, work and connections formed part of the background environment that Shakespeare probably borrowed from as he reworked existing stories. These people form a fascinating story, which sheds new light on the influences that shaped a great writer as he finished Romeo & Juliet, A Midsummer Night’s Dream and The Merchant of Venice and began to re-establish his family name, status and reputation.

Marsh’s ability to weave primary research and discoveries together with historical narratives, transports readers into Shakespeare’s world and allows them a real glimpse into his daily life.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781474479721
Publisher: Edinburgh University Press
Publication date: 05/30/2021
Pages: 352
Product dimensions: 82.69(w) x 105.12(h) x (d)

About the Author

Geoffrey Marsh is runs the Theatre and Performing Arts department of the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. He is the co-editor of David Bowie Is and You Say You Want a Revolution: Records and Rebels, 1966-70.

Table of Contents

Introduction: 1593, The Theatre, Shakespeare, St. Helens, English and You;
Part I. 1576, London, The Theatre and hunting for China;
1 1576, a starting point;
2 James Burbage plans his theatre - The Theatre;
3 Kick-starting the British Empire;
Part II. The Theatre 1576-1598;
4 Mr. Burbage builds The Theatre;
5 Trouble at The Theatre;
6 The early years of The Theatre 1576-86;
7 The 1594 changes at The Theatre & Shakespeare’s new focus;
Part III. The parish of St. Helens, Bishopsgate Street;
8 William Shakespeare and the parish of St. Helens;
9 Searching for Shakespeare’s lodgings in St. Helens;
10 What attracted Shakespeare to St. Helens?;
Part IV. Life, death and religion in St. Helens;
11 St. Helens church – the anchor of the parish;
12 A walk around the interior of St. Helens church;
13 Dreaming of English exploration, trade, wealth, colonisation and empire;
Part V. Shakespeare’s neighbours in St. Helens;
14 The radical doctors of St. Helens;
15 Dr. Peter Turner visits a patient at the Sign of The Horse Head Inn;
16 Lawyers, musicians, an antiquary and more;
17 St. Helens as a micro-cosmos – a theatre of London;
Part VI. Bewitchment in London;
18 Witchcraft in Thames Street;
19 Mary Glover is bewitched in All Hallows-the-Less, Thames Street;
20 An exorcism in Shoreditch;
Part VII. Coda - the advancement of English;
21 Honey or cane sugar?;
Appendix. Detailed Documentation: Where did Shakespeare live in St. Helens and who might have been his landlord?;
1 Introduction;
2 What accommodation in St. Helens would have appealed to Shakespeare?;
3 Identifying the location of Shakespeare’s residence(s);
4 When did Shakespeare leave St. Helens?;
5 Who was John Pryn, Pryne, Prynne, Pryme, Prymme?;
6 Who was John Hatton?;
7 Three scrivenersand more? Who were Thomas Wrightson, John Harvey and Israel Jorden, Jordan, Jordaine, Jordayne, Jurden?;
8 Who were John, Antonia and Katherine Jeffrey – immigrant embroiderers?;
9 Some other residents of St. Helens in the 1580s/90s;

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