I enjoyed enormously Charles Nicholl's meticulous, almost forensic, account of Shakespeare's time lodging on Silver Street.
His approach links in my mind to that taken by Gouk in her analysis of
contacts between scientists and musicians in seventeenth century Oxford
based on their geographical proximity (Gouk 1996).
The first time I read it was pre-Hanwell so I missed the reference to
Sir Walter Cope, brother to Sir Anthony the first baronet. Here is the
relevant extract in full: There
survives amongst the Cecil papers at Hatfield House a rather huffy
letter from a court official, Sir Walter Cope. He writes to Lord
Cecil, Lord Cranborne:
have sent and bene all this morning hunting for players, juglers &
such kinds of creaturs, but finde them harde to finde, wherefore
leavinge notes for them to seeke me, Burbage ys come, & sayes ther
ys no new playe that the Quene hath not seene, but they have revyved
an old one cawled Loves Labore Lost, which for wytt and myrthe he sayes
will please her excedingly.
does not date the letter, but it is endorsed '1604' by one of Cecil's
secretaries,and this date is confirmed by a performance of Love's Labours
at court in January 1605. Shakespeare would doubtless have been one of
the players so fruitlessly hunted by Cope. was he out that morning,
when Sir Walter or one of his min ions called by at the Mountjoy's
House? Or was he so 'harde to finde' because his whereabouts were
uncertain, his private address not generally available? Let others in
the company deal with snobbish courtly fixers like Cope, who considers
actors on a par with 'juglers and such kinds of creaturs' ( Nicoll 2007: 43 - 44).
There is an interesting echo
in Sir Walter's attitude to players of what must surely have been Sir
Anthony's puritan beliefs, after all he was the one partly responsible
for the demolition of Banbury's crosses and more particularly the
suppression of the Neithrop maypole.