Viewing Event Record: Apprentices riot at the Cockpit: John Chamberlain


In a letter to Sir Dudley Carlton dated 8 March 1617, John Chamberlain describes the apprentices' Shrove Tuesday riot that took place on 4 March. The rioters 'played theyr parts, in divers places, as Finsburie feilds, about Wapping by St. Katherines, and in Lincolns Ynne fields, in which places beeing assembled in great numbers they fell to great disorders in pulling downe of houses and beating the guards that were set to kepe rule, specially at a new play house (sometime a cockpit) in Drurie Lane, where the Quenes players used to play.' Having attacked the guards, slain three, and wounded many others, the apprentices 'entered the [play]house and defaced yt, cutting the players apparell all in pieces, and all other theyre furniture and burnt theyre play bookes and did what other mischeife they could.' The apprentices also freed prisoners from the prison in Finsbury and pulled down many houses in Wapping. Chamberlain speculates that some rioters will be hanged next week. Just before the report of the riot, Chamberlain mentions that the 'The Kings journy into Scotland holds on this day sevenight though monie come slowly in.' On the day of the riot, the Queen's residence Somerset House was renamed Denmark House.

Date Event Recorded

From: 8 March 1617 (Source of claim: original)

Date Event Happened

From: 4 March 1617 (Source of claim: original)




Queen Anne's Men


Name Role
Carleton, Dudley correspondent
Chamberlain, John correspondent

Event Type

  • cultural context
  • playhouse context
  • public disturbance