Viewing Event Record: Requests, Cuthbert Burbage vs Allen: Giles Allen replies


Giles Allen responds to Cuthbert Burbage's countersuit in the Court of Requests. Allen's statement provides details of his original lease to James Burbage the land the Theatre was built on, as well as the subsequent failed negotiations to extend that lease. The term of the original lease, signed 13 April 1576, began 25 March 1576 and was to last for a period of twenty-one years, to be renewed after ten years if Burbage executed the conditions of the agreement. Burbage paid £20 to procure the lease, and was to pay a quarterly rent of £14, due at the four feasts of the year. The contract further stipulated that, within ten years of signing the lease, he was to have spent £200 of his own money on building and improving the property. If he should default on any of these terms, the Allens would have the legal right to re-enter the property. The lease gave Burbage full control over the land and its buildings, of which the summary provides a fairly detailed description. Allen admits that James Burbage asked him for a new lease, and gave him a draft of the lease. Contrary to Cuthbert Burbage's testimony, however, Allen did not agree to the terms of this lease as it differed in several points from the old. Moreover, James Burbage had been a troublesome tenant: litigious, behind in his rent, neglectful of the property, and inclined to fill the tenements with poor people who begged in the streets and thereby brought annoyance to the parish. Cuthbert Burbage perpetuates his father's legacy: both care only for their own 'commodity.' The tenements on the property are now in such disrepair that despite the £200 Burbage claims to have spent in improvements (but did not in fact, as Allen further adds), the buildings are in worse repair than they were when Burbage first took control of the property. For these reasons, Allen has refused to seal the new lease. Allen feels that he is entirely justified in bringing a suit against Burbage and his confederates, as Burbage had a right in the materials of the Theatre building only on the condition that he invested £200 in other buildings the property, which term has not been met. Allen concludes that the Burbage's profit of the property has far exceeded their investment, and that they have therefore been more than sufficiently recompensed for their expenditures. Shortly before James Burbage's death, Allen was persuaded by the many entreaties of the Burbages to renew the lease on the Theatre property for another term of twenty-one years, at a yearly rent of £24. Part of the agreement was that the Theatre should continue as a playhouse for only five years after the beginning of the contract, and thereafter be converted to some other use. James Burbage died before the terms of the new contract were drawn up, whereupon Cuthbert Burbage attempted to persuade Allen to draft the new lease according to the terms of the earlier. A new contracted was finally drafted, which Allen can present to the court, but Burbage has since by various means delayed the execution of the terms. Allen suspects that Cuthbert never intended to sign the new lease, but only bided his time until he could dismantle and move the Theatre, which Allen says Cuthbert did during the feast of the nativity 'in the fourtith yeare of her ma[ties] Raigne' (Christmas 1598).

Date Event Recorded

From: 4 February 1600 (Source of claim: original)

Date Event Happened

From: 25 March 1576 To: 4 February 1600 (Source of claim: transcription)




Name Role
Burbage, Ellen administratrix
Chiborne, ––– attorney
Allen, Giles defendant
Miles, Robert executor
Burbage, Cuthbert plaintiff
Burbage, James playhouse owner
Brayne, John playhouse sharer
Harrison, Joan tenant
Dragon, John tenant
Garnett, William tenant
Colfoxe, Ewan tenant
Brackenbury, Richard tenant
Dotridge, Alice tenant
Richardes, Hugh tenant
Stoughton, Robert tenant
Dancaster, Thomas tenant
Allen, Sara wife

Event Type

  • court case
  • playhouse business