Viewing Event Record: Chancery, Browne vs Woodliffe, the Langleys, and Bishop: Samwell the younger deposes


Richard Samwell the younger deposes in Robert Browne's Chancery case against Oliver Woodliffe and others. Samwell states that following the signing of the lease on 13 April 1598, his father erected galleries or rooms 'for people to stand in to see the plays' in the great yard. Woodliffe was absent at the time; upon his return, he criticized the small size of the galleries. Woodliffe gave specific advice on the measurements of the new buildings, according to which the galleries should extend about 3 or 4 feet further into the yard than they already did. Samwell says that the agreement between Samwell the elder and Woodliffe to rebuild the galleries was made between midsummer and Barholomew-tide last (i.e., late summer 1599). The agreement was that Samwell, in return for rebuilding the galleries, Samwell would 'enjoy' the yards and galleries in addition to the premises already demised for the remaining time of the original lease with no additional rent, only the £40 annually already agreed. Samwell the younger affirms he was present at this transaction. Samwell deposes furthermore that his father and Browne spent some £300 in setting up and taking down the original small galleries, and building the larger galleries. Samwell says that his figures are accurate, since he kept the account book for materials and labour. The stage, according to Samwell, was moved after the east galleries were 'finishing or finished.' Samwell details the means by which Browne acquired Richard Samwell's interest in the Boar's Head. Browne had lent Samwell's father £200. Having difficulty repaying this amount, Samwell the elder made over his interest in the Boar's Head to Browne for this sum and an additional £160. Samwell the younger affirms he was present when this transaction occurred. Samwell the elder had the right to shut the gates of the inn at 11 o'clock, or whenever he and the players saw fit. Samwell deposed that Woodliffe withheld the parlour from Samwell's father for more than a year and a half, although the room had been demised to Samwell in the lease and Samwell demanded the key to it often.

Date Event Recorded

From: 11 June 1601 (Source of claim: original)

Date Event Happened

From: 13 April 1598 To: 11 June 1601 (Source of claim: original)


Boar's Head

Event Type

  • court case
  • performance context
  • playhouse business