Viewing Event Record: Chancery, Margaret Brayne vs the Burbages: Robert Miles deposes


Robert Miles deposes in favour of Margaret Brayne's in her suit against James and Cuthbert Burbage. According to Miles, John Brayne was very reluctant to join his brother-in-law James Burbage in the Theatre venture, and was only convinced at length by Burbage's 'contynuall persuasions'. Brayne's subsequently claimed that the construction of the playhouse had been his undoing. Miles claims he can produce a bond of £400 made by Burbage to Brayne to secure the moiety of the Theatre's profits to Brayne and his heirs. Miles says this bond was made by Burbage so that he could secure the lease in his own name only. According to Miles, Burbage confessed to having spent no more than £100 on the building of the Theatre, which Miles believes is true, as Burbage was only a poor player and had no credit. He estimates Brayne spent at least £600 or £700, abandoned his grocery business, and ran even further into debt. Miles says Burbage made a 'secret key' for the money box shortly after the Theatre was in operation, which he used to steal sums of money. By this means Burbage cheated both Brayne and the players. He has been a witness to the disagreements between John Brayne and James Burbage over the Theatre. Richard Turner and John Hill acted as arbiters in the matter, and concluded that Brayne and Burbage should share equally in the profits of the Theatre and its property. They also determined that, if it became necessary to mortgage the lease on the Theatre property, Brayne and Burbage should share equally in the mortgage, and that the profits made on the property should go toward the redemption of the lease. Miles affirms that the lease was mortgaged and then forfeited to John Hyde, but that Hyde always promised, before and after Brayne's death, that he would not execute the lease if he were paid the money owed, but that he would only give back the lease to both Burbage and John or Margaret Brayne together, not any one individually. Miles then claims that James Burbage intentionally forfeited the lease so that he could renew it without the Braynes, and that Hyde was pressured into making the lease over to Cuthbert Burbage through the intervention of Sir Walter Cope. Miles estimates that the Burbages have received 2000 marks from the Theatre, and that Margaret is entitled to a moiety of that plus the recovery of other outlays.

Date Event Recorded

From: 30 July 1592 (Source of claim: original)

Date Event Happened

From: 13 April 1576 To: Spring 1591 (Source of claim: externally supplied)




Name Role
Cope, Walter Lord Treasurer's gentleman
Hill, John arbiter
Turner, Richard arbiter
Burbage, James defendant
Burbage, Cuthbert defendant
Miles, Robert deponent
Hyde, John mortgage holder
Brayne, Margaret plaintiff
Brayne, John playhouse sharer
Allen, Giles property owner
Braye, smith

Event Type

  • court case
  • playhouse business