Viewing Event Record: Chancery, James Burbage vs Margaret Brayne: James Burbage states his case


James Burbage brings a suit against Margaret Brayne, claiming that, shortly before his death, John Brayne had agreed to leave his interest in the Theatre property to Burbage's children. The bill details Burbage and Brayne's dealings over the Theatre from the beginning of Brayne's partnership to Brayne's death. Burbage entered into a contract with Brayne, and became bound to him for £400, on the condition that Brayne would leave his interest in the property to Burbage's children upon his death. Burbage blames Brayne's profligate building expenditures on Burbage's inability to repay his debt and redeem the lease. Burbage submitted to the judgment of the arbiters in granting Brayne control over the profits of the Theatre, but Brayne conspired with Robert Miles and one Tomson to bankrupt Burbage and deprive him and his heirs of interest in the property. On his deathbed, Brayne promised his interest in the Theatre property to Burbage's children, and his bonds to Burbage himself. Since then, John Gardiner's executors and Robert Miles have taken control of Brayne's property, claiming that Brayne made them the beneficiaries of the will. And now Brayne's widow has had Burbage arrested on the pretense that he has not fulfilled the terms prescribed by the arbiters, and has forfeited the £400 bond; she denies, furthermore, that Brayne meant to leave his share to Burbage's children. Miles, Gardiner's executors, and Margaret Brayne have joined forces against Burbage, claiming the lease is forfeit, and refusing to grant Burbage's children their interest. Burbage is unable to enforce Brayne's bequest, as it was made in secret in the presence only of Miles and other witness who have now gone beyond the seas.

Date Event Recorded

From: Autumn 1588 (Source of claim: transcription)

Date Event Happened

From: 1576 To: 1588 (Source of claim: transcription)




Name Role
Hatton , Christopher Lord Chancellor
Morgan, Francis attorney
Miles, Robert creditor
Tomson, William creditor
Gardiner, John creditor
Burbage, Alice daughter
Burbage, Ellen daughter
Brayne, Margaret defendant
Allen, Giles lessor
Burbage, James plaintiff
Brayne, John playhouse sharer
Burbage, Cuthbert son
Burbage, Richard son
Burbage, Ellen wife

Event Type

  • court case
  • playhouse business
  • playhouse context