Viewing Event Record: Lord Mayor asks the Privy Council to pull down the Theatre and Curtain but Burbage resists; violence at the Theatre


In a letter describing many events over the past Whitsunweek to William Cecil, Lord Burghley, William Fleetwood, recorder of London, describes an attempt to suppress the Theatre and the Curtain on 14 June, 1584. On the advice of one of the Queen's players, Fleetwood ordered the owner of the Theatre (James Burbage) to be arrested, but he refused because he was 'my Lo of hunsdons man.' He did bind himself to appear at the sessions of oyer and terminer, 'where he said that he was sure the court would not bind him.' Fleetwood notes that Burbage is due to appear before the sessions tomorrow, and is convinced that Burbage will be bound, or worse. Fleetwood writes that 'very nere the Theatre or Curten at the tyme of the Playes' a gentleman, Challes, disturbed an apprentice sleeping the field and they soon fell to blows. The altercation escalated so that many apprentices threatened to riot the next day, and many were arrested. Fleetwood also describes an altercation at the Theatre door between a serving man named Browne and 'certain poor boys, handicraft apprentices'. A crowd of 1,050 gathered to witness the quarrel. Browne, the aggressor, attempted to escape, but was 'taken after'.

Date Event Recorded

From: 18 June 1584 (Source of claim: original)

Date Event Happened

From: 10 June 1584 To: 18 June 1584 (Source of claim: original)




Arundel's Men
Queen's Men


Name Role
Howard, Charles, Earl of Nottingham Lord Chamberlain
Fleetwood, William Recorder of London
Hatton , Christopher Vice-Chamberlain
Cecil, William, Baron Burghley correspondent
Challes, gentleman
Young, John justice of the peace
Carey, Henry, Baron Hunsdon master
Howard,, Philip, Earl of Arundel patron
Burbage, James playhouse owner
Browne, servant

Event Type

  • arrest
  • company context
  • company restraint
  • cultural context
  • dispute
  • player context
  • playhouse business
  • playhouse context
  • playhouse restraint
  • public disturbance