Viewing Event Record: Star Chamber, Samwell vs Langley et al: Samwell interrogates Langley and Roberts


Richard Samwell interrogates Francis Langley and Owen Roberts concerning the series of playhouse invasions orchestrated by Langley, and about Langley's campaign to harass his family by a series of arrests. Samwell asks Francis Langley a series of questions concerning Langley's rights in the galleries: if the rights were purchased from the Woodliffes, whether the Woodliffes indeed owned the galleries, and who built the galleries. Samwell refers to the expenses he incurred erecting the galleries in midsummer 1599. Samwell declares that Langley, along with Susan Woodliffe, Owen Roberts, Alexander Foxley, John Johnson, Peter Boulton, and Anthony Strayles, all armed, attempted to enter and take possession of the premises on 13 December 1599. Failing this attempt, the armed assembly returned on 16 December and assaulted Samwell, and his son with intent to murder them. Samwell questions Langley about these facts, and asks Langley whether he procured and directed the men who invaded the playhouse on 16 December, and whether and by whom a dagger was thrown at Samwell and his son. Samwell asks Langley whether he, with Susan Woodliffe, Owen Roberts, Anthony Strayles, and others, entered the premises on the 23rd or 24th of December, and whether, how much, and by what right they gathered money there. Samwell asks Langley and Roberts whether and why they took money from the galleries on 26 December, whether Owen Roberts broke open the walls of the galleries to make a new door, and whether Langley, Strayles and Susan Woodliffe were present when Roberts did so. Samwell asks Langley a series of questions concerning whether, for what reason, and by what authority he orchestrated the arrests of his son, his son's wife Winifred, and Samwell's servant Edward Willys. He asks how often Langley has had members of his household arrested, and how much money this has cost Samwell. He asks Langley whether he procured the arrest of his daughter-in-law Winifred by Foxley, Johnson, and Boulton. Samwell further questions Langley about his actions against the Samwell household in the Court of Marshalsea, and more particularly about Richard Bishop's suit against Edward Willys. Samwell asks Langley whether there have been six actions brought against the Samwell household in the Court of Marshalsea at the suits variously of Langley, Bishop, Woodliffe and Johnson and whether, furthermore, Langley was not behind all of these. He asks whether Langley purposely initiated the suits in order to vex the family, whether he had Samwell the younger arrested in the King's Bench, and what precisely the cause of Thomas Wolleston's suit against Samwell the younger was.

Date Event Recorded

From: 22 April 1600 (Source of claim: transcription)

Date Event Happened

From: 24 June 1599 To: 22 April 1600 (Source of claim: transcription)


Boar's Head

Event Type

  • court case
  • performance
  • playhouse business
  • playhouse context