Timeline: Queen's Men

1575 1576 1577 1581 1583
1584 1585 1586 1587 1588
1589 1590 1591 1592 1593
1594 1595 1597 1598 1599
1600 1601 1602 1603

  • Queen’s Men Formed – In late March, The Queen’s Men are formed under the direction of Sir Francis Walsingham and the Earl of Leicester, composed of the finest actors from existing companies. Founder members include: John Adams, John Bentley, Lionel Cooke, John Dutton, John Garland, William Knell (poss. joined in 1585), John Lanham, Tobias Mills (or Myles), John Singer, Richard Tarlton, John Towne, and Robert Wilson.
  • The Affray at Norwich - June 15, An affray involving members of the Queen’s Men and a recalcitrant, unpaying audience member breaks out at The Red Lion in Norwich during a performance, leaving the audience member dead.  Two members of the company, John Singer and John Bentley, are involved in the subsequent court case which seems to have been resolved without a trial and without recorded punishment for Singer or Bentley.  For a detailed account of this moment in Queen’s Men history, see Jennifer Roberts-Smith, “The Red Lion and the White Horse: Inns Used by Patronized Performers in Norwich, 1583-1624,” Early Theatre 10:1 (2007) 110-111.
  • Clyomon and Clamydes - Likely date for the composition of Clyomon and Clamydes, though some argue that it was written as early as 1570. 
  • John Bentley dies.  – The register at St. Peter’s Cornhill gives his age as 32.
  • July, Tobias Mills dies – Buried at St. Olave’s, Southwark in 1585.
  • Richard Tarlton made Master of Fence
  • Famous Victories – The latest possible date for The Famous Victories of Henry VTarlton’s Jests includes a story about Tarlton and Knell performing a scene from Famous Victories, and Knell died in June of this year. 
  • William Knell killed in Duel - A coroner’s inquest reports that on 13 June, 1587, between 9 and 10 pm, Knell entered a close called White Hound in Thame, Oxfordshire and assaulted John Towne, his fellow actor. Towne, fearing for his life, took to the high ground of a nearby “mound” and put his sword through Knell’s neck in self-defence. Knell was dead within the half-hour. The Queen pardoned Towne on 15 August after it was determined he acted in self-defense (Shakespeare in Warwickshire, 82-83, 157-158).
  • Selimus - The earliest possible date for a performance of Selimus because Selimus is clearly a response to Marlowe’s Tamburlaine.  It was first published, without being entered in the Stationers’ Register, in 1594 by Thomas Creede. 
  • Richard Tarlton dies. September 3, Richard Tarlton dies. He was buried in St. Leonard’s Shoreditch.
  • Friar Bacon and Friar Bungay - Probably first performed before Tarlton's death on September 3; the part of Miles was likely written for him.
  • Lawrence Dutton has joined the company - John Dutton’s brother Lawrence Dutton reported as a member of the Queen’s Men.
  • Three Lords and Ladies of London - Wilson composes Three Lords and Ladies of London. The play refers explicitly to The Spanish Armada and to the death of Tarlton, and it was first entered in the Stationers’ Register in 1590 before being published by Richard Jones.
  • Queen’s Men Tour Ireland - July: A branch of the Queen’s Men, in their most ambitious tour, visits Ireland. 
  • Queen’s Men perform in Edinburgh - October, The Queen’s Men travel to Edinburgh to perform at the wedding of James VI to Anna of Denmark; the wedding is postponed when Anna is trapped by adverse winds at Oslo.
  • Three Lords and Ladies of London  - The play is entered in the Stationers’ Register, and is published in the same year, by Richard Jones.
  • The Troublesome Reign of King John Published- The Troublesome Reign of King John was published by Sampson Clarke without prior entry in the Stationers’ Register.
  • Old Wives Tale - Earliest possible date for the composition of Old Wives’ Tale. In Old Wives Tale, Peele continues a public squabble with Gabriel Harvey that probably began in 1591. 
  • Last Queens’ Men Appearance at Court? January 6, The Queen’s Men make their final recorded appearance at court.  The company continues to tour the provinces.
  • Titus Andronicus - January 24, Shakespeare’s Titus Andronicus is entered in Henslowe’s diary, though it may have been written as early as 1589.
  • Queen’s Men at the Rose - April 1-8, The Queen’s Men appear with Sussex’s Men at the Rose; this is their final recorded performance in London or the suburbs.
  • Queen’s Men Plays published - May 14, The Famous Victories of Henry V entered in the Stationers’ Register for Thomas Creede.  King Leir and Friar Bacon and Friar Bungay are registered for Adam Islip, though Islip’s name is struck through and replaced with Edward White’s name.
  • True Tragedy of Richard III - June 19, The True Tragedy of Richard III is entered in the Stationers’ Register for Thomas Creede, and is published by Creede in the same year. 
  • Selimus- published by Thomas Creede without an entry in the Stationers’ Register. 
  • Old Wives Tale Published - April 16, The Old Wives Tale is entered in the Stationers’ Register for Ralph Hancock.  The play was printed in the same year by John Danter to be sold by Hancock and John Hardie.
  • Actor John Garland granted annuity – Company player John Garland was granted an annuity of 2 shillings a day by the Queen.
  • Famous Victories Published- The Famous Victories of Henry V published by Thomas Creede.  We believe it was performed before 1587 because Edward Knell is reported to have played Henry V and he died that year.
  • Clyomon and Clamydes – The play is published by Thomas Creede, but it is believed to have been part o the Queen’s Men repertoire for many years.
  • Final Recorded Performance by the Queen’s Men - The Queen’s Men perform their final show of which there is a record in Congleton, some time between Christmas 1602 and Elizabeth I’s death.
  • The Queen Dies - 24 March, Elizabeth I dies.