Category Archives: HISTORY:

Shakespeare: Globe Theatre

The Globe Theatre

In 1594, during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I of England, Shakespeare needed a playing company to perform his plays to the public.  So it was, that the “Lord Chamberlain’s Men” were born with him being one of the owners.

Richard Burbage would play most of the leading roles, which would have included; Hamlet, Othello and Macbeth to name just a few, whilst Shakespeare himself would have performed many of the secondary parts.

Shakespeare wrote most of his plays to be performed by the “Lord Chamberlain’s Men,” and they played to their audience at “The Theatre” in Shoreditch, then in 1597 they moved to the “Curtain Theatre,” following a dispute with their landlord.

His need for larger premises saw the ambitious construction of the “Globe Theatre” in Southwark, built in 1599.

For it was on the 29thDecember 1598 that “The Theatre” in Shoreditch was dismantled, and the main beams moved to south of the River Thames: “The Globe Theatre,” in Southwark.

The original Globe Theatre was a three-storey open-air amphitheatre, some 100 feet in diameter, and easily capable of housing 3,000 spectators.

Located at the base of the stage, we find an area referred to as the pit, which was for standing room only.  It was common practice in this design, to locate larger columns on either side of the stage as support for a roof over the rear area of stage.  The ceiling area would be painted with what appeared to be sky and clouds, representing the heavens.  A trap door would be located in the heavens, allowing performers to descend using a harness.

The Globe became a joint venture, as in the “Lord Chamberlain’s Men” sharing in profits and debts: Richard Burbage – Cuthbert Burbage – William Shakespeare – John Heminges – Augustine Phillips – Thomas Pope.

With its first performance being held on the 21stSeptember 1599 in their new playhouse: Julius Ceasar.

William Shakespeare’s wealth grew, with each and every production drawing in the crowds to witness the plays of this man.  He who had no formal training according to a critic of his work; Robert Greene, yet he was popular.  Many of his plays were being published, and his name attracted many to read his works.

In 1603, Queen Elizabeth I died, and King James I ascended to the English throne, and became their new patron.  They changed their name to the “King’s Men” in response.  The company then held exclusive rights for the performances of William Shakespeare plays.

The “Globe Theatre” was destroyed by fire on 29thJune 1613, during a performance of Henry VIII. It is said a theatrical cannon misfired setting the wooden beams and thatched roof into a blazing inferno. She was rebuilt by June 1614.

“The Globe” suffered the same fate as many other London theatres in 1642; being closed, and demolished in 1644, making way for tenements, by order of the Puritans.  Thankfully, William Shakespeare had not been alive to see his dream torn down.

Wikipedia Image


Joan of Arc

Joan of Arc

Joan, this young peasant girl
born of humble stock
believed, she be the answer
as English forces invaded France.

This young peasant girl, who loved
the teachings of the Catholic Church,
believed God had spoken to her
and it be her duty, to save France.

She was mocked by her elders
yet, she believed in her words;
give me an army, and I will drive
these English infidels, from our lands.

Joan led French armies into battle
dressed in white, carrying her banner,
her victories were widespread
her fame spread across France.

Upon her capture, her fate was sewn
dying the death of a martyr,
burned at the stake as a witch,
as she prayed for her accusers.

Norman History: Mary of Blois

Mary of Blois
Mary of Blois

Mary was born in Blois, France in 1136.  Her parents were Stephen of Blois and Matilda of Boulogne, the grand-daughter of St.Margaret, Queen of Scotland.  From an early age Mary’s future had been mapped out for her, she would become a child of God, and would enter the church.

From an early age she entered Stratford Convent in London, with nuns from St.Sulpice in Rennes.  Her life in the church would take a dramatic change of direction, not of her choice.  Her brother would die, and events that followed led to her abduction, and marriage.

With the death of King Henry I, Stephen quickly snatched the English crown from Empress Matilda, she being Henry’s legitimate child and designated heir.  England’s nobles backed Stephen’s actions, not wanting to be ruled by a Queen.

Some twenty years of bloodshed followed, as Stephen and Matilda took the country into a state of Civil War, each believing they be the rightful King or Queen of England.

Henry, the Count of Anjou and Matilda’s son made several unsuccessful incursions against Stephen. Finally Stephen and Henry made an agreement, upon Stephen’s death; the English crown would pass to Henry, and not Stephen’s children.  It was an admittance by Stephen that the true heir upon the death of Henry I was Matilda.

Stephen of Blois and Matilda of Boulogne were blessed with three children:

  • Eustace IV being the eldest became the Count of Boulogne, and held the title until his death in 1153.
  • William was born around 1134 and went on to marry Isabel de Warenne in 1149, heiress to William de Warenne (3rdEarl of Surrey). In 1153 became Count of Boulogne.  With clergy assistance made a deal with Henry of Anjou, by waving his rights to the English crown in return be rfecognised as the Count of Boulogne and Earl of Surrey and all lands that go with said title.
  • Mary whose holy life had started out at the convent in Stratford was moved to a new convent, founded by her parents for her at Lillechurch, Higham in Kent, a sister convent of St.Sulpice. The 1155-1158 Charter of Henry II, granted Lillechurch to Mary and her nuns, which suggested Mary held a position of authority.  Prior to 1160 Mary became the Abbess of Romsey Abbey.

Mary’s brother, William the Count of Boulogne, died in 1159 during the Siege of Toulouse, and was succeeded by his sister Mary.  Mary’s life was turned upside down, for she was a child of God, and now she was a great heiress, the Countess of Boulogne, and through her father she had a rival claim to the English throne.

Mary became a rich prize, and Mathew of Alsace, second son to the Count of Flanders, abducted her from Romsey, and forced her into marriage with him.  There was much outrage amongst the clergy, for marriage with a nun was a breach against Cannon Law.  The Pope showed his displeasure by imposing an interdict on Mathew of Alsace. In time the marriage was allowed to stand by order of the Pope following years of disapproval.

Mathew of Alsace, he who forced Mary into marriage with him, proved to be an unscrupulous husband in the eyes of Henry II.  Mathew made claim to Mortain land held by Henry II, which should have been Mary’s by right of inheritance.  An agreement was forged; Mathew would renounce any claims of his wife’s estate, that were in royal hands in return for £1000.

Mary had little love for Henry II, believing he be involved in her abduction and marriage against her will.

Mary and Mathew had two daughters: Ida and Matilda.  Mathew divorced Mary in 1170 at the request of his dying father and Emperor; Frederick Barbarossa. The aim of the divorce was to get the interdict placed on him at the time of his marriage lifted.

The interdict placed on Mathew was finally lifted by the Pope when Mary returned to convent life. Mary became a Benedictine nun at St.Austrebert, Montreuil.  She lived out the remainder of her years at the convent and died in July 1182.

Wikipedia Image

Queen Boudicca

Queen Boudicca of the Iceni

Boudicca, Queen of the Iceni
had her lands by marriage
taken from her, by the Romans.

She watched on, helplessly
as her daughter’s virginity,
were taken from them by force.

Anger seeped through her body
her daughters had been defiled
she wanted justice…

She rose up out of revenge
demanding justice and payment
in Roman blood…

Thomas Becket

Thomas Beckett by Early British Kingdoms
Thomas Becket

Thomas Becket, man of God
once confidante of the King,
transferred his allegiance to God
as church opposed the King.

The King called out in despair
will anyone rid me of this man,
knights hearing of the Kings despair
answered the call, to remove this man.

They killed him
this man of God,
they murdered him
upon his altar; to God.

Henry II and his knights
paid penance, for taking Becket’s life.

Thomas Cromwell

Thomas Cromwell
Thomas Cromwell

Born of London’s gutters
a beggar in France,
lifted out of poverty
Wolsey’s right hand man.

Wolsey lost Kings trust
Cromwell, his replacement
changed church and faith
much to the Kings delight.

Cromwells deeds; his undoing
losing face, with his King
Parliament turned from him
the execution block awaited.