Archive for February 25th, 2007

Great Reckoning in a Little Room

2007 Feb 25
    When a man’s verses cannot be read, nor a man’s good wit seconded with the forward child understanding, it strikes a man more dead than a great reckoning in a little room.
    — Shakespeare, referencing the killing of Marlowe

Here’s the usual suspects of 1593.

The Men in the Room

Ingram Frizer: The one who stabbed Marlowe. A servant and spy for Thomas Walsingham.

Nicholas Skeres: Servant and spy for Robert Devereux, the Earl of Essex. Involved in investigating the Babington Plot.

Robert Poley: Servent and spy for Sir Robert Cecil, Earl of Salisbury. Involved in investigating the Babington Plot.


Thomas Walsingham: Cousin of Elizabeth I’s deceased spymaster Sir Francis Walsingham. Marlowe was staying at Thomas Walsingham’s house when he was summoned by the Privy Council to be tried for Heresy, mere weeks before his death.

Frances Walsingham: Only daughter of Sir Francis Walsingham. Lady-in-Waiting to the Queen. Widow of Sir Philip Sidney, killed in fighting in the Netherlands. Wife and later the widow of Robert Devereux, the Earl of Essex.

Robert Devereux, Earl of Essex: Second husband of Frances Walsingham. Later executed for treason in 1601.

Sir Robert Cecil, Earl of Salisbury: Elizabeth I’s new spymaster after the death of Sir Francis Walsingham. Rival of Sir Walter Raleigh.

Sir Walter Raleigh: Former favorite of the Queen. Fellow atheist and friend of Christopher Marlowe. Imprisoned in the tower after the Queen’s death in 1603. Executed in 1618.

Thomas Kyd: Fellow playwright and friend of Marlowe, worked with him as a part of Lord Strange’s Men. Produced evidence, under torture, that incriminated Marlowe as a heretic.

Arabella Stuart: Tutored by Marlowe. Potential heir to Queen Elizabeth. Later involved in more than a few plots. Dressed up as a man and attempted to flee. Died in the tower in 1615.

Mary Queen of Scots: Catholic! Potential heir to Queen Elizabeth. Subject of most of the plots of this era, including the Babington Plot for which she was executed in 1587, five years before Marlowe’s death.