Blind Beggar of Bednal Green (Tom Strowd), Parts 2 and 3

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William Haughton and John Day (1600, 1601)


Contents

Historical Records

Payments for "2 Blind Beggar" ("2 Tom Strowd") (Henslowe's Diary)


F. 82 (Greg I.130)

Receiud of mr Henchlowe in ernest of the second
parte of the blind begger of Bednall Greene
the Sum of   . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 40s.
29 of January.      W. Haughton
      1600            J Day


F. 85v (Greg I.134)

Lent vnto wm Harton and J daye at the
apoyntment of Samwell Rowly the 29
of Janewary 1600 in earnest of a Boocke
called the second pte of the blinde beager
of bednowle grene ^ wth thom[m]e strowde some of . . . . . . . . xxxxs


[ . . . ]


Lent vnto wm harton & John daye
in earneste of a Boocke called the
2 pt of tthome strowde the 10 daye
of febreary 1600 some of . . . . . . . xxxs


F. 86 (Greg I.135)

pd at the apoyntment of Samell Rowley vnto
John daye & wm harton for a boocke called
the second pte of thome strowd the 10 of mrch
1600 the some of . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . xxxs


F. 86v (Greg I.136)

dd vnto the littell tayller the 27 of aprell
1601 for the yousse of the companye to bye
a sutte & lace for the 2 pte of strowde
the some of . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . xxxs


pd vnto John daye at the apoyntment of
the company 1601 after the playinge of the
2 pte of strowde the some of . . . . . . . . .xs


[ . . . ]


pd vnto John daye & wm hawghton
in fulle payment of a playe called the
2 pte of strowde the 5 of maye 1601 some
at the apoyntment of Samwell Rowlye . . .xs


Payments for "3 Tom Strowd" (Henslowe's Diary)


F. 87 (Greg I.137)

Lent vnto John daye at the apoyntment
of Samwell Rowley the 21 of maye 1601
in earnest of a Bocke called the 3 pt
of thome strowde the some of . . . . . . . .xs


F. 91v (Greg I.144)

Lent vnto wm hawghton the 18 of
July 1601 in pte of payment of
the 3 pt of Thome strowde . . . . .xs


Lent mor the same time vnto John
daye in earnest of a Boocke called the
3 pt of Thome strowde some of . . . . .vs


F. 92 (Greg I.145)

Lent vnto Samwell Rowley 1601 the 25 of July
to lend vnto John daye & wm hawghton in
pt of payment of a Boocke called the thirde
pt of Thome strowde the some of . . . . . . .40s


Lent vnto Samwell Rowley the 30 of July 1601
to paye vnto John daye & wm hawghton in
fulle paymente of a Boocke called the third pt
of thome strowde the some of . . . . . . . . . . . .iijlvs


F. 93 (Greg I.147)

Lent at the a poyntment of the company
the 27 of aguste 1601 vnto dover the tayller
to bye dyvers thing[es] for the 3 pte of thome
strowd the some of . . . . . . . . . . . .xxxs


[ . . . ]


Lent vnto the company the 1 of Septmb[er]
1601 to bye blacke buckrome to macke
a sewte for a fyer drack in the 3 pt of thome
strowde the some of . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . iijs vjd


F. 93v (Greg I.148)

Lent vnto the company the 3 of septmb[er]
1601 to paye the tayller dover for mackenge
of divers thinges for the third pte of
tome stro[de]wde the some of . . . . . . . . . . 1s


[ . . . ]


Lent vnto the company the 3 of septmb[er] 1601
to paye vnto the msup>r</sup> of the Revelles for licensynge
of [a]the [Bo] 3 pte of thome strowde & the Remaynder
of carnowlle wollsey . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .xs


Lent vnto the company the 10 of septmb[er] 1601
wch them sellfes mvst paye for to paye vnto
dover the tayller vpon his bill for the 3
pt of thome strowde the some of . . . . . . . . . .xiijs 4d


[ . . . ]


pd at the apoyntment of the companye 1601
the 23 of septmb[er] vnto mr bramfelld for v yrd[es]
of Roset brode cloth the some of . . . . . . . . . .
for the [&] 3 pt of thome strowe . . . . . . . . . .xxxs


Payment for "3 Tom Strowd" (Henslowe Papers)

Folger MS X.d.261 is a manuscript excerpt from the Henslowe papers, being a letter from Rowley requesting payment for John Day for the third part of the 'Blind Beggar' / 'Tom Strowd' series of plays. It reads:

Mr hincheloe I praye ye delyver to John Daye thurtye shyllyngs
whych Is vpon the thurd patre of Tom Strowde
                        Samuell Rowlye


(Greg, Henslowe Papers, 127; see also Foakes, 315).


Folger Xd261 sml.jpg
Folger Shakespeare Library MS.X.d.261
(CC BY-SA 4.0 licence; click image to view in LUNA)




Theatrical Provenance

The Admiral's Men would have performed both plays in the Fortune Theatre, although no performance dates are recorded.


Probable Genre(s)

Comedy.


Possble Narrative and Dramatic Sources or Analogues

Parts 2 and 3 presumably have their genesis in the story of the blind beggar of Bethnal Green, a thirteenth-century soldier named Henry de Montford who, wounded in the Battle of Evesham in 1265, was blinded and eventually beggared. He was found and nursed to health by a baroness, with whom he had a child, but their daughter, Bess, struggled to marry as a result of her father's background and beggar's clothes. Eventually she courted a knight, the only man prepared to lower himself to marry a beggar's daughter; for this, de Montford rewarded the knight with riches. The story was popular throughout the Tudor period, and was retold in numerous formats, including ballad form (which exists in various versions) and a play, 1 The Blind Beggar of Bethnal Green, which was written by John Day and Henry Chettle in 1600.

In Day and Chettle's version is introduced the figure of Tom Strowd, a Norfolk Yeoman. The title of "2 Blind Beggar" as it is recorded in Henslowe's Diary (moving from "blind beggar", to "blind beggar and Tom Strowd", and then simply "Tom Strowd") could indicate either a casual omission of the full title on Henslowe's part or an increased focus on Strowd as the play was written and revised. Again, the record of the third part as "3 Tom Strowd" might suggest that the series had progressed from its origins in the blind beggar story and had centred instead on the entirely fictional character of Strowd.


References to the Play

Information welcome.


Critical Commentary

Knutson (The Repertory, 53) distinguishes these plays from other serial plays by referring to them as 'spin-offs': the extant Blind Beggar of Bednal Green has a relatively incidental character named Tom Strowd, but Henslowe's reference to the lost second part elevates Strowd's prominence ("The Second Part of the Blind Beggar of Bednal Green with Tom Strowd") and his title for the third part has mutated such that it implies that Strowd had become the primary focus: "The Third Part of Tom Stowd".


For What It's Worth

In George a Greene (1599, but in Henslowe's Diary in January 1594 with Sussex's Men [not marked "ne"]), George challenges one of three masquerading noblemen who are in disguise if he is "Henrie Momford Kendals Earl" (545; MSR, 1911).


Works Cited

Knutson, Roslyn L. The Repertory of Shakespeare’s Company, 1594-1613 (University of Arkansas Press, 1991).




Site created and maintained by N.C. Aldred, independent scholar; created 9 November 2012, updated by David McInnis 08 June 2017.

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