Primary Documents Relating to Christopher Marlowe
The following is a scan of the Privy Council's entail to Cambridge University
dated 29 June 1587 demanding Marlowe's degree. It is followed by a
typescript prepared by Peter Farey.
"Whereas it was reported that Christopher Morley was determined to have gone
beyond the seas to Reames and there to remaine, Their L(ordship)s thought good to certefie that he had no such intent, but that in all his accions he had behaued himself orderlie and discreetelie wherebie he had done her ma(jes)tie good
seruice, and deserued to be rewarded for his faithfull dealinge: Their
L(ordship)s request was thst the rumor thereof should be allaied by all possible means, and that he should furthered in
the degree he was to takethis next Commencement: Because it was not her ma(jes)ties pleasure that anie one employed as he had
been in matters touching the benefitt of his Countrie should be defamed by those that are ignorant in th'affaires he went about"
Peter reminds us, "This had been signed by the 'Lord Archbishop' (Whitgift), 'Lord
Chancelor' (Hatton), 'Lord Threasurer' (Burghley), 'Lord Chamberlaine' (Hunsdon) and 'Mr Comptroler' (Crofts'. It is
worth remembering that Lord Burghley was also Chancellor of the University!"
Marlowe is believed to have died, from being stabbed in the face on 30 May
1593, however there is considerable evidence this death was faked. In the
following scan is the church record in Deptford, Kent for a burial on 1 June
1593 said to have been his. Curiously no gravestone, let alone, monument, to
Marlowe, already the realm's most gifted poet and dramatist, was placed by any
of his my powerful friends and patrons.
However Marlowe may not have been killed that evening and his friend and
fellow agent Nicholas Faunt has been discovered just a few hours sailing from
Deptford, Kent, in Dover, Kent and engaged in sending English agents out of the
country on the day following. For photographic proof of this click on See
Faunt after you have read the materials below.
The following is a scan of a transcription of a diplomatic dispatch sent to
the Privy Council dated nine years after Christopher Marlowe is
believed to have died. It is scanned from Professor Leslie Hotson' book, The
Death of Christopher Marlowe, which uncovered the official inquest records.
This Trinity Marlowe proves dead in 1596, having remained to teach at his
university, after taking his MA the year before Marlowe took his (1586).
This Trinity scholar's will was witnessed by Hugh Holland, who would later write
a dedication to "Shakespeare" in an advertisement appearing in the
First Folio of Shakespeare.
So the question is which of the two dead Christopher Marlowe's was
at Valladolid between 1599 and 1602?
The Valladolid register attest to his appearance there on 20/30 May 1599 or
precisely six years to the day from the date of Marlowe last official appearance
before the Privy Council and or "death" depending on which calendar is
used. Parallel records have proven that Cervantes was also at Valladolid
during this same period and that the marvelous Jacobean translation of
Cervantes' novel, Don Quixote, long thought to have been translated by
Thomas Shelton, supposedly the brother-n-law of Sir Thomas Walsingham, with whom
Marlowe was staying when he was arrested in May 1593, wasn't Shelton's. "T.S."
or "Thomas Shelton" has proven a nom de plume for a master
translator who seems to have been at Valladolid while Don Quixote was
being written, due to parallels that can best be explained by collaboration
between Cervantes and "T.S." Given that we know Christopher
Marlowe, a master translator, was at Valladolid during this period, I would
suggest the assumption that he was "T.S." is reasonable.
The fact we know another Kings School scholar, Father Weston, became Provost
at Valladolid and that Marlowe was thought to have studied at "Reames"
the Catholic English seminary in France, ten years earlier, makes the assumption more likely yet.
This conjecture is supported further by a Gatehouse Prison record showing
that "Christopher Marlowe" had returned to England in 1603, as Vaughan had predicted. The puzzling thing is that Sir Robert Cecil,
who overlapped at Cambridge with our Marlowe, did not charge this Christopher
any crimes, but merely paid for his lodging.
At this point in time
Christopher Marlowe's alias is recorded by his jailor as "John Mathew"
a very obvious cognomen for a priest.
One of these names (Mathews) was a Cambridge
scholar, but that man does not prove an expatriate who studied
for four years a Valladolid. So of all the possible candidates our Christopher Marlowe,
the poet and cover diplomat, seems to have resurfaced
alive and well in the diplomatic records of England nearly a decade after the
date of his "official death."
I include a decoded cipher from a covert English diplomat dispatched to
Bacon, dated at the bottom, "from Fontarabie [Spain] the 26 Februarie
1596" or on Marlowe's birthday. In the coded dispatch the
writer speaks of his possible return to England and his chances "by yr your
good helpe, friends & protection, for I do protest that I am to my prince
and contry in all points as a dewtiful subiect & for my calling as radie to
serve as any man living & it may be if wee hapen to speak togeather I
shall....importe her Majestie and the public [to my loyalty]." A
version of the dispatch, likely decoded by Peter Farey, is quoted in part in
Wraight's Shakespeare The New Evidence, on page 77, but differs in
a few minor points from this document. The Lambeth Palace Library number
is Bacon Papers MS 656,f.109. The deciphered copy I have scanned is,
thus, Elizabethan, and is attributed to "Anthony Rolston" whose
code name was "iio."
The sentiment in the dispatch is very similar to that found in the close of
"Shakespeare's" Two Gentlemen of Verona, which
with these lines:
"These banished men...are endued with worthy qualities.
Forgive them what they have committed here And let them be recalled from their
exile. They are reformed, civil, full of good, And fit for great
It is thus a well established fact that "Shakespeare's" early
plays, of which TGV is certainly one, and his final plays, as
evidenced by the Tempest and Winter's Tale are all
concerned with exiles and their possible repatriation, as noted by Howard White
in Copp'd Hills Towards Heaven, Shakespeare and the Classical Polity.
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