To the right honorable Sir Edward Littleton Knight, Lord Keeper of the greate seale of England.

The humble peticion of Mathias [<.>]Alleyn ye Master Thomas Alleyn the warden .4. ffellowes .6. poore brethren .6. poore sisters & 12. poore schollers of the Colledge called Gods Guift Colledge , in Dulwich founded by Edward Alleyn esquire , deceased.
Humbly sheweth
That your petitioners did heretofore exhibitt their Bill of complaint in this honorable Court against the Tennauntes of the ffortune Playhowse for rent which they unjustly detayned from your petitioners vpon pretence of a restraint from playing
That vpon a full hearinge of the said cause the 26th of Ianuary in the 14. yeare of our gracious King Charles his Lordship did order that the said Tennaunts should pay all their rent in arreare without any abatement which accordingly they did either compound for and pay for a certaine tyme.
That since the making of the said order, one Iohn Beale bought a lease of a parte of the said Playhouse which lease was heretofore demised by the aforesaid Edward Alleyn to Edward Iacson vnder the yearely rent of 10 li. 13 s. 10 d., for which rent the said Beale is now in arreare 42 li. 15 s. 1 d.
That the said Iohn Beale combining with the rest of the tennaunts [&] have detayned their rent from the Colledge, whereupon your petitioners did exhibitt their ʌ⸢ bill ⸣ of complaint the second time in this honorable Court in Michalmas terme, in the 15th yeare of our gracious King Charles and the Tennaunts being served with subpenas, to answer to the said bill, euery of the said tennaunts except the said Iohn Beale, pretended payment of their rent & did pay, but since doe detaine their rent to the great preiudice of the poore people of the said Colledge.
That the said Iohn Beale did delay your petitioners in putting in his Answer, insomuch that three Attachmentes issued out against the said Beale before he would put in his answer.
That the said bill & answer haueing had their due proceeding in this Court & publicacion being now past this hillary terme [&] the said tennaunts are runn in arreare with your petitioners the summe of 104 li.14 s.5 d. due at Christmas last past, insomuch that your petitioners to maintaine their poore of the said Colledge, are compelled to take moneys at interest to supply their wants. Now in tender consideracion of your petitioners greate necessity herein.
Your petitioners humbly pray your honour to bee pleased according to the aforesaid order hereunto annexed that all the tennaunts which are behinde with their rent, may be ordered to pay their rentes to the Colledge, or otherwise to bee pleased to set downe a day of hearing the said cause sometime this vacacion before your honour, that your petitioners may not bee delayed any longer by the said Iohn Beale and the rest of the aforesaid tenauntes. All which your petitioners doth submitt to your honours graue wisdome and charitable consideracion. And shall pray for your happines, &c.

The abouesaid order of 26 of Ianuary and the Certificate for Publicacion are hereunto annexed.

°If this cause be ready for hearing, lett it be sett Downe for the fourth seale after the Terme, so as proces be timely served on the adverse parties.°
9 ffebruary 1640
Extracta Vera Copia
George Brome
Copia (signed) Edward Littleton, C.S.


  • King Charles: 1638/9
  • King Charles: 1639
  • 1640: underlined


The tenants of the Fortune playhouse had again fallen into arrears with their annual rent, and it appears that the Fortune was no longer profitable. In Hilary term 1640 the College initiated a bill in Chancery against John Beale to compel the payment of the rent due on his lease and for repairs. Beale made answer in 1641, where he described the Fortune playhouse as being in ‘Whitecross Streete in Golding lane London’ (DCA: MS I). The interrogatories and depositions on behalf of Beale are in TNA/PRO: C24/663/11. However, before 1640 it appears the company had moved to the Red Bull at Clerkenwell (J.Payne Collier, The Alleyn Papers (London, Shakespeare Society, 1843), 96–8).