Christopher Marlowe and Richard Baines: Journeys through the Elizabethan Underground

By Roy Kendall | Go to book overview

19

"Here Comes the Hearse”

WE MUST NOW RETURN TO THE CENTRAL NARRATIVE OF THIS LONG and complicated story, which, although the horses will meander a little as they ride toward the sunset, is nearing its end. To bring it to a conclusion, it is necessary to move on eighteen months in one case and seventeen years in another to discuss the references surrounding the deaths of the two candidates vying for the dubious distinction of having authored the note.


1

William Urry, meticulous elsewhere, is at one and the same time both interesting and unhelpful on this event. He remarks, "The historians of Chislehurst, when discussing the Walsingham circle at Scadbury, remark that Baines was hanged for a degrading offence but supply no further detail nor any source for such information.” 1 It was to Thomas Walsingham's house at Scadbury that Henry Maunder was first sent to arrest Marlowe (whether he was arrested there is not actually known for certain, although it is presumed by most scholars). Urry himself supplies no source for his reference (his own death, before completing his book, might well explain this oversight), but he is undoubtedly referring to Webb, Miller, and Beckwith's History of Chislehurst, in which they write: "In 1593 a certain enemy of Marlowe's one Richard Bame, laid information against him before the Privy Council for expressing atheistical opinions and for using blasphemous words, a catalogue of which Bame drew up. The poet evaded the charge by leaving town; whereupon, on the 18th of May, a warrant was issued ... `to bring him to the court.”' 2 The Chislehurst historians, writing in 1899, thus put forward a "new” chronology of events. As has been seen in a previous chapter, Tucker Brooke came to the same conclusion independently (and via, it would appear, a very different thought process)

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