Tag Archives: Inns of Court

CMEMLL Event: Francis Beaumont, The Masque of the Olympic Knights (1613)

screen-shot-2016-12-05-at-18-23-19Rachel Horrocks and CMEMLL member Jane Pettegree are looking to gather people from the School of English postgraduate community and hopefully further afield for a workshop and partial reconstruction of a Jacobean period masque, with dancing and music, next semester.

The masque is Francis Beaumont’s The Masque of the Olympic Knights (1613) (also known as The Masque of the Inner Temple and Gray’s Inn), what might be termed an Inns of Court production.

Early opera developed alongside courtly entertainments called ‘masques’, which combined music, dancing, dramatic verse and spectacle. The Masque of the Olympic Knights was written to celebrate the marriage of the eldest daughter of King James VI/I in 1613/14, and would have involved both professional performers and leading members of the Jacobean court.

The aim of this event is to explore how it felt to take part in a masque, and for the public showcase, to be present at such a performance. Join us and become a Duke, Duchess or even a King for a day.  The dancing workshop will be led by Anne Daye, a leading UK expert in early dance, who lectures in historical dance at Laban, Trinity College of Music and RADA.  Anne is chair of HDS (the Historical Dance Society).  The event is supported by the HDS, the Music Centre and the School of English at the University of St Andrews.

A provisional timetable for the weekend is:

Dance Workshops

Friday 10 February, 19:00–21:00

Public Talk by Anne Daye

Saturday 11th February, 09:30–10:30

Dance Workshops

Saturday 11th February, 10:30–17:00

Public showcase

Saturday 11 February, 19:00 to 21:00


Younger Hall, North St, St Andrews

The public talk and showcase are both free and open-door events.

Workshop participation is free but spaces should be confirmed in advance.

To take part in the dance workshop : contact Rachel Horrocks, email rph2@st-andrews.ac.uk

To join our Jacobean dance band : contact Jane Pettegree, email jkp1@st-andrews.ac.uk



CMEMLL Research Seminar: Jackie Watson (Oxford Spires Academy/Birkbeck)

Tuesday 15 November, 5.45 – 7.00 pm
Gatsby Room, Chancellor’s Centre, Wolfson College, University of Cambridge

‘[T]hough Ramme stinks with cookes and ale,/ Yet say thers many a worthy lawyers chamber,/ Buts vpon Rame-Alley’: An Innsman Goes to the Playhouse’


Combining ideas of early modern sense perception with research on the Inns of Court, London topography and theatre history, this paper is an experimental journey to a performance of Lording Barry’s ‘Ram Alley’ at nearby Whitefriars. It considers the sensory interactions between audience and dramatic locations: playing space, imaginative locus and surrounding city.

This paper brings the two areas of research together, and builds on Jackie Watson’s recent article on the nearby Ram Alley for the Map of Early Modern London. It imagines a day in 1607, or perhaps 1608. An Innsman – call him Francis, for sake of argument – leaves his lodgings in Middle Temple to visit the nearby Whitefriars Theatre, where Lording Barry’s Ram Alley is being performed by the Children of the King’s Revels. Using ideas from performance and theatre history, London topography and audience studies, as well as work on the Inns as sites of social mobility, legal and wider learning, and homosocial networks, my paper will reconstruct likely elements of Francis’ journey and his experience of this particular play.

In the quotation from the Induction to Every Man Out of his Humour which forms the title of this paper, Ben Jonson’s language plays with the conjunction of hearing, tasting and understanding. Barry may not have had such lofty ambitions for his comedy, but in its intertextuality, its precise location and its evocation of the early modern legal world, it aims directly to play with the familiarities and to engage the senses of ‘Francis’ and his fellows.

Organised jointly with the Wolfson College Humanities Society.

Jackie Watson completed her PhD at Birkbeck College, London, in 2015, with a thesis looking at the life of the Jacobean courtier, Sir Thomas Overbury, and examining the representations of courtiership on stage between 1599 and 1613. She is co-editor of The Senses in Early Modern England, 1558–1660 (Manchester University Press, 2015), to which she contributed a chapter on the deceptive nature of sight.

Recent published articles have looked at the early modern Inns of Court, at Innsmen as segments of playhouse audiences and at London topography.  She is currently working on a monograph with a focus on Overbury’s letters, courtiership and the Jacobean playhouse.

Research Lecture: Professor Paul Raffield (University of Warwick)

‘Men of Violence, Men of Vision: John Davies and John Marston of the Middle Temple’

Wednesday 11 March, 5.15 pm
Lawson Lecture Room, Kennedy Hall, School of English 

Paul Raffield, Professor of Law at the University of Warwick, will give a paper entitled ‘Men of Violence, Men of Vision: John Davies and John Marston of the Middle Temple’.


In Hilary Term 1598, John Davies entered Middle Temple Hall during commons, concealing a dagger and a ‘bastinado’ under his gown. Davies approached his close friend (and fellow Middle Templar) Richard Martin, with whom he had fallen out, and hit him over the head with the bastinado, so hard apparently that the weapon broke. In this essay, I consider the theme of violence in late Elizabethan England, using the lives and works of Davies and John Marston as a framework within which to examine the causes and effects of violence and rebellion in London and throughout England in the 1590s. I investigate especially the role of early modern lawyers in articulating and restating the classical theory that eternal or moral law was coterminous with natural law, and superior (in the words of Davies) to ‘all the written laws in the worlde’. In the course of the essay, I address the theme of censorship, and the institutional suppression of freedom of expression, in its late-Elizabethan context and with especial reference to the satirical epigrams of Davies. The future Chief Justice of the King’s Bench, was not only one of the most eminent lawyers and jurists of the late-Elizabethan and Jacobean period: he was also one of its most successful poets, the author of Orchestra, or a Poem of DancingHymnes of Astraea; and Nosce Teipsum. I examine the close correlation between law and poetry (and by way of conclusion, through analysis of an early play of John Marston’s, entitled Histrio-Mastix, between law and theatre), concluding that the indivisibility of these aesthetic forms was a salient feature of the early modern legal institution.​ 

Professor Raffield’s research interests include legal history, law and literature, and critical legal studies, and he has published extensively on theatre and the law, with a particular emphasis on Shakespeare. To a considerable degree, his research interests derive from his career as an actor and director, for 25 years prior to his appointment at Warwick. He was the co-organiser of a major international conference on Shakespeare and the Law, hosted by The University of Warwick in 2007: see P. Raffield and G. Watt (eds.), Shakespeare and the Law (Oxford: Hart Publishing, 2008).

His other publications include Images and Cultures of Law in Early Modern England: Justice and Political Power, 1558-1660 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004), and his most recent sole-authored monograph, Shakespeare’s Imaginary Constitution: Late-Elizabethan Politics and the Theatre of Law (Oxford: Hart Publishing, 2010). This latter volume was nominated for the 2011 Inner Temple Book Prize, awarded every 3 years for a book which has made a profound contribution to the understanding of law in the United Kingdom.  He is also the founding co-editor of Law and Humanities, published by Hart Journals.