Reference > Cambridge History > The Drama to 1642, Part One > Early English Comedy > His relationship to Sir Thomas More
  John Heywood Period of his dramatic activity  

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The Cambridge History of English and American Literature in 18 Volumes (1907–21).
Volume V. The Drama to 1642, Part One.

V. Early English Comedy.

§ 2. His relationship to Sir Thomas More.


Heywood is said to have been introduced to the princess by Sir Thomas More. He belonged to More’s circle by virtue of his marriage with Eliza Rastell, though the details of the relationship are often incorrectly given. More’s sister, Elizabeth, married John Rastell, lawyer and printer. Their daughter Eliza became Heywood’s wife, and their elder son, William, was the printer of two or more of his comedies. 2  In his combination of orthodoxy with love of letters and with zeal for practical reform, and of exuberant gaiety of spirit with the constancy of martyrdom to his faith, Heywood was a true kinsman, in spirit as well as in fact, of the author of Utopia. His religious convictions brought him into serious danger more than once in the later years of Henry VIII and under Edward VI; but with the accession of Mary his fortunes rose to their highest point. At her coronation, he sat in a pageant under a vine against the school in St. Paul’s churchyard. In 1553, he presented a play of children at court. In 1558, Mary granted him a lease of the manor of Bolmer and other lands in Yorkshire; but her death, later in the year, drove him and others of his circle to the continent, where he settled at Malines. The state papers of the ensuing period contain a number of references to him in his exile; his letter to Burghley of April, 1575, in which he thanks him for ordering the arrears from his land at Romney to be paid him, has already been mentioned. In the following year, as has recently been shown from manuscript sources, 3  he was brought by his eldest son, Elizaeus, to the Jesuit college at Antwerp, where he remained till May, 1578 At Whitsuntide, the college was attacked by a mob. Its members, including the two Heywoods, were expelled and, after perilous experiences, found refuge at Louvain. Here, presumably, he remained till his death; but there is no further record till 1587, when he is spoken of by Thomas Newton as “dead and gone.”   3

Note 2. See post, p. 103. [ back ]
Note 3. See Englische Studien, vol. XXXVIII, pp. 236, 237. [ back ]

CONTENTS · VOLUME CONTENTS · INDEX OF ALL CHAPTERS · BIBLIOGRAPHIC RECORD
  John Heywood Period of his dramatic activity  
 
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