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Will of Augustine Phillips, Gentleman of Mortlake, Surrey
1605

PROB 10/232 (1)

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PROB 10/232 (1)
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Institution Rights and Document Citation

 

Images reproduced by permission of The National Archives, London, England.

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The National Archives give no warranty as to the accuracy, completeness or fitness for the purpose of the information provided.
Images may be used only for purposes of research, private study or education.  Applications for any other use should be made to The National Archives Image Library, Kew, Richmond, Surrey TW9 4DU, Tel: 020 8392 5225   Fax: 020 8392 5266.

Document-specific information
Date:
1605
Repository: The National Archives, Kew, UK
Call number and opening: PROB 10/232

 

Item Date
1605
Repository
The National Archives, Kew, UK
Call Number
PROB 10/232 (1)

PROB 10/232 (2)

View Image Assets
PROB 10/232 (2)
Click image to enlarge

Institution Rights and Document Citation

 

Images reproduced by permission of The National Archives, London, England.

Terms of use
The National Archives give no warranty as to the accuracy, completeness or fitness for the purpose of the information provided.
Images may be used only for purposes of research, private study or education.  Applications for any other use should be made to The National Archives Image Library, Kew, Richmond, Surrey TW9 4DU, Tel: 020 8392 5225   Fax: 020 8392 5266.

Document-specific information
Date:
1605
Repository: The National Archives, Kew, UK
Call number and opening: PROB 10/232

 

Item Date
1605
Repository
The National Archives, Kew, UK
Call Number
PROB 10/232 (2)

Institution Rights and Document Citation

 

Images reproduced by permission of The National Archives, London, England.

Terms of use
The National Archives give no warranty as to the accuracy, completeness or fitness for the purpose of the information provided.
Images may be used only for purposes of research, private study or education.  Applications for any other use should be made to The National Archives Image Library, Kew, Richmond, Surrey TW9 4DU, Tel: 020 8392 5225   Fax: 020 8392 5266.

Document-specific information
Date:
1605
Repository: The National Archives, Kew, UK
Call number and opening: PROB 10/232

 

Augustine Phillips was a long-time member of the same playing company as William Shakespeare – the Lord Chamberlain’s and later the King’s Men. Phillips’s will, dated May 4, 1605, provides insight into two important aspects of the company’s operations. First, it provides a nearly complete roster of the King’s Men in May 1605. Second, provisions of the will provoked lawsuits which help document the history of the Globe playhouse.

In his will Phillips remembered “the hyred men of the Company,” although he does not name them individually:

Item I geve and bequeathe vnto and amongeste the hyred men of the Company, which I am of, which shalbe [hired men] at the tyme of my decease the some of ffyve Poundes of Lawfull money of England To be (equally) distributed amongeste them.

Hired men were presumably temporary employees rather than permanent members of the company.

Next, Phillips left individual sums of money to eight men, seven of whom he calls “my fellowe”:

Item I give and bequeathe to my ffellowe William Shakespeare a Thirty shillinges peece in gould, To my ffellowe Henry Condell one other Thirty shillinges peece in gould, To my servant Christopher Beeston Thirty shillinges in gould, To my fellowe Lawrence ffletcher Twenty shillinges in gould, to my fellowe Robert Armyne Twenty shillinges in gould  To my fellowe Richard Cowley Twenty shillinges in gould, To my fellowe Alexsander Cook Twenty shillinges in gould, To my fellowe Nicholas Tooley Twenty shillinges in gould ...

Each “fellowe” was a fully invested member of the King’s Men. Apparently Christopher Beeston was called a “servant” rather than a “fellowe” because of an earlier, personal attachment to Phillips. He was in fact a fellow of the company, as were three others named at the conclusion of the will: John Heminges, Richard Burbage, and William Slye. A fourth overseer, Tymothie Whithorne, was not a member of the company. Phillips compensated the three overseers who were also his fellows with silver bowls valued at £5 each.

Phillips also made bequests to two apprentices:

Item I giue [vn]to Samuell Gilborne my late Aprentice the some of ffortye shillinges and my mouse Colloured veluit hose and a white Taffety dublet A blacke Taffety sute my purple Cloke sword and dagger And my base viall.

Item I giue to Iames Sandes my Apprentice the some of ffortye shillinges and a Citterne a Bandore and a Lute, To be paid and deliuered vnto him at thexpiracion of his [terme of] yeares in his Indentur or Apprenticehood.

These bequests reveal that Phillips was not only an actor but also a musician, as were his apprentices. Of the two, Samuel Gilborne had already been given his freedom, while James Sandes remained bound as an apprentice.

Judging from the bequests in Augustine Phillips’s will, seven players (counting Phillips himself) were fellows of the first rank in the King’s Men in May 1605. In alphabetical order they were:

Christopher Beeston
Richard Burbage
Henry Condell
John Heminges
Augustine Phillips
William Shakespeare
William Sly

Five players were fellows of the second rank (with bequests of twenty shillings each):

Robert Armyne
Alexsander Cook
Richard Cowley
Lawrence Fletcher
Nicholas Tooley

Augustine Phillips’s will constitutes the most complete list in Shakespeare’s lifetime of the King’s Men. It may be compared to the list of players issued red cloth in March 1604, which names nine players of the company, eight of whom are also listed in Phillips’s will. Further, Phillips’s will is dated less than a year after the royal warrant to Phillips, Heminges “and tenne of their ffellowes” for the visit of the Spanish Ambassador from August 9 to 26, 1604. Therefore, the identities of the ten unnamed members of the King’s Men mentioned in the warrant may be inferred, including William Shakespeare, from the will’s bequests.

The hired men are not individually named. However, as £5 – or one hundred shillings – was to be “(equally) distributed” among them, if they numbered ten, each would have received ten shillings. This amount fits with the pattern of twenty shillings for fellows of the second rank and thirty shillings for fellows of the first rank.

Of the two witnesses to Augustine Phillips’s will, Robert Gough was his brother-in-law and a member of the company, possibly one of the hired men; the other, William Shepherd, may also have been a “player.”

Augustine Phillips included a proviso within his will stating that if his widow Anne remarried, the executorship of his will, and thus the control of his estate, would revert to the overseers. As a result, after Anne remarried in 1606, the executorship passed to the chief overseer John Heminges. This event provoked a tug-of-war between her new husband John Witter and Heminges. (For the change of executorship in 1607, see Playhouse Wills, p. 74.) Witter sued Heminges at least twice: once in 1610 using John Dagger as a surrogate, and once in 1619 adding Henry Condell as a second defendant. The lawsuits Dagger v. Heminges and Witter v. Heminges and Condell supply a wealth of detail about the first twenty years of the Globe playhouse.

The copy of Phillips’s will shown here is held in the PROB 10 series, which is generally made up of original wills. However, because it does not carry original signatures, this version of Phillips’s will has been called an “office copy” (Playhouse Wills, p. 74). The signature on the “office copy,” made by the scribe, may be compared to the authentic Phillips signature on his examination, dated February 18, 1601.

 

Semi-diplomatic transcription

[This transcription is pending final vetting]

[Image 1: PROB 10/232 (1)]

Augustini Phillips Registratur

In the name of God Amen the ffourthe daie of May Anno domini 1605 And in the Yeres of the Reigne of our soueraigne Lorde Iames by
the grace of god Kinge of England Scotland ffraunce and Ireland defendor of the ffaithe &c That is to say of England ffraunce and
Ireland the Thirde, and of Scotland the Eighte and Thirtith, I Augustyne Philipps of Mortlack in the County of Surrey
gent’ beinge at this presente sick and weake in body, but of good and perfecte mynde and Remembraunce thankes be given vnto allmighty
god, do make ordeyne and dispose this ^my presente testament and Laste will in manner and forme followinge, That is to say ffirste and
principally I Commende my soule into thandes of Allmighty god my maker Savior and Reedeemer in whome and by the
merittes of the second person Iesus Christe I truste and beleave assuredly to be saved, and to haue full and Cleire
Remission and forgivenes of my sinnes, And I Committ my body to be buried in the Chauncell of the parishe Churche
of Mortelack aforesaid, And after my body buryed and funerall Charges paide, Then I will that all suche debtes and
duetyes as I owe to any person or persons of Righte or in Conscience shalbe truely paide, And that done then I
will that all and singuler my goodes Chattells plate houshold stuffe Iewells reedy [i.e. ready] mony and debtes. shalbe devided by my
Executrix and ouerseers of this my Laste will and testament into Three equall and indifferente partes and porcions whereof
one equall parte I giue bequeathe to Anne Phillipps my Loueinge wife to her owne proper vse and behowfe, one other
parte thereof to and amongeste my three eldeste daughters Maudlyne Philipps Rebecca Phillipps and Anne Phillipps
equally amongeste them to be devided porcion and porcion Like, and to be paide and deliuered vnto them as they and euery of
them shall accomplishe and Comme to theire ^lawfull ages of Twenty and one yeres or at theire daies of marriage, and euery of them
to be others heyre of theire said partes and porcions, yf any of them shall fortune to dye, before theire said seuerall
ages of Twenty and one yeres or daies of marriage, And thother parte thereof I reserve ^to my selfe and to my Executrix to performe
my Legacies hereafter followinge, Item I geve and bequeathe to the poore of the parishe of Mortlack a foresaid, ffyve Poundes of
Lawfull money of England, to be distributed by the Churchewardens of the same parishe within Twelve monethes after my decease,
Item I geve and bequeathe to Agnys Bennett my Loueinge mother duringe her naturall life, euery yere yerely the somme of
ffyve Poundes of Lawfull money of England, To be paid her at the ffoure vsuall feastes or termes in the yere out of any
by my Executrix out of my parte and porcion reserved by this my presente will, Item I geve to my brothers William Webb
and Iames Webb, yf they shalbe Lyveinge at my decease to eyther of them the somme of Tenne poundes a peece of Lawfull
money of England, To be paid vnto them ^within Three yeres after my decease, Item I geve and bequeathe to my sister
Elizabeth Govghe the some of Tenne poundes of Lawfull money of England To be paid her within one year after my
decease, Item I will and bequeathe vnto Myles Borne and Phillipps Borne two sonnes of my sister Margery
Borne to eyther of them Tenne Poundes a peece of Lawfull money of England To be paid vnto them when they shall
accomplishe the full age of Twenty and one yeres, Item I geve and bequeathe vnto Tymothy Whithorne the some of
Twentye poundes of Lawfull money of England To be paide vnto him within one yere after my decease, Item I geve and
bequeathe vnto and amongeste the hyred men of the same Company, which I am of, which shalbe [hired men] at the tyme of my decease
the some of ffyve Poundes of Lawfull money of England To be ^equally distributed amongeste them. Item I give and bequeathe to my
ffellowe William Shakespeare a Thirty shillinges peece in gould, To my ffellowe Henry Condell one other Thirty shillinges
peece in gould, To my servante Christopher Beeson Thirty shillinges in gould, To my fellow Lawrence ffletcher Twenty
shillinges in gould, to my fellowe Robert Armyne Twenty shillinges in gould, To my fellowe Richard Cowley Twenty shill<inges>
in gould, To my fellowe Alexsander Cook Twenty shillinges in gould, To my fellowe Nicholas Tooley Twenty shillinges
in gould, Item I geve to the Preacher which shall preache at my funerall the some of Twenty shillinges,

[Image 2: PROB 10/232 (2)]

Item I giue vnto Samuell Gilborne my late Aprentice the some of ffortye shillinges
and my mouse Colloured veluit hose and a white Taffety dublet A blacke Taffety sute
my purple Cloke sword and dagger And my base viall Item I giue to Iames Sandes my
Apprentice the some of ffortye shillinges and a Citterne a Bandore and a Lute, To be paid and
deliuered vnto him at thexpiracion of his ^terme of yeares in his Indentur of Apprenticehood Item my will is
that Elizabeth Phillips my youngest daughter shall haue and quietly enioye for terme
of hir naturall lyfe my howse and Land in Mortelacke which I lately purchased to me,
Anne my wyfe, and to the said Elizabeth for Terme of our Liues in full Recompence and
satisfaction of hir parte and porcion which shee may in any wise Chalenge or demaund of in
and to any of my goodes and Chattells whatsoeuer. And I ordeyne and make the said
Anne Phillips my Louing wyfe sole executrix of this my present Testament and laste
will provided all waies that yf the said Anne my wyfe doe at any tyme marrye
after my decease, That then and from thenceforth shee shall Cease to be any
more or Longer my executrix of this my laste will and Testament or any
waies intermedle with the same, And the said Anne to haue no parte or porcion of my
Goodes and ^or Chattells to me or my executors Reserued or Apointed by this my laste
will and Testament, And that then and from thenceforth Iohn Heminges
Richard Burbage William slye and Tymothie Whithorne shalbe ffully and whollie
my executors of this my laste will and Testament, as though the said Anne had
neuer bin named, And of thexecution of this my present Testament and laste will
I ordayne and make the said Iohn Heminges Richard Burbage William Slye
and Tymothie Whithorne ouerseers of this my present Testament and laste will
And I b<e>queathe ^vnto the said Iohn Heminges Richard Burbage and William Slye to
either of them my said ouerseers for theire paines heerin to be Taken a boule
of siluer of the valew of ffyue poundes apeece In witnes wherof to
this my present will and Laste Testament and laste will I the said Augustine
Phillipes haue put my hand and seale the day and yeare aboue written

A. Phillips./

Sealed and deliuered by the said Augustine
Phillipes as his last will and Testament
in the presence of vs

Robert Goffe
William shepherd

probatum fuit testamentum supra scriptum apud London
coram domino Iohanne Benet milite legum doctore surr’ &c
Decimo tertio die mensis Maij Anno domini 1605 Iurato
Anne Relicte et executricis &c Cui &c de bene &c Iurat’

    ffides

see another Act
in Registry

To learn more, read Alan H. Nelson's essays on wills and the use of "Fellow" as a title in Shakespeare's England.

Written by Alan H. Nelson. 

Sources

Samuel Schoenbaum, William Shakespeare: a Documentary Life (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1975): 204.

David Thomas, Shakespeare in the Public Records (London: H.M.S.O., 1985): 12.

E.A.J. Honigmann and Susan Brock, eds., Playhouse Wills, 1558-1642 (New York: Manchester University Press, 1993): 72-5.

Last updated January 18, 2018