‘An Honest Pair of Oars’: Players, Watermen, and A Chaste Maid in Cheapside

Christi Spain-Savage


This essay offers insight into two playing companies’ ties to a key industry in early modern London and the ways such interconnections shaped the neighbourhoods adjacent to the Thames. It examines Touchwood Senior’s speech in Thomas Middleton’s A Chaste Maid in Cheapside in relation to the Swan, the Blackfriars, and watermen’s trade to argue that this moment highlights sympathies for the watermen’s plight from the Lady Elizabeth’s Men and exposes underlying tensions between the watermen and the King’s Men in 1613 and 1614.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.12745/et.19.2.2844

Christi Spain-Savage
Siena College
United States

Christi Spain-Savage (cspain-savage@siena.edu) is a visiting assistant professor at Siena College. She has published essays in Studies in English Literature and in the collections Mapping Gendered Routes and Spaces in the Early Modern World and Lost Plays in Shakespeare’s England. Her book project, ‘Hucksters, Hags, and Bawds: Writing the Slum in Early Modern London’, examines how certain London neighbourhoods are depicted as slums through their literary association with women labourers.