John Fletcher of Corpus Christi College: New Records of His Early Years

  • Arata Ide Keio University
Keywords: Biography, John Fletcher, Elizabethan Drama,


Little is known about John Fletcher’s birth and college education. Meager evidence and hypotheses have led to the widely held belief that he was born in Rye in December 1579, the son of the famous bishop, and that he entered Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, in 1591. Such a chronology, however, requires accepting the notion that Fletcher was admitted to the college when he was less than twelve years old, so it is understandable that some are skeptical about his university career. By drawing attention to a previously unnoticed document, the purpose of this paper is to clarify the issues clouding the university career of John Fletcher of Corpus Christi College and suggest there is some difficulty in identifying this Corpus Christi man with John Fletcher of Rye, the bishop’s son. This new evidence would contribute to removing the confusion that has blighted previous efforts to establish his identity.