John Cholmley on the Bankside
Because we know almost nothing about John Cholmley, Philip Henslowe’s financial partner in the building of the Rose playhouse, imaginative hypotheses have moved in to fill the void. In this essay I argue that Cholmley can indeed be found in the records, and that he was both more and less important to Henslowe than has previously been claimed. In the first section I offer what documentary records I’ve been able to find, accompanied by archeological information from the Museum of London. In the second section, I propose a hypothetical – and therefore fictional – narrative that takes the evidence from the first section into account in addressing the puzzles surrounding the 1587 Deed of Partnership between Cholmley and Henslowe, a document that has been until now all we have known of Cholmley.
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