This article lists the various minor fictional characters who appear in Ruled Britannia. These characters play at best a peripheral role in the novel. Most were simply mentioned or had a very brief, unimportant speaking role that impacted the plot minimally, if at all, and never appeared again. Some were not even given a name.
Martha Brock was a mistress of Lope de Vega while de Vega was stationed in London, England in 1597. One day she met de Vega and another of his mistresses, Nell Lumley, in the Southwark bear-baiting arena. Brock and Lumley bickered with each other and with de Vega, and both left de Vega that day.
Edward was promoted from tireman's assistant to actor (in the role of Decius in the play Boudicca) in Lord Westmorland's Men with the departure of Matthew Quinn.He later took part in the march on the Tower of London during the October 1598 uprising.
Joaquin Fernandez was a Spanish corporal and amateur actor. He was tall as a tree, blond as an Englishman, and handsome as an angel. His acting was wooden as a block. He played Rodrigo in La Dama Boba.
Peter Foster was an Englishman who rented a room in London from Widow Jane Kendall. He shared his room with William Shakespeare and Jack Street. Foster claimed to be a tinker by trade, but was believed to be a petty criminal, and in 1597 was arrested. He later escaped from prison and fled the city.
The light-fingered tinker has been a stock character in English (and neighboring countries') fiction since the Middle Ages. Shakespeare himself used the archetype on occasion, e.g. Christopher Sly in The Taming of the Shrew.
Maude Fuller (b. c. 1572) was one of several mistresses Lope de Vega had during his time in England. One night late in 1597 her husband Ned came home unexpectedly while de Vega was in her bed, and de Vega was forced to jump out her second-story bedroom window. Maude had claimed she was a virgin before bedding de Vega.
Ned Fuller was the husband of Maude Fuller, one of several mistresses Lope de Vega had during his time in England. One night late in 1597 her husband came home unexpectedly while de Vega was in her bed, and de Vega was forced to jump out her second-story bedroom window. As he fled, de Vega heard Ned's realization that Maude had been "playing the strumpet."
George was a wherryman or boatman rowing passengers back and forth across the Thames River in the late 1500s. One night what appeared to be a madman came to him and asked to be rowed across the river. When George asked where he wanted to go, the man replied he could row him to hell and then added "Why this is hell, nor am I out of it". This frightened George but he took the man's tuppence to row him to Deptford since a madman's penny spent as well as anyone else's. However, in the morning George did have a priest bless the boat.
A man named Cedric Hayes approached William Shakespeare in a tavern shortly after England was liberated from Spanish rule. He demonstrated his ability to throw knives into a target precisely, and described himself as a mountebank. Shakespeare appreciated Hayes' showmanship and thought he might be suited to play one of the comical supporting characters in Romeo and Juliet or Prince of Denmark. If Hayes proved trusty, Shakespeare would even consider writing lengthier parts just for him.
Henry and James
Henry and James were two thieves who came to scavenge the corpses of dead Spanish soldiers for valuables after the London uprising of October 1598. They arrived on the scene late, and were disappointed to find that most of the treasure had already been plundered. Lope de Vega, who had been left for dead by the first wave of "rats" (the two men's own metaphor), overheard their conversation. Though he was used to soldiers taking gold from corpses, and had even done it himself during the invasion of England in 1588, he had never heard it planned and discussed so methodically and cold-bloodedly.
These characters appear to be based on Bardolph, Nym, and Pistol from William Shakespeare's Henry V, who are in the same "business" and have the same kind of philosophical conversations about it.
Jack Hungerford (b. c. 1545) was tireman of the Theatre in London, England, during the Spanish occupation. He conspired with William Shakespeare and Lord Westmorland's Men to produce Boudicca in 1598.
Master Jenkins was a tailor in London during the Spanish occupation. William Shakespeare was a regular customer, both on his own behalf and on behalf of his acting company. One cool, wet autumn day Shakespeare arrived to collect a new King's robe that Jenkins had been commissioned to make. Jenkins had forgotten it was to be ready that day but put aside the work he had been doing to complete it. It took over an hour but Shakespeare managed to bargain five shillings off the price for his delay.
Adding to Shakespeare's frustration was that the delay left him in Jenkins' shop when an auto da fe ceremony began. The crowds that gathered to watch it would greatly delay his returning home. Jenkins suggested he stay to watch it but Shakespeare was reluctant to do so until Jenkins also suggested it might present a piece of business that Shakespeare could use in one of his plays.
Sam King (b. c. 1572) was an impoverished young man who moved to London, England in 1598. He rented a room from Widow Jane Kendall, which he shared with William Shakespeare and Jack Street. The room opened up when its previous occupant, Peter Foster, was arrested as a petty criminal. King eventually found a way of making a living by disguising himself to look scarred and deformed, and winning sympathy as a beggar that way.
Nell Lumley was one of Lope de Vega's many mistresses while de Vega was stationed in London, England. de Vega took Lumley to the Southwark bear-baiting arena that year, and on the way out they met Martha Brock, another of de Vega's mistresses. Lumley quarreled with Brock, and both left de Vega.
Geoffrey Martin (c. 1557 - January 1598) was a prompter at London's Theatre in the employ of the acting troupe Lord Westmorland's Men. In 1597 he was approached by William Shakespeare in a roundabout way to see if Martin would be willing to become a co-conspirator of Shakespeare's as Shakespeare wrote Boudicca. Martin, a devout Catholic, revealed that he did not want to see Queen Elizabeth restored lest she reinstate Protestantism. Shakespeare realized Martin could not be trusted with the secret of the Boudicca Plot. Shakespeare therefore named Martin to Nick Skeres when Skeres asked for the names of any threats to the plot's security. Skeres in turn gave the name to Ingram Frizer, and Frizer murdered Martin. Shakespeare felt guilt over Martin's death, which Richard Burbage compared to the example of King Henry II and Thomas Beckett.
Martin had a scarred face, the result of the fire in which his first wife perished. At the time of his death, his second wife had recently given birth.
Peter Norris was a sheriff in Deptford, the district just down the Thames from London where the fugitive Christopher Marlowe was reported to have been seen last. When Lope de Vega told him Marlowe was wanted for sodomy, Norris was eager to help find him, but de Vega privately suspected that Norris would have been less helpful had Marlowe's crime been rebellion against the Spaniards. It soon became clear that Marlowe was no longer in Deptford. Norris consoled de Vega by taking him to Eleanor Bull's inn, where they had a pleasurable discussion about the world of theatre, and de Vega was almost sad when it had to end.
Pedro (d. 13 October 1598) was a Spanish soldier wounded by a pistol shot at the beginning of the London uprising. He was helped back to the barracks while supported by his fellows José and Manuel, and remained while the rest of the troops went out to put down the uprising. He was later killed by English rioters.
Alejandro de Recalde
Don Alejandro de Recalde (d. July 1598) was a highly placed officer in the Spanish army occupying England. In 1598, he brought his mistress, Catalina Ibanez, to London. Catalina played Queen Isabella I of Castile in Lope de Vega's El Mejor Mozo de España. She lost interest in de Recalde and took up with de Vega. De Recalde caught the two in a post-coital situation in the courtyard of the former Scottish embassy. There he challenged de Vega to a duel, and de Vega killed de Recalde by driving his rapier through the don's eye and into his brain.
De Recalde's name is likely a combination of Alejandro Gómez de Segura and Juan Martínez de Recalde, the joint commanders of the Biscay Squadron in the Spanish Armada.
George Rowley was an actor in Lord Westmorland's Men. When the company were having a merry time at the Boar's Head inn, Rowley got into an argument with Will Kemp, but was unable to reply to Kemp's barbs swiftly, leaving the latter to exclaim "Look, he's winding up the watch of his wit; by and by it will strike." Rowley then sought to get violent but was restrained by other actors..
Harry Seymour was a bookseller who sold his wares in St. Paul's Cathedral in London, England. In 1597, he sold an English translation of the Annals of Tacitus to William Shakespeare. Shakespeare used the Annals as a source in his writing of Boudicca.
Jack Street was a glazier in London, England. He rented a room from the widow Jane Kendall, which he shared with William Shakespeare and Peter Foster (who was later replaced by Sam King). Street snored very loudly every night.
Tom (b. 1580s) was an actor with Lord Westmorland's Men. William Shakespeare considered Tom the troupe's finest female impersonator (e.g. Juliet) and wanted him for the title role of his insurrectionist play Boudicca. Richard Burbage talked Shakespeare out of it because Tom came from a Catholic family and hoped to follow his brother into the priesthood. It was all too likely that they would need to condemn him to death by Ingram Frizer's knife lest he report their plan to the Spaniards.
The problem of how to dismiss Tom from the company without arousing Spanish suspicion, was solved when Tom, despite his Catholic devotion, aroused Spanish wrath against himself by becoming the homosexual lover of aristocrat Anthony Bacon. Tom fled with Bacon to Denmark, far away from the company's worries.
George Trimble was a London constable. During Lent of 1598, he issued a citation to a tavern keeper for serving meat in his establishment during that holy time. Trimble, unnerved when the other man reminded him of his past eating habits, was unable to explain why the English Inquisition were observing this Lent more strictly than in past years. Lope de Vega, who happened to be passing by, could have explained it, but de Vega didn't think that either man would listen, so he said nothing and walked on.
Thomas Vincent (b. c. 1562) succeeded the murdered Geoffrey Martin as the prompter for Lord Westmorland's Men. He was a devout Catholic after the Spanish Armada conquered England; he'd been an equally devout Protestant before. Nonetheless, Vincent became part of the scheme to perform Boudicca and overthrow the Spanish.
John Walsh (d. December 1597) was an English butcher and demagogue who attempted to use passages from the Book of Revelation to incite crowds to revolt against the Spanish-backed rule of Queen Isabella and King Albert. In 1597 he was arrested by a company of Spanish soldiers commanded by Lope de Vega after his supporters attempted to defend him. He was hanged soon afterward.
Lucy Watkins (b. c. 1565), a shellfish vendor, was one of the many English women with whom Lope de Vega had affairs while he was stationed in London. She loved him and he loved her but she tearfully left him when he refused to love her exclusively.
- Ruled Britannia, 280-281.
- Ibid., pgs. 365, 426, HC.
- Ibid., pg. 66.
- Ibid., p. 174.
- Ibid., pg. 309-310.
- Ibid., pg. 376.
- Ibid., p. 245-246.
- Ibid., pg. 28.
- Ibid., pgs. 73-76.
- Ibid., pgs. 46-47.
- Ibid., pg. 11.
- Ibid., p. 334.
- Ibid., pg. 11.
- Ibid., pgs. 231-234.
- Ibid., p. 421-422.
- Ibid., p. 398-399.
- Ibid., p. 45.
- Ibid., pg. 69.
- See, e.g. 162-164, generally.
- Ibid., pgs. 2-5.
- Ibid., pg. 110.
- Ibid., p. 266-268.
- Ibid., pgs. 60-65.
- Ibid., pgs. 127-30.
- Ibid., pg. 140.
- Ibid., p. 144.
- Ibid., 235-236.
- Ibid., pgs. 46-47.
- Ibid., pgs. 381-382, HC.
- Ibid. pg. 385, HC.
- Ibid. pg. 409, HC.
- Ibid., pg. 243.
- Ibid., pgs. 252-256.
- Ibid., pgs. 286-288.
- Ibid., p. 152-153
- Ibid., pgs. 71-72.
- Ibid., pg. 6.
- Ibid. 163-165.
- Ibid., pgs. 204-206.
- Ibid., p. 158-159.
- Ibid., pg. 160.
- Ibid., pgs. 239-240.
- Ibid., pgs. 104-110.
- Ibid., pg. 149.
- Ibid., pg. 301.