Staging the Henrician Court : Heywood

This page last changed on Dec 07, 2009 by Eleanor Rycroft.

John Heywood (c.1497 - 1578) was a musician, writer, revels producer and Sewer of the Chamber at the court of Henry VIII. He enjoyed an extensive career as a courtier and managed to survive the shifting political and religious allegiances of succeeding monarchs until finally going into exile under Elizabeth, and probably dying in Belgium. William Rastell (the son of John Rastell, brother-in-law to Sir Thomas More) printed several of his dialogues and plays in the 1530s, including 'The Play of the Weather' in 1533. His connection to the More circle was reinforced by his marriage to Eliza Rastell, More's niece and William's sister. Alongside plays, Heywood produced volumes of proverbs and epigrams, as well as the poem "The Spider and the Flie" which was published in 1556. He was well know for his wit and humour, and this facet of his character probably accounts for his continued popularity at court, despite the sometimes contentious nature of his works and fall from favour of his associates.

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