From the Castle Rushen Papers.

Document No. 28.



There is in the Book of Charge, Castle Rushen, under date 1603 (Ellesmere Papers C2. pp. 101-198), the following interesting item, under the heading 'Rewards'

' Paid to my Lo: Vause's Players in Reward for a Plaie acted by them xxs.'

The Chairman of the Museum Trustees (His Honour C. T. C. Callow) wrote to Mr. G. Gregory Smith. Professor of Literature, and Librarian of Belfast University, who is an authority on Shakespeare, quoting the extract. His Honour received the following reply:-

Lord Lord Vaux's Company was one of the lesser ' Men's Companies. There are records of their playing at Leicester in 1601-1602, at Coventry in 1603-1604 and 1607-1608, and at Skipton Castle, Craven, in 1609. . . . The Rushen excerpt is very interesting. If you come across any other dramatic entries, please put them on ' record.'


The above details were submitted to Prof. Hanby Hay, who is in the front rank of Shakesperian scholars. He writes:-

After a careful search there can only be one conclusion that this company never occupied any of the theatres or inn yards of London. They belonged to that order of players who travelled on foot and carried their costumes on their backs, a company well described by the old song

Hark, hark, the dogs do bark,
Beggars are coming to town
Some in tags and some in rags,
And he's a velvet gown.

Their patron (for it was a patron or the stocks!) was probably Lord Vaux, the son of Lord John Vaux. Lord John Vaux was a man of distinction, and a writer of songs some of which are still extant. His ditty on 'Death' is burlesqued by the grave-digger in Hamlet. These itinerant vagabonds had doubtless a letter of introduction from their patron to Captain Robert Molynieux ruling the Island for Elizabeth.

As for what they played it was most likely a purloined copy of perhaps Richard III. But this is merely a conjecture.

The name Vause, which must be allied to Vaux, appears in Castletown in 1511. There was at that date a William Vause who possessed a chamber in Castletown, and in addition there was in 1511 a piece of land called Vausetown. Peter Vause was fhe ' Chirurgeon' (surgeon) in Castle Rushen in 1599.

The personal name persisted in Castletown, and we find that the family owned ' Voase's Barn, part of the ' Bog Croft' (which was originally a portion of Vausetown, in addition to houses and gardens in Malew-street and Water-street (now Queen-street [incorrect - Water street runs down to harbour]).

According to Burke's Peerage, the family. of Vaux or Vallibus is of Norman extraction, going back to the time of Stephen. They had Lordships in Norfolk and Cumberland. The present Baron is Hubert George Charles Mostyn, of Harrowden.

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