Friend of the fan site @ChasquiPenguin has complied another ‘Likely Facts’ article! This time on Henry Condell, the actor thought usually to have taken Shakespeare’s female roles. He and John Heminges said of Shakespeare in their publishing of the first folio:
‘Read him, therefore; and again, and again: and if you do not like him, surely you are in some manifest danger, not to understand him.”
(15 Likely Facts about his Personal and Theatre Life)
1. Henry Condell is believed to have been born in Norwich, and baptised on 5th September 1576.
2. His parents were probably fishmonger Robert Condell and his wife Joan (née Yeomans), both from the Norwich area.
3. In 1596 Henry married Elizabeth Smart at the church of St Laurence Pountney in the City of London. The church burnt down in the Great Fire of London and the parish was united with St Mary Abchurch.
4. Henry and Elizabeth Condell lived in the parish of St Mary Aldermanbury and he served as a churchwarden there.
5. Henry and Elizabeth had nine children, only three of whom, Elizabeth, Henry and William, survived to adulthood.
6. During his acting career he obviously made enough money to buy houses in Fulham (which was then in Middlesex) and Gloucestershire.
7. Henry died in Fulham, aged 51, and was buried on 29th December 1627 at St Mary Aldermanbury, with his widow buried there on 3rd October 1635.
8. Henry Condell is said to have left a large estate, including shares in The Globe Theatre and Blackfriars Theatre.
9. There is a memorial to Henry Condell and John Heminges in the former churchyard of St Mary Aldermanbury – now a public garden.
10. Although 12 years younger than Shakespeare, Henry Condell could have been acting in 1590 (aged 13–14), with John Heminges and Augustine Phillips.
11. Although little information is available on the roles he played, Condell was known as one of the “Principall Players” in Shakespeare’s plays, along with Richard Burbage, William Kempe and Shakespeare himself.
12. He also performed in many of Ben Jonson’s plays.
13. He seems to have had friendships with many in the acting world, including Shakespeare who named him, John Heminges and Richard Burbage in his will.
14. Henry Condell seems to have retired from acting in 1619.
15. Together with John Heminges, Henry Condell compiled and edited Shakespeare’s First Folio, with the Preface by Ben Jonson. This was published in 1623 and contains 36 of Shakespeare’s plays, though none of his sonnets or poems.
The above details are correct to the best of my ability but please let me know if you notice any inaccuracies. Twitter: @ChasquiPenguin