Thomas Heywood

Lincolnshire, England
Death Aug 1641 (aged 67–68)
Clerkenwell, London Borough of Islington, Greater London, England
Burial Clerkenwell, London Borough of Islington, Greater London, England
Plot churchyard, unmarked
Memorial ID 14000328 · View Source
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Author, Actor. A contemporary of Shakespeare, he was among the most prolific dramatists of England's Elizabethan and Jacobean periods. He claimed he had "either an entire hand, or at least a main finger" in 220 plays; today around 30 are accepted as wholly or partially by him. Heywood was at his best as a pioneer of domestic dramas and comedies, with their vivid portraits of middle-class London life. The tragedy "A Woman Killed with Kindness" (1603) is considered his masterpiece. Heywood was probably born in Licolnshire between 1570 and 1575. Although he was said to have studied at Cambridge University there is no record of him there. By 1596 he was in London, writing and occasionally acting in plays for producer Philip Henslowe, and was active in the theatre the rest of his life. Some of his plays were so popular they were produced in two theatres simultaneously. His first big hit, "The Four Prentices of London" (1600), was parodied in Francis Beaumont's "The Knight of the Burning Pestle" (1607). Besides tragedies and comedies, Heywood tackled history plays ("If You Know Not Me, You Know Nobody" 1605 to 1606, about Elizabeth I), adventure ("The Fair Maid of the West" Parts I and II, 1631), romance ("A Maidenhead Well Lost", 1633), topical drama ("The Late Lancashire Witches", collaboration with Richard Brome, 1634), classical myths ("The Golden Age", 1610), courtly masques ("Love's Mistress", 1634), and seven pageants for the Lord Mayor of London, produced between 1631 and 1639. He also wrote poetry and several prose pamphlets. In "An Apology for Actors" (1612) Heywood defended the moral function of drama against Puritan attacks. He died in Clerkenwell shortly before the Puritans succeeded in shutting down London's theatres in 1642, bringing English Renaissance drama to an end.

Bio by: Bobb Edwards



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  • Maintained by: Find a Grave
  • Originally Created by: Mark McManus
  • Added: 19 Apr 2006
  • Find a Grave Memorial 14000328
  • Find a Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Thomas Heywood (1573–Aug 1641), Find a Grave Memorial no. 14000328, citing St. James Churchyard, Clerkenwell, London Borough of Islington, Greater London, England ; Maintained by Find A Grave .