The History of John of Gaunt, with his Conquest of Spain

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or, The Conquest of Spain by John of Gaunt

a history by Richard Hathwaye and William Rankins

About the Play

Several cataloguers of early plays have grouped two references to lost plays with a similar title together, despite a span of almost a decade between them.

On May 14, 1594, a play was entered into the Stationers’ Register with the title of “The Famous History of John a Gaunt...with his conquest of Spain.”

Later, in 1601, Henslowe’s diary records a payment made to the playwrights Rankins and Hathway for a piece entitled “The Conquest of Spain by John of Gaunt.” This might have been a revision of the older play, given the similarities in title, and is often treated as such, especially since neither version survives either in print or manuscript.

References from Secondary Sources

  • Frederick Gard Fleay, Chronicle of the English Drama (1891)

    Henslow’s Disbursements for the Admiral’s Men at the Fortune, 1600 August — 1603 May

    Dates: Mar. 24; Apr. 4, 11, 16 [20]. Reference, &c.: 89 part. Amount: 2 3 0. Plays: Conquest of Spain by John a Gaunt.

  • James O. Halliwell, A Dictionary of Old English Plays (1860)

    THE CONQUEST OF SPAIN. A play by Hathway and Rankens, written in 1601. It is once mentioned in Henslowe’s Diary as “the Conquest of Spain by John of Gaunt.”

  • William Carew Hazlitt, The Play-Collector's Manual (1892)

    The Conquest of Spain: See John of Gaunt.

    John of Gaunt: “The famous historye of John a Gaunte, sonne of Kinge Edwarde the third, with his conquest of Spayne, and marriage of his 2 daughters to the Kings of Castile and Portugale.” Licensed to Edward White in 1593.

    See Herbert’s Ames, p. 1201. Not known in type. But in 1601 W. Rankins and R. Hathway received 43s. from Henslowe in part-payment of a play called The Conquest of Spain by John of Gaunt, which looks like a recension of the older piece, or, from the price paid, perhaps a new production on the subject.