Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Haughton, William

HAUGHTON, WILLIAM (fl. 1598), dramatist, is identified in Cooper's ‘Athenæ Cantabrigienses’ (ii. 399) with a William Haughton, M.A., of Oxford, who was incorporated in that degree at Cambridge in 1604, but the identification is doubtful. The earliest mention of him in Henslowe's ‘Diary’ (p. 104) is under date 5 Nov. 1597, when he is described as ‘yonge Horton.’ Only one play of which he was sole author is extant, ‘English-Men for my Money: Or, A Woman will have her Will,’ 1616, 4to, reprinted in 1626 and 1631; included in the ‘Old English Drama,’ 1830, and in Hazlitt's edition of Dodsley's collection. From Henslowe's ‘Diary’ (pp. 119, 122) it appears that this merry rollicking comedy was written early in 1598. In August 1599 Haughton was at work upon a lost play, ‘The Poor Man's Paradise’ (ib. p. 155); and later in the year he joined John Day in writing the ‘Tragedy of Merry’ and ‘Cox of Collumpton’ (both lost); had a share with Dekker and Chettle in ‘Patient Grissil’ (printed in 1603), and with Chettle alone in ‘The Arcadian Virgin’ (not printed). In the following February he was engaged with Day and Dekker on ‘The Spanish Moor's Tragedy’ (not printed), which has been hastily identified with ‘Lust's Dominion;’ and in March the same authors, joined by Chettle, were at work on ‘The Seven Wise Masters’ (not printed). During part of March Haughton was imprisoned in the Clink (doubtless for debt), and Henslowe advanced ten shillings to procure his discharge. On 18 March he was employed on ‘Ferrex and Porrex,’ probably an alteration of Sackville and Norton's tragedy, and in April he was preparing the ‘English Fugitives’ (not printed). In May he received five shillings from Henslowe ‘in earnest of a Boocke which he wold calle the “Devell and his Dame”’ (ib. p. 169), which has been rashly identified with ‘Grim, the Collier of Croydon,’ first printed in 1662; in the same month he wrote ‘Strange News out of Poland’ (not printed) with a ‘Mr. Pett,’ and began single-handed a play called ‘Indes’ or ‘Judas’ (not printed). He was writing ‘Roben hoode's penerthes’ (‘Robin Hood's Pennyworths’) in December 1600 and January 1601; later in 1601 he joined Day in ‘The Second and Third Parts’ (not printed) of ‘The Blind Beggar of Bethnal Green,’ ‘The Six Yeomen of the West’ (not printed), ‘The Proud Woman of Antwerp and Friar Rush’ (not printed), and ‘The Second Part of Tom Dough’ (not printed). ‘The Conquest of the West Indies’ (not printed) was written with Day and Wentworth Smith, and the two parts of ‘The Six Clothiers’ (not printed) with Hathway and Smith. We do not hear of Haughton after September 1602, when he was engaged on ‘a playe called “Cartwright.”’

In ‘Annals of the Careers of W. Houghton [sic], Wadeson, and Pett,’ a paper printed in vol. iii. of ‘Shakespeariana,’ 1886, Mr. Fleay conjectures that some of the above-mentioned plays were printed with changed titles.

[Henslowe's Diary, passim; Alleyn Papers, pp. xxvii, 23, 25; Cooper's Athenæ Cantabr. ii. 399–400.]

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