Manningham, John (DNB00)

MANNINGHAM, JOHN (d. 1622), diarist, was son of Robert Manningham of Fen Drayton, Cambridgeshire, by his wife Joan, daughter of John Fisher of Bledlow, Buckinghamshire. On 16 March 1597–8 he was entered a student in the Middle Temple, and on 7 June 1605 he was called to the degree of an utter barrister. A fellow-student, Edward, son of William Curll and brother of Walter Curll [q. v.], afterwards bishop of Winchester, obtained for him the post of auditor of the court of wards. He was also befriended by a distant relative, Richard Manningham, who, born at St. Albans in 1539, made a fortune in London as a mercer, and in his old age retired to Bradbourne, near Maidstone. Richard Manningham died on 25 April 1611, and was buried in East Malling Church, where John Manningham erected a monument to his memory. To John, his sole executor, Richard left his house and lands in Kent. John made his will on 21 Jan. 1621, and it was proved by Walter Curll and a cousin, Dr. William Roberts of Enfield, on 4 Dec. 1622.

Manningham married, about 1607, Ann, sister of his friend Curll. By her he had three sons, Richard (b. 1608), John (b. 1616), and Walter, and three daughters, Susannah, Ann, and Elizabeth. Walter Curll, by his will of 15 March 1646–7, left legacies to his sister Mrs. Manningham and her son and his godson Walter. She was dead before 1656, when her eldest son Richard sold the property at Bradbourne to Thomas Twysden, serjeant-at-law (Hasted, Kent, ii. 213).

Manningham is the author of a diary now preserved among the Harl. MSS. (5353), and first printed by the Camden Society in 1868, under the editorship of John Bruce. It covers the period from January 1601–2 to April 1603; at the time the writer was a student in the Middle Temple. The work is an entertaining medley of anecdotes of London life, political rumours, accounts of sermons, and memoranda of journeys. The gossip respecting Queen Elizabeth's illness and death and the accession of James I is set down in attractive detail, and Manningham often supplies shrewd comments on the character of the chief lawyers and preachers of the day. He also gives an interesting account (p. 18) of the performance of Shakespeare's ‘Twelfth Night’ on 2 Feb. 1601–2 in the Middle Temple Hall. Collier, in his ‘Annals of the Stage,’ 1831, i. 320, in noticing this entry, first called attention to Manningham's work. The familiar anecdote of Shakespeare's triumph over Richard Burbage [q. v.] in the pursuit of the favours of a lady of doubtful virtue rests on Manningham's authority (p. 39). Sir Thomas Bodley, John Stow, and Sir Thomas Overbury are also occasionally mentioned by Manningham.

[Manningham's Diary (Camd. Soc.), ed. Bruce, Preface; ‘Visitation of County of Kent in 1619’ in Archæologia Cantiana, iv. 255.]

S. L.