Category Archives: Maps

London Maps Shakespeare Theatre

Shakespeare in Cripplegate

I’ve been chasing Shakespeare around London in an attempt to trace his various homes from the early 1590s until his retirement in 1613. I thought it might be fun to compare his approximate locations on the map created by Ralph Agas, who surveyed London in the late 16th and early 17th Centuries (c.1570-1605), with current equivalent locations in modern London. What follows are a series of map locations and images related to Shakespeare’s known accommodation during these years.



Firstly, Shakespeare in Bishopsgate. He is known to have been living here in 1596, when he was assessed on goods valued at £5, and subsequently taxed 5 shillings. We don’t know the exact address at which he lived, but he was recorded as being resident in the parish of St Helens.





Bishopsgate c.1595

The arrow indicates the church of St Helens.



Bishopsgate 2012

St Helen’s church today, indicated by the arrow.



By 1599, Shakespeare had left Bishopsgate and moved across the river to Bankside. He is believed to have lodged in the liberty of the Clink in Southwark, just down from the newly-built Globe theatre.





Liberty of the Clink c.1599



Clink 2012



Bankside before 1599



Bankside 2012



The Globe 2012




In 1604, Shakespeare was living with the Mountjoy family on Silver Street, Cripplegate.


City of London



Cripplegate c.1600

The arrow indicates Shakespeare’s lodgings, in the house at the corner of Silver Street and Monkwell Street.



City of London 2012

The arrow indicates the approximate site of Shakespeare’s Cripplegate lodgings today, on the corner of Noble Street and London Wall.



In March 1613, Shakespeare bought the Blackfriars Gatehouse. It is unclear whether he ever lived in it, but after his death in 1616, it passed to his daughter Susanna:

And also all that tenemente with the appurtenaunces, wherein one John Robinson dwelleth, lying and being, in the Blackfriers in London, nere the Wardrobe. And all my other landes, tenementes, and hereditamentes whatsoever.





Blackfriars c.1600

The site of the Blackfriars theatre. Shakespeare owned the Gatehouse nearby.



Blackfriars 2012



Finally, I’ve highlighted many of the theatres familiar to Shakespeare’s audiences on the Agas map.

 Left to Right top Row:

1)The Phoeneix/Cockpit, Drury Lane 2) The Red Bull, Clerkenwell 3) The Fortune, Whitecross Street
4) The Curtain, Shoreditch, and above it 5) The Theatre

Left to Right Middle Row:

1) Whitefriars 2) Blackfriars

Left to Right Bottom Row:

1) The Swan 2) The Hope 3) The Rose 4) The Globe



Source for Shakespeare’s addresses: Charles Nicholl, The Lodger: Shakespeare on Silver Street (Penguin, 2007). Nicholl’s book provides lots of fascinating detail about Shakespeare’s life in Cripplegate.

Explore the Agas map in detail here

Maps Printing

The Maps of John Speed

Today’s fragments are from the Elizabethan map-maker John Speed (1551-1629).  Speed was an historian and cartographer. In 1595 he published a wall map of biblical Canaan. By 1598 he had presented several maps to Elizabeth 1, and in 1606 he published his The Theatre of the Empire of Great Britaine, the earliest English attempt at producing a large-scale Atlas. Speed’s maps were reprinted many times, and served as the basis for most subsequent world maps until at least the mid-eighteenth century.  To view a larger image of each map, right click and open in a new tab.

Source for Speed’s life: Sarah Bendall, DNB.

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