St John's College S.59 (James 444)

William Johnson, 'Valetudinarium'. Latin and English, seventeenth century

William Johnson, of Queens' College Cambridge (1610 or 1611-1667): 'Valetudinarium', a Latin comedy, perhaps written for Commencement or some other University occasion, c. 1635. According to sources in Emmanuel College the play was performed there in 1637 (info. De Groot, 1996). See A. H. Nelson, Records of Early English Drama, Cambridge, ii, 925-. The MS is apparently in three hands. Acts III and IV are in one hand. Act V and the fragments of Act II at the beginning are in a second hand. Acts I and II, with the title and dramatis personae, have been rewritten in a third hand, evidently because the original MS was already defective. They took up less space than had been allowed for, hence the blank leaves in the middle of the play. The stage directions are in English. The author of the third hand states erroneously that Johnson held a Fellowship at Queen's. The words at the end, 'Finis Valetudinarii', are in the third hand. Other copies of the play survive in Emmanuel College MS I.2.32 (William Sancroft's copy), and CUL, MS Dd.3.73. See Cambridge History of English Literature, vi, 474.

Manuscript extra information

320x220 mm. max. [39] fos, the latter numbered 13-32. 'Tho: Baker Coll: Jo: Socius Ejectus' at the top of the list of dramatis personae at fo. [5r]. Against the list are names of actors: Mr Wells, Marsh, Mr Frear, Ds Jones, Richardson, Lightfoot, Malden, Mr Johnson, Ds Whitloe [Whitloc?], Whitehead, Ds Stanhope, Ds Lynsott, Ds Sleighton, Mr Rogers, Mr Walpole, Sandall, Mr Pertill.

Three hands (mid seventeenth century), a clean copy. Paper, first three folios defective, the final folio also damaged. The vellum binding, itself defective, is fashioned from a deed of July 37 Elizabeth, involving John ?Gilbert of Great Farmborough, Suffolk.