The Vow Breaker and William Sampson’s Role in ‘the Anne Willoughby Affair’

Emanuel Stelzer


This article assesses William Sampson’s involvement in ‘the Anne Willoughby affair’, an episode that caused the vilification of Sir John Suckling and opposition to King Charles. I demonstrate that Sampson’s dedication of his play The Vow Breaker (pub­lished in 1636) to his patroness, Anne Willoughby, directly refers to the incident. The circumstances of composition and staging of this play can provide useful information on provincial playacting and on the Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire cultural circles during the reign of Charles I.

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