Oxford University Press
Faculty of Education and Arts
School of Communication and Arts
Although it covers a mere sixteen months, from January 1602 to April 1603, the Diary of John Manningham, written when he was a twenty-five year old law student at the Middle Temple, is a rich and entertaining source of information about life in Elizabethan London, especially at the Inns of Court where he resided. Along with lengthy discussions of the sermons heard each Sunday (usually one in the morning followed by another in the afternoon), we have jokes, gossip, poems, a fascinating account of Queen Elizabeth’s last days, and many witticisms he heard and enjoyed, sometimes mentioning the source, but very often not doing so. Of greatest interest to students of the Elizabethan theatre is the entry made in February, 1602, wherein he records his attendance at the Middle Temple’s Candlemas Feast, when he saw ‘a play called “Twelve night, or what you will” ’.