Nicholas Skeres

A clear identification of Nicholas Skeres was made difficult by the frequent occurrence of this name in Kent and the different spellings.1 According to Charles Nicholl, the man who witnessed Christopher Marlowe’s death was born in London in 1563. Three years later, his father died, leaving his wife Audrey and two sons Jerome and Nicholas the property in Yorkshire, Surrey and London. In the early 1980s, Nicholas Skeres was a resident at Furnival’s Inn, which was part of the Chancery Court. At that time he was working for a man called John Wolfall. A knacker by trade, Wolfall also worked as a moneylender, using methods similar to those of Ingram Frizer. Skere’s job was to land new customers. One of his "victims" at the time was the poet Mathew Roydon. Another of Wolfall’s debtors was George Chapman. In July 1585, William Fleetwood, single judge in London, informed Lord Burghley of a gang of burglars consisting of vagabonds and pickpockets. On a list of forty-five names is also Nicholas Skeres, who was probably not directly involved in the burglaries, but presumably knew where to get rid of stolen goods. When Skeres was later investigated, these allegations did not come up. It was either an unconfirmed rumour or another person with the same name. In August 1586, shortly before the Babington conspiracy was exposed, a Walsingham spy reported seeing two men named Dunn and Skyeres – almost certainly Nicholas Skeres – at Babington’s new lodgings in Bishopsgate. Henry Dunne was executed a month later with the other conspirators. The name Skeres did not appear again in connection with the Babington conspiracy. In the summer of 1589, Skeres was the messenger in a confidential correspondence from the Earl of Essex to the court. For this he received an official payment, which was approved by Francis Walsingham. According to his own account, Skeres went to France with Essex in 1591 and did not return to England until February of the following year. In April 1593 Skeres had to appear before the Star Chamber. The investigations revealed that Skeres had been involved in several dubious money transactions similar to those he had carried out with the help of John Wolfall and Ingram Frizer. In the spring of 1595, the London alderman Sir Richard Martin conducted a search of Edmund Williamson’s house, the brother of an imprisoned Catholic. Thirteen suspects were arrested. One of them was Nicholas Kyrse, alias Skeers.2 He claimed to be in the service of the Earl of Essex.3 However, it turned out that most of those arrested had a good reason for being there. Like Wolfall and Frizer, Williamson also lent money on less than perfect terms. Skeres was soon released.4
On 10 August 1601, a few months after the Essex Conspiracy, one Nicholas "Skiers" was transferred from Newgate to Bridewell Prison by order of the Privy Council. It was the last time he had been heard from.5

  1. Urry (1988)↩︎
  2. Nicholl (2002)↩︎
  3. Urry (1988)↩︎
  4. Nicholl (2002)↩︎
  5. Urry (1988)↩︎

Aktualisiert am 23.05.2024

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