William Heminges

British writer

1602   -   1649

occupation: poet

William Heminges (1602 – c. 1653?), also Hemminges, Heminge, and other variants, was a playwright and theatrical figure of the Caroline period. He was the ninth child and third son of John Heminges, the actor and colleague of William Shakespeare, and his wife Rebecca. William Heminges was christened on 3 October 1602 in the parish of St. Mary's, Aldermanbury, in London. He was educated at Winchester School and then at Christ Church, Oxford, where he attained his M.A. degree in 1628. Only two of his plays have survived, The Jews' Tragedy (1626; published 1662) and The Fatal Contract (c. 1639; published 1653). In these two tragedies, the dramatist was strongly influenced by the works of Shakespeare. A third play is lost: titled The Coursing of the Hare, or the Madcap, it was staged at the Fortune Theatre in March 1633. Little is known of Heminges's life. The parish records of St. Giles in the Fields record the birth of a daughter in 1639, and the burials of two sons a decade later. He was in financial difficulties in the middle 1630s, and spent some time in prison. His date of death is a mystery; Andrew Pennycuicke and Anthony Turner, the booksellers who issued The Fatal Contract in 1653, refer to him then as deceased.
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