Chapter 1: The Source of Our Sorrows
Westminster Lodgings 1606
John and Jane Daniell
Scene 1: John and Jane Daniell
Jane Daniell sits at a long table by a window in a
cramped and cluttered room writing a letter to King James I. Also
in the room is her husband, John. At least 20 years her senior, he
appears an old and broken man - much maligned by the hand that fate
has dealt him.
In front of Jane is a pewter tankard containing a number
of quills, an inkpot and pile of writing paper, a blank page already
placed on the table in front of her. She dips a quill in ink and hesitates
a moment before beginning to write:
"To your most excellent majesty, King James -"
She pauses and glances along the table. At the opposite
end sits her husband, John Daniell. In his late 50’s, his appearance
is unkempt. John seems deeply distracted as he intently examines a series
of small notes and scraps of paper.
Jane returns to her writing with a look of weary concern
"It is now four years since my husband, John Daniell
was imprisoned and fined £3000. Yet - though he was granted freedom
two years since – we are still in want of justice. Those I looked
upon as friends are now our bitter enemies and all that we once owned
is in the hands of strangers. Four years ago our fortunes seemed assured"
John plays blind-man's buff with his children
Exterior of the parsonage
Scene 2: Happier times
John and Jane are playing blind-man’s buff with the children outside
the parsonage, their home.
"- but now - our home in Hackney is lost to
us forever – and we have no hope of relief in this, our insufferable
extremity of want."
Lady Essex and Jane Daniell at Yorke House
Scene 3: Lady Essex
The source of our sorrows lies in my true and dutiful
attendance on her Ladyship, the Countess of Essex.
Lady Essex (Frances Walsingham) is in her mid-thirties.
She is an attractive woman who relishes her high position
For ten years I served her honour faithfully, despite
the troubled fortunes of Lord Essex
Lord Essex playing chess
Yorke House 1599
Scene 4: Lord Essex
Lord Essex, a dashing figure with a distinctive red
beard, is playing chess with their Secretary – a pinched and
Essex seems edgy and impatient with the game.
The Secretary appears to be winning.
Lord Essex angrily leaves the game of chess
Scene 5: Lord Essex under house arrest
Essex was a man loved by many; but his position
with Queen Elizabeth had long been unsettled. So when his campaign
in Ireland failed - at great cost to the crown - he and my Lady were
placed under house arrest.
Lord Essex angrily swipes his hand across the board, sending
the pieces flying.The Secretary nervously picks up the scattered pieces.
"And I shared their misfortunes as a true friend
Jane is given a casket for safe keeping by Lady
Scene 6: Jane is called for
So it was, on the eighteenth of October 1599, her
honour sent for me and gave me a large casket for safe keeping at
With what love and trust for the Countess I received
Jane reads the letter accompanying the casket
Scene 7: The casket arrives
As Jane reads the accompanying letter John Daniell casually
attempts to take it from her.
John: "What’s in there?
Jane: "She doesn’t
The casket - the original cause of all the Daniells'
Scene 8: John is disgruntled
Disgruntled, John rattles the lock on the Casket. Jane
forces his hand aside.
"John – please!"
John withdraws moodily as Jane carefully refolds the letter
and picks up the casket.
In all my innocence I never dreamt how such a simple
duty might cause so great a sorrow.
For here was the original cause of all our woes.