Edward “Ned” Alleyn (1566-1626) was an early modern London actor and founder of Dulwich College. He was known for his physical size and ability to handle commanding parts. Born in 1566, he was characterized as a “bred a Stage-player” and joined the Lord Admiral’s Men in London; Alleyn was famous for his roles in Christopher Marlowe’s plays Tamburlaine, Faustus, and The Jew of Malta. In 1592, Alleyn married Joan Woodward, Rose Theatre owner Philip Henslowe’s daughter. After retiring from the stage, Alleyn joined Henslowe as a business partner and their investments made him a wealthy man. He made a lasting impact off stage building and managing an orphanage, and founding the pensioners’ home called the College of God’s Gift at Dulwich. Today, this is Dulwich College. Following his first wife’s death, Alleyn married the daughter of John Donne, poet and dean of St. Paul’s Cathedral. Years later, Alleyn traveled with the intention of purchasing property, but on November 13, 1626 Alleyn would write out his last will and testament. He was buried two weeks later in the Dulwich College chapel.
Author: Chad Mead (Spring 2017); Editor: Seamus Bruno (Fall 2017)