Marlowe’s Life

Marlowe was born in Canterbury in 1564 of a family that originated in Ospringe, today part of Faversham. His father, John, was a cobbler. Christopher went to King’s School, and was awarded a Matthew Parker scholarship which enabled him to study at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, from late 1580 until 1587, when he was awarded his MA.

Like other brilliant students and writers he was recruited by Sir Francis Walsingham as a part-time secret service agent. His literary career, spent, as far as we know, mainly in London, lasted for only six years from 1587 to 1593. As far as his contemporaries knew he simply disappeared in May 1593, though rumours began to circulate of his death.

We now know that he had been arrested by the Privy Council in May 1593 and released on bail. It was not until 1925 when Dr. Leslie Hotson discovered in the Public Record Office details of an inquest conducted at Deptford by the Queen’s Coroner, William Danby, concerning an affray in which Marlowe is said to have lost his life, on 30th May 1593, that an explanation was offered about his death.

Use the image links (right) to read more about Marlowe’s life and times.