Nicholas Tooley

Principal actor. Signed his last will and testament Nicholas Wilkinson, alias Tooley.

‘Mary Edmund made a good case that Tooley was born in 1582 – 83 in Antwerp’ (Kathman). Other sources copy Tooley’s year of birth from Mary Edmund as 1582, 1583 and ?1582/3 (The Oxford index & Oxford Dictionary of National Biography). Wikipedia therefore takes no chances : winter 1582 – 83.

Orphan, and, at joining the company, de facto adopted by Cuthbert Burbage. As a teenager apprenticed to his ‘uncle’ Richard Burbage. Nicholas Rowe, the first Shakespeare biographer, claims Tooley to have performed his first woman’s part as early as 1589. Evidently the Nich. (and Nick) from the surviving plot-sheet of The second part of The Seven Deadly Sins (SDS-plot). Tooley would have been a boy of some fifteen years of age when he played ‘a Lady’ (mute or just a few lines) in Envy and Pompeia in Sloth. Which seems a little too old for such a modest deployment.