Chapter 3. In this section of the play Lady Essex’s secretary enquires about whether the missing letters have been found and explains to John Daniell why they are valuable. A reward of £1000 is offered, a huge amount in those days. Jane then questions John whether he has taken the letters. He admits he has, but Jane reluctantly supports John. The clip ends with Lord and Lady Essex promising good will to the Daniells.
This is one of six clips that make up a play based on the story of the Daniell family in Tudor times. John Daniell was an ambitious gentleman from Cheshire. He had been a supporter of the powerful Earl of Essex who was a favourite of Queen Elizabeth I. John hoped to gain power and wealth by serving a powerful patron like Essex. He moved to Hackney with his wife and children in 1600. However Essex fell from favour with Elizabeth in 1602. The Daniells suffered as a result. They had been asked to keep some letters for the Earl of Essex’s wife and when Essex fell this put them in a difficult position. This play tells their story.
Interesting or important points about the film
This clip gives us an insight into how Tudor society worked. Families from the gentry often tried to ally themselves to more powerful families in the hope of getting important jobs or other rewards. The clip shows how the plan backfired for one family. In this particular sequence none of the main players emerges as a particularly good or honest figure. John is a blackmailer but is apparently driven to this because Lord and Lady Essex have betrayed him. The play is based on genuine documents in the Hackney Archives collection.