Robert Wilmot (playwright)

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Robert Wilmot (c. 1550 – by 1608) was a Church of England clergyman, known as a playwright.[1]


Wilmot entered the Inner Temple by 1567.[1] He matriculated as a sizar, at Queens' College, Cambridge, in 1572, graduating B.A. in 1577. He was ordained deacon in 1578.[2]

On 28 November 1582 Wilmot was presented by Gabriel Poyntz to the rectory of North Okendon, about six miles from Romford in Essex. then on 2 December 1585, by the dean and chapter of St Paul's Cathedral, to the vicarage of Horndon-on-the-Hill, a few miles away. He is described in 1585 as M.A. It does not appear when the vicarage at Horndon was vacated, but in 1608 the crown, by lapse of the patron's right, appointed to Okendon another Robert Wilmot, who died in 1619.[3]


Wilmot published, in 1591, The Tragedie of Tancred and Gismund,[4] with a plot deriving from Boccaccio's Decameron. It is dedicated by to "Lady Marie Peter and the Lady Annie Graie", the latter being the wife of Henry Grey, esq., of Pirgo. After the dedication comes a letter to the author from William Webbe; before the play there are complimentary sonnets to the Queen's maids of honour.[3]

The play was acted, as Gismund of Salern, before Elizabeth I in 1568. In Wilmot's version the initials of five co-authors are given at the end of the five acts as follows: Rod. Staf.; Hen. No. (Henry Noel?); G. Al.; Ch. Hat. (Christopher Hatton); and R. W. (Robert Wilmot). The story is in William Painter's Palace of Pleasure, tale 39, and originally the play was in decasyllabic rhyming quatrains. Wilmot in 1591 made it into blank verse. It has dumb shows to begin and choruses to terminate the acts. The 1591 edition was reprinted in James Dodsley's Collection, vol. ii., in 1780 (4th edit. by Hazlitt, 1874, vol. vii.).[3]

Another work by Wilmot was Syrophenisia, or the Canaanitish Woman (1598), a sermon.[3]


  1. 1.0 1.1 Finkelpearl, P. J. "Wilmot, Robert". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/29628.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles> (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
  2. "Wilmot, Robert (WLMT572R)". A Cambridge Alumni Database. University of Cambridge.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3  Lee, Sidney, ed. (1900). [ "Wilmot, Robert (fl.1568-1608)" ] Check |ws link in chapter= value (help). Dictionary of National Biography. 62. London: Smith, Elder & Co.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. The Tragedie of Tancred and Gismund, compiled by the Gentlemen of the Inner Temple, and by them presented before her Majestie. Newly revived and polished according to the decorum of these daies. By R. W. London,’ 1591 (1592 in some copies)

 This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainLee, Sidney, ed. (1900). [ "Wilmot, Robert (fl.1568-1608)" ] Check |ws link in chapter= value (help). Dictionary of National Biography. 62. London: Smith, Elder & Co.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>