Thomas Killigrew's “Lost Years”, 1655–1660

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Abstract

Like many other supporters of the Stuart cause during the Interregnum, the dramatist Thomas Killigrew is known to have spent several years of exile on the continent, in France, Italy and the Low Countries. That he settled down in Maastricht and was given the rights of Dutch citizenship, was pointed out by Alfred Harbage in his 1930 biography of the playwright. Since then, little or nothing has been added to our knowledge of a period that may safely be described as Killigrew's “lost years”. Making use of hitherto unstudied printed and manuscript sources, this article seeks to reconstruct some of the facts of Killigrew's stay in the Low Countries between 1655 and 1660: his residence in both The Hague and Maastricht; his marriage into the van Hesse family; his profesional occupations; and his relationship with Charles II and the Frisian Stadholder. The evidence seems to confirm that Killigrew owed his appointment as manager of the King's Company in 1660 to his closeness to the exiled monarch more than to his managerial talents.

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