Among its numerous revisions, the Arbury version of The Humorous Magistrate bears a rare editorial note on page 106r: 'Dr S. this speach not so cleare & perspicuous'. With Johnstone and Inglis’s conclusive attribution of the manuscript to John Newdigate III, the doctor in question is almost certainly Gilbert Sheldon, Newdigate’s long-time friend and confidant. Though Sheldon would one day go on to become Archbishop of Canterbury, I here concentrate on his earlier correspondence with Newdigate to examine the context and scope of his potential involvement with the manuscript and its revisions. Topics analysed include Sheldon’s role as a literary mentor to Newdigate, the texts he proffers corresponding to Newdigate’s interests, and whether he could have been directly involved in editing the Arbury MS. By conclusion I suggest that Sheldon’s influence on Newdigate is a valuable lens through which to analyse his writings and career as an amateur dramatist.

Author Biography

Owen Stockden holds an MA in English from the University of Calgary, where he was a member of the team investigating The Humorous Magistrate and its context.