The Daniells

The Dysasters and Misfortunes of John and Jane Daniell

John and Jane Daniell
John and Jane Daniell

In late May 1601, officers of the Court of Star Chamber at Westminster arrived in Hackney with warrants for the arrest of the tenant of the rectory. He was a country gentleman from Cheshire and would-be courtier, in his fifties, called John Daniell. He had moved to Hackney less than a year previously with his wife Jane, a Protestant exile from the Low Countries, and their children.

He was accused of blackmailing £1,720 from the Countess of Essex, by threatening to reveal to the authorities the contents of letters to her from her husband the Earl. She had deposited these letters for safe keeping with Jane Daniell, whom she had formerly employed as her gentlewoman. The Earl of Essex, Elizabeth I's disgraced favourite, had been John's patron but the relationship had not produced the material rewards he had expected.

John was tried and imprisoned and their house and goods were seized by the Crown. An inventory of their possessions was written down and the document survives to this day. Browse the inventory and drawings of the goods.

As part of the Tudor Hackney project, a play was performed to local Hackney schools re-enacting this story of 'The Dysasters and Misfortunes of John and Jane Daniell'.

At the same time, a video was produced of their story and this can be viewed as video clips or as words and pictures.


The video clips will take a few moments to load depending on the speed of your modem and you will require Windows Media Player to run them. Download Windows Media Player first if not already loaded, then select the View option matching your Internet access type

Stills Images

The pictures are stills from the video clips and are presented along with text to tell the story of the Daniells.

More about the Daniells >
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This site, developed with funding from the New Opportunities Fund as one of the projects within Sense of Place, London, forms part of the National Archive's Education site. It was developed as a partnership between Hackney Archives Department, Immediate Theatre and the National Archive's Education Team