| Ruled Britannia |
POD: July-August, 1588
|Type of Appearance:||Direct|
|Date of Death:||1598|
|Cause of Death:||Stab wounds|
|Affiliations:||Lord Westmorland's Men|
Matthew Quinn (d. 1598) was an English actor and a member of Lord Westmorland's Men. Quinn agreed to play a part in Boudicca and thus also to play a part in Sir William Cecil's plot to expel the Spanish from England.
During a rehearsal of the play King Philip Quinn deliberately spoke several lines from Boudicca at Lope de Vega. Since they were in iambic pentameter, de Vega failed to realize they were lines from a play. The other English actors were shocked silent, and to cover their apparent overreaction from de Vega's suspicions and also from his own fear William Shakespeare insulted Quinn. The two began a shouting match which Richard Burbage ended. This lulled de Vega who left shortly afterwards since the players needed to rehearse that day's production. Burbage then cautioned Quinn against similar actions in future to which he agreed.
That night, Quinn drank heavily in a tavern and began reciting parts of Boudicca. Fortunately, no one understood what exactly he was saying since the play was set in England during Roman times. When word reached Burbage the next morning, he resolved to fire Quinn despite the risk. However, Quinn had been found murdered earlier that morning. Presumably, someone sent word to the Cecils and Ingram Frizer was dispatched to do the deed.
The murder was investigated by Constable Walter Strawberry, who, as usual, failed to understand witness reports of what Quinn had said. The murder of a second man associated with Lord Westmoreland's Men drew the attention of Captain Baltasar Guzmán, who ordered de Vega to assist Strawberry in his investigation. While they obtained many of the pieces of the puzzle, they were unable to fit them together to solve the murders before the English rebellion.