By Joy Hancox
The Hidden Chapter is the climax of over twenty years of research into a collection of geometrical and mathematical drawings that had once been in the possession of John Byrom, an eighteenth century poet and secret Jacobite whose biography Joy Hancox was writing. With Byroms death in 1763 the drawings had been put to one side and their significance was overlooked. When Joy Hancox set out to discover the meaning and purpose of 516 pieces of paper and card as a resource, there were only a few scholars with any understanding to enlighten her and even these offered different interpretations. So she embarked on a remarkable journey that completely changed her life.
In the process Hancox came to believe that some forty of the drawings were concerned with the design concept of the Elizabethan playhouses, and traced the connection between the drawings and the site of the first brass works in the kingdom at Tintern, Monmouthshire.
By Joy Hancox
This book describes the role of Elizabeth I, the aristocratic patrons of the players' companies and the Elizabethan magus John Dee in the concept and design of the Elizabethan playhouse. The author has analysed drawings and archaeological materials which throw a completely new light on the concepts underlying the design of the theatres of Elizabethan London, relating Renaissance concepts of proportion and the mystery of creation to the world of aristocratic patronage. Her research has attracted powerful support from the Museum of London and the Science Museum, as well as from Mark Rylance, former artistic director of the Bankside Globe, and is certain to cause a stir in the Shakespearean world. The book offers a wide-ranging view of the nature of the Elizabethan theatre and its relationship to the Elizabethan world picture. As such it goes beyond anything currently available on the subject and will appeal to all those interested in Elizabethan theatre as historians, students of Shakespeare or students of theatre history. The debate about the site and size of e.g. the original Globe is constantly fuelled by new discoveries and speculations. Joy Hancox's research is receiving ever-growing support and in one way or another is going to influence the way people think about Shakespeare's theatre in the future.
By Joy Hancox
Among the Byrom collection's precise geometric drawings of little-observed features of Westminster Abbey, the Temple Church in London and King's College Chapel in Cambridge, are what purport to be the setting-out plans for the original Globe Theatre, the Rose and five other Elizabethan playhouses. The author made these documents available to those involved in rebuilding the Globe on Bankside, who chose to discount their validity and Hancox's interpretation of them. Since then, archaeological excavations at the Globe site have lent support to the accounts in this book. The new theatre itself has already been criticised for its size, inadequate acoustics and poor sightlines. The author's own interpretation of the Byrom drawings would result in a smaller, eight-sided structure in which an overall harmony of design would come together to provide good sightlines and good acoustics. Support for this interpretation was provided in work by the late John Gleason, Professor Emeritus of the University of San Francisco. Even more remarkable, the concept behind all these architectural designs is shared with the round churches of the Templars, the mosques of Islam and open air theatres of ancient Greece and Rome.
Joy can be seen explaining some of the theatre drawings in an interview with Jamie Theakston in Episode 6 of " Forbidden History "(SERIES 1).
By Joy HancoxJohn Byrom (1691-1763) was an enigma, a playboy, philosopher, poet and possibly spy. On the one hand a pillar of the establishment, Byrom was also an active and secret Jacobite who conducted a love affair with Queen Caroline. At least one of Byrom's close associates went to the gallows to protect his good name in high society while George II, unaware of the traitor at the gate, granted him, by Act of Parliament, a monopoly license to teach his new system of phonetic shorthand to leading political and social figures who might have to conceal their communications.