Leo Daugherty

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Faculty, The Evergreen State College, 1971 - 1996


William Shakespeare, Richard Barnfield, and the Sixth Earl of Derby By Leo Daugherty


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Biographical Note

Leo Daugherty taught at Evergreen from 1971-1996. He taught in such programs as Great Books, Human Development, Dreams and Poetry, Sociobiology, and Shakespeare and the Age of Elizabeth. He is now Member of the Faculty Emeritus (Literature and Linguistics), while also continuing to teach Shakespeare and other courses in the humanities at the University of Virginia (2000-present), where he continues to stress the importance of writing to a good education.


Publication Types

Non-Fiction, Scholastic

Latest Publication Title

The Assassination of Shakespeare's Patron: Investigating the Death of the Fifth Earl of Derby. New York and London, Cambria, 2011.

Additional Publications

William Shakespeare, Richard Barnfield, and the Sixth Earl of Derby, Cambria, 2010.

Publication Excerpt

"Lord Ferdinando Stanley had everything. He was Lord Strange, fifth earl of Derby, a leading claimant to the English throne. He was the patron of the company of players which was fortunate enough to have William Shakespeare as an up-and-coming junior member who had just begun to write plays for them – plays which were already the talk of London. He was young, handsome, brilliant, and athletic. (The cover of this book depicts him as decked out in preparation for one of Queen Elizabeth’s tilting matches, for he was reckoned the ablest amongst her noble tiltsmen. This portrait was completed and dated only about a week before his assassins struck.) He was incalculably rich, having married one of the wealthiest heiresses in England – ancestor to Princess Diana. His home in Lancashire was called the “Northern Court” because of its grandness – surpassing any in England but (perhaps) the Queen’s own. Then one day, April Fool’s Day, 1594, he was reportedly approached by a witch (one of the famous legion of “Lancashire witches”) and engaged in brief conversation while strolling outside his largest palace, Lathom Hall. Four days later, he fell violently ill. For twelve days he lingered while four of the best doctors in the country, including the famous Dr. John Case of Oxford, labored in vain at his bedside. Two of his retainers wrote gruesomely detailed accounts of the progress of his “diseases” -- accounts that survive in manuscript today. When he died, Dr. Case was heard to murmur (as reported by Sir George Carey, the earl’s brother-in-law): “Flat poisoning. And none other but.” For months after his passing and interment, no one could get close enough to the family crypt to pay his or her respects because of the overwhelming stench that continued to emanate from his sealed-up body for months. 

Who killed him and why?"