Tarlton’s Jests – Richard Tarlton

Richard Tarlton (d.1588) was a humble Shropshire farm Labourer who became famous throughout England as Queen Elizabeth I’s Court Jester. He was also an actor, a musician and one of the country’s finest swordsmen – A Master of Fence. Tarlton’s Jests were published shortly after his death and were an instant best-seller, a phenomenon of the Age. The modern reader will find much of the humour slight. Nevertheless the Jests are important as an adjunct to social studies of the time, especially of Shakespeare who knew Tarlton well. This edition is a facsimile of the book published by The Shakespeare Society in 1844. The original 39 pages have been reproduced on 16 A4 landscape pages.

Tarlton jest of a country wench


Tarlton, going towards Hodgson, met a country maid coming to market, her mare stumbling, downe she fell over and over, shewing all;  and then, rising up againe, she turned her round about unto Master Tarlton and said: God’s body, sir, did you ever see the like before?  No, in good sooth, quoth Tarlton; never but once, in London.


Price: £3.50
ISBN: 978 0 906114 35 3