The Rose Theatre, Rose Court, Southwark


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1012707

Date first listed: 28-Feb-1992


Ordnance survey map of The Rose Theatre, Rose Court, Southwark
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This copy shows the entry on 17-Jan-2019 at 22:19:30.


The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Greater London Authority

District: Southwark (London Borough)

National Grid Reference: TQ 32276 80420


Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.

Reasons for Designation

The Rose Theatre represents one of the earliest purpose-built commercial playhouses in England, and the first of a cluster of Tudor-Jacobean theatres on the south bank of the Thames in London. The existence nationally of a small number of similar theatres is attested to by contemporary records but, to date, the Rose and the nearby remains of the Globe Theatre are the only examples where physical remains have been identified. The monument therefore has important rarity value. The high level of preservation of the remains, with considerable potential for the survival of organic material, greatly enhances the significance of the monument.

Contemporary documentary evidence for the existence of the theatre and its re- design is available and the papers of its proprietor, Philip Henslowe, provide an important source for the study of the Elizabethan theatre. In its heyday the Rose saw performances of most of Christopher Marlowe's plays and the first recorded performances of Shakespeare's "Henry VI" and "Titus Andronicus".


Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.


The monument includes the surviving remains of an Elizabethan and Jacobean theatre identified as the Rose Theatre. The Rose, built in or shortly after AD 1587 by the impresario Philip Henslowe, was the earliest of four similar playhouses constructed on the south bank of the Thames in London. The last known performance at the Rose was in 1603. The remains of the theatre include a pair of concentric wall footings, 3.5 metres apart, enclosing an irregular polygon some 25 metres (projected) across. The original timber-framed superstructure with lath-and-plaster walls was constructed on a trench-built footing of brick and chalk. Extra stability was provided by a series of closely spaced rubble-filled pits below the footing. The inner wall enclosed a central yard, level to the south but sloping towards the stage to the north. It was edged by an eaves-drip and floored with a layer of mortar on which spectators could stand. After a period of use the theatre was apparently extended northwards in order to accommodate a larger audience. This work included moving the stage and reflooring the yard and may represent the alterations attested to in records of AD 1592. The office building constructed over the site, the Rose Court building, is excluded from the scheduling. The area of the scheduling which is confined within the walls of the basement of the Rose Court building is shown on the attached Plan A outlined in red.

MAP EXTRACT The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.


The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

Legacy System number: 20851

Legacy System: RSM

End of official listing