HEMING, EDMUND (fl. 1695), projector, who lived ‘near the Still-yard in Thames Street,’ obtained letters patent about 1684 conveying to him for a term of five years the exclusive right of lighting London. He undertook for a moderate consideration to place a light before every tenth door on moonless nights from Michaelmas to Lady day. He also announced his readiness to supply lights in houses, stables, yards, mines, or for coaches or horses ‘that travel late at night,’ offering at the same time to depict coats of arms or ‘any other fancy’ on the lights ‘in a very curious manner.’ His scheme met with opposition. He was especially harassed by one Vernatti, ‘who set up the glass lights in Cornhill,’ and by certain of the city companies, who feared that his project would prove destructive to their particular trades. The lord mayor and court of aldermen after many hearings issued a precept recommending the ‘new lights’ to all the wardmotes and gentlemen of the quests in London. Fearing that his servants might be corrupted by his enemies, Heming looked after his lights himself at midnight, and again at four or five o'clock in the morning, and became in consequence seriously ill. In 1686 want of funds obliged him to take partners, who, as he relates in a printed ‘Case’ (1689), brought him to the verge of bankruptcy by pirating his invention and refusing to contribute their full share of expenses. Heming laid before the House of Commons, in December 1695, printed proposals for raising eight millions of money by imposing a duty on beds at twopence per week each bed for four years and a half (Luttrell, Brief Historical Relation, iii. 563). The absurdity of the scheme was pointed out in some anonymous ‘Objections’ published in the same year.
[Macaulay's Hist. of England, chap. iii.]
HEMING or HEMMINGE, John (d. 1630), actor, and one of the two editors of the first folio edition of Shakespeare's plays, is supposed by Malone to have been born about 1556 at Shottery, near Stratford-on-Avon. These conjectures rest on the fact that two families of the name of Heming, both of them owning a John, lived in Shottery early in the reign of Elizabeth, and on the application to Hemminge of the term ‘old’ by Ben Jonson in his masque of ‘Christmas,’ presented at court in 1616 (Jonson, Works, ed. 1816, vii. 277). Jonson speaks of Heming as if he exercised quasi-managerial functions, probably those of treasurer, in connection with the king's company (known before James's reign as the lord chamberlain's men). A council warrant, dated 2 Oct. 1599, directed the payment of 30l. (of which 10l. was an additional douceur) to Heming and Pope ‘for three interludes or playes played before her Matie on St. Stephens daye at night, New-years daye at night, and Shroutewsday at night last past’ (Extracts from Accounts of Court Revels, Shakesp. Soc., ed. Cunningham, p. xxxii). A similar sum was paid to John Hemynges and Richard Cowley, 31 March 1601(–2), and entries of the kind continue until 1618. That his duties were largely financial may be gathered, too, from the fact that he is associated with comparatively few characters. Malone states that in a tract, the name of which he had forgotten, Heming ‘is said to have been the original performer of Falstaff.’ John Roberts, in ‘An Answer to Mr. Pope's preface to Shakespeare. By a Strolling Player,’ 1729, says that he was a tragedian, and that in conjunction with Condell he followed the business of printing, statements of which there is no confirmation. In his will he describes himself a citizen and grocer of London. Heming played in the ‘First Part of King Henry IV,’ and in many plays of Ben Jonson, including ‘Every Man in his Humour,’ ‘Every Man out of his Humour,’ ‘Sejanus,’ ‘Volpone,’ and ‘The Alchemist.’ An uncomplimentary allusion to him in a ‘Sonnett upon the pittiful burning of the Globe Playhouse in London’ in 1613 casts some doubt upon his histrionic capacity. Two lines of the sonnet run:—
Then with swolne eyes, like druncken Flemminges,
Distressed stood old stuttering Heminges
(Halliwell-Phillipps, Outlines of the Life of Shakespeare, i. 285, ed. 1886).Before Elizabeth's death Heming was principal proprietor of the Globe playhouse. In the new license granted by James I to the players then known as the king's company, 17 May 1603, the name of ‘John Henninges’ stands fifth, Shakespeare and Burbage standing respectively second and third, while Condell stands sixth (ib. ii. 82). In a second authentic patent, dated 27 March 1619, his name stands first. A statement that he, together with Burbage, was summoned on 15 March 1615 before the privy council, in his capacity of leader and representative of the company, for having disobeyed the injunction of the lord chamberlain by playing in Lent, seems to rest on the testimony of Collier. He was for many years before 1616 closely associated with Shakespeare, who bequeathed ‘to my fellowes, John Hemynges, Richard