Wintersel, William (DNB00)

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search

WINTERSEL, WINTERSHALL, WINTERSAL, or WINTERSHULL, WILLIAM (d. 1679), actor (the name is spelt in many different ways), was between 1637 and 1642 a member of Queen Henrietta Maria's company, acting at the private house at Salisbury Court or at the Cockpit. After the Restoration he joined the company of Thomas Killigrew (1612–1683) [q. v.], known as the ‘King's Servants,’ acting with them at the Red Bull and at the New House in Gibbons's Court in Clare Market during 1660, 1661, 1662, and part of 1663, before going to the Theatre Royal, the new theatre, subsequently to be known as Drury Lane. The first part to which his name appears is Antigonus in the ‘Humorous Lieutenant’ of Beaumont and Fletcher, with which, on 8 April 1663, the Theatre Royal first opened. Wintersel is believed to have been on 1 June 1664 Sir Amorous La Foole in the ‘Silent Woman,’ and on 3 Aug. Subtle in the ‘Alchemist.’ In 1665 he was the first Odmar in Dryden's ‘Indian Emperor;’ in 1666 he played the King in the ‘Maid's Tragedy;’ on 19 Oct. 1667 was the first John, king of France, in Lord Orrery's ‘Black Prince,’ and on 2 Nov. played the King in one or other part of ‘King Henry IV.’ He played on 1 May 1668 Sir Gervase Simple in the ‘Changes, or Love in a Maze.’ Don Alonzo in Dryden's ‘Evening Love, or the Mock Astrologer,’ was taken on 22 June 1668. In the two parts of Dryden's ‘Conquest of Granada’ he was in 1670 the first Selin, and in 1671 was the first Robatzy in Corey's ‘Generous Enemies.’ When in January 1672 the Theatre Royal was burnt down, Wintersel went with the company to Lincoln's Inn Fields, where, presumably, he was the first Polydamas in ‘Marriage à la Mode,’ Sir Simon Addlepot in Wycherley's ‘Love in a Wood,’ and in 1673 the Fiscal in Dryden's ‘Amboyna, or the Cruelties of the Dutch.’ In 1675 he was the original Otho in Lee's ‘Nero,’ Cornanti in Mrs. Centlivre's ‘Love in the Dark,’ and Arimant in Dryden's ‘Aurenge-Zebe,’ and in 1676 Bomilcar in Lee's ‘Sophonisba.’ In Lee's ‘Mithridates, king of Pontus,’ he was in 1678 the first Pelopidas. This is the last time his name can be traced to a piece. He died in July 1679.

Johnson, a character in the ‘Rehearsal’ (act ii. sc. i.), says, ‘Mr. Wintershull has in- form'd me of his play before.’ A note in the key to the ‘Rehearsal’ says: ‘Mr. William Wintershull was a most excellent, judicious actor, and the best instructor of others.’ Davies chronicles that he was the first King in ‘King Henry IV’ after the Restoration, and says that he was so celebrated for the part of Cokes in Ben Jonson's ‘Bartholomew Fair’ that the public preferred him even to Nokes in the character. Dennis praises his Slender. Wintersel was held equally good in tragedy and comedy. Pepys, under date 28 April 1668, saw ‘Love in a Maze’ (the ‘Changes’), and declares ‘very good mirth of Lacy the clown, and Wintersell the country knight, his master.’

[Genest's Account of the English Stage; Downes's Roscius Anglicanus; Buckingham's Rehearsal and Key; Wright's Historia Histrionica; Davies's Dramatic Miscellanies; Doran's Dramatic Annals, ed. Lowe; Fleay's History of the Stage; Pepys's Diary, ed. Wheatley.]

J. K.