Play List:

1. The Rath Boys

2. The Witchfinder

3. A Madcap Prince

4. Corinne

5. The Queen of Connaught

6. The Nine Days’ Queen

7. The Mormons

8. The Shadow of the Sword

9. Lucy Brandon

10. Storm-Beaten

11. Lady Clare

[Flowers of the Forest]

12. A Sailor and His Lass

13. Bachelors

14. Constance

15. Lottie

16. Agnes

17. Alone in London

18. Sophia

19. Fascination

20. The Blue Bells of Scotland

21. Partners

22. Joseph’s Sweetheart

23. That Doctor Cupid

24. Angelina!

25. The Old Home

26. A Man’s Shadow

27. Theodora

28. Man and the Woman

29. Clarissa

30. Miss Tomboy

31. The Bride of Love

32. Sweet Nancy

33. The English Rose

34. The Struggle for Life

35. The Sixth Commandment

36. Marmion

37. The Gifted Lady

38. The Trumpet Call

39. Squire Kate

40. The White Rose

41. The Lights of Home

42. The Black Domino

43. The Piper of Hamelin

44. The Charlatan

45. Dick Sheridan

46. A Society Butterfly

47. Lady Gladys

48. The Strange Adventures of Miss Brown

49. The Romance of the Shopwalker

50. The Wanderer from Venus

51. The Mariners of England

52. Two Little Maids from School

53. When Knights Were Bold


Short Plays

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Harriett Jay

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53. When Knights Were Bold (1906)


When Knights Were Bold
by Charles Marlowe (Harriett Jay)
Original title: Good Old Times
by Robert Buchanan and Charles Marlowe (Harriett Jay)
Good Old Times was written c. 1896, When Knights Were Bold was not produced until 1906 with the sole writing credit of ‘Charles Marlowe’.
Nottingham: Theatre Royal. 17 September, 1906. (James Welch)
London: Wyndham’s Theatre. 29 January, 1907 to 22 August, 1908 (579th performance).
(According to ‘The Stage’ Year Book 1908, King Edward VII, accompanied by the Queen attended a performance of When Knights Were Bold at Wyndham’s Theatre on 11 February, 1907. Queen Alexandra returned for two more performances on 9 March and 29 October, 1907. The Prince and Princess of Wales attended on 14 March and 29 October, 1907. And in a list of ‘Long Runs on the London Stage’, published in the fifth edition of Who’s Who in the Theatre (Boston: Small, Maynard & Company, Inc., 1925) compiled by John Parker, the first production of When Knights Were Bold at Wyndham’s Theatre is at No. 47.)
New York: Garrick Theatre. 20 August to 19 November, 1907 (100th performance).
Sydney: Criterion Theatre. 21 December, 1907.
Vienna: Wiener Lustspieltheater. 1910 (under the title, Die goldene Ritterzeit, starring Max Pallenberg).
Amsterdam: Koninklijke Vereeniging Het Nederlandsch Tooneel (Theatre Company). 27 March, 1915 (under the title, De gulden riddertijd).
Berlin: Theater des Westens. June, 1920 (Die goldene Ritterzeit, starring Max Pallenberg).
Oslo: National Theatret. 28 January, 1923 (under the title, Blandt bolde riddere, for 25 performances. Incidental music by Johan Halvorsen).

London Revivals:
London: Criterion Theatre. 17 January to 28 May, 1910 (147th performance).
Apollo Theatre. 11 June, 1914.
New Theatre. 8 February, 1915.
Kingsway Theatre. 17 November, 1917. (Bromley Challenor)
Duke of York's Theatre. 10 December, 1920.
Kingsway Theatre. December, 1921.
Criterion Theatre. December, 1923.
New Scala Theatre. December, 1926 (programme)
The Savoy. 22 December, 1927.
The Playhouse. December, 1929.
Duke of York's Theatre. 21 December, 1931.
Fortune Theatre. December, 1932.
Fortune Theatre. December, 1933. (Jackson Hartley)
Fortune Theatre. December, 1934.
Fortune Theatre. December, 1935.
Fortune Theatre. December, 1936.
Fortune Theatre. December, 1937. (William Daunt)

As well as the London revivals, When Knights Were Bold also played regularly in the provinces (when Bromley Challenor made his first appearance in London as Sir Guy de Vere at the Kingsway Theatre in 1917, a report in The Stage mentioned his having played the role 1,500 times before) and when its popularity in London eventually faded it continued to be performed by repertory companies and amateur groups into the 1950s.

Published: Die goldene Ritterzeit by Charles Marlowe, trans. Siegfried V. Lutz. (Berlin: Bloch, 1910. 87 p.)
When Knights Were Bold, directed by Maurice Elvey, 1916. Starring James Welch.
Il Cavaliere del Silenzio, directed by Oreste Visalli, 1916. (Italy).
When Knights Were Bold, directed by Tim Whelan, 1929.
When Knights Were Bold, directed by Jack Raymond, 1936. Starring Jack Buchanan and Fay Wray.
(Probably the only surviving film version, it is available to download here.)

A musical version, The Knight Was Bold (original title: Kiss the Girls) was produced in 1943 but was unsuccessful.


Wyndham’s Theatre, First Anniversary Souvenir
29th January, 1908


Borough Theatre and Opera House (Stratford East, London), August, 1918


Fortune Theatre
December, 1935


Criterion Theatre
December, 1923.


Fortune Theatre
December, 1936


New Scala Theatre
22nd December, 1926.


The Knight Was Bold
Piccadilly Theatre, July, 1943.

When Knights Were Bold (written by ‘Charles Marlowe’) received its first performance at the Theatre Royal, Nottingham on Monday, September 17, 1906. Its London premiere was at Wyndham’s Theatre on 29th. January 1907, where it ran for 579 performances. It continued to be revived in London for the next 30 years as well as being produced around the world, in Europe (including Russia), America and Australia. It was filmed four times and there was a short- lived musical version produced in 1943. It continued to be produced by provincial theatres and amateur companies until the 1950s. It was Harriett Jay’s greatest popular success and, learning her lesson from Alone in London, she retained the rights to the play until her death (it is the only work which is mentioned by name in her will). The most ironic thing about the play is the fact that it was also Robert Buchanan’s greatest success, although his name never appeared on any playbill for When Knights Were Bold.


1. The Origin of When Knights Were Bold

i. Pillicoddy
(A 1922 article from The Stage linking When Knights Were Bold to Robert Buchanan).
ii. Good Old Times
(More evidence for this 1896 play being an earlier version of When Knights Were Bold).
iii. So why just ‘Charles Marlowe’?
(Some speculation on why Harriett Jay took the sole credit for When Knights Were Bold).

2. Reviews 1: 1904 - July 1907

3. Reviews 2: August 1907 - 1909

4. Reviews 3: 1910 - 1924

5. Reviews 4: 1925 - 1953

6. When Knights Were Bold in The Play Pictorial No.55
Photographs from the original London production at Wyndham’s Theatre.

7. The Films
Details of the four film versions.

8. The Musical
Information on the musical version(s) of When Knights Were Bold.

9. Miscellanea

i. Obituaries of three famous Guy de Veres:
James Welch
Bromley Challenor
Max Pallenberg

ii. Jay v. Welch - When Knights Were Bold in Court

iii. Die goldene Ritterzeit - the book

iv. Odd items from the internet
Ernest Shackleton’s hat
How Robert Buchanan and Harriett Jay Helped To Win World War 2
Ken Russell


[From the 1915 Dutch production of De gulden riddertijd.]


[Click the picture for a larger version of the poster.]



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Harriett Jay


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