The Bel Savage was the earliest of the four inn playhouses. It was located on Ludgate Hill, though we are unsure when playing began here.

In 1584 four inns were licensed by the City for dramatic performances, these being the Bel Savage Inn, the Bull Inn, the Bell Inn and the Cross Keys Inn (they were taverns allowed to stage plays, not exclusively playhouses). The Queen’s Men performed at these inns during the 1580s with the famous comic actor Richard Tarlton, along with several other unidentified companies. In 1594 the city authorities ordered a ban on playing in the City of London at the same time as the Theatre and the Rose were licensed as the only two officially legal playhouses in London.

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Known occupants

  • The Queen's Men Dates unknown

Walter C. Hodges, Inn Yard Stage, c. 1585 (Courtesy of the Folger Shakespeare Library)

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At 50 Ludgate Hill between Limeburner Lane and Old Bailey



National Grid Reference

531686 181225


From the West Doorway of St Paul’s Cathedral walk along St Paul’s Churchyard into Ludgate Hill, turning right into Limeburner Lane, where the site of the Bel Savage near the junction with Old Seacole Lane, stood.