Q: How did you first learn about Lady Elizabeth Russell, and what surprised you most in the course of your research for this book?--Marshal Zeringue
A: I first came across the formidable Elizabeth Russell while conducting research for my doctorate. She was, highly unusually, a prolific designer of funerary monuments (normally a male occupation). This intrigued me, so I decided to delve deeper.
Imagine my surprise when I discovered that she had also led an uprising of local neighbours to ban Shakespeare and his fellow actors from their newly built theatre in the Blackfriars district of London! She won that particular battle, and it was one of many battles during her controversial career.
During my research I discovered more of her extraordinary exploits, like the fact that she had constructed her own personal dungeon in the grounds of her country estate, in which she would regularly incarcerate her enemies.
She also instigated several riots, which resulted in acts of kidnapping, breaking-and-entering and armed clashes. Elizabeth Russell was...[read on]