The Marlowe Society
Marlowe Family Tree: Father: John Marlowe (b. Ospringe, 1536? Bur(ied). 26 Jan 1605 St. [G]eorge's Church); m(arried). (21 May 1561 [G]): Mother: Katherine Arthur (b. Dover, ?); Children: [1] Mary (bap(tised). 21 May 1562 [G]; bur. 28 Aug 1568 [G]); [2] Christopher (bap. 26 Feb 1564; d.? 30 May 1593, Deptford Strand; bur.? 01 Jun 1593, St. Nicholas Church, Deptford); [3] Margaret (bap. 18 Dec 1565 [G]; m. John Jordan, 15 Jun 1590, St [M]ary Breadman Church; d. 1642?); [4] A Son (bap. 31 Oct 1568 [G]; bur. 05 Nov 1568 [G]); [5] Jane (bap. 20 Aug 1569 [G]; m. John Moore, 22 Apr 1582, St [A]ndrew's Church; d. Jan 1583?); [6] Thomas (bap. 26 Jul 1570 [G]; bur. 07 Aug 1570 [G]); [7] Anne (bap. 14 Jul 1571 [G]; m. John Cranford, 10 Jun 1593 [M]; bur. 07 Dec 1652, All [S]aints Church); [8] Dorothy (bap. 18 Oct 1573 [G]; m. Thomas Gradell, 30 Jun 1594, [M]; d. After 1625); [9] Thomas II (bap. 08 Apr 1576 [A]; d. Before 1605?).

Marlowe's Birth

Marlowe's Birth

4. His Family

Christopher Marlowe was the second of nine children born to John and Katherine Marlowe between 1562 and 1576. At the age of 4, his elder sister Mary died leaving Christopher as the eldest surviving child. Within two months of Mary's death, a brother whose name is not recorded died just days after being baptised. Another brother, Thomas, who was born two years later in 1570, survived just two weeks. The Marlowes' only other son was their last recorded child, baptised in April 1576. There is no record of this second Thomas' death, either in infancy or later in life, but he was not mentioned in his mother's will of 1605.

Marlowe's early years in their house on the corner of St. George's Lane would thus have found him surrounded solely by his sisters. Both Margaret (18 months his junior) and Anne (7 years younger) would go on to enjoy very long lives (living to 76 and 81 respectively), whilst his youngest sister Dorothy at least outlived her first husband, who died when she was 52. Interestingly, Anne's wedding to John Cranford took place on 10 June 1593, just 11 days after her brother's alleged murder in Deptford. Christopher's other sister Jane (5½ years younger) was married at the age of just 12, and even more shockingly to modern sensibilities, appears to have died in child-birth the following year.

All of Marlowe's siblings were born by the time he departed for Cambridge University in December 1580. He was twelve when his only surviving brother was born, and it seems unlikely that the two boys can have been that close, for the second Thomas would have been just 4 when his older brother took up residence at Corpus Christi College.