Jack of Newbery Characters
by Thomas Deloney

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Jack of Newbery Characters

The primary character in Jack of Newbery, is, of course, Jack himself. His full name is Jack Winchcomb, but Jack of Newbery is another name he has and is just as valid. He becomes wealthy when he takes over for his master’s wife in her weaving business. He himself is a weaver, and at one point in the story, he even gets a company of men to help fight against Scotland on behalf of Henry VIII. This is when King Henry offers to make him a knight, but Jack declines since he’s content to be a weaver.

The other most important character besides Jack that you’ll likely want to write about in your assignment, is his first wife. She is actually the wife of Jack’s master when he started out as an apprentice weaver. After her husband dies, she turns to Jack for help, which is how they end up getting married. She actually tricks him into it.

Other important characters in the story include the young woman Jack marries after his first wife dies. Then there’s Henry VIII of England, who plays a minor role in the story, as well as his wife Queen Catherine. You can also write about Joan, one of Jack’s workers who gets pulled into a scheme to scare off an Italian man.

Characters Discussed

(Great Characters in Literature)

Jack Winchcomb

Jack Winchcomb, known as Jack of Newbery, a young weaver. Wild as a young man, he settles down, marries his master’s widow, and becomes a solid businessman. He patriotically raises a company of men to fight for Henry VIII against the Scots. He is offered knighthood by that sovereign but declines, saying that he knows his place in the world.

Jack’s master’s widow

Jack’s master’s widow, who trusts the young man, putting her business and then herself in his hands. She dies, leaving Jack all of her business and wealth.

Jack’s second wife

Jack’s second wife, a younger woman. She is a foolish gossip who makes difficulties for her husband.

Henry VIII

Henry VIII, the king of England. Pleased with Jack for being a witty and loyal subject, he offers the weaver knighthood.

Queen Catherine

Queen Catherine, Henry VIII’s queen. She thanks Jack for bringing a company of men to help fight against the Scots.

Cardinal Wolsey

Cardinal Wolsey, Henry VIII’s chancellor. He has Jack and other weavers thrown into prison when they attempt to petition the king.

The Duke of Somerset

The Duke of Somerset, who intervenes on Jack’s behalf when he is in prison and convinces Cardinal Wolsey that the weavers mean no harm.

Benedick

Benedick, an Italian merchant. He has an amorous adventure in Newbery and is punished by being put to bed with a pig.

Joan

Joan, a pretty girl employed by Jack. She disdains Benedick when he makes advances to her.

Sir George Rigley

Sir George Rigley, a knight who seduces one of Jack’s female employees. He is tricked by Jack into marrying the girl. Angry at first, he comes to see the justice of Jack’s action and becomes the weaver’s friend.

Bibliography

(Great Characters in Literature)

Jusserand, J. J. The English Novel in the Time of Shakespeare. Translated by Elizabeth Lee. London: T. Fisher Unwin, 1890. The classic study of early narrative tradition in English. Establishes an invaluable context for understanding the traditions Deloney inherited, including those of medieval romance, travel literature, euphuism, and pastoral. Also discusses picaresque and realistic fiction and carries the study into the seventeenth century with the...

(The entire section is 846 words.)