Joan Woodward (about 1573 – June 23, 1623) was the first wife of Edward Alleyn, one of the greatest actors of the Elizabethan age who founded Dulwich College, originally called College of God’s Gift at Dulwich, in 1619. Woodward was the step-daughter of the theatrical manager Philip Henslowe. When she married Alleyn on October 22, 1592, her husband became part owner in Henslowe’s ventures (which included bearbaiting and bullbaiting as well as theatrical enterprises). She is buried in the old chapel at Dulwich with a stone inscribed: “Here lyeth in Hope of Resurrection, the Body of Joane, the religious and loving wife of Edward Alleyn Esqr. Founder of this College, who departed this mortal Life the 28th of June 1623, being in the 51 year of Her Age.” The road, which was laid out over a former footpath, was named in her honour in 1884.
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