Mary Sidney Herbert, the Countess of Pembroke, ran a literary academy at her estate in Wiltshire where most of the principal authors of the day spent significant periods of time, competing and collaborating. These writers were the backbone of English Renaissance literature. The group included Abraham Fraunce, Nicholas Breton, Henry Constable, Samuel Daniel, Michael Drayton, Edward Dyer, Gabriel Harvey, Thomas Kyd, Christopher Marlowe, Walter Raleigh, Hugh Sanford, Edmund Spenser, Thomas Watson, Ben Jonson, and Fulke Greville.
Arguments can be made for the contribution of others to the canon as well, such as Richard Barnfield, George Chapman, Thomas Dekker, Robert Greene, Thomas Heywood, Thomas Lodge, George Peele, John Lyly, Thomas Nashe, the Earl of Rutland (Roger Manners), Earl of Oxford (Edward de Vere), John Marston, and John Webster. John Florio was a close friend to both Mary Sidney and Fulke Greville, as well as the Earl of Southampton, the dedicatee of Venus and Adonis and The Rape of Lucrece.
This academy was akin to a spider web with Mary Sidney and Fulke Greville at the center and strong links to all of the other candidates, all the theaters and acting troupes, the courts of England and Europe, the noble families, the politicians, the spy services and, especially, Stratford-upon-Avon and the First Folio of 1623.