Bust of Shakespeare in Stratford Church. Published size 4.4cm wide by 6cm high.

Bust of Shakespeare in Stratford Church.

Triumph, my Britain ! Thou hast one to show,
To whom all scenes of Europe homage owe.
He was not of an age, but for all time !


p.iii ]







HON. M.R.I.A.,  HON. M.R.S.L.,  F.S.A., ETC.

Autograph of Shakespeare from his will. Published size 8.2cm wide by 1.3 cm high. Also reproduced on p.277.




p.iv ]


p.v  Preface]

Seal of Stratford upon Avon, 1592. Published size 4.4cm wide by 2.2cm high.

Sigillum St. super Av. 1592.

HE tide of public curiousity in matters of Shakespearian enquiry has of late years set almost exclusively in the direction of biography ; the minutest facts respecting the personal history of the World's Poet receiving more attention, and creating wider discussion, than the happiest illustrations of the great works on which his reputation is established. It is not difficult to assign a reason for this preference, for, although the higher branches of criticism are undoubtedly more important, perhaps, even, when fully understood, more interesting and attractive, biographical disquisitions have the advantage of being readily appreciated by all ; and, as Shakespeare was the most eminent genius the world has ever produced, it is not surprising that details of his existence, information of his reality when he lived and moved as one of ourselves, should be sought for with so much avidity. We should also recollect that minute historical researches never appear to so great advantage, nor are they productive of so much utility, as when they tend to unfold the private actions and characters of those great men whose deeds or works have exercised beneficial influences on the progress of mankind.

p.vi /

      Authors of almost every description have attempted this for Shakespeare, each one bitterly complaining of the paucity of facts, but making ample amends by conjectures of their own ; for, as the great dramatist excelled all in imagination, his biographers have exceeded all other biographers in the facility with which they have regarded him in all imaginable and imaginary positions. A small portion only of the writers of the history of Shakespeare's life lay claim to the merit of having instituted original enquiries, the majority being content with appropriating the information recorded by their predecessors, and giving us the results of their own reasonings upon them. Some, especially Malone, and more recently Mr. Collier, have exercised laudable diligence in examining records for notices likely to throw light on the poet's history ; legal registers of property and suits, which arrest so many latent facts that had otherwise been lost with the perishing details of social life. These two writers, indeed, have unfolded so much valuable information, and their perseverance has been so great as almost to have become proverbial, that no astonishment may well be expressed, when we find others declining to trace sources believed to have been so minutely investigated, and lamenting the inevitable conclusion that nothing more of any importance respecting the poet was now to be discovered.
      Without undervaluing in the slightest degree the distinguished and valuable researches of those two critics, or complaining of want of industry in other biographers, it is necessary to say, however strange such an assertion may appear, that the repositories of documents most obvious to any enquirer as likely to contain information relating to p.vii / Shakespeare, have never yet been properly examined for that purpose. Even the records of Stratford-on-Avon have not been used to any extent, and the few notices of the Shakespeares hitherto quoted from them, have generally been most inaccurately transcribed. Mr. Collier, in this respect, has contented himself with Malone's researches, and Mr. Knight is, I believe, the only one of late years who has referred to the originals, but the very slight notice he has taken of them, and the portentous mistakes he has committed in cases where printed copies were not to be found, would appear to show that they were unintelligible to that writer. Malone, with all his errors, possessed some knowledge of palæography,*  a science essentially necessary in the investigation of contracted records of the sixteenth century, especially of those written in Latin.

  But not in a very profound degree, or he would scarcely have read tentator servicii in the extract I have given at p. 26.

      In the Council Chamber of Stratford-on-Avon are preserved vast quantities of manuscript papers, commencing at a very early period, and particularly rich in materials for a history of that town during the reign of Elizabeth. All these I have carefully perused,—attractive bundles, filling large boxes, chests, drawers, and cupboards,—and the important and novel information thence collected is fully exhibited in the following pages. They are in the custody of W. O. Hunt, Esq., whose judicious care and anxiety for their preservation merit the warmest testimony. In the last century, these records were lent to Malone, who was indignant because the corporation requested their p.viii / restoration after they had been several years in his possession !  The value of these precious treasures is now better understood, and their importance properly appreciated. They cannot, indeed, be too highly valued, or too rigidly guarded.
      These Records form the chief source from which the materials for this work have been derived, but they are by no means the only collections at Stratford illustrative of the genius whose name has cast a magic halo around that town, and conferred upon it everlasting celebrity. Among the inhabitants of Stratford who have felt this the most strongly, and worthily availed themselves of local advantages in collecting and preserving genuine memorials of the poet, none have performed more commendable services than the late Captain James Saunders. Possessing ample leisure, and an able draughtsman, no material relic of the ancient town was suffered to pass away before his pencil had perpetuated it for the information of posterity, and every document that came in his way which appeared to him likely to throw light on Shakespeare or his family was immediately transcribed. The hand of death prevented the accomplishment of his objects so fully perhaps as he had intended, but his manuscript collections and sketches will ever remain testimonies of his accurate and extensive research. He has, it is true, omitted to note many entries I have considered of great importance, but this circumstance may be attributed to the imperfect and unarranged state in which some of his papers were left at his decease. On the other hand, several manuscripts, the originals of which are private property, have been copied by him with minute accuracy, and some p.ix / of the most curious woodcuts in this volume have been derived from his careful drawings of objects now in many instances destroyed by the march of modern innovation. This valuable collection has recently, with as much judgment as liberality, been presented to the Royal Shakespearian Club of Stratford, by the author's son, Henry Caulfield Saunders, Esq., and it is to be hoped that in time all authentic papers relating to Shakespeare will eventually find a place in a Museum consecrated to his memory, to be erected on his patrimonial estate, and near to the spot where he first saw the light.
      The Record Offices of London have also furnished much valuable information which has escaped previous enquirers. The want of a diligent spirit of research is here again eminently exhibited. For example, Mr. Collier enters into an elaborate argument to ascertain the year in which Shakespeare purchased New Place, and expresses his opinion that the exact date can never be recovered; but it is certainly most remarkable that no biographer should have been at the pains to take the first process in an enquiry relating to the purchase of property in those days, an inspection of the Index Finium. The date having been brought within narrow limits, a few minutes' search would have discovered the foot of the fine levied upon that occasion. This series of records has preserved several other important particulars respecting the poet and his father never before noticed.
      It will be found that, with the aid of the documents discovered in the collections above mentioned, there are very few eras in the history of Shakespeare's life on which p.x / I have not been able to throw some new light ; and, with the exception of that little mine of valuable detail, Collier's New Facts, 1835, the present volume contains, I believe, more new information than any biographical work on Shakespeare that has yet appeared. But even with these advantages, the task is one so bold and arduous, if a writer presumes to form his own opinions on subjects treated of by so many abler men, that, in the commencement of this investigation, I entertained the humbler project of publishing my discoveries separately. "When I said I would die a bachelor," says Benedick, "I did not think I should live till I were married." I had quite as little idea of becoming one of Shakespeare's biographers ; but the publishers, those arbitrers of the destinies of authors, refused to accept my collections unless presented to the public in a consecutive narrative, and I was obliged to make an essay which, under other circumstances, would probably not have been attempted.
      A very few words on the course at length adopted will suffice, for the materials have been arranged in the least presuming form, and no more is attempted beyond placing before the reader an unprejudiced and complete view of every known fact respecting the poet. The word unprejudiced need not create a smile, however impossible it might appear that impartiality could be wanting in such a matter; but latterly a spirit has arisen amongst a few writers, which would seem to tell us it is little better than sacrilege to believe any evidence affecting in the slightest degree Shakespeare's moral character. Believing this species of refinement to be unnecessary, and not exactly observing p.xi / more reason that a good poet must be a man of spotles character than that a bad one must be a villain, I have ventured to submit in every case the best evidence I could obtain, frankly grounding my opinion in every instance on testimony or reasonable probability, uninfluenced by any preconceived notion that what was not favorable was likewise not true, but certainly leaning in most instances to the more honorable interpretation, for Shakespeare's contemporaries have recorded the amiability of his character in terms that cannot be misinterpreted.
      All the documents of any importance respecting the Shakespeares are here printed at length, so that the reader will be much better able to judge of their value and importance than if abstracts only were furnished. Their authenticity will also be more evidently perceived, a matter of no small importance, when it is considered how many forgeries of Shakespearian manuscripts have been attempted to be made current, though reference to none of them is made in the following pages.
      It would have been no very difficult task to have impugned the accuracy of my predecessors, for here are silently corrected many hundreds of mistakes, some of the greatest magnitude, others merely literal. Indeed, the corrections have been in some instances so overwhelming, that it is scarcely possible all could have been detected. In the course of one short Latin document, there are, in all copies hitherto printed, no less than fifty-seven blunders, so that it is absolutely unreadable, and hence its exact purport has never been mentioned. The recurrence of ad 20. cur. for ad proximam curiam, the MS. reading px, which has p.xii / been taken for xx, is one out of many examples that might be produced of the singularly small knowledge of records that has been brought to assist in these enquiries. Literal accuracy, I admit, is not to be attained without having free use of the originals, but, in fact, ordinary care has seldom been observed in cases where the MSS. were personally consulted. In the will of Agnes Arden, as printed by Mr. Hunter, which occupies not quite two octavo pages, eighty-seven errors have been committed, but these are mostly literal, and do not affect the sense. In the case of any question of authenticity, however, such variations might cause serious inconvenience ; and where the subject is susceptible of so many delicate arguments, it is generally best to follow the originals as minutely as possible, except in the refined antiquarian absurdities of retaining the u for v, or imitating the capital letters and punctuation of early scribes.
      It must not, however, be supposed that great literal accuracy can be attained in every case, for there has not always been an opportunity for collating the documents in type, and, when they are of much extent, the only possible method of completely avoiding mistakes in a few final or unnecessary letters, is to compare the printed copy letter for letter with the originals. I can only lay claim to great care, and be contented with the reflection that few errors of much importance are likely to have escaped notice, leaving those when discovered to expect the courtesy here exhibited to others. Above all, before such a body of error as that just pointed out is alleged, let me mention that there are duplicate copies of several documents in the Council Chamber at Stratford, differing very materially from each other in p.xiii / their orthography. Many of the early accounts of the Chamberlains are found in duplicate, some of them written at greater length, and containing more information than the brief notices entered in the books of the corporation. Whenever a document here printed differs in any great degree from an early copy, it may be safely concluded that another manuscript has been used.
      The Latin documents, I fear, will occasionally bid defiance to a correct grammatical construction, nor must the classical scholar expect or desire this in our old legal papers. The language is peculiar, and the intended construction not always clear, although the sense is generally apparent. The terminations are not filled up, for in many cases they might have been interpreted in more ways than one ; but I have printed the contractions in extenso, and have left no passage in an unreadable state. The originals have been carefully followed, even when not grammatically accurate. Thus we have priorissa for priorissæ, p. 4;  filius Johannes, p. 28; cum pertinentiis jacencium, p. 37 ; hujus parothia, p. 116, and numerous other instances ; but even such barbarous specimens may serve to show the state of knowledge among a certain class of people at the time, and objections might have been raised against their alteration.
      In the selection of the woodcuts, the same star of rigid authenticity has throughout been my guide ; and great advantage has been derived from the taste of Mr. F. W. Fairholt, F.S.A., to whose careful pencil the reader is indebted for all the illustrations and fac-similes in this work. Nothing has been copied which will not bear the test of the strictest examination, and, as in the literary portion of this p.xiv / volume, no allusion will be found to the clumsy and disgraceful forgeries of Shakespearian documents that have so frequently deceived the public for short periods, so nothing of the material which is not unquestionably genuine is here perpetuated. Mr. Fairholt has also carefully abstained from those fanciful imitations which have so little real value, and in which the characteristic features of the original objects are so seldom preserved.
      In conclusion, perhaps I may be permitted to allude to the many new facts published in this volume, as evidences of a reasonable confidence in the inexhaustible treasures of our English archives, a belief in hidden stores of knowledge which destroys all reliance on the finality of previous enquiries, leading us to trust to no examinations but our own. Entertaining this belief in its fullest extent, and feeling confident our discoveries are not yet at an end, I venture to suggest the propriety of the manuscripts belonging to our ancient families, especially those in Warwickshire, being searched for information relating to the poet. Need I add, for one, how gratefully I should receive any communication on the subject, or how willingly my services would be rendered in such a cause ?

              Nov. 21st, 1847.

p.xv ]


1.     Bust of Shakespeare in Stratford church    .             
2.    Autograph of Shakespeare from his will    .           iii
3.    Seal of Stratford upon Avon, 1592    .           v
4.    Fac-simile of letter mentioning Shakespeare, 1608    .           1
5.    Old houses in Henley-street, Stratford, 1810    .           ib.
6.    Marks of Edmund and Joan Lambert, 1581    .           7
7.    Mark and seal of Agnes Arden    .           11
8.    Signatures of the bailiff and aldermen of Stratford, 1565    .           18
9.    Signatures and marks from a roll of court-leet    .           19
10.    Passage in which John Shakespeare is mentioned as a glover    .           21
11.    Mark of Margery Lorde, 1609    .           29
12.    Autograph of Gilbert, one of Shakespeare's brothers    .           ib.
13.    Payment for the bell and pall for Anne Shakespeare, 1579.    .           30
14.    Shakespeare's birthplace, from an old drawing in the British Museum    .           33
15.    Plan of the Shakespeare property in Henley-street    .           35
16.    Mark of John Shakespeare, 1596-7    .           37
17.    Shakespeare's birthplace, September, 1847    .           39
18.    Marks of the parents of Shakespeare    .           57
19.    Marks and seals of the same    .           58
20.    Marks of the affeerors, 1561, including that of John Shakespeare    .           65
21.    Original sketch of Shakespeare's arms, 1599    .           79
22.    Interior of the Chapel of the Guild    .           95
23.    Old market-cross, now removed    .           106
24.    Ancient houses in Henley-street, 1820    .           107
25.    Mark of Judith Shakespeare, 1611    .           109
26.    Marks and seal to Shakespeare's marriage-bond, 1582    .           112
27.    The mark of John Hathaway    .           113
28.    Signature of Bartholomew Hathaway    .           115
29.    Anne Hathaway's cottage, as it appeared in 1825    .           ib.
30.    Signature of Richard Hathaway    .           120
31.    Seal and autograph of Sir Thomas Lucy    .           124
32.    Signature of Sir Thomas Lucy    .           125
33.    House in High-street, Stratford, dated 1596    .           134
34.    The boundary elm, Stratford, 1847    .           159
35.    Plan of New Place    .           165
36.    View of New Place, about 1740    .           166

p.xvi /
37.    Julius Shaw's house, Stratford    .           170
38.    Autograph of Thomas Quiney, Shakespeare's son-in-law    .           174
39.    Seal and autograph of Richard Quiney    .           178
40.    Direction of letter addressed to Shakespeare    .           179
41.    Carved bas-relief formerly at the Boar's Head tavern    .           192
42.    Penny-token of the Boar's Head tavern    .           193
43.    Autograph of Richard Burbage    .           195
44.    Autograph of John Heminges    .           196
45.    House sold by Geteley to Shakespeare, 1602    .           201
46.    Docket of action brought by Shakespeare for malt sold in 1604    .           208
47.    Signatures of Ralph Huband and others    .           216
48.    The market-cross, Stratford, now pulled down    .           219
49.    Signature of Sir William Davenant    .           221
50.    Signature of William Walker, Shakespeare's godson    .           223
51.    Stratford College, the residence of John Combe    .           232
52.    Parson's Close, alias Shakespeare's Close    .           236
53.    Interior of the Hall of Stratford College, 1785    .           240
54.    Autographs of John and Thomas Combe    .           242
55.    John Robinson's house in the Blackfriars    .           247
56.    Autograph of Shakespeare, 1613    .           251
57.    Exterior of the Charnel-house, Stratford    .           274
58.    Autograph of Shakespeare to his will    .           276
59.    The second signature to the will    .           277
60.    The third signature to the will    .           278
61.    Autographs of the witnesses to the will    .           ib.
62.    Autograph of Gilbert Shakespeare    .           282
63.    Writing supposed to be in the autograph of Shakespeare    .           283
64.    Inscription on Shakespeare's tomb    .           286
65.    Interior of the Charnel-house, Stratford    .           287
66.    Lines under the monument to Shakespeare    .           289
67.    Inscription on the grave of Shakespeare's wife    .           294
68.    Autograph and Seal of Susanna Hall    .           296
69.    Mark of Judith Shakespeare    .           ib.
70.    Signatures of Eliza, George, and Thomas Nash    .           ib.
71.    Autograph of Dr. John Hall    .           ib.
72.    Autograph of Thomas Quiney    .           ib.
73.    Seal and Autograph of Elizabeth Barnard    .           ib.
74.    The same of Sir John Barnard    .           ib.
75.    Shakespeare's seal-ring    .           298
76.    Autograph and seal of Julius Shaw    .           333

p.xviii ]

Facsimile from a Letter of Lord Southampton, mentioning Shakespeare.
From the Original MS in the possession of the Earl of Ellesmere.

Facsimile from a letter from Lord Southampton mentioning Shakespeare. Published size 17.5cm wide by 9.4cm high.

p.1 /

Old houses in Henley Street, Stratford-upon-Avon, 1810. Published size 8.5cm wide by 5.9cm high.

[Old Houses in Henley Street, 1810.]

      THERE are few subjects in the whole range of English literature presenting greater opportunities for a variety of discursive criticism than are offered to the writer of a Life of SHAKESPEARE ; so numerous, indeed, that if he accepted them all in their full extent, no one in these days of condensed learning would reasonably be expected to do justice to the labours of the biographer. Genealogical details, obscure allusions, identities, disputed readings, chronological arguments, and other matters of a like kind, some of great interest, others palpably uninstructive, afford, each in its turn, subjects for dispute which have been argued by editors writing with an especial object, and generally biassed in their consideration of evidence, to an extent altogether unnecessary ; for, omitting all controversy not absolutely required by the documents on which our knowledge of the Life is established, the materials which have now been unfolded to us are sufficiently extensive to render their arrangement and discussion a formidable labour in comparison with what would be necessary to perform a similar p.2 / office for contemporary poets. It is quite a fallacy in these days to repeat the extravagant dictum of Steevens, or complain how little we are acquainted with William Shakespeare's worldly career and character. We should, on the contrary, be thankful we know more of him than we do of Spenser or of many others, the history of whose lives would probably be so interesting and valuable ; and most grateful for the singularly unexpected discoveries of modern times dispelling so much of the darkness and clouds that rested on his personal history. If, bearing in mind the evil above alluded to and endeavouring to avoid it, a new torch is now lighted in "the dark backward" of Shakespeare's time, which shall discover recesses yet unknown to the explorer, and again unfold every path ; before its holder is accused of attempting to relumine well-known passages, let it be borne in mind no one has yet told the world the whole of the means by which discoveries have been made. In other words, the evidences on which the history of Shakespeare's life is founded have never been fully exhibited to the public, and this it shall be my endeavour to accomplish in the following pages ; not, indeed, without entering into subjects of discussion that to the casual observer might probably appear irrelevant, but, I trust, without exceeding my proper duties by introducing circumstances not essential to the discourse or argument. Our earliest attention will of course be directed to the ancestry of the poet.
      The Shakespeares were settled in Warwickshire as early as the fourteenth century, and shortly afterwards we find the name spread through the country, appearing in most of the documentary evidence of any extent we now have relating to that part of England from the time of Henry VI. All the arguments for and against the study of pedigree and genealogy might now be repeated. Shakespeare has told us that "nature cannot choose his origin ;" and, failing in p.3 / the attempt to discover with any degree of certainty the particular branch from which our poet was descended, we can at least console ourselves with the reflection, whatever consolation the knowledge may be to the curious, that we have at length obtained an approximation to the solution of the momentous question—that "great problem of all," as it is ludicrously termed by one of those antiquaries who regard the value of inquiries of this kind in an inverse ratio to their importance,—who was Shakespeare's grandfather ? Before we enter on this subject, it may perhaps not be without its use to direct the reader's attention to the following notices of the name of Shakespeare in Warwickshire* during the century immediately preceding the establishment of our poet's family at Stratford.

  The numerous varieties of orthography in the case of this surname are curious. The list given below supplies some forms not hitherto noticed. There cannot be much doubt that Shaxper was the pronunciation in Warwickshire, and I have heard it so pronounced recently by uneducated persons residing in that county. Shakespeare Hart wrote his name "Shaxpeer Hart," in a document dated 1746.

If we are unable to indicate amongst any of these names Shakespeare's immediate ancestors, the coincidence of the recurrence of the same Christian names will afford a strong presumption that the root of the family was originally the same. They are extracted from a very valuable manuscript on vellum in the possession of Mr. Staunton of Longbridge House, near Warwick, entitled Registrum fratrum et sororum Gildæ Sanctæ Annæ de Knolle ; incipiebatur in die et in festo Sanctæ Annæ anno Domini millesimo cccc.mo vij.º, a register of the guild of St. Anne of Knolle, from the year 1407 to its dissolution in 1535 :

    (Circa 1460). Pro anima Ricardi Shakspere et Aliciæ uxor. ejus de Woldiche.
    1464, 4 Edw. IV.    Johanna Schakespere.
    ——————      Radulphus Schakespeire et Isabella uxor ejus, et pro anima Johannæ uxoris primæ.
    ——————      Ricardus Schakespeire de Wroxsale et Margeria uxor ejus.

p.4 /

    (Circa 1464).    Johannes Shakespeyre ejusdem villæ (Rowington) et Alicia uxor ejus.
    1476, 16 Edw. IV.    Thomas Chacsper et Christian. cons. suæ de Rowneton.
    1486, 1 Hen. VII.     Pro anima Thomæ Schakspere.
    ——————        Thomas Shakspere, pro anima ejus.
    ——————        Thomas Shakspere et Alicia uxor ejus de Balsale.
    19 Hen. VII.    Orate pro anima Isabellæ Shakspere quondam Priorissa de Wraxale.
    3 Hen. VIII.      Ballishalle.    Alicia Shakespere et pro anima Thomæ Shakespere.
    —————      Meriden.    Christophorus Shakespere et Isabella uxor ejus de Pacwode.
    18 Hen. VIII.    Domina Jane Shakspere.
    —————      Ricardus Shakspere et Alicia uxor.
    —————      Willielmus Shakspere et Agnes uxor.
    —————      Johannes Shakspere et Johanna uxor.

      Both public and private records would enable us to increase our early notices of the Shakespeares almost indefinitely. The Shakespeares of Rowington are perhaps most frequently mentioned, and numerous documents respecting them are preserved in the Chapter House, Westminster. They continued to reside there till a late period.*

  The Rowington papers mention the Shakespeares to the close of the last century. The early registers are unfortunately lost. A Margaret Shakespeare was married there in 1665. A MS. copy of the customs of the manor, in the possession of Mr. Lea, dated 1614, exhibits a William Shakespeare as one of the jury at that period. Thomas Shackspear, of Rowington, is assessed on goods of the value of 3 in the Subsidy Roll, 39 Eliz., and Thomas Shaxper, senior, of the same place, is assessed on land of the value of thirty shillings, in a similar roll of 7 James I. Amongst some early undated fragments of records relating to Warwickshire, preserved in the Carlton Ride, I find a mention of a John Shakeseper, of Rowington. If our poet's family had been nearly connected with this branch, it is most probable one of his brothers would have received the Christian name of Thomas. A survey of crown lands in Warwickshire, 4 Jac. I, in the Land Revenue Office, notices a Thomas, George, Richard, and a John Shakespeare, as holding property at Rowington.

Among the proceedings in the Star Chamber, 7 Feb. 44 Eliz., is a case, Holte v. Thomas Shakespeere of Rowington for being concerned in damages done in the previous May to the common of Bushwood olim Lapworth. This Thomas Shakespeare was a disciple of Jack Cade, signing with a p.5 / mark. The name occurs under various forms. In the year 1589 we find the case of "Marye Ruswell againste John Vale and Katheryn his wyefe, and Aylese Shackspire." The Alice Shakespeare here mentioned was John Vale's mother-in-law. In the same repository of records is a fine, levied Mich. 12 Jac. I, "inter Willielmum Shackespeare et Georgium Shackespeare quer. et Thomam Spencer armigerum, Christoferum Flecknoe, et Thomam Tompson deforc. de octo acris pasturæ cum pertinentiis in Claverdon alias Claredon," and this person was not the only one our poet had the fortune to honour by an identity of appellation. A William Saxspere was drowned in the Avon in 1579, as appears from the following curious entry in the parish register of St. Nicholas, Warwick, which has not yet been printed with literal accuracy : "1579, Junii : sexto die hujus mensis sepultus fuet Gulielmus Saxspere, qui demersus fuet in rivulo aquæ qui vel quæ vocatur Avona."
      This William Shakespeare of Warwick was probably the son of Thomas Shakespeare, of that town, whose other son is also mentioned in the same register: "1598, Junii 21. Solemnizatum matrimonium inter Thomam Shaxeper et Elizabeth Letherberrow." Thomas Shaxpere gent. was elected bailiff of Warwick on 1 Nov. 10 Jac. I, and again 1 Nov. 2 Car. I, and the family was resident at Warwick during the whole of that century. The name is spelt Shackspeere in the Black Book of Warwick, f. 243, a very valuable MS. belonging to the Corporation ; and he is also alluded to in the municipal records of Stratford, but there does not appear to be any evidence that he was even remotely connected with our poet's family.
      Other branches of the Shakespeares were located at Wroxhall, Hampton, Lapworth, Nuneaton, Kineton, and various other places in Warwickshire ; but notwithstanding the masses of evidence we possess in which the name occurs, p.6 / and laborious antiquarian researches repeated for a century, the history of our poet's descent is still miserably imperfect. If genealogical inquiries are ever worthy of pursuit, they must have some value in the reasonable curiosity to ascertain from what class of society the greatest author of the world arose. We may well be content that this information has not been withheld, and the tracer of the pedigree any further back in the lapse of time will scarcely deserve our thanks. The state of the evidence we possess on this subject may thus be briefly enumerated.
      On the 17th of July, 1550, Robert Arden,* the maternal grandfather of Shakespeare, executed the following deed, conveying certain lands and tenements in Snitterfield, then in the occupation of Richard Shakespeare, in trust for three daughters, after the death of Robert and Agnes Arden.

  Business must frequently have led Robert Arden to Stratford. In the proceedings of the Bailiff's Court on Nov. 30th, 1553, mention is made of a suit he had commenced against John Dyckson, to recover the sum of four shillings. His brother, Thomas Ardern, is mentioned in a list of the justices of the peace for Warwickshire, 25 Hen. VIII, in the Miscell. Pap. Rolls House, ii. 189. In a Subsidy Roll, 2 Edw. VI, at Carlton Ride, Robart Arderne, of Aston Cantlowe, is assessed at x. s.

      Sciant præsentes et futuri quod ego Robertus Ardern de Wylmecote in parochia de Aston Cantlowe in com. Warr. husbandman dedi, concessi, et hac præsenti carta mea tripartiter indentat. confirmavi Adæ Palmer de Aston Cantlowe prædict. et Hugoni Porter de Snytterfylde in com. prædicto, totum illud mesuagium meum cum suis pertinentiis in Snytterfylde prædict. quæ nunc sunt in tenura cujusdam Ricardi Shakespere, ac omnia illa mea terr. prat. pascuas et pasturas cum suis pertinentiis in Snytterfylde prædict. eidem mesuagio spectant. et pertinent. quæ nunc sunt in tenura prædicti Ricardi Shakespere, Habendum et tenendum omnia prædict. mesuagium terr. prat. pascuas et pasturas cum suis pertinentiis prædictis Adæ Palmer et Hugoni Porter hæredibus et assign. suis ad usum et opus mei prædicti Roberti Ardern et Agnetis nunc uxoris meæ pro termino vitæ nostrum eorundem Roberti et Agnetis, ac diucius viventis nostrum, et post decessum diucius viventis nostrum prædictorum Roberti Ardern et Agnetis nunc uxoris meæ, tunc ad usus et opus sequent. Scilicet, unam terciam partem omnium prædict. mesuagii terr. prat. pascuar. et pasturar. cum suis pertin. ad usum et opus Agnetis Strynger nunc uxoris Thomæ p.7 / Strynger, ac nuper uxoris Johannis Hewyns, dudum de Bereley, modo defunct. filiæ mei prædict. Roberti Ardern, ac hæredum et assign. ejusdem Agnetis Strynger in perpetuum. Et alteram terciam partem omnium eorundem mesuagii terr. prat. pasc. et pastur. cum suis pertinentiis, ad usum et opus Johannæ Lambert, nunc uxoris Edwardi Lambert de Barton super lez Hothe, aliæ filiæ mei prædicti Roberti Ardern, ac hæredum et assign. ejusdem Johannæ Lambert in perpetuum. Aliamque terciam partem omnium prædictorum mesuagii terr. prat. pasc. et pastur. cum suis pertinentiis, ad usum et opus Katerinæ Etkyns, nunc uxoris Thomæ Etkyns de Wylmecote prædict. aliæ filiæ mei prædicti Roberti Ardern, ac hæredum et assign. ejusdem Katerinæ Etkyns in perpetuum, de capitalib. dominis feod. illi. per servic. inde prius debit. et de jure consuet. Et ego vero prædictus Robertus Ardern et hæredes mei, omnia prædict. mesuagium terr. prat. pasc. et pastur. cum suis pertin. præfatis Adæ Palmer et Hugoni Porter hæredibus et assign. suis ad usus et opus supradict. contra omnes gentes warantizabim. et in perpetuum defendemus per præsentes. Sciatis insuper me prædictum Robertum Ardern plenam et pacificam possessionem et seisinam de et in prædict. mesuagio terr. prat. pasc. et pastur. cum suis pertin. præfatis Adæ Palmer et Hugoni Porter ad usus et opus superius specificat. secundum vim, formam, tenorem, et effectum hujus præsentis cartæ meæ tripartiter indentat. inde eis confect. in propria persona mea tradidisse et liberasse. In cujus rei testimonium cuilibet parti hujus præsentis cartæ meæ tripartiter indentat. sigillum meum apposui. Dat. decimo septimo die Julii anno regni domini Edwardi sexti, Dei gratia Angliæ Franc. et Hibern. regis, Fidei defensoris, et in terra ecclesiæ Anglicanæ et Hibernicæ supremi capitis quarto.*

  The portion of Johanna Lambert was sold by her and her husband on June 1st, 1581. She was aunt to William Shakespeare, and neither she nor her husband could write their own names. Their marks are thus subjoined to the deed conveying the property now mentioned.

The marks of Edmond and Joan Lambert, 1581. Published size 9.1cm wide by 1.65cm high

      Ten days previously he had executed a similar deed of other property in Snitterfield, for the benefit of three other daughters, Jocose Arden, Alicia Arden, and Margaret Webbe, the latter of whom was the wife of Alexander Webbe, who was afterwards the purchaser of several of the shares of the Snitterfield property, belonging to his sisters-in-law. By conveyances, dated on the 14th and 21st of December, 1519, we find that Robert Arden purchased property in p.8 / Snitterfield from Richard Rushby and Agnes his wife, and he also bought a tenement in the same village on October 1st, 1529. Mr. Collier particularizes the property afterwards in the occupation of Richard Shakespeare, but he was probably not aware that, as early as 16 Hen. VI, die Lunæ proximo post festum Inventionis Sanctæ Crucis, May, 1438, land in Snitterfield was conveyed Thomæ Ardern de Wylmecote et Roberto Ardern filio ejusdem Thomæ Ardern. These were ancestors on the mother's side of William Shakespeare.
      This Richard Shakespeare of Snitterfield was in all probability Shakespeare's grandfather. Mr. Collier was the first to promulgate this theory, but he grounded it principally on the possibility that it was in this way John Shakespeare became introduced to the Ardens. Another and a much stronger reason is found in the fact that John Shakespeare had a brother Henry, who lived at Snitterfield, and was most probably a son of Richard Shakespeare, the registers of that village showing only one family of the name.

      1581-2.  Baptizatus fuet John filius Thomæ Shaxper the x.th of March, 1581.
      1586, 4 Sept.   Baptysed Henry Townsend, the sonn of John Townsend and Darrity his wyff, William Meaydes, Henry Shaxper, Elizabeth Perkes, pleages.
      1595.   Johanna Shaxspere mortua est, et sepulta Januarii quinto an° 1595.
      1596.   Henrey Saxspere was bureyd the xxix.th day of December, anno 1596.
      1596-7.   Margret Saxspere widow, being times the wyff of Henry Shakspere, was buried ix. Feb.
      1636.   Robert Hodgkin and Elizabeth Shakuspeare, of Warwicke, were married at Snitfeild the 16th day of June.

      That Shakespeare's father had a brother Henry*

  His name occurs in the following memorandum, which probably relates to a suit concerning property in Snitterfield : "Wytnesses to be examynyd for Robert Webbe and others defendauntes.—Adam Palmer. John Henley. William Perkes. Hary Shakspere. William Betson." He is again mentioned in the will of Christopher Smyth alias Court of Stratford, made November 2d, 1586, to which is subjoined a list of "detts due to me the sayd Christopher," and p.9 / amongst them, "Item, Henry Shaxspere of Snytterfild oweth me v.li. ix.s." The last notice of Henry Shakespeare before his death occurs in the registry of the Court of Record, 29 Sept. 38 Eliz.   Henricus Shackespere attachiatus fuit per servient. ad clav. ibidem ad sect. Johannis Tomlyns in placito debiti, Henr. Wylson m. pro deff.

p.8 / is shown by the following declaration, filed in the Court of Record p.9 / at Stratford, where an action was brought by Nicholas Lane against John Shakespeare for debt, 1 Feb., 29 Eliz., 1587. The original is at Stratford.

      Johannes Shakspere attachiatus fuit per servient. ad clavem ibidem secundum consuetudinem burgi prædicti ad respondendum Nicholao Lane de placito transgressionis super casum, &c., et sunt pleg. de proseq. Johannes Doe et Willielmus Roe, &c. Et unde idem Nicholaus Lane, per Thomam Trussell, attorn. suum, dicit quod cum quarto die Junii anno regni dominæ nostræ Elizabethæ, Dei gratia Angliæ, Franciæ, et Hiberniæ reginæ, fidei defensoris, &c. vicessimo octavo, hic apud Stretford prædictum ac infra jurisdictionem hujus curiæ, quoddam colloquium tractatum et habitum fuit inter præfatum Johannem Shakesper et dictum Nicholaum Lane de quodam debito viginti et duarum libr. legalis monetæ Angliæ, in quibus Henricus Shaxpere, frater dicti Johannis, debito modo indebitatus fuit præfato Nicholao Lane, et super colloquium illud aggreat. et concordat. fuit. Et postea, scilicet die et anno supradicto, hic apud Stretford prædictum et infra jurisdictionem hujus curiæ pro et in consideratione præmissorum ac pro et in consideracione quatuor denariorum legalis, &c. præfato Johanni ad tunc et ibidem per præfatum Nicholaum præmanibus solut. super se assumpsit, et præfato Nicholao ad tunc et ibidem fideliter promisit quod si dictus Henricus Shaksper non solveret præfato Nicholao decem libras, parcellum dictæ sommæ viginti et duarum librarum, in festo sancti Michaelis archangeli ex tunc proxime sequente, quod tunc ipse idem Johannes Shaksper dictam sommam decem librarum parcellum &c. præfato Nicholao bene et fideliter solvere et contentare vellet, cum inde eum hoc requisit. fuer. etc. Et prædictus Nicholaus dicit in facto quod prædictus Henricus Shaksper non solvit præfato Nicholao Lane dictam sommam decem librarum parcellum &c. in festo sancti Michaeli archangelli prædict. seu unquam antea vel postea. Unde actio accrevit præfato Nicholao Lane ad habendum et exequend. de præfato Johanne Shaksper dictam sommam decem librarum parcellum etc. secundum assumptiones et fidel. promissiones suas prædictas, etc. prædictæ sommæ ; Johannes Shaksper assumpt. et fideles promiss. suas prædict. quoad dictas decem libras, parcellum, &c. minime curans vel ponderans, sed machinans ipsum Nicholaum in hac parte callide et deceptive decipere et defraudare, dictam sommam decem librarum, parcellum &c. præfato Nicholao Lane nondum solvit seu aliquo modo contentavit, sed ill. ei huc usque solvere aut contentare omnino contradixit et adhuc contradicit, licet sæpius ad hoc secundum assump. et fidel. promiss. suas prædictas requisitus fuit. Unde dictus Nicholaus Lane dicit quod deterior est et dampnum habet ad valenciam viginti librarum. Et inde produc. sect. &c.

p.10 /

      We here find John Shakespeare becoming surety to his brother Henry in a case of debt, and the latter not paying, his brother was proceeded against for the amount. Henry was probably in difficulties, and while this paper show John Shakespeare's kindness to a relative, it leads one to suppose it was not the sole instance. This may be the case with some other entries hereafter to be quoted from the same record, in which the name of the former occurs as a defendant.
      Robert Arden, in his will dated 1556, mentions his wife's jointure in Snitterfield, which was doubtlessly other property in that village, not that which is mentioned in the deeds quoted above. The following document shows that this settlement was made in 4 Edw. VI., 1550, in which year he probably married Agnes Arden, and it does not seem improbable that Mary Shakespeare's interest in Snitterfield was on this same property, in the occupation of Richard Shakespeare as late as 1560,* the description in both deeds being identical :

  I refer to the following indenture, which is sufficiently curious to be given entire :—
      This indenture made the xxj.th daye of Maie in the seconde yeare of the reign of our soveraign Lady Elyzabeth by the grace of God Queene of Englande, Fraunce and Irelande defender of the faith, &c. Betwene Agnes Arderne of Wylmecote in the Countie of Warr : wydowe on the one partie and Alexander Webbe of Bereley in the same countie husbandeman on the other partie, Wytnessyth that the sayd Agnes Arderne ffor dyverse and sondry consyderations hath demysed graunted sett and to fferme lett, and by these presents demyseth graunteth setteth and to fferme letteth unto the said Alexander Webbe and to his assignes All those her two measuages with a cottage with all and singuler their appurtenaunces in Snytteifeld, and a yarde and a halfe of ayrable lande therunto belongyng, with all lands medowes pastures commons profitts and commodities in any wyse therunto apperteynynge, scituate lying and beyng in the towne and ffylds of Snytterfield affordsaid, all whiche now are in the occupation of Richarde Shakespere, John Henley, and John Hargreve, To have and to holde the said two measuages or tenements and cottage wyth their appurtenaunces a yarde and a half of lande arrable and all other the premysses with all and synguler their appurtenaunces unto the said Alexander Webbe his executers and assignes ffrom the ffeast of the annuncyacion of our Lady next ensuyng the date hereof untyll the ende and terme of ffourtie years next and ymmediately followyng fully to be completed and ended, yff the said Agnes Arderne so longe do lyve, yeldinge and paying therefore yearely duryng the said
p.11 / terme unto the said Agnes Arderne or her assignes ffourtie shillyngs of lawfull money of Englande to be payde at two termes in the yeare, that is to saye at the ffeast of Saynt Michaell tharchaungell and the annunciation of our Ladye by equall portions ; And the said Alexander Webbe convenaunteth by these presents to dyscharge paye and save harmeles the said Agnes Arderne of all maner of chieff rents and suete of court dewe to the lorde of the ffee, and all other charges belonging to the forsaid measuages or tenements ; and yf it happen the said rent of ffourtie shillyngs to be byhynde unpayd in parte or in all after any of the said ffeasts or dayes of payment at whiche yt ought to be payde as is afforsaid by the space of one month, beyng lawfully asked and demanded, and no sufficient distres can or may be founde in and upon the premysses by the space of syxe weks next after any of the sayd ffeasts, that then it shall be lawfull to the said Agnes Arden and her assignes to re-entree and have agayn their premysses and every parcell thereof as in her first estate, and the said Alexander Webbe his executers and assignes therof to expell and putt out, any thynge herein contayned to the contrary in any wyse notwythstandynge. Also the said Agnes covenaunteth and graunteth to and wyth the sayd Alexander and his assignes, that the said Alexander his executors and assignes shall have enjoy and take durying all the said terme sufficient housebote, ploughbote, cartbote and hedgebote, wyth loppes and shreds growyng and beyng in and upon the premysses, or any parcell therof, for the defense and use of the same howses p.12 / and clousures withowt doyng any wast. Also the said Alexander Webbe covenaunteth by these presents yearely to repayre maynteyne and keape all and all maner of necessary reparacions perteynyng and belonginge to the forsayd tenements cottages, havyng sufficient tymbre on the forsaid grounds yf any be there to be hadd for the same. And the said Agnes Arderne and her assignes [let] the said two messuages or tenements with the sayd cotages a yarde and a halfe of lande and all other the premysses with their appurtenaunces unto the said Alexander Webbe his executers and assignes for the said yearely rent in manner and fourme afforsaid, agaynst her and her assignes shall awarrunt and defende duryng the said terme of xlti. years, if she live so longe. In wytnes wherof the parties affordsaid to these present indentures enterchaungeably have putt to their seales the day and yeare abovewrytten.
      Selyd and delyveryd in the presents of John Somervyle, and Thomas Osbarston, and others.

p.11 /

      To all and to whom thes presentes shall come, Agnes Arden of Wilmcote in the countie of Warr: widowe greting, knowe ye that I the sayd Agnes have receaved of Allexander Webb and still doe receave of his executors and assignes for twoe messuages one cottage and all lands and tenements with thappurtenaunces belonginge to the same lyinge and being in Snitterfield in the countie aforesaid, one yearly rent of fortie shillings, according to the demise therof made by me the sayd Agnes to the sayd Allexander Webb bearing date the one and twenteth daie of Maii in the second yeare of the raigne of the Queenes Majesties that nowe is for the terme of fortie yeares, if I the sayd Agnes so long doe lyve ; Of which sayd messuage and premisses estate was made to me the sayd Agnes for terme of my lyffe by Roberte Arden my late husband in the fourth yeare of the raigne of the late King Edward the sixt, of which sayd estate for terme of my lyffe I am yet seased. All which to be true I have thought good to testifie by this my wryting, and am and wilbe readye to depose the same upon myne othe at all tymes and places if I weare able to travell, being aged and impotent. In wytnes wherof to thes presentes I have putt my seale the fifte day of July, 1580.

the marke


Mark and seal of Agnes Arden. Published size 1.2cm wide by 1.5cm high.



The Seal. Published size 2.9cm wide by 3.2cm high.
        Sealed and delyvered in the presence of Adam Palmer, and Anthony Osbaston and John Hill.

p.12 /

      Agnes Arden did not long survive the execution of this document, the register of Aston Cantlow containing the following entry in 1580,* "the xxix. day of December was bureyd Agnis Arden wydow, anno prædicto."

  The same register has the following entries : 1581, the viijth of August was bureyd Christofer Ardern ; 1588, the xxix. day of March was bureyd Elizabeth Arden. Many persons of the name of Hill are mentioned : 1579, the first of March Ric. Hill the sonn of Roger Hill was baptized ; 1585, the second of December Marget Hill the daughter of Roger Hill was baptized ; 1587, the vijth of January John Hill the sonn of Roger Hyll (Bapt.) ; 1617, Mary Hill and Anne Hill, the daughters of Richard Hill of Shellfield, were baptized the xixth daye of Aprill ; 1581, the xvj. day of January was mareyd Thomas Cokes and Margeri Hill ; the xj. day of ffebruary Humfry Tylbye mareyd Marget Hill ; 1587, the xxvth day of the sam (Dec.) was bureyd Thomas Hill.

Her will was proved at Worcester, March 31st, 1581, and the only printed copy of it being very inaccurate, I subjoin a careful transcript, with the inventory of her goods, the latter not having yet been published :

      In the name of God . . . . . . . . yeare of our Lorde God 1579, and in the . . . . . . . yeare of the raigne off our Soveraigne . . . . . . . . Queene Elyzabethe, by the grace off . . . . . . Fraunce, and Irlande, Queene, deffendris of the faythe, &c.; I, Agnes Ardenne, of Wylmcote in the perishe of Aston Cantlowe, wydowe, do make my laste wyll and testamente in manner and forme followinge. First, I bequethe my soule to Almighty God my maker and redeemer, and my bodie to the earthe. Item, I geve and bequethe to the poore people and inhabitaunce of Bearley iiij.s. Item, I geve and bequeth to the poore people inhabited in Aston perishe, x.s., to be equallie devided by the discrecion of my overseers. Item, I geve and bequeth to everi one of my god-children xij.d. a peece. Item, I give and bequeth to Averie Fullwod ij. sheepe, yf they doe lyve after my desease. Item, I give and bequeth to Rychard Petyvere j. sheepe ; and to Nycolas Mase, j. sheepe ; and Elizabeth Gretwhiche and Elyzabethe Bentley, eyther of them one shepe. Item, I geve and bequeeth to everie off p.13 / Jhon Hill's children everi one of them one sheep ; and allso to John Fullwodes children everi one of them one shepe. My wyll is, that they said sheepe soe geven them shall goe fforward in a stocke to they [lit.] use of they sayd children untyll the come to the age of discrecion. Item, I geve and bequethe to John Payge and his wyfe, the longer liver off them, vj.s. viij.d., and to John Page his brother, j. strike of wheat and one strike of maulte. I geve to John Fullwod and Edwarde Hill my godchilde, everi one of them, one shipe more. Allso I geve to Robarte Haskettes iij.s. iiij.d. Also, I geve to John Peter ij.s. And allso to Henrie Berrie, xij.d. Item, I give to Jhohan Lamberde, xij.d. And to Elizabethe Stiche, my olde gowne. Item, [I geve] and bequeth to John Hill, my sonne, my parte and moitie of my croppe in the ffieldes, as well wheate, barley, and pease, paigne for the same half the lordes rente and dueties belonginge to the same, so that my wyll is the sayd John Hill shall have the nexte croppe uppon the grounde after my desease. I geve to the said Jhon Hill my best platter of the best sorte, and my best platter of the second sorte, and j. poringer, one sawcer, and one best candlesticke. And also I geve to the said John two paire of sheetes. I give to said Jhon Hill my second potte, my best panne. Item, I geve and bequeth to Jhon Fullwod, my sonne in lawe, all the rest of my housholde stuffe. Item, I give and bequeth to John Hill my sonne, one cowe with the white rumpe. And also I geve to John Fullwod, j. browne steare of the age of two yeares olde. Item, I give and bequeth to my brother Alexander Webbes children, everi one of them xij.d. a peece. The rest of all my goodes moveables, and unmoveables, not bequethid, my bodie brought home, my debtes and legacies paid, I geve and bequeth to John Fullwod and to John Hill, to the use and behalf of the said John Fullwodes and John Hilles children, to be delivered unto them and everie of them when the come to age of discrecion. Yf any of the said children doe die before they recover their partes so geven by me, their partes deseased shall remain to the other so levinge with the said John Fullwod and John Hill, [whom] I do ordaine and make my ffull executors of this my last wyll. Allso, I ordeyne and make my overseers, Addam Palmer, George Gibbes. These being witnesses, Thomas Edkins, Richarde Petifere, with others.

      The inventorie of all the goodes moveable and unmoveable of Annes Ardenne of Wylmcote deceased, praised by Thomas Boothe, Addam Palmer, George Gibbes, Thomas Edkins thelder, Thomas Edkins the younger, the xixth day of Januarye, anno regni Elizabethæ reginæ xxiij.

      Inprimis in the halle twoe table bordes with a coobbarde and a painted clothe,
three coshens with shilves, other formes and benches    -   -    -   -   -   -   viij.s.
      Item, three pottes of brasse, ij. calderons, ij. brasse pannes, ij. peeces of pewter,
with iij. candelstickes, with two saltes, xvj.s.
      Item, ij. broches, j. payre of cobbardes, j. fireshovell, with pott-hokes and
linkes for the same, xvj.d.
      Item, in the chambers her apparrell, l.s.
      Item, the beddinge and bedstides with apreeware in the said chambers,
                                 iij.li. iij.s. iij.d.

p.14 /
      Item, three coffers with a peece of woollen clothe, xv.s.
      Item, the cowperie ware, with a maulte mylle, one knedinge troughe with
syves, and a stryke       -        -        -         -        -         -        -         -         -        x.s.
      Item, ffowre oxenne, ffowre kyne, ij. yearlinge calves             xij.li. xiij.s. iij.d.
      Item, xxxviijth sheepe    -        -        -        -        -         -        -         -          iij.s.
      Item, three horses and one mare       -        -        -         -         -        -      iiij.li.
      Item, five score pigges       -        -        -         -         -         -             xiij.s. iiij.d.
      Item, wayne and wayne geares, plowe and plowgeres, carte and cart
geares         -        -        -         -        -         -        -         -         -         -           xxx.s.
      Item, the wheate in the barne her parte, iiij.li.
      Item, her part of barly in the barne, iij.li.
      Item, her parte of hey in the barnes, xiiij.s.
      Item, the wheate one grounde in the fieldes her parte, v.li.
      Item, her parte of peason, iii.li. vj.s. viij.d.
                Summa totalis, xlv.li.

      It has been proved by Mr. Hunter, and appears indeed from this will, that Agnes Arden was first married to a person of the name of Hill. She was, therefore, the second wife of Robert Arden, married probably to him in 1550, and was only step-mother to the family of seven daughters, of whom Mary, the wife of John Shakespeare, was the youngest. Shakespeare's grandmother on either side has still to be discovered. Mary Hill married John Fullwood in 1561, at Aston Cantlow, "John ffullwood and Marey Hill weare mareyd the xv.th of November."*   Their children are mentioned in the will of Agnes Arden, who seems to have been estranged from the family of her second husband, for even if we suppose she did not approve of the matrimonial choice of Mary Shakespeare, there seems to be no reason why remembrances of some kind should not have been given to the other branches of the family.

  This family long held property in Wilmecote. Averie Fulwood, in his will dated Feb. 21st, 1630-1, says, "Item, I doe give and bequeathe unto my sonne Averie Fullwood that parte of howsehold stuffe which was putt into his possession att the tyme thatt I did sett and lett my livinge in Wilmecoate in the countie of Warr."

      Be this as it may, Mary Arden shared the affection and confidence of her father with her sister Alice, being p.15 / joined with her as executrix to his will, November 24th, 1556. To Mary he leaves his estate called Ashbies in Wilmecote, a farm of considerable value. Robert Arden, as appears from this will, was a substantial yeoman, a class whose proverbial vigour and honour would do no discredit to a poet's descent. Richard Shakespeare was also a considerable holder of land, and thus we find the poet of nature rising where we would wish to find him rise, from the inhabitants of the valley and woodland, carrying in his blood the impress of the healthiest and most virtuous class possessed in those days by England. The reader will peruse with interest the will of Robert Arden,* Shakespeare's maternal grandfather :

  It has been previously printed, but most inaccurately, in Malone's Shakespeare. The original is preserved at Worcester.

      In the name of God, Amen, the xxiiij.th daye of November in the yeare of our Lorde God 1556, in the thirde and the forthe yeare of the raygne of our soveragne Lorde and ladye, Phylipe and Marye, kyng and quene, &c. I Robart Arden of Wyllmcote in the paryche of Aston Caunntlow, secke in bodye and good and perfett of rememberenc, make this my laste will and testement in maner and forme folowyng.
      Fyryste, I bequethe my solle to Allmyghtye God and to our bleside Laydye Sent Marye, and to all the holye compenye of heven, and my bodye to be beryde in the churchyarde of Seynt Jhon the baptyste in Aston aforsayde.
      Allso I give and bequethe to my youngste dowghter Marye all my lande in Willmecote, cawlide Asbyes, and the crop apon the grounde sowne and tyllide as hitt is. And vj.li. xiij.s. iiij.d. of monye to be payde orr ere my goodes be devydide. Allso I gyve and bequethe to my dawghter Ales the thyrde parte of all mye goodes moveable and unmoveable n ffylde and towne, after my dettes and leggeses be performyde, besydes that goode she hathe of her owne att this tyme. Allso I gyve and bequethe to Agnes my wyfe vj.li. xiij.s. iiij.d. apon this condysione, that [she] shall sofer my dowghter Ales quyetlye to ynyoye halfe my copye houlde in Wyllmcote dwryng the tyme of her wyddowewhodde : and if she will nott soffer my dowghter Ales quyetlye to ocuppye halfe with her, then I will that my wyfe shall have butt iij.li. vj.s. viij.d. and her gintur in Snyterfylde.
      Item, I will that the resedowe of all my goodes moveable & unmoveable, my ffuneralles & my dettes dyschargyde, I gyve & bequethe to my other cheldren to be equaleye devidide amongeste them by the descreshyon of Adam Palmer, Hugh Porter of Snytterfyld, and Jhon Skerlett, whome I do orden &
p.16 / make my overseeres of this my last will & testament, & they to have for ther peynes takyng in this behalfe xx.s. apese. Allso I orden and constytute & make my ffull excequtores Ales & Marye my dowghteres of this my last will & testament, and they to have no more for ther peynes takyng now as afore geven them. Allso I gyve & bequethe to every house that hathe no teme in the paryche of Aston to every howse iiij.d.
      Thes beyng wyttnesses,
Sir Wylliam Bouton, Curett.
Adam Palmer.
Jhon Skerlett.
Thomas Jhenkes.
William Pytt.
with other mo.
      Probat. fuit &c. Wigorn. &c. xvjº die mensis Decembris anno Domini, 1556.

      The Ynventory of all the goodes moveable and unmoveable of Robart Ardennes of Wyllmcote late desseside, made the ixth day of December in the thyrde & the forthe yeare of the raygne of our soveraygne lorde and ladye Phylipe and Marye, kyng and quen, &c.   1556.

      Imprimis, in the halle ij. table bordes, iij. choyeres, ij. fformes, one cobbowrde, ij. coshenes, iij. benches & one lytle table with shellves, presede att, viij.s.
      It. ij. peyntide clothes in the hall and v. peyntid clothes in the chamber, vij. peire of shettes, ii. cofferes, one which, preside at xviiij.s.
      It.   v. borde clothes, ij. toweles & one dyeper towelle, presid att vj.s. viij.d.
      It.   one ffether bedde, ij. mattereses, viij. canvases, one coverlett, iij. bosteres, one pelowe, iiij. peyntide clothes, one whyche, presid att xxvj.s. viij.d.
      It.   in the kechen iiij. panes, iiij. pottes, iij. candell stykes, one bason, one chafyng dyche, ij. cathernes, ij. skellettes, one frying pane, a gredyerene, and pott hanginges with hookes, presed att lj.s. viij.d.
      It.   one broche, a peare of cobbardes, one axe, a bill, iiij. nagares, ij. hatchettes, an ades, a mattoke, a yren crowe, one ffatt, iiij. barrelles, iiij. payles, a quyrne, a knedyng trogh, a lonng seve, a hansaw, presid at xx.s. ij.d.
      It.   viij. oxen, ij. bollokes, vij. kyne, iiij. weyyng caves, xxiiij.li.
      It.   iiij. horses, iij. coltes, presid att viij.li.
      It.   lto. [ 52 ] shepe presid att vij.li.
      It.   the whate in the barnes, & the barley, presid att xviij.li.
      It.   the heye & the pease, ottes & the strawe, presed att iij.li. vj.s. viij.d.
      It.   ix. swyne presid att xxvj.s. viij.d.
      It.   the bees & powltrye, presed att v.s.
      It.   carte & carte geares, & plogh & plogh geares with harrowes, presed att xl.s.
      It.   the wodd in the yarde, & the batten in the roffe, presid att xxx.s.
      It.   the wheate in the ffylde, presid att vj.li. xiij.s. iiij.d.
Summa totalis, lxxvij.li. xj.s. x.d.

p.17 /

      The Ardens, as we have already seen, were established in the parish of Aston Cantlow as early as 1438, and thus Shakespeare's ancestors, on the maternal side, had been landed proprietors for considerably more than a century before the marriage of his father. According to Mr. Collier, Robert Arden, Mary Shakespeare's grandfather, was nephew to Sir John Arden, who died in 1526, and who had been an esquire of the body to Henry VII. It was most probably one of the Ardens who is referred to in the papers at the College of Arms, respecting a grant of arms to John Shakespeare, "whose antecessors were for there valeant and faithefull service advaunced and rewarded by the most prudent prince King Henry the Seventh." The three drafts of the paper in which this passage occurs exhibit alterations which show the uncertainty regarding the exact place in the pedigree in which these "antecessors" were to be placed, and the rolls of that reign do not contain the name of Shakespeare. We shall hereafter have occasion to refer more particularly to this subject, now merely quoting Harrison, who wrote about 1580, and who tells us that men not in trade, and willing to pay for the honour, "shall for monie have a cote and armes bestowed upon him by heralds, who in the charter of the same doo of custome pretend antiquitie and service, and manie gaie things."
      It would be very desirable to obtain more positive evidence in all these discussions, but what is now before us will enable future biographers to say, without risking the accusation of presumption, that John Shakespeare, father of the ever-living poet, was the son of a substantial farmer at Snitterfield. He came to reside as a tradesman at Stratford-upon-Avon about the year 1551. No long time elapsed before he filled the successive offices of the corporation, having attained the highest elevation in 1568, when he was elected High Bailiff. It is sufficiently evident that he was during the earlier part of his career at Stratford in thriving p.18 / circumstances; and it is satisfactory to know he was esteemed a good man of business and a careful accountant. Had it been otherwise he would hardly have been selected to prepare the accounts of the corporations for chamberlains who were either unequal to the duty or unable from other circumstances to attend to them :—"thaccompt of William Tylor and William Smythe chamburlens made by John Shakspeyr the xvt day of February in the eight yere of the reigne of our Sovereigne Lady Elyzabeth."   Yet John Shakespeare could not write his own name !   This fact has been recently attempted to be overruled, but sufficient evidence will here be adduced to place it beyond the reach of further doubt. Under the date of September 27th, 1565, we have, in the original book of the corporation still preserved at Stratford, an order signed by nineteen names, aldermen and burgesses. Among these, in the position indicated by the accompanying fac-simile, is found the name of Jhon Shacksper. It will be observed that his mark is under his name, opposite to the name of Thomas Dyxon, who was apparently compelled to place his mark on the other side.

Signatures of the bailiff and aldermen of Stratford, 1565. Published - vertically -  size 4cm wide by 16.2cm high.

p.19 /

The name of John Shakespeare is undoubtedly written by the same hand which transcribed the names of four other persons of that Christian name found in the same column. To say that they are not written by one person, merely because the upper stroke of the letter h is in a small degree longer in one instance than in the other, could only be asserted by those who are quite unaccustomed to the examination of ancient writings.   But we have several instances of John Shakespeare's mark, and in the following, which occurs in a list of names appended to the proceedings of a court-leet, dated 6 Oct. 1 Eliz. 1559, we find it amongst others altogether detached from the name.

Signatures and marks from a roll of court-leet. Published size 11.9cm wide by 11.9cm high.

p.20 /

      Malone says it was his usual custom to set his mark lower than his name, and he correctly adds that in the latter part of his life he contented himself with making a cross instead of the mark he had previously used. It will be asked, perhaps, why he should have changed his mark at a later period ; and I suspect the reply will contain an argument fixing the date of his occupations more correctly than has yet been accomplished. Of this hereafter.
      John Shakespeare resided in Henley street, Stratford, as early as 1552, and seems to have commenced business as a glover, for we find him so described in the register of the proceedings of the bailiff's court, dated June 17th, 1556,*  when Thomas Siche brought an action against him for the sum of £8 :—

      " Stretford, ss. Cur. Philippi et Mariæ, Dei gratia regis et reginæ Angliæ, Hispaniarum, &c. secundo et tercio, ibidem tent. die Marcurii, videlicet xvijº die Junii, anno prædicto, coram Johanni Burbage ballivo, &c.
      " Thomas Siche de Arscotte in com. Wigorn. queritur versus Johannem Shakyspere de Stretford in com. Warwici glover in placito quod redd. ei octo libras, &c."

      This being the only passage in which his trade is noticed, I present the reader with a fac-simile recently made with great care by Mr. Fairholt, that given by Mr. Knight not being very accurate.†  

  This date has always been incorrectly given 1555. See Malone, ii. 78, Collier, p. 60, &c. It has been stated we should read x.s. at the close of the second paragraph, but the last letter is clearly a c, and a comparison with other entries sufficiently proves the correctness of our reading.
    †   The tracing from which Mr. Knight's fac-simile is taken was not made by Mr. Fairholt, but unfortunately by some person not quite competent to a task which requires peculiar nicety and considerable practice.

It is by no means unusual for us to find an English word of this kind in the middle of a Latin sentence in such documents, and there cannot be a moment's hesitation in writing it glover, the contraction for the last syllable being unquestionably er. We have the p.21 / same word in a similar position and with the same contraction in a rent-roll of the College of Stratford, 34 Hen. VIII, still preserved in the archives in the council chamber, "Johannes Purs glover pro duobus ten. per annum vj.s. viij.d." It is thus established on the best possible evidence, that John Shakespeare, the father of the poet, was a glover in the year 1556.*

  I am quite at a loss to discover on what evidence Mr. Harness founds the singular assertion that there were innumerable John Shakespeares at Stratford in 1556, for there is no entry whatever to be discovered in the Corporation books or church register, showing even two John Shakespeares of that town at so early a period. The shoemaker of that name is not mentioned till many years afterwards, and the reader will find in a subsequent part of this volume how impossible it is that this celebrated entry could have applied to him.

Passage in which John Shakespeare is mentioned as a glover. Published size - vertically - 3.5cm wide by 15.7cm high.

      He was, however, engaged in other occupations even at this period, for on November 19th, in the same year, we find him bringing an action against Henry Fyld, for unjustly detaining a quantity of barley. In the chamberlain's accounts for 1564, the following entry occurs:  "Item, payd to Shakspeyr for a pec tymbur, iij. s." These circumstances lead directly to the conclusion that John Shakespeare was occupied in agricultural pursuits, and in 1579 he seems to have been entirely engaged in them; for in a deed executed in that year he is styled "Johannes Shackspere p.22 / de Stratford uppon Avon in comitatu Warwici yoman." We may now return to Rowe's statement that he was "a considerable dealer in wool" without being accused of violating the probabilities of the case. It was by no means unusual for a burgess of Stratford, in Shakespeare's time, to deal in gloves and wool. In "the trwe inventory of the goodes of Joyce Hobday, late of Stratford upon Avon in the county of Warwycke, wydowe, decessed, taken the 3. day of Apriell, 1602," we have the following entries in the list of debts :

George Shacleton oweth for woll, xxiiij.s.
John Edwards oweth for ij. pere of gloves, viij.d.

      And why should not John Shakespeare have dealt in the commodity which we are told "is the flower and strength, the revenue and bloud of England ; a bond uniting the people into societies and fraternities for their own utility ; the milk and honey of the grasier, and countreyman ; the gold and spices of the West and East India to the merchant and citizen ; in a word, the exchequer of wealth, and scepter of protection to them all as well at home as abroad, and therefore of full merit to be had in perpetual remembrance, defence, and encouragement."†

  There is another copy of this inventory which gives these entries rather more fully :—
Inp. George Shacleton oweth me for woll   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   xxiiij.s.
It. Mr. Guttredge oweth me for calves lether   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   iiij.s. viij.d.
John Edwards of Allveston alias Allston oweth me for two pere of gloves viij.d.
    †   The Golden Fleece, by W. S. gent. 12mo, Lond. 1657, p. 2.

      The ancient records of Stratford are so voluminous that we may conclude with tolerable safety the establishment of the Shakespeares in that town did not take place before the middle of the sixteenth century, from the fact of the name not occurring in the archives of the borough previously to that period. The old subsidy rolls do not give us any information respecting them, and the earliest notice of the p.23 / Shakespeare family at Stratford-on-Avon was found by Mr. Hunter* in a Court Roll dated April 29th, 1552, preserved in the Carlton Ride Record Office :

} Visus franci plegii cum cur. illustrissimi principis Domini Edwardi
Sexti, Dei gratia Angliæ, Franciæ, et Hiberniæ, regis, Fidei defen-
soris, et in terra ecclesiæ Anglicanæ et Hibernicæ supremi capitis, ibidem tent.
xxixº die Aprilis anno regni sui sexto.

    Item, [juratores] present. super sacramentum suum quod Humfrudus
Reynoldes (xij.d.) Adrianus Quyney (xij.d.) et Johannes Shakyspere (xij.d.) fece-
runt sterquinarium in vico vocato Hendley Strete contra ordinationem curiæ.
Ideo ipsi in misericordia, ut patet.

  New Illustrations, vol. i. p. 18.   Mr. Hunter has not given the extract so fully as I think its curiosity deserves; neither has he stated the repository of the original document, for which I had an unsuccessful search at Stratford, and only found after a variety of inquiries.

      We thus find Shakespeare's father living in the very street in which the poet's birthplace is still traditionally pointed out as early as the year 1552. Henley street even in these days is not particularly to be recommended for its beauty or general effect, but at this time John Shakespeare was not the only inhabitant who offended against the local bye-laws, by permitting the accumulation of filth in the public road. It was a very common offence, and one of those most frequently visited by fines in the Stratford court. In 1558, John Shakespeare was fined four pence for not keeping his gutters clean,—"Francis Berbage, master baly that now ys, Adreane Quyny, Mr. Hall, Mr. Clopton, for the gutter alonge the chappell in Chappell Lane, John Shakspeyr, for not kepynge of their gutters cleane, they stand amerced." The following orders made at a court held in 1553, exhibit in a very curious manner the state of Stratford at that time, and illustrate the notices of John Shakespeare in the extracts just given.

p.24 /

Stratford. Cur. viij.to die Octobr: primo aº. Marie Primo.
      The xij. men do present that Adrean Quyny, William Rosar, Frauncis Arbadge, Thomas Samwell, and John Pyrre, for ther dogges goynge at lardge and not moseled, they ar amersyd in vj.d. apece, and that no person from hensffurthe dwellynge within the toune of Stratford suffer hys or ther dogges beynge bandogges in the day tyme to go abrod unmoselyd, and in the nyght to kep them in ther houssez in peyne of forfetynge vj.s. viij.d. every offendar.
      Item, that all and everyche officer and other persones from hensffurthe be obeydyent unto the hye beyly in peyn of every offender to fortfet and losse for every defallt xx.s. and that no persone be so hardy to revell or rebell ageynst eny offecer in lyke peyn, and to have iij. days and iij. nyghtes ponyshement in the opon stox.
      Item, that no ynhabytaunte dwellynge within this lyberty from hensfurthe receve nor have eny ynmak but only suche persones as shalbe apwntyd and admyttyd by the hy beyly constabull and other thoffeceres and the xij. men, in peyne of every offendor forfet and losse for every offence xx s. and ther bodyez to remayne in the open stokes iij. day and iij. nyghtes, and that no housholdar receve eny straunger nor to lodge eny by nyght without a specyall lycence of the hye beyly in lyke peyne.
      Item, that no jurneyman prentes nor eny maner servaunt be forthe of ther or his master hous by the nyght after the our of nyne by the clok in peyne of iij. days and iij. nyghtes ponyshement in the open stokes, and to forfet and pay xx.s. and that no mane receve eny suche person so offendynge in lyke peyne.
      Item, that no man have hys or ther shyp goynge or pasturynge in the bancroft over and above on oure in a day in peyn of every offendor to forfet and losse for every falt xij.d. only excepte straungeres for ther bayt, and that no man have eny swyne goynge ther unryngyd in lyke peyne.
      Item, that no persone from hensfurthe do dyge eny gravell in Tyncar Lane within viij. footes of the hye way, in peyne of forfetynge for every offence iij.s. iiij.d.
      Item, that every tenaunt in Chapell lane or Ded lane do scour and kep cleane ther gutteres or dyches in the same lane before thassencyon day, and so from thensfurthe from tyme to tyme to kepe the same in peyn of every offender to forfet for every deffalt iij.s. iiij.d. and that every tenaunt do ryd the soyelles in the stretes of logges and blokes ther lyenge and beynge to the noysaunce of the kynges leage people by the same day in lyke peyne.
      Item, that Henry Sydnall (xx.d.) for havynge and kepynge onlauffull bowlynge in hys baksyed he standes amersyd, and that the same Henry Sydnall from hensfurthe have no more bowlynge nor receve nor have eny jurneymen nor menservauntes unlaufully in hys hous in peyn of xx.s. and that he amove hys kydfyn which lyethe over the chapell wall gardyn befor thassencyon day and set the same kydfyn at the least a yard from the wall in lyke peyne.
      Item, that no toune dwellar excepte he be a comen bacar bak eny bred to syll furthe of his hous in peyn of xx.s.
      Item, that the hye beyly that now ys four tymez in the yere do ryd and make
p.25 / cleane his mukhyll and the same honestly be kept in peyn of xx.s. and that no other mukhylles be mayntayned kept nor made within the toune but only thos that be appwntyd in lyke peyne.
      Item, that the bochares from hensfurth do carry furthe ther garbage after the our of ix. by the clok in the afternone, and non to be leyed within the toune nother on nor in the dunghylles nor other places, in peyn of every offendor to forfet and losse xx.s.
      Item, that all bacares bakynge bred for to syll shall syll iiij. loves for a penny ij. loves a penny, a loffe for a penny, and bultyd with a lauffull bulter and syez to be kepte in peyn of every offendor to forfet and losse for every defalt xx.s.
      Item, that all brwares that shall brwe ale to syll shall syll new ale under the hear syve for ij.d. the galon, and xij. galons to the doson and ij.d. ob. staell, ij. galons of small drynke for a penny good and wholsum in peyn of every offendor to forfet for every defalt xx.s. and that no brwar syll ale furthe by the pot nor set out eny alestak in lyke peyne, and that no person nor persones presume to be a vyttelar or a typlar but only thos that are or shalbe admyttyd or appwyntyd by the kynges justice or offecers in lyke payne of xx.s.
      Item, that John Henshawe befor thassencyone day do pyche and set the mound bytwen hys ground and Whelares, and he do suffer Whelar to have and enjoy the elme at thupper end of the same mound, in peyn of xx.s. and further that John Henshaw do suffer the kynges tenaunt to set and have the mound bytwen the kynges ground and hys ground within on wyk next after the court in lyke peyne.
      Item, that no jorneyman craftesman or prentes weyr eny weypon, that ys to say sword, dager, or other weypone, within the toune, uppon peyn of forfetynge the same weypon to be taken from hyme by an offecer, and yf he resyst the offecer then to be ponyshed in the opon stokes by the space of on day and a nyght.

      It appears from a deed dated 20th April, 1 and 2 Phil. et Mar. 1555, that John Shakespeare was not then a member of the Corporation of Stratford, and Malone alludes to a document which proves he had not attained that distinction on Michaelmas day, 1557. He was certainly chosen a burgess very shortly after this latter date. On April 30, 1557, he was marked one of the jury of the Court Leet, but not sworn, his name being crossed out in the original record ; and he was on a similar jury on September 30th, 1558. In 1557, he was chosen an ale-taster, "an officer appointed in every Court Leet, and sworn to look to the assize and goodness of bread and ale, or beer, within the precincts of p.26 / that lordship ;" and his name occurs in the registry of the Court of Record as being fined for non-attendance during his occupancy of this office.

} Curia de recordo ibidem tent. secundo die Junii, annis regnorum
Philippi et Mariæ, &c. tercio et quarto.
      viij.d. De Johanne Shakysper uno testat. serviciæ burgi, quod quia non venit
ad exequendum officium suum pro iij. curiis.   Ideo in misericordia.

      On September 30th, 1558, he was chosen one of the four constables, the circumstance being thus noted in the contemporary record :

      The xij. men have orderyd ther trysty and welbelovyd Robert Perot to be bely for one wholl yere now next comynge.
      Item, ther trysty and welbelovyd Henry Byddyll capytall alderman (jur).
      Item, ther trysty and welbelovyd Humfrey Plymley, Roger Sadler, John Taylor, and John Shakspeyr (jur.), constabulls.

      He was again elected constable for another year on October 6th, 1559, and on the same day he was chosen one of the four affeerors appointed to determine the fines for those offences which were punishable arbitrarily, and for which no express penalties were prescribed by statute. This latter office he again filled in 1561, in the September of which year he was elected one of the chamberlains of the borough, an office he held for two years.*  On July 4th, 1565, he was chosen an alderman, "at thys hall John Shakspeyr ys appwntyd an alderman ;" and from Michaelmas, 1568, to Michaelmas, 1569, he was the high bailiff †

  In a deed relating to "a tenneimente in the Rother strete," called "Roder stret" in the body of the document, dated December 26th, 5 Eliz.—"John Shakspeyre and John Taylere, chaumburlens and capytall burgesez."   Another deed dated Jan. 20th, 5 Eliz.—"John Taylor and John Shakspeyr, chamburleins."   We have also "thaccount of John Tayler and John Shakspeyre chamburlens, made the xxiiij.th day of January in the v.th yere of the reigne of [our] sovereign Lady Elyzabeth."   An indenture dated 26 Apr. 5 Eliz.—"John Shackspere and John Tayler, chamberleyns ;" and a lease dated May 27, 5 Eliz. of a tenement in High street to William Trowte, "John Taylor and John Shakspere, chamberleyns."
    †   "Mr. John Shakspere hyzgh balyf," MS. dated Oct. 1st, 1568.   "Mr. John Shakyspere hyzgh balyf," Sept. 7th, 1569.   "Mr. John Shakspere, hyzgh balyf of the sayd burrowe," Jan. 26th, 1569.

p.27 /

of Stratford, thus attaining the chief honour the corporation could bestow. On the 5th of September, 1571, he was elected chief alderman, "Mr. John Shakespere was elected alderman for the yere to come, and ys sworne ut supra, &c." *   He continued chief alderman till Sept. 3d, 1572, and thus concludes the account of the local honours shadowed over Shakespeare's father.
      As early as 1556, John Shakespeare became the holder of two copyhold estates of inheritance at Stratford, which were alienated to him by George Turnor and Edward West, on October 2d. One of these was situated in Greenhill street, the other in Henley street :

      Stratford super Avon. Visus franci plegi cum cur. et session. pacis tent. ibidem secundo die Octobris annis regnorum Philippi et Mariæ, Dei gratia, &c. tercio et quarto.
      Item, præsentant quod Georgius Turnor alienavit Johanni Shakespere et hæredibus suis unum tent. cum gardin. et croft. cum pertinentiis in Grenehyll stret,†  tent. de domino libere per cartam pro redd. inde domino per annum vj.d. et sect. cur. et idem Johannes prædictus in curia fecit domino fidelitatem pro eisdem.
      Item, quod Edwardus West alienavit prædicto Johanni Shakespere unum tent. cum gardin. adjacen. in Henley Strete, pro redd. inde domino per annum vj.d. et sect. cur. et idem Johannes prædictus in curia fecit fidelitatem.

  10 Oct. 13 Eliz. Ad primam aulam Adriani Queny ballivi burgi prædicti ac Johannis Shakespere cap. aldermanni ejusdem burgi ibidem tent. Borough Records. This was in the year 1571.
    †   Greenhill street still remains, but not as in those days. At a Court Leet held 3 & 4 Ph. & Mar. was entered "Raf Hylton for hys wyf beyng a hedge brekar, and teryng and carryeng away of Nicholes hedge at Grenehyll, and he stands amersyd."   This hedge is again mentioned in the following order made Oct. 6, 5 Eliz. 1563 :—
      Item, that no maner of person nor persons by hym or themselves or any other of [them] or ther famyly do at eny tyme hearafter ley eny donge or muck in the stretes or lanes, but only within severall groundes or uppon the comen dunghyll appwntyd, under the peyne to forfet for every defalt iij.s. iiij.d. and the tennant that rentythe the ground for sufferynge dung or muk to be leyd uppon hys ground contrary to the ordor prescribid, every suche tenaunt to forfet for hys so sufferyng muk to be so leyd x.s. every suche forfettes to be to the use of the chambur of Stratford. Theis donghylles beyng comen donghylles appwntyd hearafter namyd, that ys to say, one at the nether end of Shyp stret, one other at the nether end of Burge stret, one other in the gravell pyttes in Tyncar stret, one other at thupper end of Grenehyll stret by Nycholas lanes hedge in Henley stret, one other donghyll in the old plac accustomyd, one other in Churche lane benethe John Sadlers barne, and all the same sayd commen dunghylles to be ryd twyez in the yere, that ys to say, befor the feest of Pentycost and neer and about Mychelmas, under the peyn xx.s. to the use aforsayd.

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      The purchase of this property, nearly equal in its tenure to freehold, exhibits him as thriving in his occupations. How long he continued to possess it does not anywhere appear, but he probably parted with both estates some years afterwards, for no mention is made of them in any of the numerous documents relating to the Shakespeare property.
      John Shakespeare's marriage with Mary Arden took place most probably in 1557. She was unmarried on November 24th, 1556, the date of her father's will, and Joan, her first child, was baptized at Stratford on September 15th, 1558, "Jone Shakspere daughter to John Shakspere." It should, however, be recollected that the baptismal registers of Stratford do not commence till March 1558, so that it is by no means impossible Joan was the second child, and I am inclined to think that Rowe's statement of their having had ten children was founded on substantial information, not from the parish registers. Those who believe in the minute personal application of the sonnets have not found an argument for this assertion :

That's for thyself to breed another thee,
Or ten times happier, be it ten for one ;
Ten times thyself were happier than thou art,
If ten of thine ten times refigur'd thee.

      The following extracts from the registers of Stratford will show the names of the other children, other notices of the name, and some of the connexions of the family.

      1.   Baptisms, 1562, December 2, Margareta filia Johannis Shakspere.  Burials, 1563, April 30, Margareta filia Johannis Shakspere.
      2.   W
ILLIAM.  Baptisms, 1564, April 26, Gulielmus filius Johannes Shakspere.
      3.   Baptisms, October 13, 1566, Gilbertus filius Johannis Shakspere.  [ In the register for burials, Feb. 3, 1611-2, occurs, Gilbertus Shackspeare adolescens. This was perhaps a son. Malone asserts (ii. 615) that the elder Gilbert certainly died before his son. For this I find no authority, no notice of his decease appearing in the registers ;  but he lived at Stratford, and his signature occurs as a witness to a deed made in 1609. It is sufficiently interesting to be
p.29 / given entire, and the reader will not be displeased to see the autograph of one of Shakespeare's brothers, affording us a genuine example of the name written by one of the family without the elision of the middle e.]

      Lease from Margery Lord, widow, to her son Richard Smyth alias Courte, butcher, of the site of a chimney in Middle Row.
      This indenture made the ffifte daye of Marche in the yeare of our Lorde God one thowsande syxe hundred and nyne, Betwene Margerye Lorde of Stratford uppon Avon in the cowntye of Warwick wyddowe of the one partye, and Richard Smyth alias Courte of the same towne and cowntye, butcher, one of the sonnes of the same Margerye of the other partye, Witnesseth that the said Margerye Lorde for dyvers good causes &c. her thereunto at this present especiallye movinge, and chieflye for and in consideration of the meare zeale and affection which she beareth unto the saide Richard, hath demizedd, graunted, &c. and doth demize &c. unto the said Richard his executors &c. one small piece of grownde whereupon is placed a foundation of stone which beareth and upholdeth a chymneye now in the hall of the dwellinge howse of the said Richard, which said foundation of stone is placed in a taverne or sellar which is parcell of the taverne of the said Richard, scyttuate and beinge in Myddle Rowe of Bridgstreete in Stratford aforesaide, and conteyneth in breadthe and wydnesse the number of three yards or thereabouts ;  To have and to holde the foresaide peece of grownde which is the foundation of the foresaide chymneye and in the occupation of the said Richarde &c. from the day of the date above-wrytten unto the full ende &c. of ffourescore and nyneteyne yeeres, &c. yeeldinge and paying during the contynewance of this present lease unto the said Margerye Lord her heyres &c. the yearely rent of twoe pence of Englishe corant moneye &c. And the sayde Margerye &c. dothe covenant &c. to the said Richard &c. in manner and forme following, that is to saye, that she the said Margerye now &c. is the very trew and lawfull owner of the saide peece of grownde, and is nowe seised thereof &c. and hath lawfull power &c. to graunte &c. to the said Richard &c. And also the said Margerye &c. doth covenant &c. that it shall be lawfull &c. for the said Richard &c. peaceably &c. to have, holde, occupye &c. during the tearme aforesaide, the foresaide peece of grownde without lett &c. of the said Margerye Lorde, &c. In witnesse &c.

Margery Lord    Mark of Margery Lord, 5th March 1609. Published size 1.25cm wide by 1.2cm high.    her merke.

   Sealed, subscribed and delivered in the presence of

Autograph of Gilbert, one of Shakespeare's brothers. Published size 11.3cm wide by 2.2cm high

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4.   Baptisms, 1569, April 15, Jone the daughter of John Shakspere. [ This being the second daughter so named, it has been presumed that the former Joan died before this period. She married William Hart of Stratford,*  and the baptismal registers mention their children]—1600, Aug. 28, Wilhelmus filius Wilhelmi Hart ; 1603, Jun. 5, Maria filia Willielmi Hart ;   1605, Julii 24, Thomas filius Willielmi Hart hatter ; 1608, Sept. 23, Mychaell sonne to Willyam Hart. Among the burials, 1607, Dec. 17, Mary dawghter to Willyam Hart ; 1616, Aprill 17, Will. Hartt hatter. [ Joan Hart was buried at Stratford, Nov. 4, 1646. Both Joan and her sons are kindly mentioned in Shakespeare's will. The Harts are the only lineal descendants of the poet who have continued to our times to bear the honour of an origin far more illustrious than the proudest feudal ancestry ; yet it offers no satisfaction to trace them to their present recesses. See Hunter's New Illustrations, i. 45.]

  There are several notices of him in the Registry of the Court of Record, e. g.—17 Dec. 43 Eliz. Arthurus Ange queritur versus Willielmum Harte in placito debiti. 11 Feb. 43 Eliz. Willielmus Harte defaltum fecit super esson. ad sect. Willielmi Wyett in placito debiti.

      5.   Baptisms, 1571, Sept. 28, Anna filia Magistri Shakspere. Burials, 1579, April 4, Anne daughter to Mr. John Shakspere. [In the Chamberlain's accounts for 1579 is the following curious entry of the sum of eight-pence having been paid for the bell and pall at the funeral of this child, and it is of some little importance in regard to the question of John Shakespeare's circumstances, as he paid the highest fee found in the list :—]
      Item, for the bell and pall for Mr. Shaxpers dawghter,    viij.d.
      Item, for the bell for Mr. Trusseles child            .    iiij.d.
      Item, for the bell for Mres. Combes      .            .    iiij.d.

Payment for the bell and pall for Anne Shakespeare, 1579. Published size (vertical on page) 1.3cm wide by 14.9cm high

      6.   Baptisms, March 11, 1573-4, Richard sonne to Mr John Shakspeer. Burials, Feb. 4, 1612-3, Rich. Shakspeare.
      7.   Baptisms, May 3, 1580, Edmund sonne to Mr. John Shakspere. [ This Edmund was a player, and died in London in December, 1607. See Collier's Memoirs of the Principal Actors in Shakespeare's Plays, Introd. p. 14. There cannot, I think, be much doubt as to the identity of these two, although Oldys mentions one of Shakespeare's younger brothers who was alive many years afterwards.]
      8.  Baptisms, May 26, 1583, Susanna daughter to William Shakspere. Marriages, Junii 5, 1607, John Hall gentleman and Susanna Shaxspere. Baptisms, 1607-8, Feb. 21, Elizabeth dawghter to John Hall gen. [ Dr. Hall died Nov. 25, 1635, and was buried in the chancel of Stratford Church on the following day. Mrs. Hall died on July 11th, 1649, and was buried near her husband on July 16th. Elizabeth, their only daughter, was married in 1626.]
p.31 / Marriages, April 22, 1626, Mr. Thomas Nash to Mrs. Elizabeth Hall.*  Baptisms, June 20, 1593, Thomas filius Anthonii Nash gen. [He was buried with the Shakespeares and Halls, 1647.]
      9.   Baptisms, Feb. 10, 1583-4, Elizabeth daughter to Antony Shaksper of Hamton.
      10.   Marriages, Nov. 25, 1584, John Shakspere and Magery Roberts. [This entry relates to Shakespeare the shoemaker.] Burials, Oct. 29, 1587, Margery wife to John Shakspere.
      11.   Baptisms, Feb. 2, 1584-5, Hamnet and Judeth sonne and daughter to William Shakspere. Burials, Aug. 11, 1596, Hamnet filius William Shakspere.†  Marriages, Feb. 10, 1615-6, Tho. Queeny tow Judith Shakspere. Baptisms, Oct. 8, 1587, Richard sonne to Richard Queeny ; Feb. 26, 1588-9, Thomas sonne to Richard Queeny ; Nov. 23, 1616, Shaksper fillius Thomas Quyny gen. Feb. 9, 1617-8, Richard fillius Thomas Quinee. Burials, May 8, 1617, Shakspere fillius Tho. Quyny gent. [ He had another son, christened Thomas, in January, 1620. Thomas and Richard died in 1638-9. Judith Quiny was buried at Stratford, Feb. 9, 1661-2.]
      12.   Baptisms, March 11, 1588-9, Ursula daughter to John Shakspere ; May 24, 1590, Humphrey sonne to John Shakspere ; Sept. 21, 1591, Phillippus filius Johannes Shakspere. [ These entries are supposed to refer to Shakespeare the shoemaker, the poet's father being usually styled Mr. in the register. It should be observed, however, that this distinction does not appear in the records of the Corporation.]
      13.   Burials, March 6, 1589-90, Thomas Green alias Shakspere.
      14.   Burials, 1601, Sep. 8, Mr. Johannes Shakspeare ; Sept. 9, 1608, Mayry Shaxspere wydowe. [ The father and mother of William Shakespeare.]
      15.   Burials, Aug. 8, 1623, Mrs. Shakspeare. [She died on August 6th, and was buried next to her husband in the chancel of Stratford Church. The entry of her burial in the register under August, 1623, occurs as follows :]
8 { Mrs. Shakspeare.
Anna uxor Richardi James.

      Mr. Harness supposes both these entries to relate to Mrs. Shakespeare. The conjecture is most improbable, the epitaph in the chancel alone deciding in the negative. The bracket was of course placed there because the two obsequies occurred on the same day.

  In an undated paper in the Council Chamber at Stratford, mention is made of " Thomas Nasshe, sometyme servaunte to Sir John Huband." Anthony Nash died in 1622, and was buried Nov. 18, Anthonius Nash generosus.
    †   Malone says in a letter dated 1788, "when I was some years ago at Stratford, the sexton, I think, told me that Shakspeare's only son Samuel [Hamnet], who died in 1596, aged 12, lies buried in the same grave with his mother." The register was lent to Malone in 1788 by the Vicar of Stratford.

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      At the time of Shakespeare's birth in 1564, his father was possessed of two copyhold tenements in Stratford, Ashbyes, a farm at Wilmecote, consisting of fifty-six acres exclusive of two houses and two gardens, and his wife's share of property at Snitterfield. He afterwards occupied a farm called Ingon, consisting of about fourteen acres ; so that we may fairly conclude he took his station as a yeoman not long after his marriage with Mary Arden, however uncertain it may be how long his dealings in gloves and wool continued. William Shakespeare was baptized at Stratford on April 26th, 1564, a record of as great joy as the announcement of his untimely death on April 23d, 1616, is one of sorrow to all posterity. It is generally said he died on the anniversary of his birth, but this statement rests on a very late tradition,*  and had so singular a circumstance occurred, I cannot but think it would have been remarked by some one among those of the seventeenth century who have recorded notices of him, even if it had not been particularly mentioned in his monumental inscription. At the same time it must be remarked that three days was often the period which elapsed between birth and baptism. Arthur Dee was born 13th of July, 1579, and christened on the 16th ; Katherine Dee was born 7th of June, 1581, and christened on the 10th ; and Theodore Dee was born 28th of February, 1588, and christened on March 1st. On the other hand, we find Margaret Dee was not christened till a fortnight after her birth. These instances are selected from Dr. Dee's Diary, and tend to show there was no great regularity observed in such matters. A font is still shown at Stratford†  as having been that in which the poet was

  The earliest authority is Oldys in his MS. notes to Langbaine.
    †   " Capt. Saunders of Stratford upon Avon died on Friday, July 23, 1830. Captain Saunders, in common with many of the inhabitants of Stratford, had an enthusiastic admiration of everything relating to Shakespeare, and perhaps p.33 / he possessed one of the most authentic articles connected with the bard. In his garden was the fragment of the old font of the church, which Capt. Saunders found in a stonemason's yard at Stratford, and was acknowledged as having been removed from the church."—Prattinton MSS. in the Library of the Society of Antiquaries.

baptized, and the new font in the church has, with singularly good taste, been formed in the same style. The former was probably in Stratford Church in Shakespeare's time, but the frequency of domestic baptisms in those days of course renders it somewhat doubtful whether it was used at the poet's christening.
      John Shakespeare lived in Henley street*  in 1552, and a house is still pointed out in the same street as the birthplace of Shakespeare in 1564.†

  A very old street at Stratford. I find it mentioned in two deeds of 1369 and 1387, in vico qui vocatur Henley stret.
    †   There was a tradition about the year 1700 that Shakespeare was born near the churchyard. "Where have I read of Shakespear's house bordering upon the churchyard at Stratford in Gildon."—Oldys, MS. notes to Langbaine. A house near the river, called the Brook House, now pulled down, was some years since asserted to have been the birthplace of Shakespeare.

When tradition is thus partly supported by evidence, not known so early as the former, it is carrying incredulity too far to oppose its dicta. We can safely regard the humble dwelling, now secured to

The birthplace of Shakespeare, from an old drawing in the British Museum. Published size 8.9cm wide by 3.6cm high.

The Birthplace, from an old drawing in the Brit. Mus.

the country by the praiseworthy efforts of committees formed at Stratford and London, as the earliest home of our great dramatic poet. But this was not the copyhold tenement p.34 / purchased by his father in 1556, which has never been shown to have been his residence. The Shakespeare property in Henley street, on which were situated the two houses purchased by John Shakespeare for £40 in 1575,* is clearly the locality of Shakespeare's youth, and the accompanying fine levied on that occasion describes it as consisting of two messuages, two gardens, and two orchards, with their appurtenances.

  This date has always been incorrectly given 1574, but that the purchase was made in the following year clearly appears from the fine above given, as well as from the foot of the fine preserved in the Chapter-House, Westminster. It appears from another fine preserved in the same repository, that Edmund Hall purchased part of this estate from Richard Hill.

      Hæc est finalis concordia facta in curia dominæ reginæ apud Westm. a die Sancti Michaelis in unum mensem anno regnor. Elizabeth. Dei gratia Angl. Franc. et Hibern. Reginæ, Fidei defensoris, &c. a conquestu decimo septimo, coram Jacobo Dyer, Ricardo Harpur, Rogero Manwood, et Roberto Mounson, justic. et aliis dominæ reginæ fidelibus tunc ibi præsentibus, inter Johannem Shakespere quer. et Edmundum Hall et Emmam uxorem ejus deforc. de duobus mesuagiis, duobus gardinis, et duobus pomariis, cum pertinentiis, in Stretford super Avon, unde placitum convencionis sum. fuit inter eos in eadem curia, scilicet quod prædicti Edm. et Emma recogn. prædict. ten. cum pertin. esse jus ipsius Johannis ut ill. quæ idem Johannes habet de dono prædictorum Edmundi et Emmæ, et ill. remiser. et quietclam. de ipsis Edmundo et Emma et hæred. suis prædicto Johanni et hæred. suis in perpetuum. Et præterea iidem Edmundus et Emma concesser. pro se et hæred. ipsius Emmæ quod ipsi warant. prædicto Johanni et hæred. suis prædict. ten. cum pertin. contra prædictos Edmundum et Emmam et hæred. ipsius Emmæ in perpetuum. Et pro hac recogn. remissione quietclam. warant. fine et concordia idem Johannes dedit prædictis Edmundo et Emmæ quadraginta libras sterlingorum.

      John Shakespeare probably lived in one of these houses till his death ; and Joan Hart, Shakespeare's sister, resided there in 1616 and 1639. A deed, bearing date 14 Aug. 33 Eliz. 1591, informs us that George Badger sold to John and William Courte "totum illud messuagium sive tenementum meum cum pertinentiis scituat. jacent. et existen. in Stretford prædicto, in quodam vico ibidem vocato

p.35 /


Plan of the Shakespeare property in Henley Street, Stratford upon Avon. Published size 11.3cm wide by 9.5cm high.

      B. Site of the Old Barn, sold to Alderman Payton in 1771.
A. B. C. D. Now belonging to the White Lion Inn.
E. Sold by Thomas Hart to Alderman Payton in 1771. This reference includes the cottages, which were also sold to Payton.
      References to the two houses in Henley street, the property of John Shakespeare.
1. Parlour.   2. Passage.   3. 3. 3. Kitchens.   4. Bar of the Inn, which, now termed the Swan and Maidenhead, was originally a dwelling-house.   5. Butcher's shop, now shown as Shakespeare's birthplace, but the cottage to the left (3) was originally part of the house.   6. Buttery.   7. Pantry.   8. Store-room.   9. Back parlour.   10. 10. 10. 10. Doors stopped up.   11. Pump.   12. Gates.   13. Back yard. The above plan is taken from Mr. Wheler's 'Account of the Birth-Place of Shakspeare,' 1824. The partitions which were made of the land originally belonging to this property do not appear to have been correctly identified.

p.36 /

Henley Streete, inter tenementum Roberti Johnson ex una parte et tenementum Johannis Shakespere ex altera parte."   In 1597, John Shakespeare parted with a portion of his Henley-street property for the small sum of £2, the land apparently being of very little value in comparison with the house of the latter, and the part marked D in the foregoing plan has been stated to be the portion thus sold, but the deed of conveyance to George Badger distinctly informs us that it was bounded on the north by the Guild Pits. This deed was found very recently in the office of a solicitor at Birmingham, who very kindly, at the request of Mr. Hunt, of Stratford, permitted me to take a transcript of it.*  It is not grammatically accurate.

  The following abstract of this and the deed next mentioned is copied from the original in Mr. Hunt's possession :—

      An abstract of the several deeds and writings relating to the title of one part of a messuage or tenement and premises in Stratford upon Avon formerly called the Swann Inn, and now the White Lyon Inn, belonging to Mr. John Payton.
      14 Aug. 33 Eliz.   Feoffment whereby George Badger sen. of Stratford upon Avon in the county of Warwick, draper, for divers good causes and considerations did give enfeoff deliver and confirm unto John Court of Oldborough in the county of Worcester, yeoman, and William Court of Stratford aforesaid, yeoman, all that messuage or tenement with the appurtenances situate lying and being in Stratford aforesaid in a certain street there called Henley Street between the house of Robert Johnson on the one part and the house of John Shakespeare on the other part, with all houses edifices buildings orchards gardens lands tenements hereditaments proffitts and commodities with the appurtenances to the said messuage or tenement belonging ; and also two sellions of land containing by estimacion two acres of arrable land lying and being within the field of Stratford aforesaid between the land of Thomas Combe gent. of the one part and the lands of Thomas Raynolds on the other part, To hold to said John Court and William Court and their heirs and assigns for ever to the
USE of said George Badger sen. and Alice his wife for their lives and the life of the survivor of them, remainder to George Badger jun. son of said George Badger sen. and the heirs male of his body, remainder to Edward, Richard, William, and Robert Badger, sons of said George Badger sen. one after another, and their heirs male respectively, remainder to the right heirs of said George Badger sen. for ever.
      26 Jan. 39 Eliz.   Feoffment whereby John Shakespeare of Stratford upon Avon aforesaid, yeoman, in consideration of £2 10 0 by said George Badger sen. did bargain sale give deliver and confirm unto said George Badger his heirs and assigns all that toft or parcell of land in Stratford in Henley Street aforesaid, the house of said Shakespeare being on the East part thereof, and the house of said George Badger on the West part thereof, to hold to said George Badger his heirs and assigns. Executed by John Shakespeare, livery and seizin indorsed. [ The purchase-money is not correctly given.]

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      Omnibus Christi fidelibus ad quos hoc præsens scriptum pervenerit, Johannes Shakespere de Stretford super Avonam in comitatu Warwici yoman salutem in Domino sempiternam. Noveritis me præfatum Johannem pro et in consideracione summæ quadraginta solidorum bonæ et legalis monetæ Angliæ mihi per quendam Georgium Badger de Stretford prædict. draper præmanibus solut. unde fateor me fideliter esse solut. et satisfact. dictumque Georgium Badger hæredes executores et administratores suos inde quiet. esse et exonerat. imperpetuum per præsentes, barganizavi et vendidi, necnon dedi et concessi, et hac præsenti carta mea confirmavi præfato Georgio Badger hæredibus et assignatis suis totum illud toftum et parcellum terræ meæ cum pertinentiis jacencium et existen. in Stretford super Avon prædicto, in quodam vico ibidem vocato Henlye Strete, inter liberum tenementum mei prædicti Johannis Shakespere ex parte orientali et liberum tenementum prædicti Georgii Badger ex parte occidentali, continent. in latitudine per æstimacionem dimid. unius virgat. apud utrosque fines, et jacet in longitudine a prædicto vico vocat. Henlye Strete ex parte austral. usque regiam viam ibidem vocatam Gyllpyttes ex parte boreali, continen. per æstimacionem in longitudine viginti et octo virgat. vel circa, et modo est in tenura sive occupatione mei prædicti Johannis Shakespere ; habendum et tenendum prædictum toftum et parcellum terræ cum pertinentiis præfato Georgio Badger, hæredibus et assignatis suis, ad solum et proprium opus et usum ejusdem Georgii, hæred. et assign. suorum, imperpetuum, tenendum de capitalibus dominis feod. ill. per servicium inde prius debit. et de jure consuet. Et ego vero prædictus Johannes Shakespere et hæredes mei totum prædictum toftum et parcellum terræ cum pertinentiis præfato Georgio Badger hæredibus et assignatis suis ad opus et usum supradictum contra omnes gentes warrantizabimus et imperpetuum defendemus per præsentes. Sciatis insuper me præfatum Johannem Shakespere plenam et pacificam possessionem et seisinam de et in prædicto tofto et parcello terræ cum pertinentiis præfato Georgio Badger secundum vim, formam, tenorem, et effectum hujus præsentis cartæ meæ inde ei confect. in propria persona mea tradidisse et deliberasse. In cujus rei testimonium huic præsenti scripto meo sigillum meum apposui. Datum vicesimo sexto die Januarii anno regni dominæ nostræ Elizabethæ, Dei gracia Angliæ, Franciæ, et Hiberniæ reginæ, Fidei defensor. &c. tricesimo nono, 1596.

       Mark of John Shakespere, 1596-7. Published size 1.3cm wide by 1cm high.

      Sigillat. et deliberat. ac pacifica possessio et seisina de tofto et parcell. terræ infrascript. deliberat. fuit per infra-nominatum Johannem Shakespere infra-scripto Georgio Badger, die et anno infrascripto, secundum formam, tenorem, et effectum hujus præsentis cartæ, in præsencia viz. Richard Lane, Harry Walker, per me Willielmum Courte scriptor. Thomas Loche, Thomas Beseley.

      This deed, besides affording the latest known instance of the mark of John Shakespeare, contains most valuable p.38 / corroborative evidence in favour of our supposition that he long continued to reside in Henley street. He still held the two tenements before mentioned, which descended to his eldest son William, as heir-at-law, on his dying intestate. One of these tenements now consists of two cottages, one of the latter being shown as Shakespeare's birthplace ; this was the residence of John and Joan Shakespeare ; the other tenement was the Maidenhead Inn. This is proved by an indenture dated 1647, which mentions "all that messuage or tenement with thappurtenances scituate and beinge in Stratford upon Avon aforesaid in a certen streete there called Henley streete, commonly called or known by the name of the Maidenhead, and now or late in the tenure of John Rutter or his assignes ; and all that other messuage or tenement scituate and beinge in Henley streete aforesaid now or late in the tenure of Thomas Hart, and adjoyninge unto the said messauge or tenement called the Maidenhead." In 1639, it had been mentioned as in the occupation of Joan Hart. The Harts subsequently possessed the property under the will of Lady Barnard, and in the course of time the orchards and gardens were alienated from them, and the White Lion Inn has taken up the position, not, however, to the discredit of Shakespeare, for its long galleries furnish separate rooms dedicated to each of the poet's plays. Now can we reasonably expect better evidence for a home not so neglected in its day, but for a century and a half forgotten by the world, and no one near who could foresee the homage of posterity to so humble a temple ?  It may now have lost its distinctive character as an Elizabethan home ; but we have authentic evidence to show what that character was, and it can be restored without affecting in any great degree its value as a contemporary legacy conferred, let us hope, on pilgrims of all nations for centuries yet to come.   Let not our poetical sympathies be measured p.39 / by the argument of reality. It suffices to know and to feel that the spot was trod by Shakespeare, that there he "prattled poesy in his nurse's arms," and, more than this, that the associations remain and have not been destroyed. The worldly wise will tell us sympathies such as these are visionary, that our interest has arisen solely from our own imaginations, or they will cast the purest relic of the poet on one side, because truly it does not now appear as in his days. To descend to this destroys whatever that is good and noble it is in the power of association to bestow, for eyes will daily glisten at memorials far more changed from what they were—far less like the great originals. Breathe not a whisper to dissipate the solemn thoughts of such a power—tell us not how changeable are the records of men. If there be one spot in old, in historic England, sanctified

Shakespeare's Birthplace, September, 1847. Name 'S.(or B.)Rimbault' inscribed in corner. Published size 5.6cm wide by 6.3cm high.

Shakespeare's Birthplace, September, 1847.

by past association, it is the cottage where the poet of the world passed his youth, where he wooed and won, and encountered the struggles of early life—the birthplace of William Shakespeare.

p.40 /

      In the absence of any direct contemporary evidence respecting the early days of Shakespeare, it is a matter of importance to trace the history of his father, the more so because it has been asserted that owing to the circumstances of the latter, his education was in some degree neglected. That John Shakespeare at certain periods of his life found it convenient to raise money on mortgage and occasionally to borrow small sums, must be readily admitted ; and the evidence altogether tends to the conclusion that, for some reason not now known, his circumstances did not improve after 1575, in which year, when Shakespeare was eleven, he gave £40 for the two houses in Henley street. But that poverty is shown must not be too readily conceded. And in pursuing this subject, the evidence on which I wish to place fully before the reader, it will be prudent to submit all entries of cases respecting him to be found in the registry of the Court of Record, especially as this has not yet been done and erroneous conclusions have been arrived at by those who have contented themselves with the brief extracts heretofore given. Unfortunately the registry is deficient from 12 to 26 Eliz. inclusively, a period which would in all probability have furnished several entries of great interest.

      Jul. 15, 2 & 3 Phil. et Mar.   Ad hanc curiam venit Johannes Shakyspere in propria persona sua, et def. vim et injur. quand. etc. et petit lic. interloquend. hic usque ad proximam curiam, &c. et habet, &c.
      Aug. 12, 3 & 4 Phil. et Mar.   Ad hanc curiam [venit] Johannes Shakyspere per Thomam Marten consil. ad barr. et petit judicium versus Thomam Siche, quia non protulit actionem quæ habuit versus prædictum Johannem Shakyspere, et habet judicium cum expensis.*

  We see from this entry the result of the action against Shakespeare by Siche, quoted at p. 20, was in favour of the former. This was in the year 1556. Mr. Collier, p. 65, says, "the issue of the suit is not known." Hence appears the utility of printing these curious entries at length.

      Nov. 19, 3 & 4 Phil. et Mar.   Johannes Shakysper queritur versus Henr. Fyld inplacito quod reddat ei xviij. quarteria ordei quæ ei injuste detinet, &c.— p.41 / Actio inter Brace et Rawson comittitur Rogero Myller et Johanni Shakysper usque proximam curiam.
      Dec. 2, 3 & 4 Phil. et Mar.     Actio inter Johannem Shakispere et Henr. Fyld continuatur ex concensu partium usque ad proximam curiam.
      Dec. 16, 3 & 4 Phil. et Mar.   Actio inter Shakysper et Henr. Fyld continuatur ulterius usque proximam curiam.
      Sept. 22, 4 & 5 Phil. et Mar.   Johannes Shakespere queritur versus Ricardum Wagstaff in placito debiti x.s.
      Oct. 6, 4 & 5 Phil. et Mar.   Richardus Wagstaff esson. ad hunc diem ad sect. Johannis Shakespere in placito debiti &c. per Radulphum Chester.—Johannes Shakespere queritur versus Willielmum Rychardson de placito transgr.
      Oct. 20, 4 & 5 Phil. et Mar.   Willielmus Rychardson ad hunc diem comparuit ad sect. Johannis Shakespere, et quer. habet ultimum diem ad narr.—Johannes Shakespere queritur versus Johannem Asshell in placito debiti super demand. xlij.s.
      Nov. 17, 4 et 5 Phil. & Mar.   Ad hanc curiam venit Johannes Asshell in propria persona, et fatetur actionem Johannis Shakspeyr xlij.s. et dat. quinque dies dict. deff. ad solvendum dict. solucion. modo et forma sequent. videlicet ad festum Sancti Andreæ Apostoli proximum sequen. hujus curiæ xx.s. et ad festum Natalis Dominæ ex tunc prox. sequen. xxij.s. et si defect. fiat in parte solucionis vel in toto ad aliquem festum festorum prædictorum quod solvi debeat, quod tunc fiet executio pro toto &c. — Ad hanc curiam venit Ricardus Wagstaf in propria persona, et fatetur actionem Johannis Shakspeyr, videlicet x.s. et dat. octo dies dicto deff. ad solvend. dict. x.s. ante festum Natalis Domini prox. sequent. hujus curiæ, ac pro misis et custag. circa eur. etc. x.d. et si defect. fiat in parte solutione prædict. vel in toto ad festum prædictum quod solvi debeat, quod tunc fiat executio pro toto &c.
      Dec. 1, 4 & 5 Phil. et Mar.   De Willielmo Rychardson pro li. con. cum Johanne Shakespere in placito transgr. Willielmus Wyngfyld traditur in ball. Johanni Shakespere et Johanni West, videlicet prædictus Johannes et Johannes manuceper. pro dicto Willielmo Wyngfyld, quod si contigerit eum convinci in aliqua actione ad sectam Radulphi Cawdrey, quod tunc prædictus Willielmus solvet et contentabit omnia hujusmodi debita et dampna in quibus contigerit eum convinci, aut se prisonæ infra burgum prædictum submittet; alioquin ipsi prædicti Johannes et Johannes manuceper. solvere prædicto Radulpho Cawdrey debita et dampna prædicta pro prædicto Willielmo Wyngfyld.
      April. 19, 4 & 5 Phil. et Mar.   Adrianus Quenye et Thomas Knyght quer. versus Johannem Shakespere de placito debiti super demand. vj.li.
      Maij 6, 4 & 5 Phil. et Mar.   Adreanus Quyny et Thomas Knyght pet. distring. versus Johannem Shakspeyr in placito debiti. Willielmus Malpes queritur versus Johannem Shakspeyr in placito debiti super demand. viij.s.—Judicium. Ad hanc curiam venit Johannes Shakspeyr et fatetur actionem Adreani Quyny et Thomæ Knyght, videlicet vj.li. post cons. per cur. quod q. recuperent debit. prædictum et xvj. d. pro mis. et custag. Ideo fiat levari.*

  Owing to this arrangement, two entries previously made have been cancelled.

p.42 /
      Jun. 5, 4 & 5 Phil. & Mar.   Willielmus Malpas ad hunc diem petit distr. versus Johannem Shakespere in placito debiti pro viij.s.
      Jul. 13, 4 & 5 Phil. & Mar.   Johannes Shakespere quer. versus Willielmum Malpas in placito debiti et q. petit diem ad narr. usque proximam curiam.
      Jul. 27, 5 & 6 Phil. & Mar.   De Willielmo Malpas quia non pros. actionem suam versus Johannem Shakespere in placito debiti.
      Nov. 9, 5 & 6 Phil. & Mar.   Franciscus Herbage queritur versus Johannem Shakespere de placito debiti super demand. x.s.
      Nov. 23, 1 Eliz.   Johannes Shakespere ad hunc diem esson. per Robertum Lock ad sect. Francisci Herbage.
      Dec 21, 1 Eliz.   De Francisco Herbage quia non pros. actionem suam versus Johannem Shakesper in placito debiti.
      Feb. 1, 1 Eliz.   Johannes Shakespere queritur versus Matheum Bramley de placito debiti.
      Feb. 15, 1 Eliz.   De Johanne Shakespere quia quod non pros. actionem suam versus Matheuum Bramley in placito debiti.
      April. 26, 1 Eliz.   Adreanus Quyny et Thomas Knyght petunt capias satisfaciend. versus Johannem Shakspeyr pro quinque libris &c. [ This was originally entered thus,]—"Adreanus Quyny et Thomas Knyght quer. versus Johannem Shakspeyr de placito debiti super demand. v.li. pleg. de pros. Rogerus Sadler et Ricardus Harenton."
      Jul. 5, 1 Eliz.   Johannes Shakspeyr queritur versus Ricardum Court in placito debiti vj.s. viij.d.—Johannes Shakspeyr queritur versus Ricardum Court in placito detenc.—Actio continuatur ex assensu partium. Actio inter Johannem Shackspere et Ricardum Court ponitur ad Radulff. Cawdrie et Johannem Ichyver ad audiendum et terminandum aliter ad satisfaciendum ad proximam curiam.
      Sept. 20, 1 Eliz.   Johannes Shakespere queritur versus Mathew Bromley in placito debiti esson. per Johannem Mars.—Johannes Shakspere queritur versus Aliciam Nevell viduam in placito debiti esson. per Ricardum Sponer.
      Oct. 17, 1 Eliz.   Pon. in arbitrium. Actio detenc. inter Edwardum Bate quer. et Cristofer Smythe ponitur Ric. Bidill, Johanni Wheler, Ric. Hill, et Johanni Shakspere, ad audiendum et terminandum ante proximam curiam aliter ad certificandum ad dictam curiam, &c.
      April 2, 3 Eliz.   Robertus Locke queritur versus Johannem Shackspere in placito debiti.
      Jan. 20, 5 Eliz.   Johannes Shakspere queritur versus Ricardum Court in placito debiti.
      Feb. 3, 5 Eliz.   Actio debiti inter Johannem Shackspere et Ricardum Court concord. per arbitrimentum, et dismissa fuit extra curiam.
      Sept. 1, 5 Eliz.   Johannes Shakspere queritur versus Ricardum Careles in placito debiti.
      Sept. 15, 5 Eliz.   Dat. est dies Johanni Shakspere usque proximam curiam ad narrandum versus Ricardum Careles in placito debiti.
      Jan. 19, 6 Eliz.   Johannes Shakspere queritur versus Humfridum Gadcliffe in placito debiti.
p.43 /
      Jun. 6, 6 Eliz. Johannes Shakspere queritur versus Humfridum Gadcliffe in placito debiti.
      Jul. 5, 6 Eliz.   Humfridus Gadcley solempniter exact. ad respond. Johanni Shakspere in placito debiti et non venit ; ideo ipse in misericordia. Et dictus Johannes petit proc. de distr. et ei conceditur quod petit.
      Jun. 6, 7 Eliz.   Johannes Shakspere queritur versus Johannem Mille in placito debiti iij.s. iiij.d.
      Nov. 2, 11 Eliz.   Johannes Shakyspere, Lewes ap Wyllyams, deligantur ex parte Henrici Bragge ad arbitrandum materiam inter eos.
      Sept. 1, 27 Eliz.   Johannes Yovins queritur versus Thomam Shaxper de placito  . . . . . .
      Oct. 27, 27 Eliz.   Johannes [ Browne] queritur versus Johannem Shakxsper deff. de placito debiti.
      Nov. 10, 27 Eliz.   Fiat distr. versus Johannem Shaxpeare ad sect. Johannis Browne in placito debiti.
      Nov. 23, 28 Eliz.   Fiat alias distr. versus Johannem Shaxpeare ad sect. Johannis Browne in placito debiti.
      Jan. 19, 28 Eliz.   Ad hunc diem servient. ad clavam burgi præd. retorn. proc. de distr. eis direct. versus Johannem Shackspere ad sect. Johannis Browne, quod præd. Johannes Shackspere nihil habet unde distr. potest. Ideo fiat ca. versus eundem Johannem Shackspere ad sect. prædicti Johannis Browne, si petatur.
      Feb. 16, 28 Eliz.   Fiat cap. versus Johannem Shaxkspere ad sect. Johannis Browne in placito debiti.
      Mar. 2, 28 Eliz.   Fiat alias capias versus Johannem Shaxspere ad sect. Johannis Browne in placito debiti.

  In the margin is written, "non sold. per Browne."

      Jan. 18, 29 Eliz.   Johannes Shaxpere attach. fuit per servient. ad clavem ibidem ad respondend. Nicolao Lane in placito transgr. super casum, et Ricardus Hyll m. pro deff. etc. [ Resulting from this suit the following precept was issued against the person of John Shakespeare :—]
      Precept. est servient. ad clavem ibidem quod capiant, seu unus eorum capiat, Johannem Shackspere, si etc. et eum salvum &c. ita quod habeant corpus ejus coram ballivo burgi præd. ad proximam curiam de recordo ibidem tenend. ad respondend. Nicolao Lane gen. de placito transgr. super casum, et hoc &c. Datum xxvto Januarii, anno regni Dominæ Elizabethæ, Dei gratia Angliæ, Franciæ et Hiberniæ reginæ, Fidei defensoris, &c. xxixº.
      Feb. 1, 29 Eliz.   Nicolaus Lane narr. versus Johannem Shaxpere in placito transgr. super casum et deff. li. lo.
      Mar. 1, 29 Eliz.   Johannes Shakesper per Willielmum Courte venit &c. et dicit quod non assumpsit præfato Nicolao Lane modo et forma prout præd. Nicholaus versus eum narr.
      Mar. 29, 29 Eliz.   Johannes Shakesper protulit breve dominæ reginæ
p.44 / de habeas corpus cum causa coram domina regina r. in curia prox. post xviij. Pascæ.
      Jun. 20, 30 Eliz.   Johannes Shaxpere queritur versus Johannem Tomson in placito debiti.
      Jul. 3, 30 Eliz.   Continuatur actio inter Johannem Shaxpere quer. et Johannem Tompson deff. ex assensu partium.
      Jul. 17, 30 Eliz.   De Johanne Shackspere quia non pros.
      April. 23, 31 Eliz.   Johannes Shakespere queritur versus Willielmum Grene de placito debiti (concord.)
      Oct. 22, 31 Eliz.   Johannes Shaxpere queritur versus Johannem Tompson in placito debiti.—Johannes Shaxpere queritur versus Ricardum Sutton in placito debiti.
      Nov. 10, 31 Eliz.   Fiat distr. versus Johannem Tompson ad sect. Johannis Shaxpere in placito debiti ; et altera versus Ricardum Sutton in placito debiti.
      Nov. 19, 32 Eliz.   Johannes Tompson esson. ad sect. Johannis Shaxpere in placito debiti.
      Feb. 24, 33 Eliz.   Adrianus Quiney, Humffridus Plumley, et Ricardus Hyll quer. versus Johannem Shaxsper in placito debiti.
      Mar. 10, 33 Eliz.   Fiat distr. versus Johannem Shaxspere ad sect. Adriani Quyney et aliorum in placito debiti.
      Mar. 24, 33 Eliz.   Fiat capis pro corpore Johannis Shakspere et Ricardi Sponer ad sect. Adriani Quyney, Humffrd. Plumley, et Ricardi Hyll, in placito debiti.
      Apr. 7, 33 Eliz.   Johannes Shaxspere esson. ad sect. Adriani Quyney et al, in placito debiti.
      Apr. 21, 33 Eliz.   Johannes Shaxspere defalt. fecit super esson. ad sect. Adriani Quyney et al. in placito debiti.—Johannes Shaxspere queritur versus Thomam West in placito . . . . .—Johannes Shaksper quer. versus Robertum Jones de placito debiti ix.s. j.d. ob.
      Maij 19, 33 Eliz.   Actio inter Adrianum Queeney et alios quer. versus Johannem Shaksper deff. est in respectu usque proximam curiam.—Thomas West deff. profert hic in cur. unum de le cantheriam ad sect. Johannis Shacksper etc. et finit. est actio.—Robertus Jones comparuit ad actionem Johannis Shaksper quer. de placito debiti &c. quer. petit diem ad narr.—Transgr. super casum, &c. Johannes Shakspere manucepit pro deff. et Thomas Greene m. pro quer.—Johannes Shaxpere queritur versus Robertum Yonge in placito transgr. super casum.—Johannes Shaxpere queritur versus Thomam West in placito transgr. super casum.
      Jun. 2, 33 Eliz.   Johannes Shaxpere defalt. fecit super esson. ad sect. Adriani Quyney, Humffrd. Plumley, et Ricardi Hylle, in placito debiti.—Johannes Shaxpere narr. versus Robertum Jones in placito debiti.
      Jun. 30, 33 Eliz.   Robertus Jones nichil dicit ad accionem Johannis Shaxpere in placito debiti. Ideo conc. per cur. quod præd. Johannes recuperet debitum suum præd. et pro misis suis &c.
      July 14, 33 Eliz.   Henricus Shakspere attachiat. fuit ad sect. Ricardi Ange in placito transgr. super casum et def. r. in prison.
p.45 /
      Sept. 22, 33 Eliz.   Ricardus Ange narr. versus Henricum Shaxkespere* in placito transgr. super casum.—Judicium redd. est versus Robertum Jones pro . . . . . . pro misis et cust. Johannis Shaxsper quer. sibi adjudicat. fuerint.
      Oct. 20, 33 Eliz.   Henricus Shaxspere nichill dicit ad narr. Ricardi Ange in placito transgr. super casum. Ideo fiat precept. ad inquirend. quæ dampn. præd. Ricardus sustinuit accione.—Johannes Shaxspere et Robertus Jones concord. sunt.
      Jan. 10, 35 Eliz.   Ricardus Tyler queritur versus Johannem Shaxpere in placito debiti.
      Jan 24, 35 Eliz.   Fiat distr. versus Johannem Shaxpere ad sect. Ricardi Tyler in placito debiti.
      Feb. 21, 35 Eliz.   Ricardus Tyler narr. versus Johannem Shaxpere in placito debiti et deff. li. lo.—Johannes Shaxpere attachiat. fuit per servient. ad clavem ibidem ad respondend. Henrico Wilson in placito transgr.
      Mar. 21, 35 Eliz.   Johannes Shaxpere nichill dicit ad actionem Ricardi Tyler in placito debiti.
      Mar. 19, 37 Eliz.   Idem [Adrianus Quyney] versus Philippum Grene, chaundeler, Henricum Rogers, butcher, et Johannem Shaxspere, in placito debiti v.li.

  I do not remember this form of the name elsewhere. The present entry relates to John Shakespeare's brother.

      This last entry, dated 1595, contains the latest mention of Shakespeare's father in the registry of the Court of Record, and is in itself a proof that he was engaged in no craft at that period. Had he been a glover, or any other trade of the kind, it is impossible not to conclude that it would have been so inserted in the registry, the callings of the other two defendants being particularized ; and we may safely infer that the reason we find in no case after that of 1556 the trade of John Shakespeare noticed, is the most probable fact that, becoming a yeoman not many years after his marriage, he relinquished his retail trade, and afterwards occupied himself chiefly in agricultural matters. It should be added, that in the action here mentioned, Adrian Quiney proceeded afterwards against the other defendants, omitting John Shakespeare ; so that probably he settled whatever claim was preferred against him ; but the pleas or declara- p.46 / tions having been preserved in very few instances, we are unfortunately without the means of ascertaining the precise nature of most of the transactions alluded to in the above notices. The following plea is one of the few that remain, and refers to the cause brought by Lane against John Shakespeare, 1 Mar. 29 Eliz.:

} Et prædictus Johannes Shakesper per Willielmum Court attorn.
suum venit, et defend. vim et injuriam quando &c. Et dicit quod
prædictus Nicholaus Lane actionem suam inde versus eum habere non debet, quia dicit quod narracio prædicti Nicholai minus sufficiens in lege existit, ad quam ipse necesse non habet, nec per legem terræ tenetur, respondere ; protestando quod prædictus Henricus Shakesper in narracione ipsius Nicholai specificat. per scriptum suum obligat. concessisset se teneri præfat. Nicholao Lane in . . . . . libris pro solucione viginti duarum librarum, viz. in festo Sancti Michaelis archangeli ult. præterit. debit. modo decem librar. et in festo Sancti Michaelis archangeli ex tunc prox. futur. duodecim libras de prædictis viginti et duarum librarum resid. et non cognoscend. aliqua in narracione prædicti Nicholai fore vera, sed pro placito idem Johannes Shakesper dicit quod prædictus Nicholaus Lane non solvebat præfat. Johanni Shakesper quatuor denarios legal. &c. in consideracione assumpcionis et promissionis dicti Johannis ; ac salvis sibi omnibus advantagiis tam ad narrationem quam ad querelam prædicti Nicholai dicit ulterius quod ipse non assumpsit modo et forma prout idem Nicholaus Lane in narracione sua prædicta superius versus eum narravit. Et de hoc ponit se super patriam &c.

      The preceding document refers to the same action as the plea of Nicholas Lane, printed at p. 9 ; but the reader must be warned from these, which might appear in the brief record as conveying inferences against the prosperity of John Shakespeare's circumstances, but which do not when thus exhibited in particulars, that he cannot safely use these entries in every case as a history of his pecuniary affairs. The ancient forms of process in actions of debt must also be considered, and it will, I think, be found that even the most formidable circumstance which is entered under the date of Jan. 19, 1586, "quod prædictus Johannes Shackspere nihil habet unde distringi potest," must be construed in a great measure by legal formality, not necessarily as an p.47 / actual fact. On Feb. 16th we find a capias issued against John Shakespeare, and on March 2d an alias capias, but the marginal note to the entry of the latter seems to imply that the debt after all was not discharged. When the return was made in January, that John Shakespeare had no goods on which distraint could be made, there can be little doubt of the fact that he was keeping himself out of the way of the service of a process ; and on March 29, 29 Eliz. 1587, when mention is made of his producing a writ of habeas corpus, we can conclude with tolerable certainty that he was in custody or imprisoned for debt. When we compare these facts with the probable date of Shakespeare's removal to London, it will, I think, be found to raise a strong probability in favour of the supposition that the circumstances of the family had some relation with that important step in the poet's life.
      Shakespeare was born in 1564, and the Chamberlains' accounts for that year exhibit his father in a creditable social position, and selling to the corporation "a pec tymbur," probably from his estate of Ashbies. The apparent smallness of the sum will not create surprise, when the value of money at that period is taken into consideration, and when we find the corporation being indebted to him in the sum of £1 5s. 8d., we may safely conclude that his pecuniary affairs were not doubtful.

      Thaccompt of John Tayler and John Shakspeyr, chamburlens, made the x.th day of January in the syxte yere of the reigne of our sovereigne lady Elyzabethe, by the grace of God quene of Englond, Fraunce, and Irelond, Defender of the feythe, &c. ut sequitur.
Item, payd for makyng yrons for the gret bell -          - ij.s.
Item, payd to Shakspeyr for a pec tymbur -          - iij.s.
Item, paid the scollmaster -          - xvj.li.
Item, payd for defasyng ymage in the chappell -          - ij.s.
Item, payd for carryeng tymber to the pynfeld -          - viij.d.
Item, payd for kepyng the clokkes -          - xvj.s.
Item, payd to Alen for techyng the chylder -          - iiij.li.
p.48 /
anno prædicto.
      Stratford.      At a hall ther holdon the xxvjt day of January anno prædicto, the chambur ys ffound in arerage and in dept unto Lews ap William,        xxvj.s. vij.d.
      Item, at the same hall the chambur ys found in arrerage and ys in det unto John Shakspeyre                   -               -                -               -                   xxv.s.viij.d.

      And in a similar account for 1565,—

      Item, payd to Shakspeyr for a rest of old det               -           iij.li. ij.s. vij.d. ob.
      In this accompt the chambur ys in det unto John Shakspeyr to be payd unto hym by the next chamburlens            -              -               -               -        vij.s. iiij.d.

      We have good evidence of his position in the year of Shakespeare's birth in a list of contributions paid towards the relief of the poor. Being then only a burgess, not an alderman, he appears as a donor of twelve-pence, the second in amount in the list of subscriptions of the burgesses. This document has hitherto been printed with such extraordinary inaccuracy, Malone's copy containing nearly forty errors, that I here give it at length from the original MS. in the council chamber at Stratford.

      At the hall holldyn in oure garden, the 30. daye of Auguste, aº. 1564, moneye paid towardes the releeff of the povre.
Mr. Baylye, iij.s. iiij.d.
Mr. Alderman, ij.s. viij.d.
Mr. Smythe, ij.s. vj.d.
Mr. Jefferes, xij.d.
Mr. Caudre, ij.s.
Mr. Adryan Quine, ij.s. vj.d.
Mr. Lewes, ij.s.
Rycharde Hylle, ij.s.
John Weler, ij.s. vj.d.
Robarte Brate, vj.d.
Mr. Parot, ij.s. vj.d.
Mr. Plumley, ij.s.
Mr. Botte, iiij.s.
Jhon Tayler, viij.d.
Jhon Shacksper, xij.d.
Jhon Lewes, viij.d.
Jhon Sadler, vij.d.
Jhon Hychaere, xvj.d.
Willm. Tyller, xij.d.
Wm. Smyth, habberdasser, xij.d.
Wm. Smyth, corvesar, iiij.d.
Jhon Belle, xij.d.
Wm. Brace, ij.s.
Thomas Dyxun, viij.d.
Thomas Dyer, ij.s.
Rychard Symons, . . . . . . . . .
                           vij.s. iiij.d.

     On Sept. 6th the bailiff and six aldermen gave twelve-pence each "to the relief of those that be visited," and John Shakespeare gave six-pence ; and on Sept. 27th another p.49 / donation followed, nearly in the same proportion, John Shakespeare again giving sixpence ; and on Oct. 20th he gave eightpence. This was on account of the plague, which visited Stratford in 1564, and was the reason of the hall just mentioned being "holldyn in oure garden." Thus infectious pestilence surrounded the dwelling of the child whose destiny it was to place English literature at the summit of all literature, and to be a chief agent in the future mental advancement of his race. Thousands yet unborn will breathe their fervent thanks that the lowly roof in Henley street was one of the favoured spots where the hand of the destroying angel was stayed.

      We have already seen that John Shakespeare was now (1564) possessed of a landed estate and valuable property at Stratford, and in 1570 we find him in the occupation of a small farm, called Ingon Meadow, at the annual rent of £8, "and also one other meadowe* with thappurtenaunces called or knowen by the name of Ingon alias Ington meadowe, conteynynge by estimacion fouretene acres, be it more or lesse, then or late in the tenure or occupacion of John Shaxpere or his assignes."

  Malone incorrectly reads freehold. The indenture is enrolled in the Rolls Chapel, Rot. Claus. 23 Eliz. par. 10. This Ingon seems to be the same with Ingon Grove, mentioned in the following abstract of a deed, dated 1667, in Mr. Hunt's possession :—"And also all those three arrable or pasture grounds situate in Ingon, alias Incton, in the parish of Hampton Episcopi, alias Hampton Lucy, commonly called Ingon Grounds, or Ingon Grove, with their appurtenances, containing twenty-four acres, then in the tenure of Francis Oldfield or his assigns ; and also all those three closes of meadow or pasture ground in Ingon alias Incton aforesaid, in the said parish of Hampton Episcopi, otherwise Hampton Lucy, called Parson's Closes, containing twenty-five acres, then in the tenure of Francis Oldfield, and all priviledges, commodities, &c."

He had not been long a tenant of this property, for it appears from an indenture, made May 30, 1568, that it was not then in his occupation. In 1575 he purchased the Henley-street property, and after that period we find him on the other side of the account, p.50 / selling and mortgaging. The first evidence of this is in 1578, when Shakespeare was fourteen. Dates are now important, for Rowe tells us "he had bred him for some time at a free-school, where, it is probable, he acquired what Latin he was master of : but the narrowness of his circumstances, and the want of his assistance at home, forced his father to withdraw him from thence, and unhappily prevented his further proficiency in that language." This statement is well confirmed by the evidence I am about to submit to the reader's careful attention. Perhaps the word forced should be written induced. John Shakespeare's circumstances began to fail him when William was about fourteen, and he then withdrew him from the grammar-school, for the purpose of obtaining his assistance in his agricultural pursuits. The entries in the registry of the Court of Record show that John Shakespeare's transactions were numerous, necessarily requiring constant attention and vigilance. The following notices are taken from the records of the proceedings of the corporation of Stratford:*

  These have been printed, but, as usual, very incorrectly. In the first two Malone makes thirty-one errors, and Mr. Knight, who professes in this instance to see the value of accuracy in such matters, and to correct his predecessors, falls into twenty-six!

January 29, 1577-8.
} Ad aulam ibidem tent. xxixº die Januarii, aº regni dominæ
Elizabethæ reginæ nostræ &c. vicesimo.
      At this hall yt ys agreed that every alderman except suche underwrytten excepted, shall paye towardes the furniture of thre pikemen, ij. billmen, and one archer, vj.s. viij.d. and every burgese, except suche underwrytten excepted, shall pay iij.s. iiij.d.
Mr. Plumley, v.s.
Mr. Shaxpeare, iij.s. iv.d.
} Aldermen.
John Walker, ij.s. vj.d.
Robert Bratt, nothinge in this place.
Thomas Brogden, ij.s. vj.d.
William Brace, ij.s.
Anthony Tanner, ij.s. vj.d.
                Summa, vj.li. xiiij.d.
p.51 /
      The inhabitantes of every ward are taxed at this hall as by notes to them delivered yt may appeare.
November 19, 1578.
      Ad aulam ibidem tent. xixº die Novembris anno regni dominæ Elizabeth. reginæ nostræ, &c. xxjº.
      Item, yt ys ordened that every alderman shall paye weekely towardes the relief of the poore iiij.d. savinge Mr. John Shaxpeare, and Mr. Robert Bratt, who shall not be taxed to pay anythinge. Mr. Lewes and Mr. Plumley are taxed to paye weekely, eyther of them iij.d.,* and every burgeses are taxed weekely at ij.d. apece.

  Apece was originally inserted here, but was subsequently erased.

      In an account of money levied on the inhabitants in the following year, March 11th, 1579, for the purchase of armour and defensive weapons, the name of John Shakespeare is found amongst the defaulters:

John Tonge, iiij.d.
George Badger, xij.d.
Thomas Ward, vj.d.
Mr. Shaxpeare, iij.s. iiij.d.
Mr. Nashe, iij.s. iiij.d.
Mr. Reynoldes, iij.s. iiij.d.
William Brokes, ij.s.
Bazill Burdet, iiij.d.
Hugh Pyggin, vj.d.
Widow Bell, iiij.d.
These somes are unpayd
and unaccompted for.

      This class of evidence may be concluded with an entry found by Malone in a list of debts due to Roger Sadler, a baker of Stratford, appended to his will, dated Nov. 14, 1578, and proved Jan. 17, 1580 : "Item of Edmonde Lambarte and . . . Cornishe for the debte of Mr. John Shaksper, v.li."
      The effect of this note will be seen much better by extracting the entire schedule of debts from Sadler's will, preserved in the Prerogative Office, Malone having only given partial extracts :

p.52 /

Debtes which are owinge unto me Roger Saddeler.
    Inprimis, of Mr. John Combes thelder for a horsse         -         three poundes.
    Item, of the same John Combes due to me by bonde at Christmas next,
twentie poundes.
    Item, of Mr. Lewis ap Williams which he oweth me         -         three poundes.
    Item, of Richard Hathewaye alias Gardyner of Shotterey,
six poundes, viij.s. iiij.d.
     Item, of Willyam Coxe of Syllehul                 -             -              tenne poundes.
     Item, of Mr. Michaell Gotheridge which he oweth me    -    twentie shillinges.
     Item, that George Merrell, of Ailston, which he doth owe me,
vj.li. xiij.s. iiij.d.
     Item, of Mr. Thomas Trussell which he oweth me                 -                xxiiij.s.
     Item, of Richarde ffroste in money and corne              -              foure poundes.
     Item, of Edmonde Lambarte and . . . Cornishe for the debte of Mr. John
Shaksper                      -            -            -            -           -            -             -          v.li.
     Item, of Mr. Walter Roche which I must paye over unto my brother
Skydmore for a mare               -            -            -            -           -            -         iiij.li.

      If Edmund Lambert, who was connected by marriage with Mary Shakespeare, paid this sum for John Shakespeare, it may be included in the "certayne other money which they did owe unto him for other matters," mentioned in the Chancery records of 1597, hereafter printed. The first two entries are summarily despatched by Mr. Knight, who, coupling John Shakespeare and Robert Bratt together, and guided by the entry, nothinge in this place, attached to the name of the latter, dismisses them at once as no evidences of his poverty.
      There is, indeed, so much uncertainty in reasoning on indications such as these, which might have been caused by a variety of circumstances, that I cannot think they prove the distress attributed to John Shakespeare by Malone ; and when we find him in 1579 burying a very young child with more expense than was absolutely required (see p. 30), we are led to conclude that his position was by no means so hazardous as has been represented.
      There is, however, quite sufficient evidence to show that from the year 1578 the state of his property deteriorated. p.53 / In the spring of that year, John and Mary Shakespeare mortgaged their estate of Ashbies to Edmund Lambert for the sum of £40. The original fine, afterwards levied on this occasion according to law, is now for the first time printed from the bundle of Easter Term, 21 Eliz. (1579), in the Chapter House :

      Inter Edmundum Lambert quer. et Johannem Shakespere et Mariam uxorem ejus deforc. de duobus mesuagiis duobus gardinis quinquaginta acris terræ duabus acris prati quatuor acris pasturæ et communa pasturæ pro omnimodis averiis cum pertinentiis in Awston Cawntlett. Unde placitum convencionis sum. fuit inter cos &c. scilicet quod prædicti Johannes et Maria recogn. prædicta ten. et communam pasturæ cum pertinentiis esse jus ipsius Edmundi, ut ill. quæ idem Edmundus habet de dono prædictorum Johannis et Mariæ, et ill. remiserunt et quietclam. de ipsis Johanne et Maria et hæredibus suis prædicto Edmundo et hæredibus suis in perpetuum. Et præterea iidem Johannes et Maria concesserunt per se et hæred. ipsius Mariæ quod ipsi warant. prædicto Edmundo et hæredibus suis prædicta ten. et communam pasturæ cum pertin. contra prædictos Johannem et Mariam et hæredes ipsius Mariæ in perpetuum. Et pro hac recogn. remissione quietclam. warant. fine &c. idem Edmundus dedit prædictis Johanni et Mariæ quadraginta libras sterlingorum.

      The following note of a fine, also printed for the first time from the same repository of records, exhibits Shakespeare's parents interested in other land at Wilmecote, and its importance and curiosity in developing the history of their circumstances at this period will be at once perceived. It will be difficult to say exactly what particular property is referred to, but it clearly exhibits a further extension of the county interests of John and Mary Shakespeare, beyond what has been yet supposed. It refers to their interest in a considerable landed estate at Wilmecote, so that there must, in all probability, have been some deed executed before 1556, giving Mary Arden shares of property in that hamlet.

      Inter Thomam Webbe et Humfridum Hooper quer. et Johannem Shakespere et Mariam uxorem ejus, et Georgium Gybbes, deforc. de septuaginta acris terræ, sex acris prati, decem acris pasturæ, et communa pasturæ pro omnimodis averiis, cum pertinentiis in Wylmecote, unde placitum convencionis summonitum fuit inter eos, &c., scilicet, quod prædicti Johannes et Maria et Georgius recogn. p.54 / prædicta ten. et communam pasturæ cum pertinentiis esse jus ipsius Thomæ ut illa quæ iidem Thomas et Humfridus habent de dono prædictorum Johannis et Mariæ et Georgii, et ill. remiserunt et quietclam. de ipsis Johanne et Maria et Georgio et hæredibus suis, prædictis Thomæ et Humfrido et hæredibus ipsius Thomæ in perpetuum.   Et præterea iidem Johannes et Maria concesserunt pro se et hæredibus ipsius Mariæ quod ipsi warant. prædictis Thomæ et Humfrido et hæredibus ipsius Thomæ prædicta tenementa et communam pasturæ cum pertinentiis contra omnes homines in perpetuum.   Et pro hac recogn. remissione quietaclam. warant. fine &c. iidem Thomas et Humfridus concesserunt prædicto Georgio prædicta tenementa et communam pasturæ cum pertinentiis ; et ill. ei reddiderunt &c. habendum et tenendum eidem Georgio a festo sancti Michaelis Archangeli quod erit in anno Domini millesimo quingentesimo et octogesimo usque finem termini viginti et unius annorum ex tunc prox. sequen. et plenarie complend. reddend. inde annuatim prædictis Thomæ et Humfrido et hæredibus ipsius Thomæ medietatem unius quarterii tritici et medietatem unius quarterii ordei ad festum Natalis Domini annuatim solvend.   Et si contingat prædictum redditum medietatis unius quarterii tritici et medietatis unius quarterii ordei aut aliquam inde parcellam a retro fore in parte vel in toto post festum prædictum quo (ut præfertur) solvi debeat non solut. per spacium viginti dierum, quod tunc bene licebit prædictis Thomæ et Humfrido et hæredibus ipsius Thomæ in prædicta tenementa et communam pasturæ cum pertinentiis intrare et distringere, districcione sic ibidem capt. et habit. licite abducere, asportare, et effugare, ac penes se retinere quousque de prædicto redditu medietatis unius quarterii tritici et medietatis unius quarterii ordei cum arreragiis ejusdem, si quæ fuerint, plenar. fuerit satisfactum et per solutum.   Concesserunt eciam prædicti Thomas et Humfridus prædictis Johanni et Mariæ revercionem ten. et communæ pasturæ prædictorum cum pertinentiis, ac prædictum redditum superius reservatum, et illa eis reddiderunt &c. habendum et tenendum eisdem Johanni et Mariæ et hæredibus ipsius Mariæ de capitalibus dominis feodi illius per servicia quæ ad prædicta ten. et communam pasturæ pertinent in perpetuum.   [ Term. Hill. 21 Eliz. 1579.]

      The same eventful year, 1579, finds John and Mary Shakespeare selling some of their property in Snitterfield, or rather their interest in it, to Robert Webbe,* for the sum of £4.

  There was a person of this name at Shotterey. A note to the will of John Cocks, of Stratford-upon-Avon, dated May 27th, 1600, says, "Robert Webb of Shottre oweth me iiij.s. iiij.d. lent hym in money for making ix. strycke and a half of malt."

The deed, which is mentioned by Mr. Collier, is here for the first time printed :

      This indenture made the fyftenthe daye of Octobar in the yeare of the raigne of our soveraigne ladye Elizabethe bye the grace of God of England, Fraunce and p.55 / Ireland Quene, defendor of the faithe, &c. the twentythe and one, Betwene John Shackspere of Stratford upon Avon in the countye of Warwicke yoman and Marye his wyeffe on the one partye, and Robert Webbe of Snytterfylde in the same countye yoman on the other partye, Witnessethe that the said John Shackspere and Marye his wieffe, for and in consideracion of the somme of foure pounds of good and lawfull Englishe money by the aforesaid Roberte Webbe unto the said John Shackspere and Marye his wyeffe before the delyverie of these presents well and trulye contented and paied, of the which said somme the said John Shackspere and Marye his wyeffe doe acknowledge themselves fully satisfyed contented and paied, and thereof and of everye parte thereof the said . . . . his heires executors administrators and assignes doe fully freely and cleerelye acquyte exonerate and dyscharge for ever, by these presents have gyven graunted bargayned and sold, and by these presents doe gyve graunte bargayne and sell, unto the said Robarte Webbe his heires and assignes for ever, all that theire moitye parte and partes, be yt more or lesse, of and in twoo messuages or tenements with thappurtenaunces, sett lyenge and beynge in Snitterfield aforesaid in the said county of Warwicke, and of all and singular houses edifices barnes stables gardens orchards medowes lesues pastures feedings commons furzes brushewoods underwoods waters lands tenements hereditaments profytts commodyties whatsoever or wheresoever in any wise to the said twoo messuages or tenements or any of them belonginge or appertaininge or occupied with the same, in whose tenure or occupacion soever they or any of them or any parte or parcell of them nowe be. And furthermore, the revertion and revertions, remainder and remainders of the same, and the rents dutyes profytts and commodyties whatsoever to the said revertion or revertions remaynder or remaynders in any wyse belonging incident or appleyinge, or excepted or reserved uppon any manner of graunte or demyse thereof heretofore had or made or of any of thaforesaid premisses, together with all and singular deeds cherters evydences wrytyngs and muniments whatsoever towchinge and concerninge onely the foresaid twoo messuages or tenementes, or all or any of thaforesaid premisses which theye thaforesaid John Shackspere or Marye his wyeffe or eyther of them or anye other person or persons, eyther by theyre or any of theyre delyverie or by theire or eyther of theire knowledge, now have or ought to have. To have and to holde theire said moitye parte and partes of the said twoo messuages or tenementes, and of all and singular the graunted premisses, with theire and everye of thappurtenaunces, unto thaforesaide Roberte Webbe his heires and assignes for ever, to his and theire onely proper use and behoofe ; all which theire said moitye parte and partes of the said twoo messuages or tenements with thappurtenaunces, and of all and singular the graunted premisses with theire and everye of theire appurtenaunces, thafforesaid John Shackspere and Marye his wyeffe, for them and theire heires and the heires of eyther of them, by these presents to thafforesaid Robert Webbe his heires and assignes doe warrante and promysse to defende against the said John and Marye his wiffe and their heires and the heires of eyther of them for ever by these presents. And the said John Shackspere and Marye his wyeffe, for the consideracion aforesaid, for them theire heires and the heyres of eyther of p.56 / them, theire executors administrators and assignes, and everye of them, doe covenant promysse and graunte to and with the said Robert Webbe his heires executors administrators and assignes and everye of them by these presents, that theire said moitye parte and partes of thafforesaid twoo messuages or tenements and of all and singular the graunted premisses with their appurtenaunces at all tyme and tymes henceforth after the delyverie of these presents maye and shall lawfully and rightfully come be and remayne unto thafforesaid Robert Webbe his heires and assignes, accordinge to the true tenour and effecte of the graunte thereof before made in these presents, free cleere and voyde or otherwise well and sufficientlie saved harmlesse by the foresaid John Shackspere and Marye his wyeffe, theire heires and the heires of eyther of them and their assignes, of and from all and singular bargaines sales feoffmentes grauntes intayles joyntures dowars leases wills uses rent-charge rent-sects arrerages of rents recognizaunce statute marchant and of the staple obligacions judgments executions condempnacions yssues fynes amercments intrusions forfaitures alienacions without lycense, and of and from all other charges troubles and incumbrances whatsoever heretofore had made or done by the foresaid John Shackspere and Marye his wieffe or eyther of them, or of theire heires or the heires of eyther of them, or by any other person or persons by thorough or under theire or any of theire right tytle or interest acte consent or procurement (the rents customes and services due to the chieffe lord or lords of the fee or fees onely excepted and foreprised), And that theye the foresaid John Shackspere and Marye his wyeffe and all and everye other person or persons (except before excepted) nowe havinge, claiminge or pretendinge to have, or that hereafter shall have claime or pretend to have any manner of lawfull and just right tytle and interest of in to or out of theire said moitye parte and partes of the foresaid twoo messuages or tenements, and of all or any of the graunted premisses with theire appurtenaunces, in by or thoroughe the right tytle or intereste of the said John Shakspere and Marye his wyeffe and theire heires and the heires of eyther of them, at all tyme and tymes hereafter from and after the delyverie of these presentes from tyme to tyme uppon lawfull warninge and request made by the said Roberte Webbe his heirs and assignes unto thaforesaid John Shackspere and Marye his wyeffe and theire heires and the heires of eyther of them, at the proper costes and charges in the lawe of the said Robert Webbe his heires or assignes, shall and wyll doe cause and suffer to be done all and everye reasonable and lawfull acte and actes, thinge and thinges, devyse and devyses, for the more better and perfect assuraunce and sure makinge in the lawe of thaforesaid moitye parte and partes of the said twoo messuages or tenements and of all and singular the graunted premisses with theire appurtenaunces to the said Robert Webbe, his heires and assignes, to his and theire onely use and behoofe, be yt by fyne feoffment recovery with single or double voucher deedes inrolled inrollement of those presents, or by any or by all of them, or by any other wayes or meanes whatsoever, with warranty against them the said John Shackspere and Marye his wyeffe and theire heires, and the heires of eyther of them, as shalbe advised or devised by the said Robert Webbe, his heires and assignes, or by his and theire p.57 / councell learned in the lawe. And furthermore that the said John Shackspere and Marye his wyeffe and theire heires, and the heires of eyther of them and theire assignes, shall and wyll delyver uncanceled and undefaced unto the said Roberte Webbe his heires or assignes, before the feast of Easter next ensueing the date of these presentes, all and singular the charters deedes evidences wrytinges and myniments which theye said John Shackspere and Marye his wyeffe hath, or that theye theire heires executors or assignes at any tyme hereafter maye lawfully come by, without suite in lawe, towchinge and concerninge thaforesaid twoo messuages or tenements or the before bargained premisses or any of them, they the said John Shackspere and Marye his wyeffe or one of them uppon lawfull request of the said Robert Webbe his heires and assignes, at his and theire proper costes and charges unto them the said John and Marye theire heires and assignes had and made, shall deliver or cause to be delyvered to the said Robart Webbe his heires and assignes the true and perfecte coppie and coppies at all tyme and tymes hereafter. In wittnesse whereof the partyes abovesaid to these present indentures interchangeblie have putte theire hands and seales the daye and yeare fyrst above wrytten.

Marks of the parents of Shakespeare. Published size 1.4cm by 0.9cm and 1cm by 0.4cm respectively.
      Sealed and delivered in the presens of Nycholas Knooles, vicar of Auston, of Wyllyam Maydes, and Anthony Osbaston, with other moe.

      This curious document is accompanied by the following bond for the performance of the foregoing covenants, and to both of them the reader will see appended the marks of Shakespeare's parents :

      Noverint universi per præsentes nos Johannem Shackspere de Stratford uppon Avon in com. Warwici yoman et Mariam uxor. ejus teneri et firmiter obligari Roberto Webbe de Snitterfielde in com. prædicto yoman, in viginti marcis bonæ et legalis monet. Angliæ, solvendum eidem Roberto aut suo certo attornat. executoribus, administratoribus, vel assignatis suis. Ad quam quidem solutionem bene et fideliter faciendum obligamus nos hæredos, executores, et administratores nostros firmiter per præsentes sigillo nostro sigillat. Dat decimo quinto die mensis Octobris, anno regni dominæ Elizabeth. Dei gratia Angliæ, Franciæ et Hiberniæ regina, fidei defensor. &c. vicesimo primo.
      The condition of this obligacion is such, that if thabove bounden John Shackspere and Marye his wyeffe, theire heires and the heires of eyther of them,
p.58 / theire executors administrators and assignes and everye of them, doe well and trulye observe performe fulfyll and keepe all and singular covenants graunts artycles and agreements which on theire partes are to be observed performed fulfylled and kepte, contayned comprised and specified in one paire of indentures bearinge date the daye of the date of this present obligacion, made betwene the abovenamed Robarte Webbe on the one partye and thabove bound John Shackspere and Marie his wieffe on the other partye, that then this present obligacion to be utterlye voyde and of none effecte, or ells to stande remayne and be in full power strengthe force and vertue.

Marks and seals of the same (Shakespeare's parents). Published size 10.1cm wide by 13cm high
      Sealed and delyvered in the presens of Nycholas Knooles, vicar of Auston, Wyllyam Mayds, and Anthonye Osbaston, with other moe.

      According to the above indenture, the consideration given for Mary Shakespeare's share in the Snitterfield property was £4, but it appears from a fine, preserved in the Chapter House, hitherto unnoticed, dated in Easter Term, 22 Eliz. 1580, that she had a reversionary interest, on the death of Agnes Arden, in the same property, of far higher value ; for it is parted with to the same Robert Webbe for £40. This curious fact, and the circumstances of the property, will be better understood by an entire transcript of the foot of the fine :

      [ Inter Robertum Webbe quer. et ]   Johannem Shackspere et Mariam uxorem ejus deforc. de sexta parte duarum partium . . . . . . . . . . . . . duorum pomar. sexaginta acrarum terræ decem acrarum p.59 / prati et triginta acrarum . . . . . . . . in tres partes dividend. in Snitterfylde, unde placitum convencionis sum. fuit . . . . . . dicti Johannes et Maria recogn. prædictam sextam partem cum pertinentiis esse jus ipsius . . . . . . . per se et hæred. ipsius Mariæ, quod prædicta sexta pars cum pertinentiis quam Agnes Arden vidua tenet ad terminum vitæ suæ de hæreditate prædictæ Mariæ die quo hæc concordia facta fuit, et quæ post decessum ipsius Agnetis ad prædictam Mariam et hæred. suos debuit reverti, post decessum ipsius Agnetis integre reman. prædicto Roberto et hæredibus suis, tenend. d. capitalibus dominis feodi ill. per servic. quæ ad prædictam sextam partem pertinent in perpetuum. Et prædicti Johannes et Maria et hæredes ipsius Mariæ warant. prædicto Roberto et hæredibus suis prædictam sextam partem cum pertinentiis (sicut prædictum est) contra prædictos Johannem et Mariam et hæredes ipsius Mariæ in perpetuum. Et pro hac recogn. concessione warant. fine &c. idem Robertus dedit prædictis Johanni et Mariæ quadraginta libras sterlingorum.

      This copy of the fine is unfortunately imperfect, and a search at the other repository of the same description of records proved fruitless ; but the following entry, which I discovered in the King's Silver Books at Carlton Ride, supplies the information lost by the lacunæ in the above :—

      Warr. Inter Robertum Webbe q. et Johannem Shackspere et Mariam uxorem ejus def. de sexta parte duarum partium duorum mesuagiorum, duorum gardinorum, duorum pomar., lx. acr. terræ, x. acrarum prati, et xxx. acr. jampnorum et bruerum, cum pertinentiis, in tres partes dividend. in Snitterfylde. [ Pasch. 22 Eliz.]

      But the property is described somewhat differently in the following note at Stratford,—

      Warr. In onere Georgii Digbie arm. [vic.] com præd. de anno vicesimo tercio reginæ Elizabeth.
      Fines de Banco anno vicesimo secundo reginæ Elizabeth pro term. Paschæ.
      De Roberto Webbe pro li. con. cum Jo. Shackespere et de placito con. de vj. parte ij. partium ij. mess. ij. gard. ij. pom. lv. acr. terræ et al. cum pertin. in Snytterfeild. } vj.s. viij.d.
R. per me Johannem Cowper, subvic.

     The circumstances of John Shakespeare at this period have never yet been so fully developed, and they lead inevitably to the conclusion that for some reason or other p.60 / he was greatly in want of money. It is not very easy to say how long this pressure continued, but it was probably of considerable duration ; for it seems that on Sept. 29, 1580, he tendered the mortgage-money due to Lambert, but was unable or unwilling to pay other debts at the same time. This appears from the replication of John and Mary Shakespeare in the proceedings of the Chancery suit, 1597, and the fine just given above tells us very plainly that in order to furnish the mortgage-money, he was obliged to dispose of a valuable reversionary interest ; for it is hardly likely, considering the age and ill-health of Agnes Arden in 1580, anything short of necessity weuld [lit.] have induced him to sell it. The proceedings of the Chancery suit, relating to this period, although taking place in 1597, must be introduced here. John and Mary Shakespeare mortgaged the estate to Lambert in 1578 for £40, and two years afterwards they tendered that sum in discharge, which was declined, unless other debts, also due to Lambert, were paid. On Lambert's death his son John retained possession of the premises, and the present suit was instituted to recover them. No decree in this case has been found, and Mr. Collier gives it as his opinion that the estate was relinquished by Lambert to John Shakespeare, " perhaps on the payment of the £40, and of the sums which his father had required from John and Mary Shakespeare in 1580, and which in 1597 they did not dispute to have been due." But surely if John Shakespeare's tender in 1580 were legal, some compensation would have been awarded for the illegal occupation by Lambert.

      To the righte honorable Sir Thomas Egerton, knighte, lorde keper of the greate seale of Englande.

      In most humble wise complayninge, sheweth unto your good lordshippe your dailye oratours John Shakespere of Stratford upon Avon, in the county of Warwicke, and Mary his wief, that whereas your saide oratours were lawfully seised in their demesne as of fee, as in the righte of the saide Mary, of and in p.61 / one mesuage and one yard land with thappurtenaunces, lyinge and beinge in Wylnecote, in the saide county:  And they beinge thereof so sesed, for and in consideracion of the some of fowerty pounds to them, by one Edmounde Lamberte of Barton on the Heath in the saide countie paide, your sayde oratours were contente that he the saide Edmounde Lamberte shoulde have and enjoye the same premisses, untill suche tyme as your sayde oratours did repaie unto him the saide some of fowertie pounds:  By reasone whereof the saide Edmounde did enter into the premisses and did occupie the same for the space of three or fower yeares; and thissues and profyttes thereof did receyve and take, after which your saide oratours did tender unto the saide Edmounde the sayde somme of fowerty pounds, and desired that they mighte have agayne the sayd premisses accordinge to theire agreement; which money he the sayde Edmounde then refused to receyve, sayinge, that he woulde not receyve the same, nor suffer your sayde oratours to have the saide premisses agayne, unlesse they woulde paye unto him certayne other money which they did owe unto him for other matters ; all which notwithstandinge, nowe so yt ys; and yt maye please your good lordshippe, that shortelie after the tendringe of the sayde fowertie pounds to the saide Edmounde, and the desyre of your sayde oratours to have theire lande agayne from him, he the saide Edmounde att Barton aforesayde dyed, after whose deathe one John Lamberte, as sonne and heire of the saide Edmounde, entred into the said premisses and occupied the same ; after which entrie of the sayde John your said oratours came to him and tendred the saide money unto him, and likewise requested him that he woulde suffer them to have and enjoye the sayde premisses accordinge to theire righte and tytle therein and the promise of his saide father to your saide oratours made, which he the saide John denyed in all things, and did withstande them for entringe into the premisses, and as yet doeth so contynewe still ; and by reasone that certaine deedes and other evydences concerninge the premisses and that of righte belong to your saide oratours, are coume to the hands and possession of the sayde John, he wrongfullie still keepeth and detayneth the possession of the saide premisses from your saide oratours, and will in noe wise permytt and suffer them to have and enjoye the sayde premisses accordinge to theire righte in and to the same ; and he the saide John Lamberte hathe of late made sondrie secreate estates of the premisses to dyvers persones to your said oratours unknowen, whereby your saide oratours cannot tell againste whome to bringe theire accions att the comen lawe, for the recovery of the premisses : In tender consideracion whereof, and for so muche as your saide oratours knowe not the certaine dates or contentes of the saide wrytings, nor whether the same be contayned in bagge, boxe, or cheste, sealed locked or noe, and therefore have no remeadie to recover the same evydences and wrytings by the due course of the comen lawes of this realme ; and for that also by reasone of the saide secreate estates so made by the saide John Lamberte as aforesaide, and want of your saide oratours havinge of the evidences and wrytings as aforesaide, your sayde oratours cannot tell what accions or against whome, or in what manner to bring theire accion for the recoverie of the premisses at the comen p.62 / lawe ; and for that also, the sayde John Lamberte ys of greate wealthe and abilitie, and well frended and alied amongest gentlemen and freeholders of the countrey in the saide countie of Warwicke, where he dwelleth, and your saide oratours are of small wealthe and verey fewe frends and alyance in the saide countie, maye yt therefore please your good lordshippe to graunt unto your saide oratours the Queenes Majesties moste gracyous writte of subpœna, to be directed to the saide John Lamberte, comandinge him thereby att a certaine daie and under a certaine payne therein to be lymytted, personally to appear before your good lordshippe in her Majesties highnes courte of chauncerie, then and there to answere the premisses ; and further to stande to and abyde suche order and direction therein, as to your good lordshippe shall seeme best to stande, with righte, equytie, and good conscyence, and your sayde oratours shall daylie praye to God for the prosperous healthe of your good lordshippe with increase of honour longe to contynewe.

J. STOVELL.          

The answeare of John Lamberte, defendante, to the byll of complainte of John Shakspeere and Mary his wief complainantes.
      The said defendante (savinge to himselfe both nowe and att all tymes hereafter, all advantage of excepcion to the uncertentie and insufficiencie of the said complainants byll, and also savinge to this defendante such advantage as by the order of this honorable courte he shalbe adjudged to have, for that the like byll, in effecte conteyninge the selfe-same matter, hath byne heretofore exhibited into this honorable courte againste this defendante, wherunto this defendante hath made a full and directe answeare wherin the said complainante hath not proceeded to hearinge) for a seconde full and directe answeare unto the said complainantes byll sayeth, that true yt is (as this defendante verylie thinkethe,) that the said complainants were, or one of them was, lawfully seized in theire or one of theire demeasne, as of fee, of and in one messuage, and one yearde and fower acres of lande with thapurtenaunces, lyeinge and beinge in Wilmecott, in the parishe of Aston Cawntloe in the countie of Warwicke, and that they or one of them soe beinge thereof seized, the said complainante John Shakspeere by indenture beringe date uppon or about the fowertenth daye of November, in the twentieth yeare of the raigne of our Sovereigne Lady the Queenes Majestie that now ys, for and in consideracion of the summe of fortie pownds of lawfull Englishe monney unto the said complainante paide by Edmunde Lamberte, this defendants father in the said byll named, did geve, graunte, bargaine, and sell the said messuage, and one yearde and fower acres of lande with thapurtennaunces, unto the saide Edmunde Lamberte, and his heires and assignes, to have and to holde the said messuage, one yearde, and fower acres of lande with thappurtenaunces unto the saide Edmunde Lamberte, his heires and assignes, for ever:  In which indenture there is a condicionall provisoe conteyned, that if the said complainante did paye unto the said Edmunde Lamberte the summe of fortie pownds uppon the feast daie of St. Michell tharchangell which shoulde p.63 / be in the yeare of our Lorde God one thousande fyve hundred and eightie, att the dwellinge howse of the said Edmund Lamberte, in Barton on the Heath in the said countie of Warwicke, that then the said graunte, bargaine, and sale, and all the covenaunts, graunts, and agreements therin conteyned, shulde cease and be voyde, as by the said indenture, wherunto this defendante for his better certentie doth referre himselfe, may appeare ; and afterward, the said complainante John Shakspeere, by his Deede Pole and Liverie theruppon made, did infeoffe the said Edmunde Lamberte of the saide premisses, to have and to holde unto him the said Edmunde Lamberte and his heires for ever ; after all which, in the terme of Ester, in the one and twenteth yeare of the Queenes Majesties raigne that nowe ys the said complainantes in due forme of lawe did levye a fyne of the said messuage and yearde lande, and other the premisses, before the Queenes Majesties justices of the comon plees att Westminster, unto the saide Edmunde Lamberte, and his heires, sur conizance de droyt, as that which the said Edmunde had of the gifte of the said John Shakspeere, as by the said pole deede, and the chirographe of the said fine, wherunto this defendante for his better certentie referreth himselfe, yt doth and maye appeare : and this defendante further sayeth, that the said complainante did not tender or paye the said summe of fortie pownds unto the said Edmunde Lamberte, this defendants father, uppon the said feaste daye, which was in the yeare of our Lorde God one thowsande fyve hundred and eightie, accordinge to the said provisoe in the said indenture expressed. By reason whereof this defendants said father was lawfully and absolutly seized of the said premisses in his demeasne as of fee, and aboute eleven yeares laste paste thereof, dyed seized : by and after whose decease the said messuage and premisses with thappurtenaunces descended and came, as of righte the same oughte to descende and come, unto this defendante, as sonne and nexte heire of the said Edmunde ; by vertue whereof this defendante was and yet is of the said messuage, yearde lande and premisses, lawfully seized in his demeasne as of fee, which this defendante hopeth he oughte both by lawe and equitie to enjoye, accordinge to his lawfull righte and tytle therin : and this defendante further sayeth, that the said messuage, yearde lande, and other the said premisses or the moste parte thereof, have ever sythence the purches therof by this defendantes father, byne in lease by the demise of the said complainante ; and the lease therof beinge nowe somewhat nere expyred, wherby a greater value is to be yearly raised therby, they the said complainants doe now trowble and moleste this defendante by unjuste suts [lit.] in lawe, thinkinge therby, (as yt shoulde seme,) to wringe from him this defendante some further recompence for the said premisses then they have alreddy received : without that that yt was agreed that the said Edmunde Lamberte shoulde have and enjoy the said premisses in anie other manner and forme, (to the knowledge of this defendante,) then this defendante hath in his said answeare heretofore expressed, and without that, that anie deedes or evidences concernynge the premisses that of righte belonge to the said complainantes are come to the handes and possession of this defendante, as in the said byll is untruly supposed, and without that, that anie other matter, cause, p.64 / or thinge, in the said complainantes byll conteined, materiall or effectuall in the lawe, to be answeared unto, towchinge or concernynge him this defendante, and herein before not answeared unto, confessed and avoyded, traversed or denied, is true, to this defendants knowledge or remembrance, in suche manner and forme as in the said byll the same is sett downe and declared. All which matters this defendante is reddy to averre and prove, as this honorable courte shall awarde, and prayethe to be dismissed therhence with his reasonable costs and charges in this wrongfull sute by him unjustly susteyned.

The replicacion of John Shakespere and Mary his wief, plent, to the answere of John Lamberte, defendant.

      The said complaynaunts, for replicacion to the answere of the said defendant, saie that theire bill of complaynt ys certayne and sufficient in the lawe to be answered ; which said bill, and matters therein conteyned, these complainants will avowe, verefie, and justifie to be true and sufficient in the lawe to be answered unto, in such sorte, manner, and forme, as the same be sett forthe and declared in the said bill ; and further they saie that thanswere of the said defendaunt is untrue and insufficient in lawe to be replied unto, for many apparent causes in the same appearinge, thadvantage whereof these complainants praie may be to theym nowe and at all tymes saved, then and not ells ; for further replicacion to the said answere, they saie that accordinge to the condicion or proviso mencioned in the said indenture of bargaine and sale of the premisses mencioned in the said bill of complaynt, he this complainant John Shakspere did come to the dwellinge house of the said Edmunde Lambert, in Barton uppon the heathe, uppon the feaste daie of St. Michaell tharcheangell, which was in the yeare of our Lorde God one thousand fyve hundred and eightie, and then and there tendered to paie unto him the said Edmunde Lambert, the said fortie poundes, which he was to paie for the redempcion of the said premisses ; which somme the said Edmunde did refuse to receyve, saying that he owed him other money, and unles that he the said John would paie him altogether, as well the said fortie pounds as the other money, which he owed him over and above, he would not receave the said fortie pounds, and imediatlie after he the said Edmunde dyed, and by reason thereof, he the said defendant entered into the said premisses, and wrongfullie kepeth and detayneth the said premisses from him the said complainant : without that any other matter or thinge, materiall or effectuall, for these complainantes to replie unto, and not herein sufficientlie confessed and avoyded, denyed and traversed, ys true : all which matters and things thes complaynants are redie to averr and prove, as this honorable court will awarde, and pray as before in theire said bill they have praied.

      In dorso, Ter. Michael. Annis 40 et 41.J. STOVELL.

p.65 /

      In discussing these subjects connected with John Shakespeare's property, one important question has been omitted, which may here with propriety be briefly discussed,—when did he relinquish his occupation as a glover, and become a yeoman? As early as 1579 we find him described under this latter title, and in a deed executed by him in that year, he no longer signs with the curious cabalistic-looking character traced by him in 1559 and 1565, given in the fac-similes at p. 19 and p. 18, or with the similar but somewhat different mark in the accompanying copy of a presentation made when he was one of the affeerors in 1561. Some-

Marks of the affeerors, 1561, including that of John Shakespeare. Published size 12.3cm wide by 5.3cm high.

where, then, between the years 1565 and 1579, he commenced marking with a cross, and I suspect it will be conceded that when he did so, at that time also did he leave off his trade in gloves. The earlier mark of John Shakespeare was his merchant's mark, representing under both forms an instrument used in the glove trade, rudely executed perhaps, but still symbolical of his occupation. An instrument of a very similar form is still in common use for stretching or opening the fingers of new gloves, and a character not unlike that above given, may be seen in the " Wits Interpreter," 8vo. 1671, p. 519. Perhaps some p.66 / one, who has leisure for the inquiry, will be able to produce a contemporary illustration of this opinion.
      John Shakespeare has already been traced through the various offices of the corporation to 1569, when he was the chief magistrate of Stratford. From 1570 to 1586, he continued one of the aldermen, and he appears to have been a most regular attendant at the councils of the corporation till 1577, his name very seldom occurring as an absentee before that period. From 1577, however, till his removal in 1586, he scarcely made his appearance in the chamber. In a list of aldermen at a meeting held January 23d, 1577, "ab. Johannes Shaxpeare," and he is not marked as being present till October 4th, 1577; he then attended regularly till January 15th, 1578, after which he absents himself till September 5th, 1582, when he is again marked as being present, and he is also mentioned among the "alldermen present," at a hall holden November 4th, 1582, in a loose paper at the end of the corporation book marked A.*  After this, he attended no more meetings of the corporation, and on September 6th, 1586, he was deprived of his alderman's gown:—

} Ad aulam ibidem tent. vj. die Septembris anno regni Dominæ Elizabethæ, &c. vicesimo octavo.
     At thys halle William Smythe and Richard Courte are chosen to be aldermen in the places of John Wheler and John Shaxspere ; for that Mr. Wheler dothe desyre to be put owt of the companye, and Mr. Shaxspere dothe not come to the halles when they be warned, nor hathe not done of longe tyme.

      The pertinacity with which John Shakespeare absented himself arose most probably from a desire to withdraw himself from the corporation.†

  It has been usually stated he did not attend the councils after 1579. See Knight's Shakspere, a Biography, p. 107.
    †   Mr. Collier thinks that as it is stated that Wheler desired to withdraw, so also, if John Shakespeare had had the same wish, it would have been adduced. But Wheler may have resigned officially, and the council were not obliged to recognise any such desire, however well known, unless especially communicated to them.

At a hall held on September p.67 / 4th, 1583, he was the only alderman not present. He is marked as being there on August 31st, 1586, but this is so much at variance with the note above given, that it may perhaps be merely a clerical error. Yet is the fact of his continual absences so far from being an evidence of a falling off in circumstances, that it implies on the contrary the ability to pay the fines for non-attendance ; for we cannot doubt if he had not paid them, some notice, earlier than the above, would have appeared in the books. At a hall on November 19th, 1578, it was "ordened at this hall that every alderman and burgese that hath made default not comminge to this hall accordinge to the order shall paye their merciament." That he was in Stratford and able to attend in the year he was excluded from the corporation is unquestionable, for he was summoned on a jury of a Court of Record, May 25th, 28 Eliz.
      The occupations of John Shakespeare about this period were probably those of an ordinary yeoman of the time. There is reason to believe that his activity continued for many years afterwards. In 1592, we find him engaged in two instances in making inventories of the goods of persons deceased, a task which the old law-books tell us should be performed by "four credible men or more." With the desire of rendering my collection of documentary evidence as complete as possible, I subjoin these papers, although I need scarcely add that for all ordinary purposes brief abstracts would have been sufficient.

      A trew and a perfecte inventory of the goodes and cattells of Henry ffeelde late of Stretford uppon Avon in the cownty of Warwyke tanner, now decessed, beynge in Stretford aforesayd, the xxj.the daye of Auguste, aº. Domini, 1592, by Thomas Trussell, gentylman, Mr. John Shaksper, Richard Sponer, and others, viz.

In the hall ther.
      Inprimis, on table . . . . . uppon a joyned ffram, feyve smale joyned stowlls, with a smale cheare, with the waynscott benche, and the paynted clothes ther  -  -  -  -   x.s.
p.68 /
      Item, one payer of aldyornes, a fyer showle, a payre of tongs, toow payer of pothucks, one payer of pothangers  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -   iij.s. iiij.d.

In the parler ther.
      Inprimis, one smale table uppon a frame, with tow joyned stowlls, ij. cheares, one joyned presse, one joyned bedde, a smale planck, beyng aboute the vallewe of  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -   xx.s.
      Item, three paynted clothes ther, one fether-bed, one floke bed, tow bowlsters, one pillow, one bed kevoringe of yellow and grene, fore blankets old, one old karpet  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -   xx.s.
      Item, one longe cheaste wherin ys conteyned feyve payer of hurden course sheets, thre cowrse table clothes, seaven cowrse weypers, three cowrse table napkins  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -   x.s.
      Item, in the shorter coffer ther ys conteyned iij. payer of flaxen sheets, one payer of hempton sheets, one flaxen table clothe, and one other of hempe, halfe a dowsen of table napkins of flaxe and j. d. of hempe, which were redeemed by his weyfe since his decesse, ij. dyaper napkins, fowre pillowbeares flaxen, valewed   -  -  -  -  -  -   xl.s.

In the butterey this pewter.
     Inprimis, vj. puter disshes, eight platters, thretteen sawcers, three porridge disshes, fowr saltsellers, feyve candelstyks of latteyn, one quarte potte, toue chamber potts, and a woyne poyncte potte, tow flower potts, at   -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -   xx.s.

In brasse ther.
      Item, three brasse potts, three possenetts, a smalle panne old, iij. cawthornes and vj. skymers, a latteyn bason, one chaffyng dyshe, a frying panne, a drypping panne of plate  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -   xx.s.
     Item, ffowr broches great and smalle, one payer of cobbards  -  -  -  -  -   ij.s. vj.d.

In the chamber next to the parler.
      Item, one trowkle bedd with a flocke bedd, a kevoring old, and old bolster, and one old blankette, a lytle rownd table, tow old chestes, at  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -    x.s.

In the lytle chamber next to that.
      Item, one bedstead of bords, one flocke bedde, one dowble twylley, an old kevoring, one save, fowr old coffers, one presse mad of bords, loyke shelves, at  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -   xiij.s. iiij.d.

In the klyne howse.
      Item, syx barrells for beare, feyve loomes, fower payles, fowr formes, three wheels, one bowlting wytche, tow skipps, one using fatte, ij. skells, a table-bord, ij. payer of tressells, ij. streyks, one gallon, fower shelves  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -   xx.s.
      Item, a leade standeng in frame, one axe, ij. shovells, and a spade, vj.s. viij.d.
      Item, in one sheller or over chamber one joyned bedsteed and one cheese
p.69 / crathe, one other fether bedde, toue bowlsters, one kevoringe, ij. blanketts, and one pyllow more which ys now newly brought home, vallewed at  -  l.s.
      Item, in mawlte three quarters xxx.s., three maulte shovells, one beame with old skalles to the same, ij. dowseyn of trenchers, one dowseyn of pewter spones, valewed att  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -   xxxj.s.

In the yeord there.
      Item, three bundells of shorte lathe and one of longe lathe, two loods of woode, iij. shere peyks, one bucket with cocke, lyncks, corde and wayndlesse, one old heare, fowr halfe quarters baggs good and badde, one watching byll  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -   xij.s.
      Item, in old iron there  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -    xij.d.
Somma totallis, xiij.li. xiiij.s.
John Shaksper senior.
By me Rychard Sponer.

Per me Thomas Trussell, script. present.

      This document is entirely in the handwriting of Thomas Trussell, with the exception of the signature of Richard Sponer. The signature "John Shaksper senior" is undoubtedly in Trussell's handwriting, his mark, as usual, placed a little below his name, as in the document dated in 1565, on which so much has been written by Mr. Knight. The mark is that used by John Shakespeare on other occasions about this period. Mr. Collier, who has seen this inventory but not the following one, seems to say (p. 143) that the mark of John Shakespeare does not occur. He has either overlooked it, or, what is more probable, used a different copy of the document.

      The true and perfect inventory of Raph Shawe of Stratford upon Avon in the county of Warwicke woll-dryver decessed, taken the xxiiij.th day of Julye in the xxxiiij.th yeare of the rayngne of our soverayngne lady Elizabeth, by the grace of God of England, France, and Ierland, Queene, defender of the Feyth, &c. by the discretion of Mr. John Shakspere, Mr. Willyam Wilson, and Valentyne Tant, with others.

      Inprimis, his apparell, praysed at  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -   xx.s.
      Item, in the hall a joyned table bord, a chere, ij. joyned stowlls, and ij. benches, at  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -   vj.s. viij.d.
      Item, a joyned cubbord in the hall, with certayne shilves, and paynted clothes  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -   x.s.

p.70 /
     Item, iij. brasse panns, vij. brasse potts, ij. kettles, ij. chaffyng disshes, iiij. candlestycks, with other smale implements of brasse  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -   iij.li.
      Item, xxvj. peeces of pewter, ij. salts, and a pewter pott  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -   xx.s.
      Item, ij. pere of pott hooks, one . . . . , a fyer shovell, a bradyron, with other smale implements of yron ware, and a pare of bellows  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -    ij.s. vj.d.
      Item, iij. quysshyns, a lyttle grene say for the wyndow  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -    xx.d.

In the parlor.
      Imprimis, one joyned table, a cubbord, one joyned bed, a presse, one joyned forme, a joyned stoole, a bench, a shilf, a coffer, a curtayne for a wyndowe, and paynted clothes  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -   xl.s.
      Item, ij. fetherbeds, ij. flockbeds, three boulsters, iij. pillows  -  -  -  -   liij.s. iij.d.
      Item, xj. pere of sheetes, iiij. pillow bures, iij. bordclothes, fyve towels, viij. table napkyns, with other smale implements of lynnen   -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -   iij.li.
      Item, xij. peces of pewter, iij. salts, one chamber pot, one candlestycke, ij. dosen of trenchers, with glasse and earth-pots   -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -   xiij.s. iiij.d.
      Item, fyve hillyngs, one carpett, one pere of blankets   -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -   xl.s.
      Item, xxj. todde of woll   -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -     xx.li.

In the saller.
      Item, vj. fodd of yearne   -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -     vij.li.
      Item, halfe a quarter of rye   -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -    iiij.s. vj.d.
      Item, vj. barrells, one chere, one chest, one typpyng hurdle, fowr skeynyng wheles, one spynyng whele, iiij. pere of woll cards, a beame of yron, scales and wights of lead, and one packeclothe, with smale implements  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -   x.s.

In the nether howse.
      Item, two kevers, a stryke and a frying panne, a grydyron, one stoole, certeyne bords, with other smale implements of two packclothes, and a saddle  -  -  -  -  x.s.

In the loft over the hall.
      Imprimis, two bedsteds, a truclebed, and a lyttle bord  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -   iiij.s.
      Item, ij. fetherbeds, ij. flockbeds, ij. hillyngs, ij. pere of blankets, fowr boulsters, and paynted clothes  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -    xlij.s.
      Item, twentye quarters of malt  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -   x.li.
      Item, one geldyng with saddle and bridle and other thyngs for hym   -  -  -   xl.s.
      Item, the hey  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -    xxvj.s. viij.d.
      Item, wod and cooles  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -    x.s.
      Item, payles, lomes, bucket, and bucket theeve, a hatchet, with other implements of wodd  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -   v.s.
      Item, in another howse a joyned bed, a table bord   -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -    -    viij.s.
Som. totalis, lxj.li. vj.s. x.d.

      In the same year, in the list of the moneys received by the Chamberlains of Stratford is the following, "Of John p.71 / Shackesper for Richard Fletcher, xx.s.;" but this is one of the very few entries which may relate to Shakespeare the shoemaker, and as it does not seem to give us any information of value, it may be passed over. Mr. Collier has quoted a MS. in the State Paper Office of far greater importance. It is a return from Sir Thomas Lucy and other commissioners appointed to make inquiries respecting jesuits, priests, and recusants* in Warwickshire, dated 25 Sept. 34 Eliz. 1592 ; and in the return for Stratford on Avon occurs a very curious notice of John Shakespeare, implying that he was at that time in pecuniary difficulties, not attending the church for fear of a process of debt.

  A list of recusants of a somewhat later date, preserved at Stratford, does not contain the names of any of the Shakespeare family, although some of the same parties are mentioned that occur in the paper given above :—

The recusanttes and suche as wee find that doe nott come to Churche.

   Mrs. Jonne Barber, the wyffe of Mr. Thomas Barber.
   Johne Wheyllers wyffe in Henlie Streytte.
   Ann Burmum, the wyffe of Richarde Burmume.
   Marie Cawdrye, the wyffe of Arthur Caudrye.
   George Baidger, and Ailles his wyffe.
   Margarett Bragge, and Aills her daughtter.
   Sybele Caudrye wyddoe.
   Marie Ellettes.
   Larrance Abell for nott comminge to churche, and for worckinge of hollidaies contrarie to the lawe.
   Johne Hancoxe for workinge uppone Chryssmas daie and other hollidaies, and for not comyng to church.
   Henrie Browne for workinge of hollidaies.
   Johne Fyfield for shutinge in a gunne.
         Wee find theis faulltie.

Mr. Collier thinks no such process could be served on a Sunday, but this I suspect must be one of the many errors which result from measuring the usage of an early period by that of our own. The reader must draw his own conclusion from a copy of this portion of the return, which I here give at greater length than in the brief extract published by Mr. Collier :—

p.72 /

      The names of all sutch recusantes as have bene hearetofore presented for not comminge monethlie to the churche according to hir Majesties lawes, and yet are thoughte to forbeare the church for debtt and for feare of processe, or for soom other worse faultes, or for age, sicknes, or impotencye of bodie.

In the hundred of Barlichewaye in the parrishe of Stratford upon Avon.
Mr. John Wheeler.
John Wheeler his soon.
Mr. John Shackespere.
Mr. Nicholas Barneshurste.
Thomas James alias Gyles.
William Bainton.
Richard Harrington.
William ffluellen.
George Bardolfe.
It is sayd that these laste nine coom not to churche for feare of processe for debtte.
Mris. Geffreyes vid.
Mris. Barber.
Julian Coorte.
Griffen ap Robertes.
Joane Welche.
Mris. Wheeler.
Weare all here presented for recusantes, and doo all so continewe, saving Mris. Wheeler, who is conformed, and Griffen ap Roberts now deade. But the presenters say that all or the most of theese cannot coom to the church for age and other infirmities.

      It must be remarked of this document that it distinctly professes to contain a list of all such recusants as have been heretofore presented for not coming monthly to the church, so that we may take it for granted that John Shakespeare's name had appeared as a non-attendant at divine service in an earlier return. How far it may be said to prove him distinctly a recusant is a question that must be left to be decided hereafter by evidence not now known. In the same bundle with the MS. now mentioned is an information presented by one Roger Shakespere, a name that has not yet occurred in the account of the family.*

  "The informacion of Roger Shakespere for the byhavior of one Cutberd Temple in absentinge himeself from the church. The sayd Roger Shakespere saythe that the fornamed Cutberd Temple hath not this twelve monethes and a quarter comme to his parishe churche, and was muche associate with one Mr. Aston, and one Mr. Dudley, and one Bedell whiche is nowe in the Tower, and one Glover of Coventrye, whose brother of late was burned. Moreover theire is a man that owethe unto the forsayd Curtberd Temple the somme of vij.c. poundes to be payd yerely a c.li. for the space of vij. yeres, and nowe would p.73 / take iiij.c. to have it payed imediately : for what occacion he doeth it I cannot tell."  Among the recusants "in the Parrisshe of Merivale" was "one Bates, a virginall player, presented theare to bee a most willfull recusant, and now (as it is sayd) is in Staffordsheere, but wheare the presenters knowe not."—MSS. in the State Paper Office, 1592.

      But whatever troubles may have fallen to the lot of John Shakespeare, and they were certainly not few, there is nothing to show that he ever parted with the two freehold houses in Henley street, one of which is still regarded as the poet's birthplace. On his death they descended to his son William. They are mentioned in 1590, in a return to a commission issued out of the Exchequer for the survey of the possessions of Ambrose Earl of Warwick, preserved in the Carlton Ride Record Office. John Shakespeare held freely one tenement for the yearly rent of sixpence and suit of court ; the other in the same manner for the yearly rent of thirteen-pence. The manor of Stratford was granted to the Earl of Warwick in 1562. As it may be interesting to some readers to see who held the Henley-street property at that period, I subjoin a copy of the document relating to that part of the town :—

Vicus vocatus Henley Strete.
      Ballivus et burgenses villæ de Stretford tenent libere unum tenementum cum pertinentiis per reddit. per annum viiij.d. sect. cur.   -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -   viij.d.
      Hæres Johannis Clopton gen. tenet libere unum tent. cum pertinentiis per redd. per annum viij.d. servic.   -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -   viij.d.
      Georgius Whateley tenet libere unum tent. cum pertinentiis per reddit. per annum iiij.d. sect. cur.   -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -    iiij.d.
      Idem Georgius tenet libere unum tent. cum pertinentiis per reddit. per annum xij.d. sect. cur.   -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -    xij.d.
      Johannes Combes gen. tenet libere unum tent. cum pertinentiis per reddit. per annum   -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -    iiij.d.
      Ballivus et burgenses villæ de Stretford tenent libere unum tent. cum pertinentiis per reddit. per annum vj.d. sect. cur.   -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -    vj.d.
      Iidem ballivus et burgenses tenent libere unum tent. cum pertinentiis, et reddit. per annum   -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -    viij.d.
      Nuper gardian. Collegii de Stratford tenuit libere unum tent. cum pertinentiis per reddit. per annum viij.d. sect. cur.   -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -    viij.d.
p.74 /
      Idem nuper gardian. Collegii de Stretford tenuit libere unum molendinum aquarum cum pertinentiis per reddit. per annum iiij.d. sect. cur.  -  -  -  -  -  -   iiij.d.
      Ballivus et burgenses villæ de Stretford tenent libere unum tenementum cum pertinentiis per reddit. per annum iij.d. sect. cur.   -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -   -  -  -  -    iij.d.
      Ricardus Hornebie tenet libere unum tent. cum pertinentiis per redd. per annum v.d. sect. cur.   -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -     v.d.
      Johannes Wheler tenet libere suum tent. cum pertinentiis per reddit. per annum viij.d. sect. cur.   -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -     viij.d.
      Johannes Shackespere tenet libere unum tenementum cum pertinentiis per redd. per annum vj.d. sect. cur.   -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -     vj.d.
      Idem Johannes tenet libere unum tent. cum pertinentiis per redd. per annum xiij.d. sect. cur.   -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -     xiij.d.
      Georgius Badger tenet libere unum tent. cum pertinentiis per redd. per annum x.d. sect. cur.   -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -    x.d.
      Johannes Johnson tenet libere unum tent. cum pertinentiis per reddit. per annum xij.d. sect. cur.   -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -   xij.d.
      Ballivus et burgenses villæ de Stretford tenent libere unum tent. cum pertinentiis per redd. per annum iij.d. sect. cur.   -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -   iij.d.
      Iidem ballivus et burgenses tenent libere unum tent. cum pertinentiis per redd. per annum   -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -   iij.d.
      Ricardus Quiney in jure Elizabethæ uxoris ejus tent libere unum horreum per reddit. per annum   -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -   iiij.d.
      Idem Richardus tenet libere tent. cum pertinentiis per redd. per annum xij.d. sect. cur.  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -    xij.d.
      Petrus Smarte tenet libere unum tent. cum pertinentiis per redd. per annum vj.d. sect. cur.   -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -   vj.d.
      Ballivus et burgenses villæ de Stretford tenent libere unum tent. cum pertinentiis per redd. per annum xij.d. sect. cur.   -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -   xij.d.
      Johannes Whelar [lit.] tenet libere unum tent. cum pertinentiis per redd. per annum iiij.d. sect. cur.   -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -   iiij.d.
      Idem Johannes tenet libere unum tent. cum pertinentiis per redd. per annum x.d. sect. cur.   -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -   x.d.
      Idem Johannes tenet libere unum tent. cum pertinentiis per reddit. per annum vj.d. sect. cur.   -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  vj.d.
      Johannes Turnor tenet libere unum tent. cum pertinentiis per reddit. per annum   -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -   vj.d.
      Ricardus Quyney tenet libere unum tent. cum pertinentiis in jure Elizabethæ uxoris ejus per reddit. per annum vj.d. sect. cur.   -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -   vj.d.
      Adrianus Quyney tenet libere unum tent. cum pertinentiis per reddit. per annum   -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -   ix.d.
      Willielmus Smyth tenet libere unum horreum cum pertinentis per reddit. per annum   -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -   vj.d.
      Nuper gardian. Collegii de Stretford tenuit libere unum tent. cum pertinentiis per reddit. per annum v.d. sect. cur.   -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -   v.d.
Summa vici prædicti, xvij.s. vij.d.

p.75 /

      In 1596, we find John Shakespeare applying at the Herald's College for a grant of arms, the draft of a grant by Dethick being dated in that year, and between that time and 1599, communications probably took place between him and the College on the subject, the draft of another grant from Dethick and Camden bearing the latter date. I entirely concur with Malone and Collier in considering that this attempt to make John Shakespeare a gentleman originated with his son William ; and, indeed, it would be difficult to imagine an old man in John Shakespeare's position seeking the distinction for himself, the effort being attended with considerable expense. No grant of arms was made to John Shakespeare before 1597, for he is called yeoman*  in a deed dated in that year, which the reader will find at p. 37 ; so that the "patierne under Clarenc Cookes hand" was only a pleasing fiction.

  In the two following drafts he is termed gent., and so he would always have been called after a grant had been made.

The grant must therefore have been made after that date, and we find the single arms here described over Shakespeare's monument at Stratford, not impaled with those of Arden, as the second grant authorised. As to the grant of lands to Shakespeare's ancestor, let any one carefully look at the interlineations and alterations in these drafts, and remembering the proofs here given that Dethick's notes were not always true, he will be inclined to come to the conclusion that no dependence whatever is to be placed on the correctness of the assertion. It is not at all necessary to suppose that Camden had any part in it ; for the second draft, in which only his name occurs, is evidently formed in that respect from the former one.
      There are two drafts of the intended grant of 1596, and one of 1599, preserved in the College of Arms. As they have never been fully exhibited in print, I have here given p.76 / them at length, marking the interlineations in italics, and comparing the first with the other copy of the same grant.

Draft of a grant of arms to John Shakespeare, 1596, MS. Vincent. Coll. Arm. 157, art. 23, compared with art. 24.*
Shakespere, 1596.
      To all and singuler noble and gentillmen of what estate or degre bearing arms to whom these presentes shall come, William Dethick alias Garter principall king of arms sendethe greetinges. Knowe yee that wheras by the authorite and auncyent pryvelege and custome perteyning to my said office of principall king of arms from the Quenes most exc. majeste and her highnes most noble and verteous†  progenitors, I am to take generall notice and record and to make publique demonstracion and testemonie for all‡  causes of arms and matters of §  gentrie thoroughe out all her Majestes kingdoms and domynions, principalites, isles, and provinces, To thend that as some|| by theyre auncyent names,¶  families, kyndredes and descentes, have and enjoye sonderie ensoignes and [cotes] of arms, so other for theyre valiant factes, magnanimite, vertue, dignites, and descertes, maye have suche markes and tokens of honor and worthinesse, whereby theyr name and good fame shalbe [knowen] and divulged, and theyre children and posterite in all vertue to the service of theyre prynce and contrie [encouraged]. Being therefore solicited and [by] credible report informed that John Shakespeare of Stratford uppon Avon in the counte of Warwick, whose parentes and late antecessors** were for there††  valeant and faithefull service advaunced and rewarded by the most prudent prince king Henry the Seventh of famous memorie, sythence whiche tyme they have continewed at those partes in good reputacion and credit ; and that the said John having maryed Mary, daughter and one of the heyrs of Robert Arden of Wilmcote, in the said counte, gent. In consideration wherof, and for encouragement of his posterite, to whom theyse achivmentes maie desend by the auncient custom and lawes of armes‡‡  I have therfore assigned graunted and by these presentes confirmed this shield or cote of arms, viz. Gould on a bend sable a speare of the first, the poynt steeled, proper,§§

    The arms are placed at the top of this draft, with the motto Non sanz droict. In MS. Harl. 6140, and MS. Chetham 7996, are given tricks of the arms, the first being called, "William Shackspare, a pattentt per William Dethike, garter principall king of armes."
    †     Victorious in MS. art. 24.
    ‡     Originally, "matters and causes."
    §     Originally, "and for all."
    ||   Manie gentelmen in MS. art. 24.
    ¶     Of is here inserted in MS. art. 24.
    **   Grandfather is written over this word in the MS. art. 24.
    ††   His, MS. art. 24.
    ‡‡   This sentence has been omitted by all editors, probably because written at the bottom of the page.
    §§   Originally argent, and it is argent in MS. art. 24.

p.77 /

and for his creast or cognizance, a faulcon, his winges displayed, argent, standing on a wrethe of his coullors, supporting a speare gould steeled as aforesaid, sett upon a healmett with mantelles and tasselles as hath ben accustomed and more playnely appearethe depicted on this margent. Signefieng hereby* that it shalbe lawfull for the sayd John Shakespeare gent. and for his children yssue and posterite at all tymes convenient and to make shewe of and beare blazon the same atchevement on theyre shield or escucheons, cote of arms, seales, ringes, signettes, creast, cognizance or penons, guydons, edefices, utensiles, lyveries, tombes or monumentes, or otherwyse, at all tymes in all lawfull warrlyke factes or civile use and exercises, according to the lawes of armes, without lett or interruption of any other person or persons.†  Yn wittnesse wherof I have hereunto subscribed my name, and fastened the seale of my office endorzed with the signett of my arms, At the Office of Arms, London, the xx.th daye of October, in the xxxix.te‡ yeare of the reigne of our Soveraigne Lady Elizabeth, by the Grace of God Quene of England, ffrance and Ireland, Defender of the Faithe, &c. 1596.

      At the bottom of the second draft of this grant, the following curious note occurs. It has been often quoted, but never quite correctly,—

      This John hath a patierne therof under Clarenc Cookes hand in paper xx. years past.
      A justice of peace, and was baylefe, officer, and cheffe of the towne of Stratford uppon Avon xv. or xvj. years past.
      That he hathe landes and tenementes of good wealth and substance, 500li.
      That he mar[ried a daughter and heyre of Arden, a gent. of worship.]§

  And by the authorite of my office aforesaid ratifieng. MS. art. 24.
    †   Originally, "that maye usurpe and beare the same."
    ‡   Corrected to xxxviij. in the MS. art. 24.
    §   This passage between brackets is now decayed and lost from the MS. The lacuna has been supplied from Malone's copy, Shak. ii. 89. By patierne is merely meant a trick of the arms. In the unpublished Talbot MSS. a sketch of a coronet is so called. See Lodge's Catalogue, p. 108.

      The second paragraph in these few notes, is sufficient of itself to show the attempt at making a good case by exceeding the truth. It implies that John Shakespeare was a justice of the peace appointed by the sovereign, not merely ex officio as Bailiff of Stratford. He certainly was never in that position in any other capacity, except possibly when he was chief alderman. The "othe of the baylyffe and principall alderman" commences, "yow shalle swere that as p.78 / a justice of the peace and baylyffe of thys borowghe of Stratford and liberties therof."*

  MSS. in the Council Chamber, Stratford.

The first paragraph has hitherto been written this John sheweth, but sheweth is evidently not the word in the MS., which seems to me to be hath, although I fear it can never be determined with certainty, one word having been written over another, rendering the whole most indistinct. In the grant for 1599, it was originally stated that he shewed and produced his coat of arms, but this was erased, and the whole matter is so confused, hesitating, and uncertain, that we may readily believe the real history perished with Dethick and Shakespeare. This is the more probable when we learn that the former was charged with having granted arms improperly, for in a MS. in the Herald's College, W.Z. 276, is preserved "the answere of Garter and Clarenciaux, kinges of armes, to a libellous scrowle against certein arms supposed to be wrongfully given," and under the head Shakespere, they say, "It may as well be said that Harely, who beareth gould a bend betweene two cotizes sables, and all other that [bear] or and argent a bend sables, usurpe the coate of the Lo. Mauley. As for the speare in bend is a patible difference ; and the person to whome it was granted hath borne magestracy, and was justice of peace at Stratford upon Avon : he maried the daughter and heire of Arderne, and was able to maintaine that estate." We still have the truth exceeded in the implication he was a magistrate appointed by royalty. The following is no doubt a draft of the grant actually made. Even had we no other evidence, had a grant been made in 1596, it would have been so stated in 1599, supposing application had been made for permission to impale the arms of Arden. In the lower part of the trick here given, the Arden coat is p.79 / placed on one side merely because an error had been made in tracing the original shield.

Draft of a grant of arms to John Shakespeare, 1599, MS. Coll. Arm. R. 21.

Original sketch of Shakespeare's arms, 1599. Published size 5.2cm wide by 9cm high.  
      To all and singuller noble and gentelmen of all estates and degrees bearing arms to whom these presentes shall com, William Dethick, Garter, Principall King of Arms of England, and William Camden, alias Clarencieulx, King of Arms for the sowth east and weste partes of this realme, sendethe greetinges. Knowe yee that in all nations and kingdoms the record and remembrances of the valeant factes and verteous dispositions of worthie men have ben made knowen and divulged by certeyne shieldes of arms and tokens of chevalrie, the grant and testimonie wherof apperteynethe unto us by vertu of our offices from the Quenes most exc. majeste, and her highenes most noble and victorious progenitors : wherfore being solicited, and by credible report informed, that John Shakespere, nowe of Stratford uppon Avon in the counte of Warwik gent., whose parent, great grandfather, and late antecessor, for his faithefull and approved service to the late most prudent prince King H. 7. of famous memorie, was advaunced and rewarded with landes and tenementes geven to him in those partes of Warwikeshere, where they have continewed by some descentes in good reputacion and credit ; and for that the said John Shakespere having maryed the daughter and one of the heyrs of Robert Arden of Wellingcote in the said countie, and also produced this his auncient cote of arms heretofore assigned to him whilest he was her Majesties officer and baylefe of that towne, In consideration of the premisses,* and for the encouragement of his posterite, unto whom suche blazon of arms and atchevementes of inheritance from theyre said mother by the auncyent custome and lawes of arms maye

  Originally, whereof.

p.80 /

lawfully descend, We the said Garter and Clarencieulx have assigned, graunted, and confirmed, and by these presentes exemplefied unto the said John Shakespere, and to his posterite that shield and cote of arms,*  viz. In a field of gould uppon a bend sables a speare of the first the poynt upward hedded argent;†  and for his creast or cognisance, a ffalcon with his wynges displayed standing on a wrethe of his coullers supporting a speare‡  armed hedded or steeled sylver, fyxed uppon a helmet with mantelles and tasselles, as more playnely maye appeare depicted on this margent ; and we have lykewise uppon on other escucheon impaled the same with the auncyent arms of the said Arden of Wellingcote, signifeing thereby that it maye and shalbe lawefull for the said John Shakespere gent. to beare and use the same shieldes of arms, single or impaled as aforesaid, during his naturall lyffe ; and that it shalbe lawfull for his children, yssue, and posteryte (lawfully begotten) to beare, use, and quarter and shewe forthe the same with theyre dewe differences in all lawfull warlyke factes and civile use or exercises, according to the lawes of arms and custome that to gent. belongethe, without let or interuption of any person or person[s] for use or for bearing the same. In wyttnesse and testemonye wherof we have subscribed our names and fastened the seales of our offices, yeven at the Office of Arms, London, the . . . . . . . . . in the xlij.te. yeare of the reigne of our most gratious soveraigne Ladye Elizabeth, by the Grace of God, . . . . . . . . . . France, and Ireland, Defendor of the Faythe, &c. 1599.

  Originally, Whiche he shewed and produced, but afterwards erased.
    †   Originally, with steele argent.
    ‡   Originally, in pale.

      The latest notice of John Shakespeare I have met with, occurs in a paper in the Council Chamber at Stratford, containing notes respecting an action of trespass brought by Sir Edward Grevil against several burgesses of Stratford in 1601, the year of John Shakespeare's death. The following list of names occurs amongst memoranda of the defendant's case, and perhaps were the witnesses intended to be called,—

Mr. Jhon Jefferryes.
Mr. Adrien Quyney.
Mr. Thomas Wheler alias Dier.
Mr. Jhon Sackesper.
Symon Biddle.

and this adds, I believe, one more specimen to the varieties of the Shakespeare orthography. He was buried Sep- p.81 / tember 8th, 1601, so that supposing he had only attained his majority when we first discover him as a resident in Henley street, he was at least seventy when he departed from the scene. It would have pleased us better had we found Shakespeare raising monuments to his parents in the venerable pile which now covers his own remains.
      Adventitious circumstances lead us now to commemorate a person in humble life who has hitherto served more biographical purposes than are at all necessary. Whenever an entry relating to the poet's father was displeasing to an editor, or did not answer the purposes of his argument, a reply was always ready,—it refers to John Shakespeare, the shoemaker,*  who lived at Stratford, and was a contemporary with his namesake. It is perfectly essential that this question of identity should be in some degree limited. This John Shakespeare is mentioned in the books of the corporation as a burgess present at a hall, 9 March, 22 Eliz. 1580. On Oct. 1st, 1585, he was sworn as one of the tasters,—
} John Shaxpere.
Humfry Brace.
having been previously elected a constable on Sept. 6th, "George Badger, Roger Welshe, John Shaxspere, and Humffrey Brace;" and in the following January, the Chamberlains' accounts for 1586 tell us, "reseved of Shakspeare the shumaker for his fredom the xix. day of Jenuarey, xxx.s." But he was poor or he would not have availed himself in 1587 of Oken's charity,†  a loan of £5 to be employed in his business,—

  Thomas Shaxper, also a shoemaker, was an attesting witness to a bond dated 24 Sept. 20 Eliz. in the corporation records.
    †   Thomas Oken of Warwick, in his will dated Nov. 24th, 1570, gave £40 to Stratford on Avon, "to bestowe and deliver the said somme of ffourtie poundes to divers yong occupiers of the same towne of Stretford upon Avon in lone, in maner and forme following, That is to say, unto eight such honest young men dwelling within the same towne that bee of some honest mistery or craft p.82 / and householders within the same towne, being also of good name fame and conversacion with their neighbors in the same towne, That is to say, to every such one of the said eight yong men the somme of ffive poundes by the waye of loane to be occupied by him and them in their said craftes or mysteryes during the space of ffoure yeres."—MS. Black Book in the Corporation Archives, Warwick.

      At a hall there holden the xvij.th daie of ffebruarie, anno xxixº dominæ reginæ Elizabeth. &c. Thomas Okens money was delivered to the personnes whose names are underwritten, to be emploied accordinge to the last will and testament of the saide Thomas.
      John Shaxpere v.li., his suerties Richard Sponer et Roberte Yonge.

And the acceptance of this loan also proves he was young, that being one of the express conditions in Oken's will. In a deed made June 10, 1588, one of the witnesses is "John Shaksper, corvizare."   About this period he resided in Bridge Street, for in a list of the rents of the corporation made in October, 1589, he is noticed as a tenant of a house in that street, and the following paper, containing a similar list dated Jan. 12th, 1590-1, mentions him in the same part of the town.

Brydge Strett warde.
John Fyssher ten. Thomas Swane   
Rychard Bayles
Thomas West
Robart Wylson
John Knyght for on small ten.
Mr. Barber for ij. barnnes
ij. muckhilles
ij. tenementes in Rather Strett
Henry Fylde
John Shaxpere
Rychard Ainge
- - - - -   
- - - - -
- - - - -
- - - - -
- - - - -
- - - - -
- - - - -
- - - - -
- - - - -
- - - - -
- - - - -


      On Oct. 29, 1587, his wife Margery, whom he married on Nov. 25, 1584, was buried, but he appears to have soon married again, for a daughter Ursula was baptized March 11, 1588-9, a son Humphrey on May 24, 1590,*  and a son Philip on Sept. 21, 1591.

  At the commencement of this year he is mentioned as a trustee for the p.83 / children of another shoemaker in the following entry in the register of the Corporation :—
} Ad aulam ibidem tent. ixº die Januarii anno regni dominæ Elizabethæ, &c. xxxijº.
      At this halle Mr. Abraham Sturley hathe delyverd thre severall obligacions to the use of the chyldren of one Thomas Robertes decessed ; viz. one bande made to Thomas Robertes, one of the sonnes of Thomas Robertes decessed, of fyftie poundes, wheryn Richard Masters of Mylverton yoman, and John Shaxspere of Stratford, corvizer, stand bounde for the bredinge of the seyd Thomas Robertes, and the payment of xxxij.li. accordinge to the condycions of the seyd bande, whiche bande berithe date quarto die Octobris anno tricessimo Elizabethæ reginæ (1588), and one other bande beringe date tercio die Octobris anno xxxº. Elizabethæ Reginæ, of fyftie poundes made from John Laurence of Studley, husbandman, Edmunde Edes of the holte in the perishe of Studley husbandman, and William Bowkeley of Studley tanner, to John Robertes, one other of the sonnes of the seyd Thomas Robertes, for the payment of the somme of xxvj.li. accordinge to the condicion of the same bande ; and also one other bande from John Shaxspere of Stratford, corvizer, and Edwardum Busshell de eisdem, wolsted wever, in lx.li. for the bredinge of Richard Robertes, the yongest sonne of the seyd Thomas, and also for payment of suche money as ys conteyned in the condicion of the same bande, beringe date tertio die Octobris anno xxxº. E. Reginæ.—MS. A. Corporation Records.

p.82 / He is mentioned in the p.83  / corporation books as "Master of the companie of shoemakers," and he appears to have left Stratford about 1595, for then his house in Bridge Street was inhabited by another person, and he is heard of no more in the records of Stratford.
      Now bearing in mind the very humble station and circumstances of this John Shakespeare, the rent of his house being only twelve shillings, and appearing in every way a very obscure person ; the period of his residence at Stratford, moreover, being brought within very narrow limits, and it being clearly seen he obtained no rank in the corporation, is it necessary that the unfortunate identity of name with Shakespeare's father should any longer be a hinderance to our researches respecting the latter? It need be so in reality in very few cases. The parish register makes a distinction between them, Mr. John Shakespeare being the ex-bailiff, John Shakespeare being the shoemaker. There is every reason to believe the trade of the latter is inserted in the registry of the Court of Record whenever he is referred to, as in a case 25 Feb. 32 Eliz. where he is merely p.84 / bail for a party,—"Thomas Tetherton comparuit per Willielmum Courte atturn. suum ad sect. Willielmi Tetherton in placito transgr. super casum querens narr. et deff. li. lo. Johannes Shaxpere, shumaker, m. pro deff.," and in the register of the corporation proceedings, no difficulty whatever is found in distinguishing between the two.*  We have already had a curious instance of identifying with more than usual clearness, when Shakespeare's father was intended, in an entry quoted at p. 45.

  Malone is so very inaccurate in his interpretation of the regnal years, that it would almost seem he based his calculations on a wrong formula. The dates in the part of his work which relates to this Shakespeare are extremely erroneous. At a hall held on 29 March, 1582, the following entries were made : "A note of Mr. Okens money and to whom yt ys lent, and the names of theire sureties, and also of Bakers money.   Bakers money ; Thomes [lit.] Fourde, shuemaker, in v.li. for l.s. and Henrie Rogers, butcher, and John Shaxpere, shuemaker, his suerties.   Okens money ; John Fysher, shuemaker, in x.li. for v.li. and Humffrey Wheler and Humffrey Cowper, shuemakers, his suerties : Philippus Grene in x.li. for v.li. Henrie Rogers, butcher, and John Shaxpere, shuemaker, his suerties."  Manuscripts at the Rolls House mention a John Shakespeare, a bit-maker in London in 1620 and 1621, and Thomas Shakspere, "one of the Quenes Majesties messengers of the chamber," is alluded to in a paper dated 1571 in the same office.

      So many theories regarding the early life of Shakespeare have been founded on the alleged circumstances of his father, that the pains here taken to remove some of the doubts relating to the history of the latter, and to distinguish between him and his namesake, with more accuracy than has yet been accomplished, will be found of essential service in forming the most probable theory on the manner in which the poet's youth was passed.

Link to 'Life of Shakespeare', contents.
Link to 'Life of Shakespeare', part 2.