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remembraunce of the valeant facts and verteous dispositions of worthie men have been made knowne and divulged by certeyne shields of arms and tokens of chevalrie; the grant and testemonie whereof apperteyneth unto us by vertu of our offices from the Quenes most Exc. Majestie, and her Highenes most noble and victorious progenitors: wherefore being solicited, and by credible report informed that JOHN SHAKSPERE, now of Stratford upon Avon, in the counte of Warwick, gent. whose parent, great grandfather, and late antecessor, for his faithefull and approved service to the late most prudent prince, king Henry VII. of famous memore, was advaunced and rewarded with lands and tenements, geven to him in those parts of Warwickshere, where they have continewed by some descents in good reputacion and credit; and for that the said John Shakspere 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 achevements of inheritance from theyre said mother by the auncyent custome and lawes of arms, maye lawfully descend ; We the said Garter and Clarencieulx have assigned, graunted, and by these presents exemplefied unto the said John Shakspere, and to his posterite, that shield and cote of arms, viz. In a field of gould upon a bend
sables, a speare of the first, the poynt upward, hedded argent; and for his crest or cognizance, A falcon with his wyngs displayd, standing on a wrethe of his coullers; supporting a speare armed hedded, or steeled sylver, fyxed uppon a helmet with mantell and tassells, as more playnely maye appeare depected on this margent; and we have likewise uppon on other escucheon impaled the same with the auncyent arms of the said Arden * of Wellingcote, signifieng therby that it maye and shalbe lawfull for the said John Shakspere, gent. to beare and use the same shield of arms, single or impaled, as aforsaid, during his naturall lyffe ; and that it shalbe lawfull for his children, yssue, and posteryte (lawfully begotten) to beare, use, and quarter, and show forth the same, with theyre dewe differences, in all lawfull warlyke facts and civile use or exercises, according to the lawes of arms, and custome that to gentlemen belongethe, without let or interuption of
* It is said by the modern editor of Arden of Feversham (first published in 1992, and republished in 1770) that Shakspere descended by the female line from the gentleman whose unfortunate eud is the subjeet of this tragedy. But the assertion appears to want support, the true name of the person who was murdered at Feversham being Ardern and noi Arden. Ardern might be called Arden in the play, for the sake of better sound, or might be corrupted in the chronicle of Hollingshed: yet it is unlikely that the true spelling should be overlooked among the Heralds, whose interest it is to recommend, by ostentatious accuracy, the trifles in which they deal. STEEVENS,
any any person or persons, for use or bearing the same, In wyttnesse and testemonye wherof we have subscrebed our names, and fastened the seals of our offices, geven at the Office of Arms, London, the
daye of in the xlii yere of the reigne of our most gratious Sovraigne Ladye Elizabeth, by the grace of God Quene of Ingland, France, and Ireland, defender of the faith, &c. 1559.
Extracted from the Registry of the ARCHBISHOP of
Vicesimo quinto die Martii, Anno Regni Domini nostri
Jacobi nunc Regis Angliæ, &c. decimo quarto, & Scotia quadragesimo nono. Anno Domini 1616.
In the name of God, Amen. I William Shakspere, of Stratford upon Avon, in the county of Warwick, gent. in perfect health and memory (God be praised), do make and ordain this my last will and testament in manner and form following ; that is to say:
. First, I commend my soul into the hands of God my Creator, hoping, and assuredly believing, through the only merits of Jesus Christ my Saviour, to be made partaker of life everlasting; and my body to the earth whereof that is made.
Item, I give and bequeath unto my daughter Judith one hundred and fifty pounds of lawful English moncy, to be paid unto her in manner and form fol. lowing; that is to say, one hundred pounds in discharge of her marriage portion, within one year after