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mother's side, was so “advanced and rewarded ;” and we know that he did “faithful and approved service” to that “most prudent prince.”
Another point, though one of less importance, is, that it is stated, in a note at the foot of the confirmation of 1596, that John Shakespeare “showeth” a patent under Clarence Cooke's hand:” the word seems originally to have been sent, over which “showeth " was written : if the original patent, under Cooke's hand, had been sent to the Heralds' College in 1596, there could have been little question about it; but the substituted word “showeth” is more indefinite, and may mean only, that the party applying for the confirmation alleged that Cooke had granted such a coat of arms? That William Shakespeare could not have procured a grant of arms for himself in 1596 is highly probable, from the fact that he was an actor, (a profession then much looked down upon) and not of a rank in life to entitle him to it: he, therefore, may have very fairly and properly put forward his father's name and claims, as having been bailiff of Stratford, and a "justice of peace,” and coupled that fact with the deserts and rewards of the Ardens under Henry VII., one of whom was his maternal “great grandfather,” and all of whom, by reason of the marriage of his father with an Arden, were William Shakespeare's “antecessors."
We only doubt whether John Shakespeare obtained any grant of arms, as has been supposed, in 1568-9; and it is to be observed that the documents relating to this question, still preserved in the Heralds' College, are full of corrections and interlineations, particularly as regards the ancestors of John Shakespeare: we are persuaded that when William Shakespeare applied to the office in 1596, Garter of that day, or his assistants, made a confusion between the “great grandfather and the “antecessors” of John, and of William Shakespeare. What is stated both in the confirmation and exemplification, as to parentage and descent, is true as regards William Shakespeare, but erroneous as regards John Shakespeare
: The word “showeth” is thus employed in nearly every petition, and it is only there equivalent to stateth, or setteth forth. The assertion that such a grant had been alleged was, probably, that of the heralds.
3 The confirmation and the exemplification differ slightly as to the mode in which the arms are set out: in the former it is thus: “I have therefore assigned, graunted, and by these have confirmed, this shield or cote of arms, viz. gould, on a bend sable and a speare of the first, the point steeled, proper; and for his crest or cognizance a faulcon, his wings displayed, argent, standing on a wrethe of his
It appears that Sir William Dethick, garter-king-at-arms in 1596 and 1599, was subsequently called to account for having granted coats to persons whose station in society and circumstances gave them no right to the distinction. The case of John Shakespeare was one of those complained of in this respect ; and had Clarencieux Cooke really put his name in 1568-9 to any such patent as, it was asserted, had been exhibited to Sir William Dethick, a copy of it, or some record of it, would probably have remained in the office of arms in 1596; and the production of that alone, proving that he had merely acted on the precedent of Clarencieux Cooke, would, to a considerable extent at least, have justified Sir William Dethick. No copy, nor record, was however so produced, but merely a memorandum at the foot of the confirmation of 1596, that an original grant had been sent or shown, which memorandum may have been added when Sir William Dethick's conduct was called in question ; and certain other statements are made at the bottom of the same document, which would be material to Garter's vindication, but which are not borne out by facts. One of these statements is, that John Shakespeare, in 1596, was worth 5001., an error certainly as regarded him, but a truth probably as regarded his son.
It is really a matter of little moment whether John Shakespeare did or did not obtain a grant of arms while he was bailiff of Stratford; but we are strongly inclined to think that he did not, and that the assertion that he did, and that he was worth 5001. in 1596, originated with Sir W. Dethick, when he subsequently wanted to make out his own vindication from the charge of having conceded arms to various persons without due caution and inquiry. The manner in which
coullors, supporting a speare gould steele as aforesaid, sett uppon a helmett with mantelles and tasselles as hath been accustomed.” In the exemplification the arms are stated as follows : “In a field of gould upon a bend sables a speare of the first, the poynt upward, hedded argent; and for his crest or cognisance, a falcon with his wyngs displayed, standing on a wrethe of his coullors, supporting a speare armed hedded or steeled sylver, fyxed upon a helmet, with mantelles and tasselles.” In the confirmation, as well as in the exemplification, it is stated that the arms are “ depicted in the margin ;" and in the latter a reference is made to another escutcheon, in which the arms of Shakespeare are impaled with “the auncyent arms of Arden of Wellingcote, signifying thereby that it maye and shall be lawfull for the said John Shakespeare, gent, to beare and use the same shield of arms, single, or impaled as aforesaid, during his naturall lyffe." The motto, as given at the head of the confirmation, is
NON SANZ DROICT. For “ Arden of Wellingcote" the heralds should have said Arden of Wilmecote.
armorial bearings were allowed to persons whose rank and wealth did not entitle them to them was a subject of strong satire about the period when the confirmation in question was obtained : thus the following lines in Robert Wilson's "Cobbler's Prophecy,” 4to, 1594 (a play already mentioned), are put into the mouth of a Herald; and the passage about “bearing some office in a town,” which constitutes the supposed claim, reads almost as if it had a personal reference to John Shakespeare. The Herald says :
“ We now are faine to wait who growes in wealth,
And comes to beare some office in a towne,
Ben Jonson, Marston, and Webster, ridicule the same practice, and the last especially points at one of his characters, who “had bought his gentry from the herald.” It would be easy to accumulate other proofs.
In 1570, when William Shakespeare was in his seventh year, his father was in possession of a field called Ingon, or Ington, meadow, within two miles of Stratford, which he held under William Clopton. We cannot tell in what year he first rented it, because the instrument proving his tenancy, dated 11th June, 1581, only states the fact, that on 11th Dec., 1570, it was in his occupation. The annual payment for it was 81., a considerable sum, certainly, for that time; but if there had been “a good dwelling-house and orchard” upon the field, as Malone conjectured, that circumstance would, in all probability, have been mentioned'. We may presume that John Shakespeare employed it for agricultural purposes, but upon this point we are without information : that he lived in Stratford at the time, we infer from the fact that on the 28th September, 1571, a second daughter, named Anne, was baptized at the parish-church. He had thus four children living, two boys and two girls, William, Gilbert, Joan, and Anne, but the last died at an early age, having been buried on 4th April, 1579'. It will be remarked that, on the baptism of his daughter Anne, he was, for the first time, called “ Magister Shakespeare ” in the Latin entry in the Register, a distinction he seems to have acquired by having served the office of bailiff two years before. The same observation will apply to the registration of his fifth child, Richard, who was baptized on 11th March, 1573-4, as the son of “ Mr. John Shakespeare?.” Richard Shakespeare may have been named after his grandfather, who perhaps was sponsor on the occasion.
4 “Devil's Law Case," A. iv. sc. 2. In 1593 B. Rich, in his “Greene's Newes both from Heaven and Hell” (a very rare tract written in imitation of the style of the popular pamphleteer then just dead) represents St. Peter as refusing to admit those who had fraudulently, and for money, obtained this false testimonial of their gentility. Sign. B b.
- Malone (Shakspeare by Boswell, Vol. ii. p. 90) places reliance on the words of the close roll, (from which the information is derived,) " with the appurtenances;" but surely “a good dwelling-house and orchard ” would have been specified, and not included in such general terms: they are not mere " appurtenances."
The increase of John Shakespeare's family seems, for some time, to have been accompanied by an increase of his means, and in 1574 he gave Edmund and Emma Hall 401. for two freehold houses, with gardens and orchards, in Henley-street'. It will not be forgotten that he was already the owner of a copyhold tenement in the same street, which he had bought of Edward West, in 1556, before his marriage with Mary Arden. To one of the two last-purchased dwellings John Shakespeare is supposed to have removed his family; but, for aught we know, he had lived from the time of his marriage, and continued to live in 1574, in the house in Henley-street, which had been alienated to him eighteen years before. It does not appear that he had ever parted with West's house, so that in 1574 he was the owner of three houses in Henleystreet. Forty pounds, even allowing for great difference in value of money, seems a small sum for the two freehold houses, with gardens and orchards, sold to him by Edmund and Emma Hall.
It is, we apprehend, indisputable that soon after this date the tide of John Shakespeare's affairs began to turn, and that he experienced disappointments and losses which seriously affected his pecuniary circumstances. Malone was in posses
• The following are copies of the registration of the baptism and burial of Anne Shakespeare:
“1571 Septēb' 28. Anna filia Magistri Shakspere.”
“ 1579 April 4. Anne daughter of Mr. John Shakspere." " The baptismal register runs thus :
“ 1573 March 11. Richard sonne to Mr. John Sbakspeer." 8 Malone speculated (Shakspeare, by Boswell, Vol. ii. p. 106) that Richard Hill, an alderman of Stratford, had stood godfather to this child, but he did not know of the existence of any such person as Richard Shakespeare, who, there is ground to believe, was father to John Shakespeare.
• “ Malone's Shakspeare, by Boswell,” Vol. ii. p. 93.
sion of several important facts upon this subject, and recently a strong piece of confirmatory testimony has been procured. We will first advert to that which was in the hands of Malone, applicable to the beginning of 1578. At a borough hall on the 29th Jan. in that year, it was ordered that every alderman in Stratford should pay 6s. 8d., and every burgess 38. 4d. towards “the furniture of three pikemen, two billmen, and one archer.” Now, although John Shakespeare was not only an alderman, but had been chosen “head alderman" in 1571, he was allowed to contribute only 38. 4d., as if he had been merely a burgess : Humphrey Plymley, another alderman, paid 58., while John Walker, Thomas Brogden, and Anthony Turner contributed 28. 6d. each, William Brace 2s. and Robert Bratt “nothing in this place.” It is possible that Bratt had been called upon to furnish a subscription in some other place, or perhaps the words are to be taken to mean, that he was excused altogether; and it is to be remarked that in the contribution to the poor in Sept. 1564, Bratt was the only individual who gave no more than fourpence. In November, 1578, when it was required that every alderman should "pay weekly to the relief of the poor 4d.,” John Shakespeare and Robert Bratt were excepted: they were “not to be taxed to pay any thing," while two others (one of them Alderman Plymley) were rated at 3d. a week. In March, 1578-9, when another call was made upon the town for the purpose of purchasing corslets, calivers, &c., the name of John Shakespeare is found, at the end of the account, in a list of persons whose "sums were unpaid and unaccounted for.” Another fact tends strongly to the conclusion that in 1578 John Shakespeare was distressed for money : he owed a baker of the name of Roger Sadler 5l., for which Edmund Lambert, and a person of the name of Cornishe, had become security : Sadler died, and in his will, dated 14th November, 1578, hé included the following among the debts due to him "Item of Edmund Lambert and Cornishe, for the debt of Mr. John Shacksper, 51."
Malone conjectured that Edmund Lambert was relation to Mary Shakespeare, and there can be little doubt of it, because an Edward Lambert had married her sister Joan Arden. To Edmund Lambert John Shakespeare, in 1578, mortgaged his wife's estate in Aston Cantlowe, called Asbyes, for 401., an additional circumstance to prove that he was in want of money; and so severe the pressure of his necessities