The Twin Lives of William Shagsper & Edward de Vere

Despite the differences in their inherent skills, family background and status it occurred to me that there are some remarkable similarities between the lives of Edward de Vere, the 17th Earl of Oxford and William Shagspere, the jobbing actor and stage-hand from Stratford-upon-Avon. Indeed, both men were married under dubious circumstances to a woman by the name of Anne. The Earl of Oxford stood to gain financially from marrying William Cecil’s daughter, while William Shagspere stood to gain from Anne Hathawaye’s dowry. In fact both men had problems with their wives, assets and properties, although in differing scales or proportions and both had to juggle their financial and marital affairs for the most part of their lives. And the coincidences continue, for example both men had a father named John which is curious although the Earl’s father had died when he was seven years old while Shagspere’s father was still alive. They even shared similar life-spans, the Earl of Oxford dying at the age of fifty-four and William Shagspere dying of excessive alcohol consumption at the age of fifty-five. They both had a daughter named, in the case of Edward de Vere who named his daughter Susan and Shagspere who named his Susanna. They appear to have experienced by some strange quirk of coincidence “Parallel Lives”.

A contemporary view of Billesley Hall as it stands today where the Earl of Oxford stayed while in Stratford-upon-Avon

On occasions the Earl of Oxford visited his relative, Elizabeth Trussel who lived at Billesley Hall, Stratford-upon-Avon, that is a half-hours walk from the Forest of Arden and it is plausible that he became acquainted with the events and personages residing there including the actor William Shagspere and his father John. Both had close friends and fervent enemies that crossed their paths and influenced their status and ultimate rise to unimaginable heights. Both men worked with and mixed in the dramatic milieu of London’s theatres, although Oxford wrote plays and Shagspere worked as an actor. However, where the Earl of Oxford arose from his father’s riches in Oxford as tutelary Lord Great Chamberlain and then declined in obscurity and penniless rags in Hackney, while the Stratford actor arose from the tatters of his father’s debts, despite his status as Alderman of Stratford (1571) and, after a long period of time in London, eventually retired a knighted gentleman into relative riches. Therefore, it is easy to understand why William Shagspere so easily fitted the bill when he was chosen to assume the role of “literary mask” for the Earl of Oxford. Where they differed on the contrary is easy to discern, W. Shagspere was born a commoner (though eventually granted a coat of arms), Edward de Vere was born a nobleman who tried to lift the curse on his family background eventually fell into disrepute. However, the Earl of Oxford’s wife died in 1588, while Shagspere’s wife outlived him although Shagspere’s sister, Ann died in 1579. What has confounded many biographers when listing details of Shakespeare’s life is that Edward de Vere lived in the London district of Stratford and that there is in actual fact another river Avon running into the Bristol straits through Bath and perhaps the Earl was for a time living nearby in one of his landed estates. However, the accolade “Bard of Avon” did not come into common usage until the 18th century. Since the advent of J. Thomas “Looney’s Revelations” on the “Shakespeare Authorship Controversy” though serious researchers have cast doubt over the life of “The Shadowy Figure of Shakespeare” suggesting that William Shagspere was a “literary mask” for the Earl of Oxford‘s secret preoccupations as Queen Elizabeth 1st’s “spin-doctor” because a good play, as they say, is worth a thousand speeches. There is sufficient evidence and suspicion to assume that Edward de Vere‘s talents as a poet and dramatist were deployed by the state essentially for propagandist purposes (he was granted a £1,000 pound annuity by the Queen) and that he probably worked hand-in-glove with the intelligencer, Sir Francis Bacon as a spy on his visits to France and Italy.

Subsequently, many Shakespeare academics, such as the ex-director of the Globe Theatre in London, Peter Dawkins have come to the conclusion that it was Sir Francis Bacon who wrote “Shakespeare’s Plays”. I have also examined in forensic detail what we actually know about the “Biographical life of William Shagspere” and to what extent the life of “Sir Francis compares to the life of Edward de Vere”. Indeed, both William and Edward had extra-marital affairs which resulted in illegitimate sons, in the case of Oxford with the Lady-in-Waiting, Anne Vavasour (a son named Edward) and William Shagspere with the Oxford land-lady, Jane Davenant who gave birth to a son named “William”, who himself later became a poet and playwright. It could of course be said that these similarities are merely coincidence or a deliberate attempt to confound the issue of authorship, however “The Glaring Disparities” of their lives, education and status is a good indicator of who was most likely to have written the 1623 Folio of Plays. On top of which the “Correct Dating of Shakespeare’s Plays” (of which there is a great deal of contention) would enable researchers to determine who was best placed to be the author. Since very little actual evidence exists of the “Stratford Shakespeare’s” education there are not sufficient “Clues to identifying Shakespeare the Man”, and academics have yet to resolve “The Lost Years Debate” or for that matter the meagre six signatures purported to have been executed by the “prolific Stratford playwright” whose last will and testament does not feature any books, diaries, note-books or original manuscripts, no, not even a bible. Instead, it is boasted by academics that the Stratford man, although born of apparently humble origins, had a “Meteoric Ascent of a Literary Genius” and his life appears to reflect more the “Legend of Dick Whittington” if he were to be affirmed as a playwright or poet. There has however, been many instances of creative anonymity among artists and literary authors for a variety of reasons in the past so there is no obvious reason to deny or for that matter doubt the possibility that a man of high status, such as the 17th Earl of Oxford, would not employ an alias or “literary shadow” in order to continue commenting on the burning issues and controversial events taking place in England and abroad. In fact there have been recognised “The Many Faces of Shakespeare” whereby several newly discovered portraits which researchers have identified as being a true likeness of the “Stratford Shakespeare”, although none are dated or signed.

Academics subsequently turned to list and address the 3,000 literary sources required to have written the plays, not to mention the poetry, both of which rely heavily on Greek and Roman Classical sources, some rare and some possibly unobtainable for the layman or student unless the author had an education in a college, had attended one of the Inns of court or had enrolled into a university such as Oxford or Cambridge. The Stratfordians claim that Shakespeare had a natural in-born talent for poetry and drama and that other dramatists during the Elizabethan era were essentially self-taught and made progress without a mentor, patron or tutor. That supposition however attempts to conceal a multitude of sins and accumulated errors about life in a small, obscure town such as Stratford-upon-Avon, with a population of around 2,500 and the life in the capital of London with its booksellers, printers, publishers and its theatres. Moreover, the Stratfordian academics appear to have overlooked or totally ignored as inconsequential the most convincing clue to the author of Shakespeare’s canon that one of the major sources for his plays was a book entitled “Ovid’s Metamorphoses” translated into English by, none other than Edward de Vere‘s uncle, Arthur Golding when he was twelve years old and in fact dedicated to the Earl. An examination of the “Literary Sources” required to write the 1623 canon of 36 plays would of course require an extensive library of books, an elevated perception of English history and a talent for drama and poetry which had been nurtured and brought to fulfilment in one of England’s Inns of Court or Universities.

The links to my publications “Shakespeare’s Qaballah”, a Companion to Shakespeare Studies and my anthology of poetry, “Parthenogenesis” are as follows:


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The links to my publications 
“Shakespeare’s Qaballah”,
a Companion to Shakespeare Studies and my anthology of poetry,