“Pseudonymous”, A Biography of William Shakspere, Part Two

The search for more facts about “Shakespeare”

So since actors, playwrights and artists were notoriously fond of sexual escapades and indiscretions, what do we know about William Shakspere’s own extramarital love life? According to the Stratfordians while travelling with the King’s Men in Oxford a man named William had an affair with a married woman, namely Jane or Jeanette Davenant (?-1622) who worked at the Tavern (later The Crown Inn, Cornmarket Street, Oxford) and she became pregnant and gave birth to one William Davenant (1606-68). Davenant grew up in admiration of Shakespeare and even wrote poetry and plays himself. The Oxfordshire poet and theatre manager, William Davenant is considered by several Stratfordians to be the illegitimate son of the actor William Shakespeare, and note that the Bard’s name is not hyphenated in this instance. In actual fact he was Shakspere’s godson according to The Cambridge guide to English Literature. He studied classics in Oxford University then became a page to the Duchess of Richmond. He subsequently worked in the service of Fulke Greville who encouraged his interest in theatre. Amongst many other works he adapted several of Shakespeare’s plays (eg: “Two Noble Kinsmen”, re-entitled “The Rivals”) during Oliver Cromwell’s reign he re-introduced Shakespearean drama to the stage which infuriated Puritan audiences when theatrical performances were banned. He was captured while at sea and imprisoned in the Tower of London but John Milton’s intervention later ensured his release and a knighthood.

An artist’s engraving of William Davenant, son of William Shakspere?

In 1601 records indicate a rather reckless approach to Shakspere’s financial affairs while resident in London:
1600, 6th October – Tax record. Shakspere is listed in the Lord Treasurer’s Remembrancer Residuum Sussex accounts “tax bill of 13s..4d. is still outstanding. The notation Episcopo Wintonensi in the left-hand margin indicates that the Court of Exchequer had referred the dramatist’s arrears to the Bishop of Winchester, whose liberty of the Clink in Surrey lay outside the sheriff’s jurisdiction. The Clink was a notorious debtors prison of the age.

In 1601 his father John Shakspere finally dies leaving his son and other members of the family with a reasonable inheritance. In the same year William Shakspere brings a lawsuit against John Clayton for a £7 pound debt. Together with his inheritance this enables William, now with a coat of arms to acquire a larger estate of arable land (107 acres) in Stratford for the sum of £320 even though there is no evidence that he had profited legitimately from either his work as an actor, playwright or poet. In my view more as a property investor and developer. Around that time a playwright would be in receipt of between 6-8 shillings for a play, an actor would be in receipt of far less and only the printers and publishers stood to gain effectively from plays by publishing them or compositing and drafting out prompt books. So if we do the maths then 36 plays would yield a meagre £14; 40 shillings so where did Shakspere get all that money to buy acres of property in Stratford? In 1603 a Royal Patent lists his name as licensed to perform plays at the Globe Theatre. The following year he purchased tithes worth £440 in Stratford and then he becomes a lay rector. Whereas he apparently showed little interest in profiting financially from publishing his plays or poetry in 1608 he again pursued a local apothecary, John Addenbroke for a loan of £6 and obtained a small share in the Blackfriars Theatre. Meanwhile, in 1610 he acquired more land (20 acres) from William and John Combe and then instructs his cousin Thomas Greene to vacate New Place. Although William had placed a small deposit of £60 on New Place in 1597 the mortgage was not finally conveyed to him until 1602 this meant he had more control over his property portfolio than he had in the past. In the same year he acquires a small cottage with a quarter acre of land with the intention presumably of renting it to a relative.

What remained in the early 1940’s at Stratford of Shakspere’s family home New Place

1602 Michaelmas – Property document, Public Records Office, Court of Common Pleas. New Place was reconveyed to Shakspere, who paid a fee equal to one fourth of the property’s yearly value.

1602, 1st May – Property document. For £320, Shakspere bought 107 acres of land and 20 acres of pasture in Old Stratford from William and John Combe.

1602, 28th September – Property document. Will Shakspere acquired a quarter-acre of land with “Chapel Lane Cottage” and a garden.

In order to understand the sequence of events taking place between London and Stratford-upon-Avon we may have to back-track in order to make sense of what actually transpired in William Shakspere’s life and the seeds sown by his father’s infidelity. The back-story seems to involve those in low positions and those of a much higher status.

We begin with William Bott, an alderman of Stratford-upon-Avon who was temporarily a resident of New Place until 1610, having acquired the property from William Clopton whose heir sold it to William Bott in 1563. Sir Hugh Clopton was the head of the illustrious Warwickshire family, he built the bridge over the river at Stratford-upon-Avon and was the Mayor of London in 1491. However, a year later the Cloptons successfully sued William Bott at the Star Chamber for serious fraud and he left Stratford under a cloud of suspicion for poisoning his daughter Isabella in order to secure her inheritance from the Harper family. In 1565 he had been expelled from the office of alderman, a post held previously by John Shakspere, for denouncing his fellow dignitaries as being thoroughly dishonest! Two years later in 1567 William Bott sold the property of New Place, Chapel Street, Stratford to William Underhill, whose father was a Middle Temple lawyer (1530-70) with considerable land-ownings in the county who then happened to sell it to William Shakspere. This being the same year that William Shake-speare’s name first appeared in print within the play “Love’s Labours Lost” and in Francis Mere’s poetry anthology “Palladis Tamia”. The Warwickshire poet Michael Drayton married the sister of the renowned courtier/poet Fulke Greville II, who later became his son’s guardian. In the same year on the 7th July William Underhill was poisoned by his own son Fulke, who was subsequently executed for the murder two years later. The estates were consequently forfeited and his second son Hercule retrieved the properties when he came of age in 1601, thereby able to finally confirm the sale of New Place to William Shakspere. But the drama of New Place is shrouded in numerous intrigues connected to the Stratford lawyer Thomas Greene and the Alderman and Bailiff of Stratford Richard Quiney and his son, the vintner Thomas Quiney.

A 16th century Map of Stratford-upon-Avon

However, it seems that Greville and Quiney came head to head over the controversy to enclose common lands in Stratford and Greville sued Quiney over the matter of tolls for grain sold at the local market. Finally, Quiney travelled again to London to consult with the Attorney-General Edward Coke but was delayed due largely to the onset of the Essex Rebellion that had suddenly broken out in the city. When he returned to Stratford he was again elected Bailiff in September 1601 but was assailed by Greville’s men in the spring of 1602 and wounded in a street fight. He subsequently died from his wounds, leaving his poor wife Elizabeth with nine children. Much later his son Thomas Quiney married Shakspere’s daughter Judith on the 10th of February, 1616. The lawyer Thomas Greene was a close friend of Shakspere and had entered the Middle Temple to study law in 1595 from where he assisted Richard Quiney in his fight against Edward Greville’s and Thomas Combe’s attempts to secure common land in 1601. From 1603-1617 he was Town Clerk of Stratford and from 1609 his family lived with Shakspere’s family at New Place while waiting to occupy their own home at St. Mary’s House. It seems Thomas Greene also supported Shakspere with the Chancery suit over tithes in 1611. During the onset of plague in London Shakspere changed his lodgings to Silver Street, Cripplegate with a Hugenot family named Mountjoy who specialised in wigs. The Mountjoy’s daughter, Mary was then being wooed by Stephen Bellot, an apprentice in the firm. But after the match was agreed Bellot held out insisting on a larger dowry and Shakspere was called in to negotiate the match to a satisfactory conclusion. According to the defendant the agreed financial settlement was £60 in celebration of the nuptials and a further £200 on the death of Christopher Mountjoy. However, after the agreement Stephen Belott left the firm with Mary and set up business on his own account and ostensibly became a business rival to the Mountjoys. Consequently, Mr. Mountjoy withheld the original sum agreed and made an offer of £10 as the final settlement. Mary died a few years later presumed due to ill-treatment and her father became increasingly ill and distraught. Therefore William Shakspere, now having moved back to Stratford was called upon by the court (Bellot vs Mountjoy) as a character witness and to confirm the sum originally agreed upon. When appearing in court to settle the matter it seems that Shakspere’s memory fell short and he testified that the sum agreed was £50 and failed to recollect the additional sum of £200 on the death of the father. The court adjourned for a month on the case requesting Shakspere to re-appear for further cross-examination but he failed to re-appear for some unknown reason. Subsequently the court awarded Belott a mere £6: 13s 4d.

1612, 11th May to 19th June – Court records. Public Record Office, Court of Requests Shakspere was called into court and asked to resolve a dispute regarding the amount offered by him as dowry when he helped negotiate a marriage in 1604 (Belott v. Mountjoy). “Only Shakespeare himself could resolve the question … but what the portion was, or when it was to be paid, Shakespeare could not say….The witness likewise professed ignorance of ‘what implementes and necessaries of stuff’ Mountjoy gave with Mary”.

An early 20th century photograph of Anne Hathaway’s cottage

Then on the 10th March, 1613 it was recorded that William Shakspere acquired a leased share in the prestigious Blackfriars Gatehouse. Records show that Mathias Bacon (1590-1615) had owned the Blackfriar’s Gatehouse from 1590 before Henry Walker, a citizen and minstrel of London who apparently sold a share in it to William Shakespeare in 1613 for £140 on the 10th March some 3 years before his death. Why William Shakspere would buy a gatehouse when he had every intention of retiring permanently in Stratford remains a mystery unless the purchase was intended to imbue the Stratford man as a property owner in London as well as in Stratford-upon-Avon. Incidentally, Mathias was not a close or distant relative of Sir Francis Bacon, who some researchers claim might be the author of Shakespeare’s works. Although, according to some records the property was actually part of the Earl of Northumberland’s London estates, Mathias Bacon had simply inherited the leasehold of the property from his mother, Anne in 1590 and she had inherited the same from her mother Margaret Campion, a relative of the Roman Catholic priest and martyr, Edmund Campion. Other records suggest that the property was actually part of the property portfolio of the 17th Earl of Oxenforde (Edward de Vere). The Gatehouse, built partly over the arch contained a myriad of tunnels, some that led to the Thames and many secret doors or alcoves and consequently it was frequently used as a “safe-house” for recusants and Catholic priests who were planning sedition. The Jesuit priest John Gerard sought to use it for the Gunpowder Plot in 1604 but it had been sold to Henry Walker by that time for £100. Records reveal that in March 1613 William Shakspere, gent bought a share in the Blackfriar’s Gatehouse for £140 along with a number of co-purchasers; namely, William Johnson (landlord of the Mermaid Tavern), John Jackson, a shipping magnate from Hull who was married to the sister-in-law of Elias James, and John Heminges, the theatre manager. However, it seems that Shakspere never actually occupied it and simply re-mortgaged the property to the previous owner for the sum of £60 to be paid on the 27th September following. Now, for some peculiar reason the sum of £60 keeps reoccurring in several Shakspere records and one cannot help thinking it is more than just a coincidence. This legal procedure was supposed to prevent Shakspere’s wife Anne Hathaway from acquiring a third of the value of the property after his death, as was the custom at the time.

The first Royal Shakespeare Theatre to be built in Stratford-upon-Avon

Shakespeare’s signature is on the title deed and another on the mortgage arrangement. The property was then let to a John Robinson who one must presume was not the same as that recorded in Shakespeare’s will which states that it was re-conveyed to John Greene of Clement’s Inn and Matthew Morris of Stratford, but the mystery continues to baffle academics for several reasons. For example, was Shakspere an ardent or secret Catholic and if so how had he managed to disguise the fact for so long? The Stratfordians claim that it was merely an investment purchase and Shakespeare had no real interest or connection with its previous use. I doubt very much whether Shakespeare or anyone in London was oblivious to its previous history and use. Strangely enough, that is according to surviving documents, Mathias Bacon had retained the title deeds to the property until 1615, that is after a bill of complaint was laid against him by “William Shakespeare” and several others anxious to conclude his legacy. So why was Mathias Bacon so reluctant to pass over the deeds to the rightful owner and why did he mysteriously die aged twenty-five later that year after the deeds had been acquired?

The main entrance to Blackfriar’s Abbey and the Blackfriar’s Gatehouse

Blackfriar’s Gatehouse was adjacent to the Blackfriar’s Theatre which previously was the site of an old Dominican monastery and was re-possessed by Henry VIIIth as part of the dissolution. The Blackfriar’s Theatre was also used for the trial of Catherine of Aragon and therefore had sentimental or historical significance for many Catholics in England. A portion of it was also used as the Office of the Revels whose job it was to monitor plays for their subversive content and in the time of Henry VIIIth it was used to stage Catholic “Mystery and Miracle Plays” prior to the Reformation. The mystery of the Blackfriar’s Gatehouse and Mathias Bacon’s premature death hangs mysteriously over the Shakespeare Authorship Controversy because of certain irregularities and anomalies associated with it. On Sunday 26th October 1623, the same year the First Folio was published, a secret congregation of 300 Catholics assembled in the upper garret to celebrate Mass but unfortunately their weight snapped the oak beams and the building collapsed with some ninety worshippers dead. Once discovered by the authorities most of the bodies were thrown into a mass-grave which was dug nearby, others were buried at St. Ethelreda’s Church, Ely. Firstly, the Blackfriar’s Gatehouse was an asset clearly mentioned in Shakespeare’s will to be inherited by his daughter Susanna but which he bought just as he was spending less time in the capital. Was this an investment or a means of establishing a credible identity and prestigious residence for the Stratford man in London by agents unknown? All evidence indicates that when in London he lived in relatively poor lodgings in Bishopsgate and Southwark, that he was in poor health and was, given his apparent age, planning to retire at his home town Stratford-upon-Avon and live in his newly acquired property New Place. This property was originally built by Sir Hugh Clopton (d. 1496), who later became Lord Mayor of London in 1491 and whose daughter married Sir George Carew, the cousin of Sir Walter Raleigh and the illustrious Richard Carew who served in Ireland as Lieutenant of Ordnance in 1592 and was connected to Warwickshire by his marriage to Joyce Clopton, the daughter of William Clopton (1538-92). His agent was none other than the scurrilous William Bott who moved to New Place and later purchased the property (1563). Furthermore, around the time of the Gunpowder Plot (1605) Clopton House was intended as a safe-house or base for the conspirators. The property was returned to the Clopton estate in the 18th century.

An artist’s depiction of the arrest of the Gunpowder Plotters at the Mermaid Tavern, London

In 1614 Will Shakspere is then commissioned to write the motto for the arms of the Earl of Rutland which Richard Burbage painted. On the 5th September 1614 Quiney recorded a meeting with Shakspere in London to discuss the threatened closure of the Welcombe lands. It seems that Thomas Quiney’s marriage to Judith was compromised because he married during the Lenten season, when marriage was strictly forbidden. Soon after it was discovered that Quiney had also been having an affair with one Margaret Wheeler who was pregnant with his child. Thomas Quiney was charged at the Church Court on the 26th March 1616 and ordered to undergo penance, some of which was remitted by a small fine of 5 shillings with the aid of his lawyer Francis Collins in January 1616. But this scandal must have come as a great shock to the aging Will Shakspere and Quiney was subsequently excluded from Shakspere’s last will when Shakspere made his last and final visit to London. The physician Dr. John Hall then accompanied Shakspere to London in 1614 to act as witness to the revisions in his last will and testament. A year after Shakspere’s death the lawyer and town clerk, Thomas Greene left Stratford and settled in Bristol for the remainder of his life. The executors of Shakspere’s will, Dr. John Hall and Susanna Shakspere inherited the property of New Place on the death of the Stratford actor in 1616.

A copy of Shakespeare’s Last Will & Testament

William Shakspere’s will has been a bone of contention among academics and researchers alike and therefore requires even greater scrutiny in order to determine what events and circumstances affected its final execution. Firstly, the supposed shares in the Globe Theatre and Blackfriars Theatre while mentioned in his will as is the Blackfriar’s Gatehouse possibly for reasons given previously, to prevent his daughter Susanna or his wife Anne Hathaway from benefitting from them. So, the question now is did ownership actually exist tangibly at all other than on paper? All that was left to Anne, apart from a third share in his Stratford property, was his second best bed which was customary practice and not considered unusual at the time. Now why would William Shakspere deprive his own wife from a share in the invaluable assets he had acquired in London? I suspect, after the death of Shakespeare’s “Shadow” or mask the authorities felt obliged to put an end to the masquerade and withdraw their investments.

The Last Will & Testament states that he left a broad, silver gilt bowl to his daughter Judith along with £150, with another £50 when she had wed but with a clause to forgo any claim to the cottage on Chapel Lane. Furthermore, if Judith died childless then £100 of the £150 would go to his granddaughter Elizabeth Hall and the other £50 to his sister Joan Hart and her children. Judith was eligible for any interest accrued from this imbursement so long as she remained married. There follows a sum of £20 and some clothing for his sister Joan together with a life tenancy of the western end of the Henley Street home with a peppercorn rent of 12d a year. A sum of £12 was assured to any nephews (blank space) remaining (William and Michael). Some valuable plate to Elizabeth Hall and to his 7-year old godson, William Walker the sum of 20 shillings. To Thomas Combe, his sword, and to his lawyer Francis Collins £13 6s 8d and a further £5 to Thomas Russell, £5 to Hamnet Sadler, William Reynolds and the Nash brothers left 26s 8d to purchase a memorial ring. The same sum of £5 was left to his bosom buddies from the King’s Men, Richard Burbage, John Heminges and Henry Condell. Susanna was the main recipient of household chattels at New Place and of course the one third of his estate went to Anne, his wife. While all lands, gardens and tenements, which included the Blackfriar’s Gatehouse were also bequeathed to Susanna in his will but in reality the recipient was denied ownership whatsoever to the last of these.

An artist’s impression of the interior of Blackfriar’s Theatre

Thomas Quiney (son of John Shaxpere’s friend Adrain Quiney), was the son of Richard Quiney who was an ally of Fulke Greville I, a Warwickshire landowner and father of Fulke Greville II, the renowned poet/courtier, whose cousin Edward Greville attempted to enclose common land in Stratford. Unfortunately, Richard Quiney died in a brawl in 1602 in an altercation with some of Edward Greville’s men. We know that Shakspere left his sword to Thomas Combe, a lawyer and close associate who supported his brother and Shakspere in the attempt to enclose common lands at Welcombe (1614). He also assisted in the procurement of land some 127 acres in 1602 at Old Stratford. In 1616 the indomitable Justice Coke ruled against Combe’s nefarious activities although, as serving Sheriff of Stratford (1615-16) Combe continued to persecute tenants dependent on those lands for their living. Eventually, the Privy Council determined he should remove his enclosures in 1619 and forfeit any ownership to them. This matter and several others has cast doubt over the authenticity of Shakspere’s identity and his commercial integrity and generosity seems strangely distorted by these incidents if not wholly perverse and out of character.

The renowned physician Dr. John Hall, who married Shakspere’s daughter Susanna, was a close friend of Thomas Greene, his patients included the playwright Michael Drayton, his patron Lady Rainsford and the Earl of Northampton. He was a devoted Puritan and refused the offer of a knighthood in 1626. He was also Church Warden of Holy Trinity Church from 1628-29 where Shakspere’s memorial was installed. He lived at Hall’s Croft, Stratford until he and his wife acquired New Place. Both he and his wife were buried alongside Shakspere under the chancel of Holy Trinity Church. It seems odd that within a month of having concluded his new will, William Shakspere of Stratford-upon-Avon died it was rumoured after a drinking bout with his close literary friends Ben Jonson and Michael Drayton on the eve of St. George’s Day, 1616. Although there is no evidence to support such an assumption, the cause of death remains unknown even to this day. Rumour has it that he was poisoned while drunk or suffocated but we shall never know. However, a plot seems likely given that Heminges and Condell had early plans to publish the Shakespeare Folio much sooner than 1623 and as William Shakspere was still alive it could lead to several complications. Whether a body actually exists under the chancel has neither been confirmed nor denied by the Church authorities and at one time the family grave in the cemetery was actually desecrated by grave robbers who apparently found little of value worth removing.

Holy Trinity Church as it stands today in Stratford-upon-Avon where “Shakespeare is presumed to be buried

The nearby Charlecote Estate belonging to Sir Thomas Lucy was named by some academics as the place where William Shakspere supposedly “poached” deer for his wedding feast although there is no hard or real evidence for this assumption. However the salubrious mansion and extensive estate was visited by Queen Elizabeth in 1572, the year that Leicester’s Men performed there. Having finally acquired the coat of arms that Lucy had previously denied him in 1596; despite the down-turn of his fortunes, John Shakspere died technically a gentleman and was himself buried at Holy Trinity Church, Stratford-upon-Avon a year after the death of Sir Thomas Lucy. I suspect that the remains of the actor William Shakspere are probably nearby, if not actually in the family plot, and when it is exhumed and examined by forensic experts we as a nation will finally find out the truth behind the greatest literary fraud in English history.

Following the discovery of the remains of Richard the Third beneath a Leicestershire car park and the use of DNA analysis to identify him, it was decided that a similar investigation could be conducted on the grave of William Shakspere at Holy Trinity Church by ex-CIA military analyst Peter W. Dickson thereby proving that William Shakespeare’s body actually lay there. Unfortunately, as previously discovered by the American author Washington Irving when he visited the church in 1815, the scan did not reveal any trace of a body or coffin but a pile of dust and rubble. Naturally, the Stratfordians were quick to suggest that Shakspere’s skull had been stolen by looters in the early 19th century and that Shakespeare’s remains must have been discreetly relocated to a safe and secret location elsewhere along with the manuscripts of his plays and poetry. We know however that the body of Edward de Vere was supposedly buried in Hackney, London so a DNA analysis could be conducted from bone samples in order to confirm or deny any hypothesis regarding his own lineage and offspring eg: Henry Wriothesley, the Earl of Southampton. However, more recently the De Vere family have disclosed that Edward de Vere’s body was exhumed and buried at Westminster Abbey where presumably it remains to this day. See The Sonnets Code Deciphered. It may also explain why Ben Jonson wrote in the 2nd Folio edition of 1632 in a dedication to Shakespeare that he was “a monument without a tomb”. The Greek writer Thucydides, who no doubt Shakespeare and Ben Jonson would have read, had declared that the sum total of a man’s life or his achievements should not be judged by the size or nature of the monuments erected in his name but on the influence he has had in his lifetime on other people’s lives. If that is the case perhaps the Earl of Oxford fancied that his literary work was just such a monument or at least his actions were?

William Shakespeare’s Memorial statue 1757 by Louis-François Roubiliac at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane

But serendipity or fate decided that solid monuments would be built and erected to celebrate the life and work of the illustrious “Bard of Avon”. Two almost identical monuments indeed were designed and erected, one at Westminster Abbey alongside Poet’s Corner, another at Wilton House, stately home of the Pembroke family. As the sole inspiration of the Pembroke clan they were commissioned by Alexander Pope and Dr. Sewell who had published a new edition of Shake-speare’s Sonnets in 1723. These monuments were designed by William Kent and then sculpted by Peter Sheermakers under the suggestion of John Rich to celebrate the centenary of the 1623 Folio edition of Shakespeare’s work. So these monuments were installed to promote the sale of the 1623 Folio not necessarily to celebrate or memorialise the life of William Shakespeare. They feature a bearded Shakespeare leaning on a column with three heads on its base, his right elbow leaning on a pile of three books underneath which is a scroll inscribed with, in the case of the Westminster Abbey statue a quotation from The Tempest, while the Wilton memorial displays a quotation from the play Macbeth. It has been recognised that the three heads at the base of the column are Elizabeth Ist, Henry Vth and Richard IIIrd. In the former Shakespeare’s finger points at the word “Temples” and in the latter it points at the word “Shadow”. It has been suggested that the designers and commissioners of these two, almost identical memorial statues were Freemasons who were honour-bound to leave the world with yet another cryptic mystery surrounding the life and death of William Shakespeare, poet and playwright.

The original artist’s design for John Shaxpere’s Memorial at Holy Trinity Church

The first person to chronicle William Shakspere’s Memorial at Holy Trinity Church was one William Dugdale, antiquarian when he visited the Church on the 4th of July 1634 and sketched out on paper what he saw and what was written as a monument to Shakespeare. His sketch was subsequently engraved by the artist Wenceslaus Hollar for Dugdale’s book on Warwickshire Worthies (Warwickshire Antiquities, 1656). However, Dugdale’s drawing and Hollar’s engraving differ considerably with what we see today at Holy Trinity Church or what has generally been accepted belonged to the past. The engraving shows a man, with moustache and beard, in an arched alcove with down-turned collar holding a wool-sack between two columns. The history of the monument revealed several repairs, renovations and changes had occurred throughout its’ history. In his book describing the church Dugdale makes no mention of Shakespeare as a playwright and says simply:

“In the North wall of the Chancell is this Monument fixt. One thing more in reference to this ancient town is observable, that it gave birth and sepulture to our late famous poet Will. Shakespere, whose monument I have inserted in my discourse of the church.”

By spelling his name Shakespere William Dugdale omits any direct reference to the author Shakespeare, meaning that the Stratford actor never “shook-a-spear” or actually jousted in his entire career.

The later version of the Stratford Memorial at Holy Trinity Church

In 1737, on the instructions of Alexander Pope’s agents, the monument depicting John Shakspere was “magically” altered by artist and sculptor George Vertue on the advice of Edward Harley, a descendant of Edward de Vere to the extent that the wool-sack has become a cushion which supports the quill and paper on which the now portly Shakespeare has changed his appearance and profession from notorious “wool-brogger” to illustrious or should I say “pseudonymous poet and playwright”.

“All Is True”, a Biography of William Shakspere, Part One
Ever wondered what exactly we know about the biography of the pseudonymous “William Shakspere”? Qudos Academy attempts a realistic profile of the Man and his Life!

“Pseudonymous”, a Biography of William Shakspere, Part Two
The second of my series examining what evidence there is to construct a viable and factual biography of the farmer’s boy from Stratford-upon-Avon who became the leading playwright and poet of Elizabethan England almost overnight!

Clues to Identifying Shake-speare, the Man?
In an attempt to uncover the identity of the author of “Shakespeare’s Plays” it seems more than likely that he loved music, played an instrument and wrote songs.

The links to my current publications, on the Shakespeare Authorship Controversy; “Shakespeare’s Qaballah” and an anthology of poetry “Parthenogenesis” are as follows:


“We all love Shakespeare, whoever he was…”

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