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good figure and fashion there, and are mentioned as gentlemen." But this statement is extremely in
been the son of William Hart, of Lapworth. There were, however, Harts settled at Stratford early in the 16th century.
Anne, the daughter of George Shakspeare, was baptized at Lapworth, Feb. 7, 1586.
Richard, the son of George Shakspeare and Elizabeth, his wife, was baptized there, Jan. 18, 1590.
John Shakspeare and Mary Huett (Hewitt] were married there Feb. 16, 1617.
Alice, the wife of John Shakspeare, was buried there, July 21, 1624. · John Shakspeare and Mary Whiting were married there, Nov. 7, 1628.
Humphry Shakspeare, of Lapworth, was buried at Rowington, October 30, 1729; and Sarah, his wife, was buried there some years before, October 4, 1720, aged eighty-two.
John Shakspeare died at Lapworth in 1637, and bequeathed two shillings a-year to the poor of he parish for ever.
In the Chirographer's Office I found a fine levied in 1603 by George Robins to Joseph Shakspeare, of Lapworth.
" John Shaxper, of Wroxall, labourer, made his will, Dec. 17, 1574, and died in Jan. 1574-5, leaving one son, named Edward. He mentions in his will his brother William; and his cousin Laurence Shaxper, of Balsal. Bundle of Wills, sub an. 1575, ut supra.
William Shaxpeare, of Wroxall, husbandman, made his will April 17, 1609, and died some time before April 11, 1613, when it was proved at Worcester. He was probably a nephew to the preceding. Bundle of Wills, sub an. 1613, ut supra.
* The early register of the hamlet of Knowle is lost; but there was in the present century a respectable family of the name of Shakspeare established at Knowle Hall.
3 From the Chirographer's Office I have been furnished with the following note of a fine levied Mich. 12 Jac. I. [1614.] “ Warwickshire.-Between William Shakespeare and George Shakespeare, Plfs, and Thomas Spencer, Esque. Christopher accurate and erroneous. From such a representation, it might naturally be supposed, that a long series of ancestors, all denominated gentlemen, might be found in the archives of Stratford; but neither the parishregister, nor any other ancient document that I have met with there (and I have examined several hundred), furnishes the slightest notice of even his paternal grandfather ; nor is any one of the family styled, in the register, gentleman, except the poet himself, though his immediate ancestor, in consequence of the office which he held, ranked, during the last thirty
Flecknoe and Thomas Tompson, Deforciants, of eight acres of pasture, with the appurtenants, in Claverdon, otherwise Clardon."
4 In the Rolls Chapel I found a deed enrolled, which was made in the 44th year of Queen Elizabeth (1601-2], conveying “ to Thomas Shakespeare of Warwick, yeoman, Sachbroke, alias Bishop Sachbroke in Com. Warr." · Thomas Shaxper, of Warwick, shoemaker, as appears by his will, in the registry of Worcester, died in 1577, possessed of the lordship of Balsal ; leaving three sons, William, Thomas, and John, and one daughter, married to Francis Ley: another, Thomas Shakspeare, perhaps the second son of the preceding, made his will, Aug. 20, 1631, and died in 1632. By an inventory annexed to his will, his personal effects appear to have been worth 1501. 3s. 6d. Bundle of Wills, sub an. 1632, ut supra. In 1619, when the visitation of Warwick was made by Sampson Lennard and Augustin Vincent, deputies for William Camden, Thomas Shakspeare was one of the burgesses of Warwick. He mentions his shop in his will; and I suspect that he was a butcher. A fine was levied by one Thomas Shakspeare to Michael Lee, in Michaelmas Term, 1608, of lands in Nuneaton, in the county of Warwick.
s In the register of Stratford, we find that Elizabeth, the daughter of Anthony Shakspeare, of Hampton, was baptized Feb. 10, 1583-4.
years of his life, with the most respectable persons in that town, and was denominated by an honourable addition, being styled, in the parochial register, Mayster Shakspeare.
There is good ground for believing that John Shakspeare, the father of our great dramatick poet, was not originally of Stratford upon Avon.' A very curious and well-preserved register is yet extant, which formerly belonged to the gild of the Holy Cross at Stratford, containing an account of all the masters, aldermen, procurators, brothers, and sisters of that gild, from the time of King Henry the Fourth to its dissolution, in the time of Edward the Sixth. In this ancient record, which I have carefully examined, during the entire reigns of Henry the Seventh and Henry the Eighth, the name of Shakspeare does not once occur ; though the names of most of the other families, which were of any consideration at Stratford in the time of Queen Elizabeth, are found there ; such as Clopton, Quiney, Combe, Underhill, Lewes, Sadler, Smith, Trussel, Jefferies, Reynolds, Gilbert, Parsons, Rogers, Bole, Hunt, Hill, Whatley, Gibbes, Phillips, Roberts, &c. In another very ancient manuscript, commencing with the reign of Henry the Eighth, in which the names of the wardens of the bridge of Stratford are preserved, antecedent to that town's being incorporated by King Edward the Sixth, the name of Shakspeare nó where appears ; nor among the tenants of the lands belonging to the gild, whose names are enumerated in a rent-roll, made in October, 1530, and also in the charter granted to this town in 1553, amounting, I think, to seventy-one, does the name of any of our poet's ancestors, at either period, occur: all which circumstances afford a strong confirmation of what I have suggested. In further support of this conjecture, it may also be observed, that in Dethick and Camden's grant of arms, in 1599, John Shakspeare is styled “ now of Stratford upon Avon ; ” from which it may plausibly be inferred that his son, from whom they received their instructions, knew that he had not been originally of that town: but as the word now does not occur in the preceding grant of 1596, and may have been formal rather than significant, this argument, it must be owned, is not of much force, though, connected with others, it may have some weight.
The heralds, in their grant or confirmation of arms to John Shakspeare, in 1599, by omitting the Christian name of our poet's mother, and writing, by mistake, Wellingcote, instead of Wilmecote, as the place of her father's residence, involved the history of this family in great difficulty and confusion. In their former grant, indeed, in 1596, which I shall soon have occasion to mention, they were more accurate, and bad rightly described the lady to whom mankind is so much indebted, as well as the place of her birth : a circumstance which has hitherto escaped the microscopick eye of the antiquary. Could any doubt still remain on this subject, it would be removed by the will of Robert Arden, our poet's maternal grandfather, which I discovered in the Consistory Office at Worcester, as well as by other ancient documents, which I shall hereafter have occasion to quote. From this will, compared with that of his widow, preserved in the same office, we learn, that the mother of our poet was the youngest of, at least, four daughters, and was a favourite of her father, being appointed one of his executors, in conjunction with her eldest sister, and in preference to his wife. The personal fortune of Mr. Arden, as appears from an inventory annexed to his will, amounted only to seventy-seven pounds, eleven shillings, and ten-pence. He had likewise, we find, some property in the neighbouring manor of Snitterfield ; and this circumstance, perhaps, was the occasion of John Shakspeare's introduction to his daughter; for there are some grounds for supposing that he had some relations settled at Snitterfield, a town about three miles from Stratford. From a declaration filed in the Bailiff's Court, at Stratford, where an action of debt was brought, by Nicholas Lane, against John Shakspeare (our poet's father, I believe), in Hilary Term, 29 Eliz. (1587], it should seem that he had a brother of the name of Henry; and another paper, which I have also found among the archives of Stratford, informs us that Henry Shakspeare was of Snitterfield .
8 To the will of Christopher Smyth, otherwise Court, of Stratford upon Avon, made Nov. 2, 1586, and proved at Stratford, Dec. 2. in the same year, is subjoined a list of “ Debts due to the said Christopher.”
“ It. Henry Shakspere of Snytterfield oweth me vli. ixs."
It appears from the register of the parish of Snitterfield that Henry Shakspeare was buried there Dec. 29, 1596 ; and Margaret, his widow, was buried there a few weeks afterwards, Feb. 6, 1596-7.
There was also a Thomas Shakspeare settled at Snitterfield ;