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and various other circumstances, being considered. But I doubt whether all his property amounted to much more than 2001. per ann. which yet was a considerable fortune in those times. He appears from his grand-daughter's will to have possessed, in Bishopton, and Stratford Welcome, four yard land and a half. A yard land is a denomination well known in Warwickshire, and contains from thirty to sixty acres. The average therefore being forty-five, four yard land and a half may be estimated at about two hundred acres. As sixteen years purchase was the common rate at which the land was sold at that time, that is, one half less than at this day, we may suppose that these lands were let at seven shillings per acre, and produced 701. per annum. If we rate the NewPlace with the appurtenances, and our poet's other houses in Stratford, at 601. a year, and his house, &c. in the Blackfriars (for which he paid 1401.3 at 201. a year), we have a rent-roll of 150l. per annum. Of his personal property it is not now possible to form any accurate estimate; but if we rate it at five hundred pounds, money then bearing an interest of ten per cent. Shakspeare's total income was 2001. per ann. To Shakspeare's income from his real and personal property must be added 2001. per ann. which he probably derived from the theatre, while he continued on the stage. In The Merry Wives of Windsor, which was written soon after the year 1600, three hundred pounds a year is described as an estate of such magnitude as to cover all the defects of its possessor:
3 See Appendix.
NEW PLA ('E, rawing in the Margin of an . "hien/ SURVZS, made by Order of SI GEORGE CAREW,
“ 0, what a world of vile ill-favour'd faults
The residence in which Shakspeare spent the latter part of his life, must from that circumstance be ever regarded with veneration. The following account of it is given by Mr. Theobald : .. .,
“ In 1614 the greater part of the town of Stratford was consumed by fire; but our Shakspeare's house, among some others, escaped the flames. This house was first built by Sir Hugh Clopton, a younger brother of an ancient family in that neighbourhood. Sir Hugh was Sheriff of London in the reign of Richard III, and Lord Mayor in the reign of King Henry VII. By his will he bequeathed to his elder brother's son his manor of Clopton, &c. and his house, by the name of the Great House in Stratford. Good part of the estate is yet (in 1733] in the possession of Edward Clopton, Esq. and Sir Hugh Clopton, Knt. lineally descended from the elder brother of the first Sir Hugh.
“ The estate had now been sold out of the Clopton family for above a century, at the time when Shakspeare became the purchaser: who having repaired and modelled it to his own mind, changed the name to New-Place, which the mansion-house, since erected upon the same spot, at this day retains. The house, and lands which attended it, continued in Shakspeare's descendants to the time of the Restoration; when they were re-purchased by the Clopton family, and the mansion now belongs to Sir Hugh Clopton, Knt. To the favour of this worthy gentleman I owe the knowledge of one particular in honour of our
poet's once dwelling house, of which I presume Mr. Rowe never was apprized. When the Civil War raged in England, and King Charles the First's Queen was driven by the necessity of her affairs to make a recess in Warwickshire, she kept her court for three weeks in New-Place. We may reasonably suppose it then the best private house in the town; and her Majesty preferred it to the College, which was in the possession of the Combe family, who did not so strongly favour the King's party.”
Mr. Theobald is mistaken in supposing that Shakspeare changed the name of this estate. I find from ancient documents that it was called New Place as early at least as 1565. In other points he appears to have been in an error. From his words, the reader may be led to suppose that Henrietta Maria was obliged to take refuge from the rebels in Stratford-upon-Avon : but that was not the case. She marched from Newark, June 16, 1643, and entered Stratford-upon-Avon triumphantly, about the 22d of the same month, at the head of three thousand foot and fifteen hundred horse, with one hundred and fifty waggons and a train of artillery. Here she was met by Prince Rupert, accompanied by a large body of troops. After sojourning about three weeks at our poet's house, which was then possessed by his grand-daughter Mrs. Nash, and her husband, the Queen went (July 13) to the plain of Keinton under Edge-hill, to meet the King, and proceeded from thence with him to Oxford, where, says a contemporary historian, “ her coming (July 15) was rather to a triumph than a war.”