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places several of them branched out, and settled at Wroxall', Knowle?, Claverdon", Warwick 4. Balsal, Stratford, Hampton “, and Snitterfield.
daughter. To his son Thomas he bequeathed twenty pounds ; to his son George, his “ freeland called Madge Wattons ;" to his daughter Annis, fifteen marks, to be paid on the day of her marriage. The testator mentions a brother of the name of Nicholas. That part of the paper which contained an account of the probate, being torn off, and wanting, I know not when he died. Bundle of Wills, sub an. 1574, ut supra.
George, the younger son of the above-mentioned John, died in 1628; and by his will, made Jan. 30, 1627 , devised to his son Thomas, Madge Wattons, adjoining to Schrewle heath, in the parish of Hatton, and after the death of his wife his copyhold in Rowington. Bundle of Wills in 1627, ut supra.
Richard Shatsper, the elder, of Rowington, probably the person mentioned in the inventory annexed to the will of William Withyford, in 1564, made his will, Sept. 6. 1591. He had four sons ; John, Roger, Thomas, and William. John was then married, and had three sons born, of which the eldest was Thomas. Richard Shaxper died between Sept. 1591, and March 31, 1592: his will having been proved on that day. Bundle of Wills, sub an. 1592, ut supra.
From the Court Rolls of the manor of Rowington (from which I have been obligingly furnished with an extract by Mr. John Payne, of Coventry, Attorney at Law), it appears that John Shakspeare, the eldest son of Richard above-mentioned, died in 1609; and that Thomas Shakspeare was admitted to the Hill Farm as his son and heir. This Thomas, from his will, which was made in 1614, appears to have been a mealman, or baker, and lived at Mouseley End, in Rowington. May 5, 1614, his widow was admitted in the Court Baron to her free-bench, and afterwards surrendered to her son John, who was then admitted accordingly. He died in Feb. 1652-3, leaving two sons, William, who died in 1690, and John, who died in 1710.
Another Richard Shaxper of Rowington, who is likewise styled the elder, died in April, 1614. His sons, as appears from his will, were William, Richard, Thomas, and John. Richard, the younger, had four sons then living, all minors; and William had
Our poet's family, says Mr. Rowe, “ as appears by the register and publick writings of Stratford, were of
one son, named John, likewise a minor. Bundle of Wills, sub an. 1614, ut supra. Richard the elder having surrendered a messuage in Turner's End, or Church End, Rowington, to the use of his youngest son John (who was a weaver), after the death of himself and his wife Elizabeth, the eldest son, William, contested this disposition. From a bill filed by John against William, in May, 1616, and the answer of William in the same year, it appears that the copyhold and tenement above-mentioned had been possessed by the father for fifty years. In Tur. Londin. Record Office, S. xiv. 57.
In May, 1595, a bill was filed by Thomas Shackspeare, of Rowe ington, yeoman, and Mary his wife, daughter and heir of William Mathew, deceased, against William Rogers. This Thomas claimed, in right of his wife, “a messuage and tenement with the appurtenances in Rowington and Claredon, and of certain lands in Hatton Schrewle, Rowington, and Pinley." This bill contains nothing else worth notice; and is only mentioned here, as ascertaining the existence of such a person. In Tur. Lond. Record Office, Ss. xi. 32.
Various branches of the family of Shakspeare continued at Rowington, during the last and present century. The only person, as I have been informed, now remaining in that parish of the name of Shakspeare, is a person who keeps a publick house at a place called Pinley Green, the son of Thomas Shakspeare, blacksmith, who died in 1785. The Hill Farm, however, above-mentioned, which descended from Richard Shakspeare who died in 1592, was possessed by the late Mr. William Shakspeare, of Knowle Hall, who died in August, 1762, at the age of seventy-five, and, as I learn from Mr. John Payne, of Coventry, attorney-atlaw, is now the property of Mr. John Edward Yarrow, the fifth in descent from Mary Shakspeare, grand-daughter of John Shakspeare, who, as we have already seen, died in 1609.
9 It appears from the register of Lapworth, that William Hart and Alice Shakspeare were married there, October 15, 1564. We shall presently see that our poet's sister, Joan Shakspeare, married a William Hart, at Stratford, in or before 1599, who might have
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 no 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,