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and named Anne. John Shakespeare was sworn early in October into his office of chief alderman, and he continued to take part in the business of the Town Council.
In 1574 another son of John and Mary Shakespeare was baptized on the eleventh of March and named Richard, perhaps after his grandfather.
In October, 1575, John Shakespeare paid forty pounds to Edmund Hall and Emma, his wife, for two tenements in Stratford, each with a garden and orchard. There is no evidence as to their locality. One of them may possibly have been the home in Henley Street.
Thus far a few simple records define, clearly enough, the rise of the poet's father to a fair prosperity, until the time when Shakespeare was eleven or twelve years old. In the next following years, records as simple and exact show the descent through trouble into want. The wolf sits at the house-door, enters at last, and eats up all. Then we shall find, about the time when his eldest son leaves Stratford, John Shakespeare subject to arrest for want of goods to be distrained upon.
In 1576, when Shakespeare was a boy of twelve, the first theatres in London—the Theatre and the Curtain-were
built, near the site of the suppressed Priory of Shakespeare Holywell.* John Shakespeare had then a was a Boy household of seven--himself, his wife, and the
five children ; three boys and two girls. William was the eldest, Gilbert two years younger-that is to say, ten years old, Joan's age was seven, Anne's was five, and Richard's three. The number of John Shakespeare's children remained five ; for although Anne died in 1579, and William Shakespeare, aged fifteen, then had grief for the death of an eight-year-old sister among the teachings of his life, in 1580 another son, Edmund, was born-named, no doubt, after his aunt Joan's husband, Edmund Lambert.
• "E. W.” viii. 388.
Then there were four boys—William, Gilbert, Richard, Edmund—and the only girl was Joan.
There is no direct evidence to show where William Shakespeare went to school. As he had reached the age of twelve before the fall began in his father's prosperity, we may assume that his early education had not been neglected. As education at the Free School of Stratfordon-Avon was at once the cheapest and the best — if, indeed, any other good teaching, beyond the hornbook, was accessible to boys in the town-we may take that to have been the school he went to. It was then usual for boys to go to the grammar school in early childhood, in order that they might acquire knowledge enough of Latin to enable them to follow teaching through that language as soon as possible ;* but we have seen † that in 1582 Richard Mulcaster, one of the best schoolmasters in England, was already protesting against the “marvellous bondage" of children to one tongue, not their own, for learning's sake. The result, however, of this way of teaching was that, in Elizabeth's day, a quick boy of fourteen, fresh from his grammar school, could speak and read Latin more readily than some men of our own day who have got through the pass examinations at Oxford or Cambridge without working for honours.
Let us assume, then, that when twelve years old, in 1576, William Shakespeare went daily from the home in Henley Street to the Free Grammar School in Chapel Street.
Following now the fortunes of the home, as shown from evidence uncoloured by conjecture, we find that in 1577 there were six meetings of the Town Council of Stratford. At three of them John Shakespeare did not attend, at one he did attend, and at the other two, attendances are not recorded. * "E. W.” vii. 288.
+ “E. W.” ix. 186, 187.
Home under a Cloud.
In 1578, on the twenty-ninth of January, the Town Council agreed upon a levy towards the support of bill-andpike men and one archer. In this levy, except some whose names were underwritten, every alderman was to pay sixand-eightpence (the old value of a noble or of its successor the angel-noble), and every burgess half that amount. Two aldermen and five burgesses were underwritten, and excused part of their payment. John Shakespeare was one of those two aldermen. The levy on him was reduced to three-andfourpence. In November of the same year, a list of debts appended to the will of Roger Sadler, baker, of Stratford, includes a claim upon two sureties for a debt of five pounds from John Shakespeare. One of the sureties was William Shakespeare's uncle, Edmund Lambert, of Barton-on-theHeath, who had married Mary Arden's sister Joan. On the fourteenth of November in the same year, 1578, John and Mary Shakespeare raised money by mortgaging Mary Shakespeare's paternal estate of Asbies, in Aston Cantlowe, to the same brother-in-law Edmund Lambert, for forty pounds. An instrument relating to this mortgage defines the estate as consisting of two messuages, two gardens, fifty acres of land, and four acres of pasture.
In 1579, on the eleventh of March, John Shakespeare is found entered upon the register of Town Council meetings among defaulters in payment of their shares in the levy for the purchase of armour and defensive weapons. On the fourth of the next April his daughter Anne was buried. He was noted as absent from seven of ten meetings of the Town Council in this year, the remaining three being meetings at which absences were not recorded. Only one other alderman beside John Shakespeare was absent on the second of October, the day of the official elections. A fortnight afterwards, on the fifteenth of the same month, John Shakespeare and Mary his wife sold for four pounds their interest in a share of two messuages at
Snitterfield to Robert Webbe, who is named as a son in the will of Alexander Webbe, first husband of Mary Shakespeare's sister Margaret.
In 1579, then, William Shakespeare's age was fifteen, and his father was in want of money. In 1579 Francis Bacon, aged eighteen, was driven by the death of his father to take seriously to law as his profession.* In 1579 John Lyly, aged about twenty-six, published his “Euphues.” † Towards the end of 1579 Edmund Spenser, then about twenty-seven years old, published “The Shepheardes Calender.” | In 1579 Stephen Gosson, aged about twenty-six, published his “ School of Abuse," and thereby quickened the controversy between Puritans and players. $
Pledging of Asbies involved further loss of income. In 1580 John Shakespeare attempted to redeem the pledge and recover his wife's little estate ; but he owed other monies to his brother-in-law, Edmund Lambert, who determined to secure himself by holding Asbies unless all the debt to him was paid; and it could not be paid. It was on the third of May in that year, 1580, that the last boy was born, and named after his uncle Edmund. John Shakespeare's name occurs in a list of the gentlemen and freeholders in the county of Warwick, 1580, as of the hundred of Barlichway, in Stratford-on-Avon. Alderman John Shakespeare was absent in 1580 from all the eight recorded meetings of the Stratford Town Council, and from all the six of the next year, 1581. In 1582 Alderman John Shakespeare was absent from ten meetings of the Town Council, and present only at one in which John Sadler was appointed bailiff.
In 1582, on the twenty-eighth of November, in the twentyfifth year of Elizabeth, William Shakespeare, when his age was about eighteen years and seven months, took out a
* " E. W.” ix. 262.
I “E. W.” ix. 20.
preliminary bond with a notary for licence of marriage, with once asking of the banns, between himself and Anne
Hathaway, described as of Stratford, in the dio
cese of Worcester, maiden. The two bondsmen speare's
named in this document are Fulk Sandells and
John Richardson. Fulk Sandells was appointed to be one of the supervisors to see to the faithful carrying out of the will of Richard Hathaway as his “trustie frende and neighbour," and there is evidence that he lived in Shottery. There were two John Richardsons in Shottery, and one of these witnessed, in 1581, Richard Hathaway's will.
There were in Shottery three families of Hathaway. Intimate friendship of John Shakespeare with a member of one
of these families is implied by his having been way. in September, 1566, bail for a Richard Hatha
way in two actions in the Court of Record, for eight and eleven pounds respectively, and in the second action actually sued as answerable for his friend. This may imply friendship between their two families when Anne, daughter of Richard Hathaway, was ten years old, and William Shakespeare was a child of two or three. The initials “R. H.” are on one of the seals to the marriage bond of November, 1582. This may perhaps indicate use of the seal of Richard Hathaway, who had made a will on the first of September, 1581, which was proved on the ninth of July, 1582. The will included a bequest “unto Agnes my daughter” of “sixe poundes, thirtene shillinges, and fower pence, to be paid unto her at the daie of her marriage.” There was a like provision for the marriage day of his daughter Catherine ; but for his third daughter, Margaret, there was the same bequest, “to be paide unto her at the age of seaventeene yeares.” The inference is, that, when the will was made, the two elder daughters were engaged for marriage, but the youngest not engaged. “Agnes” was commonly pronounced " Annes," and counted as one of the