The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 10.1320 Monday, 26 July 1999.
Date: Sunday, 25 Jul 1999 10:46:11 +0100
Subject: Hoghton Tower Controversy
I've just got back from the international Lancastrian Shakespeare
conference hosted by the University of Lancaster, partially held at the
sixteenth century house Hoghton Tower. The starting point for the
conference is the theory that Shakespeare spent part of his youth at
Hoghton Tower as a recusant school-teacher. For those not familiar with
this theory (most famously elaborated by Honnigman in Shakespeare's Lost
Years), it is based on Sir Alexander de Hoghton's will, which mentions a
William Shakeshafte. This has been around a long time (Schoenbaum and
Chambers both mention it) but it is an idea that is coming into its own
now, with new research linking Stratford and Hoghton, including two of
Shakespeare's schoolmasters, and other circumstantial evidence of this
nature. The theory is important because it gives Shakespeare a radical
recusant background (including a tantalising link with Campion) and it
appears to explain how Shakespeare became a player.
The plausibility of this theory was hotly debated at the conference. I
was wondering what the lists views are on this: on Catholic Shakespeare,
on a Lancashire Shakespeare?