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Home :: Archive :: 2001 :: February ::
Re: Biographical Queries
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 12.0415  Wednesday, 21 February 2001

[1]     From:   Stuart Manger <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 20 Feb 2001 18:20:27 +0000
        Subj:   SHK 12.0405 Two Biographical Queries

[2]     From:   David Kathman <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 20 Feb 2001 23:18:27 -0600
        Subj:   Re: SHK 12.0405 Two Biographical Queries


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Stuart Manger <
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Date:           Tuesday, 20 Feb 2001 18:20:27 +0000
Subject: Two Biographical Queries
Comment:        SHK 12.0405 Two Biographical Queries

It is nearly always said that Hamnet drowned in a river/brook close to
the Shakespeare's home in Stratford.

Stuart Manger

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           David Kathman <
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Date:           Tuesday, 20 Feb 2001 23:18:27 -0600
Subject: 12.0405 Two Biographical Queries
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.0405 Two Biographical Queries

Tim Brookes wrote:

>1. Do we know how Hamnet died?

No.

>2. Do we know what happened to John Shakespeare's business? In other
>words, are there any records of him selling it, or whatever assets and
>equipment he owned, or leaving them to anyone in particular in his will?

No records survive of John Shakespeare selling his business, or
otherwise disposing of it.  He left no will; as Schoenbaum notes
(*William Shakespeare: A Documentary Life*, p. 181), "in the absence of
a will the double house in Henley Street would pass to his eldest son
William."  Presumably that's what happened, since William later left the
double house (where John Shakespeare's business had been located) in his
own will to his sister Joan.  There is considerable evidence that John
Shakespeare fell on hard times in the late 1570s; Park Honan, in his
recent biography (pp. 25-42) presents some pretty good circumstantial
evidence that this fall from grace was tied to a crackdown on illegal
wool dealing in late 1576, a practice from which John Shakespeare had
apparently derived much of his income.  As for what happened to his
glover business, there is no way to know for sure.  William was
supposedly apprenticed to his father at some point, but obviously he
didn't stick to it.  William's younger brother Gilbert (b. 1566) was a
haberdasher in London in 1597, but he was back in the Stratford area by
1602 (as we know from a 1609 lawsuit) and died in Stratford in 1612.  So
if John Shakespeare's business as a glover still even existed at his
death in 1601 (which is not at all certain), Gilbert may have taken it
over or otherwise disposed of it.

Dave Kathman

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