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Home :: Archive :: 2002 :: February ::
Re: Shakespeare's Will
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 13.0581  Tuesday, 27 February 2002

[1]     From:   Bill Arnold <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 26 Feb 2002 10:49:48 -0800 (PST)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 13.0569 Re: Shakespeare's Will

[2]     From:   Vick Bennison <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 27 Feb 2002 01:03:19 EST
        Subj:   Re: SHK 13.0569 Re: Shakespeare's Will


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Bill Arnold <
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Date:           Tuesday, 26 Feb 2002 10:49:48 -0800 (PST)
Subject: 13.0569 Re: Shakespeare's Will
Comment:        Re: SHK 13.0569 Re: Shakespeare's Will

Takashi Kozuka quotes me, then writes,  "Bill Arnold said:
'Shakespeare's last Will and Testament suggests so, does it not?  He
wrote, and signed...' No, he didn't write it. (He did sign, though.)
There was a 'stock' form of the will in Shakespeare's time, for example,
how it should start. The passage Bill quoted doesn't tell us much about
Shakespeare himself.'"

Takashi, if the message board is willing, I wish to explore this more.
It does provide historical evidence of the _mind_ of the man we call
Shakespeare.  It does provide a statement by him of his religious
beliefs.  The website this appears on states that his lawyers made
changes at the request of Shakespeare, therefore he could have struck
the so-called _stock_ form, and apparently did strike some of them.  But
I am not an expert in the Jacobean Age law.  Perhaps others on our
message board can?  Also, elsewhere, perhaps in Schoenbaum, I have read
that Shakespeare's Will has been debated, and the final assessment is
that it was _in fact_ in his own hand.  And the will, in contrast to
that of his father John's, in which his father confessed to being a
Catholic, is a confession to being a Christian.  Stock opening, is that
what is meant?  This is a long and detailed will, does _not_ apprear to
be stock, he altered it, and he signed it.  If he were a confessed
atheist, as has been alleged of Christopher Marlowe, then he could have
altered his will radically, could he have not?  And I wonder, herein, do
we take this last will and testament as a last will and testament or
_not_?  What basis to we reject it?  It strongly suggests to me that
William Shakespeare, gent, was also a confessed Christian. For those who
have never seen it, here is the text:

In the name of god Amen I William Shackspeare, of Stratford upon Avon in
the countrie of Warr., gent., in perfect health and memorie, God be
praysed, doe make and ordayne this my last will and testament in manner
and forme followeing, that ys to saye, ffirst, I comend my soule into
the hands of God my Creator, hoping and assuredlie beleeving, through
thonelie merites, of Jesus Christe my Saviour, to be made partaker of
lyfe everlastinge, and my bodye to the earth whereof yt ys made. Item, I
gyve and bequeath unto my [sonne and] daughter Judyth one hundred and
fyftie poundes of lawfull English money, to be paid unto her in the
manner and forme foloweng, that ys to saye, one hundred poundes in
discharge of her marriage porcion within one yeare after my deceas, with
consideracion after the rate of twoe shillings in the pound for soe long
tyme as the same shalbe unpaied unto her after my deceas, and the fyftie
pounde residwe thereof upon her surrendring of, or gyving of such
sufficient securitie as the overseers of this my will shall like of, to
surrender or graunte all her estate and right that shall discend or come
unto her after my deceas, or that shee nowe hath, of, in, or to, one
copiehold tenemente, with thappurtenaunces, lyeing and being in
Stratford upon Avon aforesaied in the saied countrye of Warr., being
parcell or holden of the mannour of Rowington, unto my daughter Susanna
Hall and her heires for ever.  Item, I gyve and bequeath unto my saied
daughter Judith one hundred and fyftie poundes more, if shee or anie
issue of her bodie by lyvinge att thend of three yeares next ensueing
the daie of the date of this my will, during which tyme my executours
are to paie her consideracion from my deceas according to the rate
aforesaied; and if she dye within the saied tearme without issue of her
bodye, then my will us, and I doe gyve and bequeath one hundred poundes
thereof to my neece Elizabeth Hall, and the fiftie poundes to be sett
fourth by my executours during the lief of my sister Johane Harte, and
the use and proffitt thereof cominge shalbe payed to my saied sister
Jone, and after her deceas the saied l.li.12 shall remaine amongst the
children of my saied sister, equallie to be divided amongst them; but if
my saied daughter Judith be lyving att thend of the saied three yeares,
or anie yssue of her bodye, then my will ys, and soe I devise and
bequeath the saied hundred and fyftie poundes to be sett our by my
executours and overseers for the best benefitt of her and her issue, and
the stock not to be paied unto her soe long as she shalbe marryed and
covert baron [by my executours and overseers]; but my will ys, that she
shall have the consideracion yearelie paied unto her during her lief,
and, after her ceceas, the saied stocke and consideracion to be paied to
her children, if she have anie, and if not, to her executours or
assignes, she lyving the saied terme after my deceas. Provided that yf
suche husbond as she shall att thend of the saied three years be marryed
unto, or att anie after, doe sufficientlie assure unto her and thissue
of her bodie landes awnswereable to the porcion by this my will gyven
unto her, and to be adjudged soe by my executours and overseers, then my
will ys, that the said cl.li.13 shalbe paied to such husbond as shall
make such assurance, to his owne use. Item, I gyve and bequeath unto my
saied sister Jone xx.li. and all my wearing apparrell, to be paied and
delivered within one yeare after my deceas; and I doe will and devise
unto her the house with thappurtenaunces in Stratford, wherein she
dwelleth, for her naturall lief, under the yearlie rent of xij.d. Item,
I gyve and bequeath unto her three sonnes, William Harte, ---- Hart, and
Michaell Harte, fyve pounds a peece, to be paied within one yeare after
my deceas [to be sett out for her within one yeare after my deceas by my
executours, with thadvise and direccions of my overseers, for her best
frofitt, untill her mariage, and then the same with the increase thereof
to be paied unto her]. Item, I gyve and bequeath unto [her] the saied
Elizabeth Hall, all my plate, except my brod silver and gilt bole, that
I now have att the date of this my will. Item, I gyve and bequeath unto
the poore of Stratfordaforesaied tenn poundes; to Mr. Thomas Combe my
sword; to Thomas Russell esquier fyve poundes; and to Frauncis Collins,
of the borough of Warr. in the countie of Warr. gentleman, thirteene
poundes, sixe shillinges, and eight pence, to be paied within one yeare
after my deceas. Item, I gyve and bequeath to [Mr. Richard Tyler
thelder] Hamlett Sadler xxvj.8. viij.d. to buy him a ringe; to William
Raynoldes gent., xxvj.8. viij.d. to buy him a ringe; to my dogson
William Walker xx8. in gold; to Anthonye Nashe gent.  xxvj.8. viij.d.
[in gold]; and to my fellowes John Hemynges, Richard Brubage, and Henry
Cundell, xxvj.8. viij.d. a peece to buy them ringes, Item, I gyve, will,
bequeath, and devise, unto my daughter Susanna Hall, for better enabling
of her to performe this my will, and towards the performans thereof, all
that capitall messuage or tenemente with thappurtenaunces, in Stratford
aforesaid, called the New Place, wherein I nowe dwell, and two messuages
or tenementes with thappurtenaunces, scituat, lyeing, and being in
Henley streete, within the borough of Stratford aforesaied; and all my
barnes, stables, orchardes, gardens, landes, tenementes, and
hereditamentes, whatsoever, scituat, lyeing, and being, or to be had,
receyved, perceyved, or taken, within the townes, hamletes, villages,
fieldes,and groundes, of Stratford upon Avon, Oldstratford, Bushopton,
and Welcombe, or in anie of them in the saied countie of Warr. And alsoe
all that messuage or tenemente with thappurtenaunces, wherein one John
Robinson dwelleth, scituat, lyeing and being, in the Balckfriers in
London, nere the Wardrobe; and all my other landes, tenementes, and
hereditamentes whatsoever, To have and to hold all and singuler the
saied premisses, with theire appurtenaunces, unto the saied Susanna
Hall, for and during the terme of her naturall lief, and after her
deceas, to the first sonne of her bodie lawfullie yssueing, and to the
heires males of the bodie of the saied first sonne lawfullie yssueinge;
and for defalt of such issue, to the second sonne of her bodie,
lawfullie issueing, and to the heires males of the bodie of the saied
second sonne lawfullie yssueinge; and for defalt of such heires, to the
third sonne of the bodie of the saied Susanna lawfullie yssueing, and of
the heires males of the bodie of the saied third sonne lawfullie
yssueing; and for defalt of such issue, the same soe to be and remaine
to the ffourth after another, and to the heires males of the bodies of
the bodies of the saied fourth, fifth, sixte, and seaventh sonnes
lawfullie yssueing, in such manner as yt ys before lymitted to be and
remaine to the first, second, and third sonns of her bodie, and to
theire heires males; and for defalt of such issue, the said premisses to
be and remaine to my sayed neece Hall, and the heires males of her bodie
lawfullie yssueinge; and for defalt of such issue, to my daughter
Judith, and the heires males of her bodie lawfullie issueinge; and for
defalt of such issue, to the right heires of me the saied William
Shackspeare for ever. Item, I gyve unto my wief my second best bed with
the furniture, Item, I gyve and bequeath to my saied daughter Judith my
broad silver gilt bole. All the rest of my goodes, chattel, leases,
plate, jewels, and household stuffe whatsoever, after my dettes and
legasies paied, and my funerall expenses dischardged, I give, devise,
and bequeath to my sonne in lawe, John Hall gent., and my daughter
Susanna, his wief, whom I ordaine and make executours of this my last
will and testament. And I doe intreat and appoint the saied Thomas
Russell esquier and Frauncis Collins gent. to be overseers hereof, and
doe revoke all former wills, and publishe this to be my last will and
testament. In witness whereof I have hereunto put my [seale] hand, the
daie and yeare first abovewritten.

              Witnes to the publyshing
              hereof    Fra: Collyns
              Julyus Shawe
              John Robinson
              Hamnet Sadler
              Rovert Whattcott

http://shakespeare.about.com/gi/dynamic/offsite.htm?site=http://fly.hiwaay.net/%7Epaul/shakspere/shakwill.html

Bill Arnold

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Vick Bennison <
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Date:           Wednesday, 27 Feb 2002 01:03:19 EST
Subject: 13.0569 Re: Shakespeare's Will
Comment:        Re: SHK 13.0569 Re: Shakespeare's Will

Takashi Kozuka writes:  "No, he didn't write it."

I just finished reading Charles Hamilton's 1985 book "In Search of
Shakespeare".  Among his several claims is that Shakespeare's will is
holographic.  He claims that the will is neither in lawyer Francis
Collin's handwriting, nor in the handwriting of his known clerk, but in
Shakespeare's handwriting.  This does not seem to be the generally
accepted view.  What is the evidence, other then legend, that the will
is NOT in Shakespeare's handwriting?  The fact that it is in stock form
(i.e., not a form, but in stock language) available in a pamphlet to
anyone, including Shakespeare, seems to prove little one way or the
other.  Nor does the fact that it is signed by his lawyer, since it is
quite clear that someone besides the lawyer penned it.  If we don't know
what Shakespeare's handwriting looked like (except for the six
signatures that do not look significantly unlike the writing in the
will), why can we claim so adamantly that he did not write it?

- Vick Bennison

P.S.  Even gullible little me finds many of Mr. Hamilton's claims
dubious, but let's stick to the will, please.  Thanks.

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