The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 16.0349 Tuesday, 22 February 2005
Date: Monday, 21 Feb 2005 07:34:07 -0600
Subject: 16.0332 Was Shakespeare's Wife Literate?
Comment: RE: SHK 16.0332 Was Shakespeare's Wife Literate?
Peter Bridgman reminds us that
>When Ben Jonson was sent to Newgate on a murder charge after killing a
>fellow actor in a duel, Jonson claimed benefit of clergy and "wiped away
>his offences" by reading the neck verse. His thumb was then branded
>with a 'T', and he was free to go home. The 'T' was for Tyburn, to
>remind the lucky "cleric" that the benefit only worked once and next
>time he would swing.
I heard somewhere long ago that Jonson was "burned with a cold iron."
That is, the brand that was held to his thumb was not heated and thus he
was not branded at all. (He was able to arrange this because of
political connections at court.) Does someone on the list know which was
the case, or at least, which is the most accepted version?
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