The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 20.0536 Wednesday, 28 October 2009
Date: Monday, 26 Oct 2009 05:02:40 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: Gibert Shakespeare
I have recently been searching for the truth behind this idea that
Shakespeare's brother Gilbert was a haberdasher. My next step is to try
and verify from the early records of the Haberdasher's company.
Now Halliwell-Phillips searched the Coram Rege rolls of 1597 and found a
reference to Gilbert standing bail for a clockmaker of Stratford,
describing him as a haberdasher in St Bride's parish, London.
Then I read CC Stopes Shakespeare's Family who claimed that Halliwell
Phillips had erred and read Gilbert Shepherd's name in place of Gilbert
Shakespeare Stopes searched the Haberdasher Company records and
registers in St Bridget's and St Bride's as well as the subsidy rolls.
Then I find in Schoenbaum that Stopes is in error and not a very good
archivist and that a record does exist! Only he gives no footnote or
source for it.
The Worshipful haberdasher company's archivist informs me that the early
records covering Bindings are incomplete (possibly due to the great fire
in 1666) eg bindings for the period aug 1596-nov 1602 are missing. and
in the case of the freedom registers these have complete (less detailed)
records, but its index is unreliable.
I know there is an autograph of Gilbert in the Stratford records proving
his literacy. But I am at a loss as to how biographers can claim with
any certainty that he was a haberdasher (owning a shop with another man
in St Bride's). Shakespeare's A to Z for example is but one of many.
I have stated it myself using the authority of repetition that Gilbert
was a haberdasher and yet there seems to be no 'proof'.
Please can anyone provide something ocular and conclusive, one way or
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