The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 20.0536  Wednesday, 28 October 2009

From:       William Sutton <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:       Monday, 26 Oct 2009 05:02:40 -0700 (PDT)
Subject:    Gibert Shakespeare

Hello Biographers,

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 

William Sutton

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