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History dude

Shakespeare's Other Wife

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History dude

While doing some research in the famous William Shakespeare I came accross a book which started me thinking that the Bard had not only married Anne Hathaway, but could have married again, whilst still married to Anne. :o

This is not the controversey that surrounds the marriage licenses, both dating to 1582, that are well known about. Just in case you don't I'll recape the story.

In the Worcester archives are two documents relating to the marriage of William Shakespeare. One is fairly straightforward enought. In that It is a document requesting that a license be issued for the marriage of William Shakespeare and Anne Hathaway.

The other is more tricky to understand. The document is in latin and it all rests on the translation of one word "emanavit". I worked this out to mean "became known". Sometime ago I sent an E-Mail to Kate Welch of the Shakespeare Institute, asking her if she could confirm this translation and she did.

So the rest of this document reads.... jist of it.... "It became known a license between William Shakespeare and Anna Whateley of Temple Grafton".

So a license was issued and one granted and the chap got the bride's name wrong. Which is the official explanation for the two documents.

However the dates don't match up for the asking was the day after the granting of the license :wacko:

What they historians fail to mention is that the Bishop of Worcester at that time was John Whitgift, who later went on to become Archbishop of Canterbury. In fact he was there at Queen Elizabeth's death!

So what was going on was that the Bishop was keeping track of the vicars in his parish and also making certain he would not be to blame on a marriage that could be wrong.

So the marriage to Anna Whateley had happened and was being recorded in the Bishop's register. Probably because the vicar of Temple Grafton was bent as well as being a known Catholic, which the bishop hated. The following day the Bishop gets a request for a license for the same chap.

What this means is that William was on his second wife in Hathaway. I think the first one died. Actually I think she gets mistaken for his sister who died 1579. So that license issue being recorded in the Bishop's register is older than 1579. Therefore his sister might have lived and married.

Anyway that is that story...

Back to what could be the third wife!

The book in question was written by Charlotte C. Stopes and is called Shakespeare's Family (1901).

You can read it for yourself free on the Internet Archive http://archive.org/details/shakesfamily00stopuoft

On page 122 she writes A William Shakespeare, of Hatton, married Barbara Stiffe in 1589: styled "gent" at baptism of his daughter Susannah 1596.

Then on page 125 - July 23rd 1598 Katherine, dau. of Wm and Barbara Shakespeare, baptised.

Feb - , 1610, Barbara wife of Mr William Shakespeare, burried.

What's odd about it, is that there's no mention of the death of her husband. Nor is he stated as being a "gentleman" in 1589 when he married Barbara.

These are from the parish register of Hatton which is just 11 miles from Stratford. Now what are the chances of two William Shakespeare's being that close to each other then both becoming gentleman in the 1590's?

So what if they are the same chap?

So what I've done is to try and confirm that there was a second William Shakespeare. So last night I sent two e-mails. One to the College of Arms. With the question "Did another William Shakespeare apply (was granted) for a Coat of Arms at the same time as the famous one".

The other e-mail was sent to the Church at Hatton. Asking them is there a grave for either William Shakespeare of Barbara Shakespeare?

I'll let you know if I get any replies.

But if there is no other grant of arms then there can only be one conclusion.

PS: I would have thought the grave of a high class wife and her husband should be inside the church, with him being styled gent!

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