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William Shakespeare married Anne Hathaway, of a respectable family, supposed to be of Shottery. He had three children: Susanna, and Hamnet and Judith, twins. The boy died young, in 1596, before the grant of arms was completed. Anne Hathaway is described as of Stratford in the marriage bond, but so were Fulk Sandells and John Richardson, the bondsmen, known to be of Shottery. Indeed, the village lay within the parish of Stratford.

Gwillim mentions arms, “Sable, a bugle, or hunter’s horn, garnished and furnished argent. This coat-armour is of very ancient erection in the church of Rewardine, in the Forest of Dean in Gloucestershire, and pertained to the family of Hatheway of the same place.” Again he says, “Paleways of six, Argent and sable, on a bend Or, three pheons of the second, by the name of Hatheway."

The Hathaways from whom Anne Shakespeare descended have not been proved to be of the Gloucestershire stock, nor is it absolutely certain to which of the three Shottery families she belonged. In the Warwickshire Survey (Philip and Mary) it is stated that John Hathaway held part of a property at Shottery, called Hewlands, by copy of Court Roll dated April 20, 1542. He was possibly the same as the archer of that name, mentioned in the Muster Roll 28 Henry VIII., and was probably father of the Richard befriended by John Shakespeare in 1566. The Stratford registers record the birth of Thomas, son of Richard Hathaway, April 12, 1569; John, February 3, 1574, and William, November 30, 1578. Anne Hathaway, we know, from the words on her tombstone, must have been born before the register commenced (1558). There is not another Agnes, or Anne, recorded that could represent the legatee of Richard Hathaway’s will of September, 1581. To his eldest son, Bartholomew, he left the farm, to be carried on with his mother; to his second and third sons, Thomas and John, he left L6 13d. each; to his fourth son, William, L10; to his daughters, Agnes (or Anne) and Catherine, L6 13d., to be paid on the day of their marriage; and to his youngest daughter, Margaret, L6 13d. when she was seventeen. Witnessed by Sir William Gilbert, clerk and curate of Stratford.

The farm was not a freehold; Bartholomew did not become its owner until 1610, when he purchased it from William Whitmore and John Randall. Richard Hathaway mentions in his will his “shepherd, Thomas Whittington of Shottery.” This man died in 1601, and by his will bequeathed to the poor “Forty shillings that is in the hand of Anne Shaxspere, wife unto Mr. Wyllyam Shaxspere, and is debt due to me.” It was a common custom of the days before savings-banks, for poor earners to deposit their savings in the charge of rich and trustworthy friends, and this little link seems to associate Anne Shakespeare doubly with that particular family of Hathaways.

Shakespeare does not mention any of his wife’s relatives in his will, but that does not necessarily imply coldness of feeling. Dr. John Hall, his son-in-law, was made overseer of Bartholomew Hathaway’s will in 1621, and in 1625 he was one of the trustees at the marriage of Isabel, his granddaughter, the daughter of Richard Hathaway of Bridge Street. A Richard is mentioned in the registers as being baptized in 1559 (but it is not clear that he was the son of this Richard or of Bartholomew), who became a baker in Bridge Street, an important member of the Town Council, and Constable in 1605. He was elected High Bailiff of Stratford in 1526, and was styled “gent.” Many of the name are buried in Trinity Church, Stratford.

In the rather remarkable testament of Thomas Nash, first husband of Shakespeare’s only granddaughter, Elizabeth, he left L50 to Elizabeth Hathaway, L50 to Thomas Hathaway, and L10 to Judith Hathaway. His wife also remembered them, as will be afterwards shown. William Hathaway, of Weston-upon-Avon, in the county of Gloucester, yeoman, and Thomas Hathaway, of Stratford-upon-Avon, joiner, were parties to the New Place settlement of 1647.

All this shows that the Shakespeares were not ashamed of their mother’s relatives. We do not know anything about Anne Shakespeare after her husband’s death until we reach the record of her own, “August 8th, 1623, Mrs. Shakespeare."

Tradition says that she earnestly desired to be buried in her husband’s grave. The survivors were not able to secure this, but they buried her as near him as they could. Her daughter Susanna’s grief is recorded in touching lines, probably Latinized by Dr. Hall, placed on her tombstone:

“Thou, my mother, gave me life, thy breast and milk; alas! for such great bounty to me I shall give thee a tomb. How much rather I would entreat the good angel to move the stone, so that thy figure might come forth, as did the body of Christ; but my prayers avail nothing. Come quickly, O Christ; so that my mother, closed in the tomb, may rise again and seek the stars."

Of Anne Shakespeare’s children we have already spoken. Susannah was born May 26, 1583, Hamnet and Judith, February 2, 1584-85. Hamnet surely the model of Shakespeare’s sweet boys had died on August 11, 1596. So the name Shakespeare had glorified was doomed to die with himself, and was not to be borne by lesser men. His property the poet could and did devise.

Much discussion has taken place concerning the poet’s views of his younger daughter and her marriage. I do not think these views at all supported by his will. Three hundred pounds was a very large portion indeed at the time. It was demised to her doubtless before her marriage, but it was not altered in relation to her after her marriage. It would be hard indeed to believe that such a ceremony, even without a license, could be performed in the gossipy town of Stratford without the news of it somehow reaching the father’s ears, if there had been any attempt really to deceive. There is no reason to imagine Shakespeare disapproved of the alliance. The young man came of an old Stratford family. It is possible, however, that the poet foresaw a certain degree of instability of character in the youth, and therefore wished to make his will act as a marriage settlement that would secure his daughter from starvation. The second half of his bequest might only be touched by her husband, if he had settled on her land of equal value. This Thomas Quiney does not seem to have done.

Richard Quiney had died 1601-2, and his widow Elizabeth kept a tavern, in which she was probably at one time assisted by her younger son Thomas. In December, 1611, she conveyed a house to William Mountford for L131, and Judith Shakespeare was a subscribing witness. But neither she nor her future mother-in-law signed their names, nor even the customary cross, but a strangely-penned device of their own. Thomas Quiney lived in a small house in the High Street until after his marriage. It was probably his wife’s money that enabled him to lease the larger house on the other side, called “The Cage,” and to start therein business as a vintner.

At first he was successful. He was made a burgess in 1617, and was Chamberlain from 1621 to 1623. His accounts for the latter year are headed by a French proverb, as to the happiness of those who become wise through the experience of others, that might have had an opposite meaning to his contemporaries. It shows us that he could not only read and write English, but at least a little French. By 1630 he was involved in lawsuits, left the town council, and tried to dispose of the lease of his house. In 1633 Dr. Hall and Thomas Nash acted as trustees for his estate. His fortunes seemed to have become worse and worse. In 1652 he went to the Metropolis, where his elder brother Richard was a thriving grocer in Bucklersbury, in company with Roger Sadler. Richard, in August, 1655, made a will, in which he left, besides handsome provision for his children Richard, Adrian, Thomas, William and Sarah his brother Thomas L12 a year for life, and L5 for the expenses of his funeral, out of his messuages at Shottery. The Quiney coat of arms is entered among those of the London burgesses at Guildhall, “Mr. Quiney of ye Red Lyon in Bucklersbury.”

The family of Thomas Quiney and his wife Judith was not a large one. In the year that the poet died they christened their eldest son, “Shaksper, filius Thomas Quyny gent.,” November 23, 1616. But the child died in a few months. On May 8, 1617, was buried “Shakespere, filius Thomas Quyny, gent.”

On February 9, 1617-18, “Richard filius Thomas Quinee” was baptized, and on January 23, 1619-20, “Thomas, filius Thomas Queeny.” These lads may have followed to the grave their grandmother, Mrs. Shakespeare, and their uncle, Dr. Hall; and they may have been present at the marriage of their cousin, Mrs. Elizabeth Hall, to Mr. Thomas Nash. But they died within a month of each other, probably of some infectious fever, the younger first “Thomas filius Thomae Quiney, Jath, 1638-9”; “Richardus filius Tho. Quiney, Feth, 1638-9.” There were no other children, and no prospect of more, and these early deaths affected the devolution of the poet’s property, as may hereafter be seen.

Unfortunately, we know nothing concerning Dr. John Hall before his marriage to the poet’s elder daughter Susanna on June 5, 1607, he being then thirty-two and she twenty-five. He cannot have been the son of Dr. John Hall, of Maidstone, Kent, whose translation of Lanfranc’s “Chirurgerie,” with portrait of the translator, appeared in 1565. He would have been an eminently suitable father, distinguished alike in his art and his character, author of “The Court of Virtue,” and many metrical Bible translations; but he died in 1566, and the Stratford Dr. John Hall was born in 1575. Halliwell-Phillipps suggests that he may have been connected with the Halls of Acton, Middlesex, because he left his only daughter his “house and meadow at Acton.” A John Hall was married in that parish, it is true, on September 19, 1574, to Margaret Archer. But he had a daughter Elizabeth christened on June 5, 1575, about the very date at which the Stratford “John” must have been born. Any connection, therefore, must have been further off than filial, and the name is too common to be easily followed.

There were Halls in Worcester, in Rowington, and in Coventry, and it may be remembered that a John Hall supplanted Richard Shakespeare as Bailiff of the Priory of Wroxall during the last year of its existence. There was a Richard Hall of Stratford in the list of the gentry 12 Henry VI., 1433. There was also a Richard Hall, gentleman, of Idlicote, in the sixteenth century, who seems to have moved about a good deal, as there is a record of “Elizabeth, daughter of Richard Hall, Generosus, bapt. February 14th, 1560,” at Idlicote, and of “Maria filia Richardi Hall, Generosus, March 17th, 1561,” in Stratford. I have not traced any of the name of John christened in Idlicote or elsewhere at the date.

The Idlicote Halls were suspected recusants, as may be proved by the search made in their house when Edward Arden was dragged away from Park Hall in 1583. There was a “Mr. Hall” Alderman of Stratford 1558, and in 1575 Edmund Hall and Emma his wife sold two messuages to John Shakespeare. Were they contemplating going abroad at the time? They are not further referred to in Stratford records. In a manuscript of the British Museum a table is sketched of the Halls of Henwick in Hallow. John Hall of Henwick had a son Thomas, who married, first, Anne, daughter of William Staple, and, second, a daughter of Hardwick. He had at least two sons, John, who married Margaret, daughter of William Grovelight, of London, and Edmund, who married Emma, daughter of . John had Edward, Anne, Elizabeth, and Emma, and the descendants of Edmund are not entered. Catholicism might have been a reason for realizing their property and going abroad.

Now, John Hall expressly calls himself a Master of Arts, though his name is not recorded in the Books of the English Universities. He would not have done so had he not taken his degree. It possibly might have been in Paris, and he might have followed it up with foreign study. This would quite accord with his appearance in Stratford after the death of Elizabeth. A Warwickshire gentle origin may somewhat account for the degree of intimacy he seems to have had with the county families, both Puritan and Catholic. His fame as a physician rapidly spread. He resided in a house in Old Town, on the way from the church to the chapel. His only daughter, Elizabeth, was baptized at Stratford on February 21, 1607-8, during her grandfather’s (William Shakespeare’s) life. His name occurs in the town records in 1611, among the supporters to a Highway Bill, and he leased from the Corporation a small stretch of wooded land on the outskirts of the town in 1612. He must have remained on friendly terms with his father-in-law, as he and his wife Susanna were left residuary legatees and executors of Shakespeare’s will, which he proved in June of that year, in the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Registry at London.

He shortly afterwards moved to New Place, beside his mother-in-law, where the vestry notes of February 3, 1617-1618, record him as resident. He was elected a Burgess of Stratford in 1617, and again in 1623, but was excused from taking office on account of his professional engagements. On April 22, 1626, Mr. Thomas Nash married his daughter, Mrs. Elizabeth Hall. Hall gave the church a costly new pulpit, and in 1628 was appointed a borough churchwarden, in 1629 a sidesman, and in 1632 was compelled to become a burgess, and was soon after fined for non-attendance at the council meetings.

In 1633 he was made the Vicar’s churchwarden, and in that year the Vicar, Thomas Wilson, induced him to join in a Chancery action against the town. He was already in trouble with his fellow councillors, who in October of that year expelled him for his “breach of orders, sundry other misdemeanours, and for his continual disturbance at our Halles.” Evidently Dr. John had opinions of his own, and had the courage to express them. He was a deeply religious man, and, though he has been supposed to have shown Puritan tendencies in later life, it was a Puritanism that did not eschew Catholicism. His was a religion of constant reference to the Unseen. He was always a helper of those in trouble for conscience’ sake; and probably this was the reason he supported the unpopular Vicar.

Shortly after, in 1635, there was a petition sent up from the Corporation of Stratford for their wives to have the pew in Stratford Church occupied by Dr. Hall, his wife, and his son-in-law and his wife. Each family had a pew at each side of the church, while there was not room for the burgesses’ wives to sit or kneel in. It was true that the said Mr. Hall had been a great benefactor to the church, and the Bishop of the diocese had appointed him his pew; but his family were asked to choose which of their large pews they preferred to keep, along with Mrs. Woodward and Mrs. Lane, so that they might allow the aldermen’s wives to have the other.

John Hall died on November 25, 1635, and was buried next day in the chancel of the parish church, though he had already disposed of the lease of the tithes purchased by his father-in-law.

The burial register of the next day describes him as “Medicus Peritissimus.” By a nuncupative will, he left a house in London to his wife, a house in Acton and a meadow to his daughter Elizabeth, and his study of books to his son-in-law Thomas Nash. The manuscripts he would have given to Mr. Boles had he been present, but Nash was to keep them and use them as he pleased. It is probable that Mr. Boles was Richard Boles, Rector of Whitnash, not far from Stratford an eccentric person, a writer of epitaphs, who had set up his own in his church while he yet lived.

On the monumental slab of Dr. Hall is a shield of arms: “Sable, three talbots’ heads erased or” for Hall, impaling Shakespeare or on a bend “sable, a spear of the first, the point steeled.” “Here lyeth ye Body of John Hall, gent: Hee marr: Susanna ye daughter and coheire of Will: Shakespeare, gent., Hee deceased Nov^r 25, Anno 1635, aged 60.

“Hallius sic situs est, medica celeberrimus arte
Expectans regni Gaudia laeta Dei;
Dignus erat meritis qui nestora vinceret annis,
In terris omnes, sed capit aequa dies;
Ne tumulo quid desit adest fidessima conjux
Est vitae comitem nunc quoq. mortis habet."

It has been thought that this proves the epitaph was not written until after Mrs. Hall’s death. She may have wished the words set up, to determine her resting-place; or Mr. Boles may have helped Thomas Nash with the Latin.

After his death his son-in-law, Thomas Nash, came to reside at New Place, and took the position of head of the family. Indeed, in one of his letters he speaks of “Mrs. Hall, my mother-in-law, who lives with me.” But the house and everything in it, saving the study of books, belonged to Mrs. Hall, of course.

We know nothing of the nature or the fate of the bulk of these manuscripts, though many have longed to trace them. Possibly among them, though it is not likely (being in bound volumes) were two notebooks of Dr. John Hall’s observations, from which James Cooke, a physician introduced later to Mrs. Hall, translated the materials for a little book entitled, “Select Observations on English Bodies; or, Cures both Empericall and Historicall Performed on very Eminent Persons in Desperate Diseases, first written in Latine by Mr. John Hall, Physician living at Stratford-on-Avon in Warwickshire where he was very famous, as also in the counties adjacent, as appears by these observations, drawn out of severall hundreds of his as choycest, now put into English for common benefit by James Cooke, practitioner in Physick and Surgery, 1657.” Cooke, in the introduction, relates the strange manner in which he became possessed of them, Mrs. Hall not knowing they were in her husband’s handwriting, and, believing they were part of a poor scholar’s mortgage, transferred them to him with other books. Cooke used the books as guides in his own practice, and then expanded the contractions, translated and published them, “being acquainted with his apothecary.” It is no slight compliment to a physician to have his cures published twenty-two years after his death, and to have them run through more than one edition. Cooke mentions: “Mr. John Hall had the happiness to lead the way to that practice almost generally used now by the most knowing of mixing scorbutics to most remedies.” It is to Cooke we owe information concerning Hall’s education abroad; concerning the physician, his relative, on terms of intimacy with Mrs. Hall, who introduced him to New Place; and concerning the “other book” of Dr. John Hall, also prepared for the press. We wonder what it contained.

The book published by Cooke records only cures. We are inclined to echo, “Where are they that were drowned?” Doubtless Hall had attended his father-in-law in his last illness, but his skill and affection were not sufficient to save him. And because of this failure, we do not know the symptoms shown by the poet after the traditional “merrymaking with Ben Jonson and Drayton,” when later gossips say he “drank too much.” The earliest dated cure is 1617. But is it too much to imagine that the undated illness of Drayton, recorded in “Obs. XXII.,” occurred at the same time as the death of the poet? Was he at any later time ill in Warwickshire, and likely to be attended by Dr. John Hall? “Mr. Drayton, an excellent poet, labouring of a Tertian, was cured by the following treatment.” Let us suppose it was April, 1616, and it may account for the poet’s illness, otherwise than by over-drinking.

In “Obs. XIX.” Hall mentions without date an illness of his wife, Mrs. Hall. “Obs. XXXVI.” concerns his only daughter, and supports my opinion of a constitutional delicacy of Anne Hathaway and her family. It is not insignificant that her grandchild should suffer from “tortura oris,” or convulsions of the mouth, and ophthalmia. She was cured of one attack on January 5, 1624. In the beginning of April she went to London, and on returning on the 22nd of the same month, she took cold, and fell into the same distemper, which affected the other side of her face. This second time, “By the blessing of God, she was cured in sixteen days.” But on May 24 of the same year she was struck down with an erratic fever. Sometimes she was hot, by-and-by sweating, again cold, all in the space of half an hour. Her father’s treatment again healed her; “the symptoms remitted daily till she was well, thus was she delivered from death and deadly diseases, and was well for many years.” Many other familiar names occur in this volume “Mrs. Queeny,” Mrs. Smith, Mr. Wilson, Mrs. Throgmorton, Mrs. Sheldon, Mrs. Greene, John Nason, the Underhills, Mrs. Baker, Dr. Thornbery, Bishop of Worcester (aged eighty-six on February 1, 1633), Mrs. Combe, Katherine Sturley, “Mrs. Grace Court, wife to my apothecary.” In “Obs. LXIV.” he speaks of treating “the only son of Mr. Holyoake, which framed the dictionary.” “Obs. LXXXII.,” Book II., records the restoration from the gates of death of Mr. John Trapp, minister; and Obs. “LX.,” Book II., gives an account of Hall’s own dangerous illness in 1632, when his anxious wife sent for two physicians, who pulled him through; and he records his prayer to God on the occasion. We must not forget that this was the date of his quarrel with the Corporation.

The death of the young Quineys in 1638-39 affected the details of the poet’s will; for it may be remembered the property was settled on Susanna Hall and her heirs male, failing whom, on the heirs male of Elizabeth Hall, failing whom, on the heirs male of Judith, in default of such heirs male, on the right heirs of William Shakespeare for ever. The failure in the heirs male of Judith therefore entitled Elizabeth Nash to the full inheritance as heir-general, and within a few weeks after the unexpected death of her cousins, Susanna Hall, widow, joined with Mr. and Mrs. Nash, May 27, 1639, in making a new settlement of Shakespeare’s entails on Mrs. Hall for life, after whom on Mr. and Mrs. Nash, and the longer liver of them, after them, to the heirs of their body, and in default of such, to the heirs of the said Elizabeth. Should she die first without heirs, the property was secured to the heirs and assignes of the said Thomas Nash, a reversion certainly not fair to Joan Hart, the poet’s sister, and her children. Still, it all seemed too far off to consider. To this document Mrs. Hall appended her signature and her seal, with the arms of Shakespeare impaled with those of Hall.

Thomas Nash seemed to have believed this fully settled everything on himself, and that he was likely to outlive his mother-in-law and his wife, for on August 20, 1642, he executed, without his wife’s sanction or knowledge, a mysterious will, that afterwards led to trouble.

The importance of New Place, the largest house in the town, and the liberality and loyalty of its owners, were curiously signalized in the following year. Queen Henrietta Maria, in July, 1643, marched from Newark to Kineton by way of Stratford, where she was reinforced by Prince Rupert and 2,000 men. She held her court for three days in Shakespeare’s house, probably accompanied by only her immediate personal attendants. On July 13, the Queen and Prince Rupert moved off to meet the King in the vale of Kineton near Edgehill.

Thomas Nash died on April 4, 1647, and was buried in the chancel beside Shakespeare. “Heere resteth ye body of Thomas Nashe Esq. He mar. Elizabeth, the daug. and Heire of John Halle, gent. He died Aprill 4, A. 1647. Aged 53.

“Fata manent omnes, hunc non virtute carentem
ut neque divitiis, abstulit atra dies
Abstulit at referet lux ultima; siste, viator,
si peritura paras per male parta peris.”

The coat of arms was double quarterly of four, First, 1 and 4 argent on a chevron between three ravens’ heads erased azure, a pellet between 4 cross-crosslets sable, for Nash; 2 and 3 sable a buck’s head caboshed argent attired or, between his horns a cross pâtee, and across his mouth an arrow, Bulstrode. Second, 1 and 4, for Hall, 2 and 3 Shakespeare.

When the notable will was opened, and proved in the following June, the widow declined to follow out its provisions as concerned her own property, which Thomas Nash had treated as if entirely his own. “Item, I give, dispose and bequeath, unto my Kinsman Edward Nash, and to his heires and assignes for ever, one messuage or tenement with the appurtenances comonly called or knowne by the name of The New Place ... together with all and singular howses, outhowses, barnes, stables, orchards, gardens, etc, esteemed or enjoyed as thereto belonging ... also fower yards of arable land meadowe and pasture ... in old Stratford, and also one other tenement with the appurtenances in the parish of London; called or known by the name of the Wardropp, and now in the tenure of one Dickes.”

Mrs. Nash had soldiers quartered on her at New Place during the very month of her husband’s death, one of whom was implicated in the robbery of deer from the park of Sir Greville Verney on April 30, 1647. But she did not fail in legal knowledge of what she ought to do under the unexpected provisions of her husband’s will, of which she was left sole executrix and residuary legatee. She and her mother combined in levying a fine on the property, and reconveying it to the sole use of her mother and herself, and their heirs for ever. She was not yet thirty-nine years of age, and did not feel inclined even then to take it for granted she would not marry again, even if Edward Nash agreed, as he could be made to agree, that his inheritance could only come to him on her decease without issue.

But Edward Nash did not like her proceedings, and filed a Bill in Chancery on February, 1647-48, against Elizabeth Nash, and other legatees, to compel them to produce his uncle’s will in court, and execute its provisions. Mrs. Nash admitted its contents, but averred the testator had no power to demise property which had belonged to her grandfather, and had been left to herself. She explained that her mother was still living, and that in conjunction they had levied the fine. She only disputed that part of her husband’s will concerning her own property, and mentioned her deeds and evidences. Her answer was taken by commission, at Stratford, in April, 1648, and in June it was ordered that the defendants should bring into court the will and other evidences, and the writ was personally served on Mrs. Nash.

The will of Thomas Nash was produced before the Examiners in Chancery in November, but Mrs. Nash defied all orders concerning the other “evidences,” as may be seen from the affidavit filed at the Six Clerks’ Office in December, 1649. She was brave in her determination that her own rights and her mother’s should not be assailed, and she was perhaps prudent in her opinion that the fewer papers that were produced the shorter time would the suit last. No replication or decree is recorded. The litigation apparently terminated in a compromise, doubtless hastened by Mrs. Nash’s second marriage. Perhaps Edward Nash by this time realized the injustice or the impracticability of his claim. The only further allusion to it occurs in Lady Barnard’s will. She directs her trustees to dispose of New Place with the proviso “that my loving cousin, Edward Nash, Esq., shall have the first offer or refusal thereof, according to my promise formerly made to him.”

Elizabeth Nash married Mr. John Barnard, of Abington, Northamptonshire, at Billesley, a village four miles from Stratford, June 5, 1649, where the Trussels resided. Why did she go there to be married? A puzzling question indeed, which cannot be answered by the register, as it is lost. Whether her marriage weakened her mother’s health, or whether the state of her mother’s health had hastened her marriage, we know not; but a month later, on July 11, 1649, Mrs. Hall died, and, being buried beside her husband on the 16th, made his tomb complete. The Latin scholars of the family were all gone, and it is not too much to suppose that Elizabeth herself, Shakespeare’s grandchild, composed her mother’s epitaph:

“Here lyeth the body of Susanna, wife of John Hall, gent., the daughter of William Shakespeare, gent. She deceased the 11 day of July, Anno 1649, aged 66.

“Witty above her sex, but that’s not all,
Wise to Salvation was good Mistress Hall,
Something of Shakespeare was in that, but this
Wholly of him with whom she’s now in blisse.
Then, passenger, hast nere a tear
To weep with her that wept with all
That wept, yet set herself to chere
Them up with comforts cordiall?
Her love shall live, her mercy spread
When thou hast nere a tear to shed.”

A lozenge bore the arms of Hall and Shakespeare impaled. In the early part of last century these verses were erased to make space for the record of the death of one Richard Watts, who owned some of the tithes and had the right to be buried in the chancel. But they, fortunately, had been preserved by Dugdale; and in 1844 the Watts record was erased and Mrs. Hall’s verses restored.

Her death limited Shakespeare’s descendants to two Judith Quiney, daughter, and Elizabeth Barnard, granddaughter. A fine was levied on New Place in 1650, in which John Barnard and Henry Smith were made trustees to the settlement of 1647, instead of Richard Lane and William Smith. In 1652 a new settlement was made, devising it to the use of John Barnard and his wife, and the longer liver of them, to the heirs of the body of Elizabeth, failing whom to any persons she might name. In default of such nomination, the property was to go to the right heirs of the survivor. A fine was again levied on this settlement. Mr. John Barnard was knighted by Charles II. in 1661. The Stratford Register of 1661-62 records the death of Elizabeth’s aunt, Judith, “uxor Thomas Quiney, gent., Feth, 1661-2.” The use of the word “uxor” is no certain proof that he was alive at the time.

Judith’s death, at the age of seventy-seven, left Lady Elizabeth Barnard the poet’s sole survivor. She had no children by her second marriage, about which we have no other detail. It has been surmised that it was not a happy one. Sir John Barnard was a widower, and had already a family. There is no mention of this family in Lady Barnard’s will, and a limitation to the barest law and justice towards her husband, whom she did not leave her executor. The will was drawn up on January 29, 1669-70, and she died at Abington in February. “Madam Elizabeth Bernard, wife of Sir John Bernard, Knight, was buried 17th Feb., 1669-70." No sepulchral monument was raised in memory of the granddaughter and heir of Shakespeare, but she probably lay in the same tomb as her husband, who died in 1674. A memorial slab still remains to his memory in Abington Church, but the place of his burial is unknown, and the vault below this stone is used by another family.

By his death his wife’s will came into force, written while she was still “in perfect memory blessed be God! and mindful of mortality.” She recounted the settlement of April 18, 1653, to which the trustees were Henry Smith, of Stratford, gent., and Job Dighton, of the Middle Temple, London, Esquire. Henry Smith, her surviving trustee, or his heirs, six months after the death of her husband, Sir John Barnard, was to sell New Place, giving the first offer to her loving cousin, Edward Nash, and the money was to be used in legacies. Her cousin, Thomas Welles, of Carleton, in county Bedford, was to have L50 if he be alive, and if he be dead, her kinsman, Edward Bagley, citizen of London, was to receive the amount. How she was connected with these men I have been unable to find out. “Judith Hathaway, one of the daughters of my kinsman, Thomas Hathaway, late of Stratford,” L5 a year or L40 in hand. Unto Joane, the wife of Edward Kent, another daughter of the said Thomas Hathaway, L50, failing whom to her heir, Edward Kent the younger, at his coming of age. To this same Edward Kent she left L30 for his apprenticeship. To Rose, Elizabeth, and Susanna, three other “daughters of my kinsman, Thomas Hathaway, L40 a piece.” Henry Smith was to have L5 for his pains, and Edward Bagley to be residuary legatee. “To my kinsman, Thomas Hart, the son of Thomas Hart, late of Stratford, all that my other messuage or Inne commonly called the Maydenhead, with the next house thereto adjoining, with the barne belonging to the same, now in the occupation of Michael Johnson; to Thomas Hart and his heirs, failing whom to his brother George Hart and his heirs,” failing whom to her own right heirs for ever. She made her “loving kinsman Edward Bagley” executor, “in witness of which I set my hand and seal.” It may be seen that she retained absolute power of the poet’s purchases, but justly left his inheritance from his father John to his sister’s descendants. But she did no more than justice.

It is not clear how the connection is traced between her and her other legatees, but it is very noticeable her preference for the Hathaway connections to those of the Shakespeare side.

Ere she died the poet’s Blackfriars tenement had been reduced to ashes in the Great Fire of 1666. What right in it or its site remained, accrued to Edward Bagley, “citizen of London,” her executor and residuary legatee, who proved her will, March 4, 1669, though it is stated to have been sold in Shakespeare’s Biography in the Dictionary.

Edward Nash did not buy New Place, after all. It was bought by Sir Edward Walker, at one time Secretary of War to Charles I., and then Garter King-at-Arms. Halliwell-Phillipps states it was sold by the “surviving trustee,” but Sir Edward Walker’s own will puts it a little differently. He left to his dear daughter Barbara, wife of Sir John Clopton, various bequests, among which appear “A yarde land in Stratford field I bought of Mr. Hall, of the value of L12 10s. by year ... fyftly Land I bought of Sir John Clopton in the mannor of Clopton, of the yearely value of L10. Sixtly 4 yard land lying in Stratford and Bishopton fields which I bought of Mr. Bagley, and a house called the New Place, situated in the Towne of Stratford upon Avon, of the yearely value about fyfty fyve pounds ... my deare daughter and her husband Sir John Clopton, sole executors, 30th June, 1676.” He died early the following year, and his will was proved March 10, 1676-77.

Thus, the property Shakespeare had put together became dispersed shortly after his family became extinct, and New Place came back to the heirs of the Cloptons, from whom it was purchased. I had hoped we might find something from the will of Edward Bagley, but he died intestate, and the administration mentions nothing of interest to Shakespeare.

It is therefore quite clear that the whole period covered by Shakespeare’s life and that of his descendants was 105 years, i.e., from 1564 to 1669, and that no lineal descendants can survive. Yet, as if in illustration of the methods of fabrication of tradition, when it is desired, I have heard of many of the name who boast a lineal descent from the poet; and of one even who boasts of having inherited not only the Shakespeare’s dinner-service, but his teapot! Yet that the presence of the name is a certain bar to the descent, as above shown, no such claimants seem to have taken the trouble to find out, as they easily might do. I am told that in Verona, by the tomb of Romeo and Juliet, a modern visitor has described himself as “Shakespeare, descendant of the poet who wrote the play.” William Shakespeare’s poems alone are his posterity.

Even under another name they are not to be accepted. In the Cambridge Chronicle obituary, January 1, 1842, appears: “Died on the 28th ult. at Exning, Suffolk, aged 87, Mrs. Hammond, mother of Mr. Wm. Hammond, of N, Scots Yard, Cannon Street, London, Indigo Merchant. The deceased was one of the few remaining descendants of Shakespeare.” So lately as June, 1857, there was recorded the death of William Hammond, Esq., of London, “one of the last lineal descendants of Shakespeare.”

Dr. Bigsby says that Colonel Gardner, descendant of the Barnards, had some Shakespeare letters, and claimed descent from Lady Elizabeth Barnard.

A correspondent remembered to have seen when a boy the Shakespear Inn, Lower Northgate Street, Gloucester, kept by an old gentleman named Smith. Outside the passage to the inn was a signboard, “The Shakespear Inn, by William Smith, descendant from and next of kin to that immortal bard."