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Bishopton manorial records: Archer of Tanworth
ca.
1625

DR37/2/113/15, folio 1

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DR37/2/113/15, folio 1
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Reproduced by permssion of Shakespeare Birthplace Trust

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The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust has graciously contributed images under a Creative Commons Attribution NonCommerical ShareAlike 4.0 International license. Visitors may download, link to and cite the images for personal research only. Any further use, including, but not limited to, unauthorized downloading or distribution of the images, commercial or third party use, is strictly prohibited. Visitors must contact the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust to request additional use, at: images.scla@shakespeare.org.uk

Document-specific information
Title: Bishopton manorial records: Archer of Tanworth
Date: ca. 1625
Repository: The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, Stratford-upon-Avon, UK
Call number and opening: DR37/2/113/15, fols. 1-2

Item Title
Bishopton manorial records: Archer of Tanworth
Item Date
ca. 1625
Repository
Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, Stratford-upon-Avon, UK
Call Number
DR37/2/113/15, fol. 1

DR37/2/113/15, folio 1, detail

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DR37/2/113/15, folio 1, detail
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Institution Rights and Document Citation

 

Reproduced by permssion of Shakespeare Birthplace Trust

Terms of use
The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust has graciously contributed images under a Creative Commons Attribution NonCommerical ShareAlike 4.0 International license. Visitors may download, link to and cite the images for personal research only. Any further use, including, but not limited to, unauthorized downloading or distribution of the images, commercial or third party use, is strictly prohibited. Visitors must contact the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust to request additional use, at: images.scla@shakespeare.org.uk

Document-specific information
Title: Bishopton manorial records: Archer of Tanworth
Date: ca. 1625
Repository: The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, Stratford-upon-Avon, UK
Call number and opening: DR37/2/113/15, fols. 1-2

Item Title
Bishopton manorial records: Archer of Tanworth
Item Date
ca. 1625
Repository
Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, Stratford-upon-Avon, UK
Call Number
DR37/2/113/15, fol. 1

DR37/2/113/15, folio 1 verso

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DR37/2/113/15, folio 1 verso
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Institution Rights and Document Citation

 

Reproduced by permssion of Shakespeare Birthplace Trust

Terms of use
The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust has graciously contributed images under a Creative Commons Attribution NonCommerical ShareAlike 4.0 International license. Visitors may download, link to and cite the images for personal research only. Any further use, including, but not limited to, unauthorized downloading or distribution of the images, commercial or third party use, is strictly prohibited. Visitors must contact the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust to request additional use, at: images.scla@shakespeare.org.uk

Document-specific information
Title: Bishopton manorial records: Archer of Tanworth
Date: ca. 1625
Repository: The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, Stratford-upon-Avon, UK
Call number and opening: DR37/2/113/15, fols. 1-2

Item Title
Bishopton manorial records: Archer of Tanworth
Item Date
ca. 1625
Repository
Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, Stratford-upon-Avon, UK
Call Number
DR37/2/113/15, fol. 1v

DR37/2/113/15, folio 2

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DR37/2/113/15, folio 2
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Institution Rights and Document Citation

 

Reproduced by permssion of Shakespeare Birthplace Trust

Terms of use
The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust has graciously contributed images under a Creative Commons Attribution NonCommerical ShareAlike 4.0 International license. Visitors may download, link to and cite the images for personal research only. Any further use, including, but not limited to, unauthorized downloading or distribution of the images, commercial or third party use, is strictly prohibited. Visitors must contact the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust to request additional use, at: images.scla@shakespeare.org.uk

Document-specific information
Title: Bishopton manorial records: Archer of Tanworth
Date: ca. 1625
Repository: The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, Stratford-upon-Avon, UK
Call number and opening: DR37/2/113/15, fols. 1-2

Item Title
Bishopton manorial records: Archer of Tanworth
Item Date
ca. 1625
Repository
Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, Stratford-upon-Avon, UK
Call Number
DR37/2/113/15, fol. 2

DR37/2/113/15, folio 2 verso

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DR37/2/113/15, folio 2 verso
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Institution Rights and Document Citation

 

Reproduced by permssion of Shakespeare Birthplace Trust

Terms of use
The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust has graciously contributed images under a Creative Commons Attribution NonCommerical ShareAlike 4.0 International license. Visitors may download, link to and cite the images for personal research only. Any further use, including, but not limited to, unauthorized downloading or distribution of the images, commercial or third party use, is strictly prohibited. Visitors must contact the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust to request additional use, at: images.scla@shakespeare.org.uk

Document-specific information
Title: Bishopton manorial records: Archer of Tanworth
Date: ca. 1625
Repository: The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, Stratford-upon-Avon, UK
Call number and opening: DR37/2/113/15, fols. 1-2

Item Title
Bishopton manorial records: Archer of Tanworth
Item Date
ca. 1625
Repository
Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, Stratford-upon-Avon, UK
Call Number
DR37/2/113/15, fol. 2v

Institution Rights and Document Citation

 

Reproduced by permssion of Shakespeare Birthplace Trust

Terms of use
The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust has graciously contributed images under a Creative Commons Attribution NonCommerical ShareAlike 4.0 International license. Visitors may download, link to and cite the images for personal research only. Any further use, including, but not limited to, unauthorized downloading or distribution of the images, commercial or third party use, is strictly prohibited. Visitors must contact the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust to request additional use, at: images.scla@shakespeare.org.uk

Document-specific information
Title: Bishopton manorial records: Archer of Tanworth
Date: ca. 1625
Repository: The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, Stratford-upon-Avon, UK
Call number and opening: DR37/2/113/15, fols. 1-2

In 1602 William Shakespeare negotiated with John Combe for the purchase of 107 acres for £320, a considerable sum. Two copies were made of the deed conveying this land, but neither details where the strips, or “lands,” that comprised the purchase were located, nor any information on the estate’s earlier history. The document shown here, from around 1625, supplies details of the history of the property prior to Shakespeare’s purchase and specific information on the location of the “lands” it contained.

In the 1620s, Sir Simon Archer, a landowner with his main seat in Tanworth, was attempting to track down what had happened to a rent charge of 26s. 8d. customarily paid to him by members of the Clopton family, as a result of an exchange of land back in 1542, but which had remained unpaid since 1604. Enquiries were therefore made as to what had happened to the land given to the Clopton family in 1542 on which the rent charge was thought to be due.

Archer’s investigators secured access to the 1542 deed of exchange, now lost, and copied out the detailed description of the land which had been granted to the Clopton family. The deed noted that the land comprised 105 acres, and carefully described their location in eighteen separate places (including three places and fifteen different furlongs), together with 10 acres of pasture. That this was the collection of strips that Shakespeare purchased is confirmed by an attorney’s note squeezed into the space of the top of the page which traces the land’s history: namely, that William Combe, who had negotiated the exchange with Richard Catesby, had sold the land to Rice Griffin, that Rice Griffin had sold it to John Combe and that John Combe had sold it to Shakespeare. Something of this history had already been pieced together (summarised by Chambers, William Shakespeare, ii, p. 110) but this note from the 1620s confirms the details in a most satisfactory way. Also it provides a unique description of the land which came into Shakespeare’s possession. Unfortunately no early plans survive which would have given the precise location of the eighteen named furlongs and places through which Shakespeare’s parcels of land were distributed, but  their names indicate that they lay within an area bounded by Warwick Road to the south-east, Guild Street and its extension (Birmingham Road) to the south-west and the Clopton estate (already enclosed) to the north.

Valuable as this information is, the attorney’s note ends in a puzzling way, namely that William Shakespeare “who had one daughter … gave the said land wth his daughter in marryage to Mr Hall of Stratford who hath now all the lands except 4 landes …”. Shakespeare, of course, had two daughters, not one: Susanna, who had married “Mr [John] Hall” on June 5, 1607, and Judith who had married Thomas Quiney on February 10, 1616. Clearly, then the attorney was in error but easily understood if he were not a local man as, under the terms of Shakespeare’s will, the land in question had indeed come to John Hall through his marriage to Susanna. As a result, the attorney probably simply overlooked Judith. The alternative, that it was a deliberate sleight due perhaps to Quiney’s citation for incontinence with Margaret Wheeler, within two months of his marriage to Judith, is unlikely. By 1617, Quiney was serving as a capital burgess, and in 1622 and 1623 as chamberlain. The couple were therefore still of some social standing in the town. In any case, it is difficult to believe that a lawyer would intentionally provide information which could so easily have been challenged. On the other hand it does indicate, if simply a mistake, an unawareness of the make-up of Shakespeare’s family to those not closely involved in town affairs. 

More intriguing is the implication given in the note that Shakespeare might have settled the land on John Hall as part of a marriage settlement. No such document is extant. On the contrary, Shakespeare’s provision in his will, bequeathing the land specifically to Susanna and her male heirs, and not mentioning Hall’s interest at all, not even if he should survive his wife, makes any prior settlement very unlikely.

This raises the issue the note’s date. George Carew, against whom the charge of withholding the rent charge was made, had been created Baron of Clopton in May 1605 and Earl of Totnes in February 1626. The description of him as “Lord Carew” at the end of the note would imply that he was still only a baron, and that the note therefore pre-dates 1626.        
 

Written by Robert Bearman

Last updated June 22, 2016