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Parish Register of Holy Trinity Church, Stratford-upon-Avon
February 2,
1585

DR243/1: Baptismal register, folio 22 verso

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DR243/1: Baptismal register, folio 22 verso
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Reproduced by permission 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
Creator: Holy Trinity Church, Stratford-upon-Avon
Title: Parish Register of Holy Trinity Church, Stratford-upon-Avon
Date: 1558-1776
Repository: The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, Stratford-upon-Avon, UK
Call number and opening: DR243/1: Baptismal register, fol. 22v

Item Creator
Holy Trinity Church, Stratford-upon-Avon
Item Title
Parish Register of Holy Trinity Church, Stratford-upon-Avon
Item Date
1558-1776, entry for February 2, 1585
Repository
Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, Stratford-upon-Avon, UK
Call Number
DR243/1: Baptismal register, fol. 22v

DR243/1: Baptismal register, folio 22 verso, entry detail

View Image Assets
DR243/1: Baptismal register, folio 22 verso, entry detail
Click image to enlarge

Institution Rights and Document Citation

 

Reproduced by permission 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
Creator: Holy Trinity Church, Stratford-upon-Avon
Title: Parish Register of Holy Trinity Church, Stratford-upon-Avon
Date: 1558-1776
Repository: The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, Stratford-upon-Avon, UK
Call number and opening: DR243/1: Baptismal register, fol. 22v

Item Creator
Holy Trinity Church, Stratford-upon-Avon
Item Title
Parish Register of Holy Trinity Church, Stratford-upon-Avon
Item Date
1558-1776, entry for February 2, 1585
Repository
Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, Stratford-upon-Avon, UK
Call Number
DR243/1: Baptismal register, fol. 22v

Institution Rights and Document Citation

 

Reproduced by permission 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
Creator: Holy Trinity Church, Stratford-upon-Avon
Title: Parish Register of Holy Trinity Church, Stratford-upon-Avon
Date: 1558-1776
Repository: The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, Stratford-upon-Avon, UK
Call number and opening: DR243/1: Baptismal register, fol. 22v

Hamnet and Judith, William and Anne Shakespeare’s second and third children, were baptized on the same day, February 2, 1585, according to the Holy Trinity Church parish register. Similar to the other Shakespeare family parish register entries, an “X” was added by a later hand to highlight its significance. However, it is no longer visible due to rebinding. The entry does not actually describe Hamnet and Judith as twins but the twenty-month interval between their elder sibling’s baptism and their own must surely indicate that they were.

The choice of names is significant. Hamnet (and its variant, Hamlet) is very unusual and rarely occurred in local parish registers at this time. However, Hamnet Sadler was a well-established burgess of the town at that time and he married Judith, daughter of Thomas Staunton of Longbridge. This coincidence of the couple’s first names and those of William and Anne’s children (especially as the name Hamnet was so unusual) strongly suggests that the couple acted as godparents.

Hamnet Sadler and William Shakespeare may well have been schoolfellows and they were still in close touch in 1616. Hamnet witnessed Shakespeare’s will, under which he also received a small bequest to purchase a mourning ring. The only other Stratford contemporary named Hamnet was the son of John Smith, vintner. Born in September 1583, he was Hamnet Sadler’s nephew and was clearly named after him.

As William and Anne had no further children, scholars have suggested that carrying twins to full term may have had an adverse effect on Anne’s ability to bear further children. However, over the period 1560 to 1600, in at least ten out of eighteen cases in which both twins are known to have survived for at least three months, the couple did have more children.

Written by Robert Bearman

Last updated May 13, 2016