MENU
A precept to the serjeants at mace to take John Shackspere to answer to the suit of Nicholas Lane, 29 Eliz
January 18,
1587

BRU15/1/98

View Image Assets
BRU15/1/98
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
Date: January 18, 1587
Repository: The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, Stratford-upon-Avon, UK
Call number and opening: BRU15/1/98

Item Date
1586-1587
Repository
Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, Stratford-upon-Avon, UK
Call Number
BRU15/1/98

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
Date: January 18, 1587
Repository: The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, Stratford-upon-Avon, UK
Call number and opening: BRU15/1/98

This is part of a sequence of nine loose papers and entries in the Stratford court of record register, documenting the progress of an action brought by Nicholas Lane, a prosperous Alveston husbandman, against John Shakespeare for the recovery of a debt of £22. John Shakespeare’s brother Henry had allegedly contracted the debt, and John had stood surety for it. The case began on January 18, 1587, when Lane first brought the matter to the attention of the court (BRU 12/1, ii, f. 28v), and ended on March 29 (BRU 12/1, ii, f. 31), when John Shakespeare produced a writ,  or precept, to transfer the case to a superior court, in effect bringing it to an end.

Stratford’s court of record only had jurisdiction within the borough and, because Lane lived in Alveston and Henry Shakespeare in Snitterfield, Lane was only able to bring his case to the court because his alleged deal with John Shakespeare had been made within the town's precincts. The surviving documents do not specify how Henry Shakespeare had become indebted for this very considerable sum, which was £2 more than the schoolmaster’s annual salary.

The document shown here is a writ of capias (an order for arrest), dated January 18, 1587, addressed to the sergeants-at-mace and requiring them to produce John Shakespeare at the next sitting of the court to reply to Nicholas Lane. Lane's plea is described as a plea of trespass on the case, a broad term to define a wrong committed but not on the person. The court’s steward, John Jeffreys signed the writ, which is dated the same day that the court sat.

This document suffered water damage during World War II but can still be read under ultraviolet light.

Written by Robert Bearman

Last updated February 21, 2016