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Stratford-upon-Avon Borough: Minute books: Council Book A, 1555-1594
July 4,
1565

BRU2/1 Council Book A 1555-1594, page 357 verso

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BRU2/1 Council Book A 1555-1594, page 357 verso
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Reproduced by permission of Shakespeare Birthplace Trust

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Document-specific information
Title:  Stratford-upon-Avon Borough: Minute books: Council Book A, 1555-1594
Date: July 4, 1565
Repository: The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, Stratford-upon-Avon, UK
Call number and opening: BRU2/1, p.  357v

Item Title
Stratford-upon-Avon Borough: Minute books: Council Book A, 1555-1594
Item Date
July 4, 1565
Repository
Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, Stratford-upon-Avon, UK
Call Number
BRU2/1, p. 357v

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
Title:  Stratford-upon-Avon Borough: Minute books: Council Book A, 1555-1594
Date: July 4, 1565
Repository: The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, Stratford-upon-Avon, UK
Call number and opening: BRU2/1, p.  357v

The Corporation was made up of 14 aldermen, who were named in the town’s 1553 charter of incorporation, and 14 capital burgesses who the aldermen elected to assist them. Due to the patchy nature of the early records, there is no surviving full list of capital burgesses from before August 30, 1564 (Minutes and Accounts, i, p. 130). However, we know that John Shakespeare was probably elected to serve as a capital burgess around 1558.

If an alderman died, or was removed from the bench, the remaining aldermen would choose a replacement from among the capital burgesses. Again, records for these replacement aldermen at this early date are incomplete, but we do have the record for John Shakespeare's election to the role. On May 9, 1565, Alderman William Bott was expelled on the report by “credable persones” that he “hath spoken evell woords [concerning] Mr Belyf & other, that ther was never a honest man of the Councell or the body of the corporacyon” (Minutes and Accounts, i, p. 145). At the following meeting (shown here), held on July 4, John Shakespeare was elected to take Bott's place. John Shakespeare’s name appears twice, as he was listed as present both in the list of capital burgesses and, because of his election, among the aldermen as well.

John Shakespeare was not the most senior capital burgess present at the meeting. At least three other capital burgesses had served for longer, and his fellow chamberlain at the time, John Taylor, never made it onto the aldermanic bench. John Shakespeare's early promotion might therefore reflect either the aldermen’s confidence in his abilities or perhaps his own civic ambitions.

 
[In the hand writing of the town clerk, Richard Symons. The page begins with the heading for a meeting held on May 9 which was instead written up on p. 387]

Semi-diplomatic transcription

Stratford
at the hall ther holden the fourthe day of Iuly anno
elizabethe regine Septimo

Aldermen present        Burgesez present

Mr belyf               Iohn shakspeyr
Mr alderman        Iohn Taylor
Mr Smythe           Iohn lewes
Mr Whatley         Iohn bell
Mr Cawdrey        Robart Salysberry
Mr perot              Iohn Sadler
Mr quyny            Richard Symons
Mr Sadler            Thomas barbur
Mr plymley
Robart brat
Iohn Whelar
William tylar
Iohn shakspeyr

Aldermen absent         Burgesez absent

Mr Jeffereys       William brace
William tylar      William Smyth habardasher
                            William smyth corveser
                            Thomas dycson

at thys hall Iohn Shakspeyr
ys appwyntyd an alderman
nycholas barnshurst to be a burges
gylbard bradley to be a burges

Written by Robert Bearman

Last updated May 2, 2016