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Combe conveyance
May 1,
1602

ER27/1, recto

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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:  Combe conveyance
Date: May 1, 1602
Repository: The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, Stratford-upon-Avon, UK
Call number and opening: ER27/1

Item Title
Combe conveyance
Item Date
May 1, 1602
Repository
Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, Stratford-upon-Avon, UK
Call Number
ER27/1 recto

ER27/1, upper left hand detail

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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
Title:  Combe conveyance
Date: May 1, 1602
Repository: The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, Stratford-upon-Avon, UK
Call number and opening: ER27/1

Item Title
Combe conveyance
Item Date
May 1, 1602
Repository
Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, Stratford-upon-Avon, UK
Call Number
ER27/1

ER27/1, upper right hand detail

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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
Title:  Combe conveyance
Date: May 1, 1602
Repository: The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, Stratford-upon-Avon, UK
Call number and opening: ER27/1

Item Title
Combe conveyance
Item Date
May 1, 1602
Repository
Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, Stratford-upon-Avon, UK
Call Number
ER27/1

ER27/1, left seal and signature detail

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Institution Rights and Document Citation

 

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
Title:  Combe conveyance
Date: May 1, 1602
Repository: The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, Stratford-upon-Avon, UK
Call number and opening: ER27/1

Item Title
Combe conveyance
Item Date
May 1, 1602
Repository
Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, Stratford-upon-Avon, UK
Call Number
ER27/1

ER27/1, right signature detail

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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:  Combe conveyance
Date: May 1, 1602
Repository: The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, Stratford-upon-Avon, UK
Call number and opening: ER27/1

Item Title
Combe conveyance
Item Date
May 1, 1602
Repository
Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, Stratford-upon-Avon, UK
Call Number
ER27/1

ER27/1 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
Title:  Combe conveyance
Date: May 1, 1602
Repository: The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, Stratford-upon-Avon, UK
Call number and opening: ER27/1

Item Title
Combe conveyance
Item Date
May 1, 1602
Repository
Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, Stratford-upon-Avon, UK
Call Number
ER27/1

ER27/1, verso upper detail

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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
Title:  Combe conveyance
Date: May 1, 1602
Repository: The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, Stratford-upon-Avon, UK
Call number and opening: ER27/1

Item Title
Combe conveyance
Item Date
May 1, 1602
Repository
Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, Stratford-upon-Avon, UK
Call Number
ER27/1

ER27/1, verso lower detail

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ER27/1, verso lower detail
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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:  Combe conveyance
Date: May 1, 1602
Repository: The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, Stratford-upon-Avon, UK
Call number and opening: ER27/1

Item Title
Combe conveyance
Item Date
May 1, 1602
Repository
Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, Stratford-upon-Avon, UK
Call Number
ER27/1

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:  Combe conveyance
Date: May 1, 1602
Repository: The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, Stratford-upon-Avon, UK
Call number and opening: ER27/1

John Combe was a wealthy member of a family settled in Stratford since the 1530s. In 1593 he had acquired these 107 acres of land from Rice Griffin, with his equally wealthy uncle and lawyer, William Combe of Warwick, apparently acting in the capacity of trustee. In 1602 William Shakespeare negotiated with John Combe for the purchase of these 107 acres for £320, a considerable sum. Rumors had been circulating in Stratford since at least January 1598 that Shakespeare was contemplating the purchase of further real estate, but four years passed before these were realized. The conveyance shown here styles Shakespeare and both Combes as gentlemen.

Deeds of conveyance were customarily copied out twice.  The vendors signed one copy, which was given to the purchaser, and the purchaser signed the other copy, which was given to the vendor. This is the copy signed by John Combe and William Combe and handed to Shakespeare to keep with his title deeds. However, Shakespeare was not present when the deed was signed. Instead, it was endorsed with a note that it was handed to his brother Gilbert Shakespeare “to the use of the within-named William Shakespeare” in the presence of five witnesses, who signed their names: Anthony Nash and his brother John, William Sheldon, Humphrey Mainwaring and Richard Mason. Although there is some evidence that Gilbert had been living in London in 1597, pursuing the trade of haberdasher, his presence in Stratford on this occasion suggests that he had returned to Stratford by 1602 and that he lived in the town for his remaining years. The Nashes, who were witnesses on Shakespeare’s behalf, remained close to him for the rest of his life and were beneficiaries under his will. William Sheldon was related to Combe and Humphrey Mainwaring was a member of a family later associated with the Combes in their attempt to enclose land at Welcombe. Richard Mason was a local man of modest means, living in Church Street.

The deed of conveyance estimates the estate’s size in two different ways. First it records it as “conteyninge … fowre yarde land.” A “yard-land” was a measure customarily taken to comprise some 30 acres, so this estimate would have put Shakespeare’s purchase at 120 acres. However, the second estimate is more precise, recording the land as “conteyninge … one hundred and seaven acres.” Shakespeare’s purchase was not a compact block of land but a collection of strips, or “lands,” scattered across one or two of the open fields in that part of Old Stratford  to the north-east of the town of Stratford-upon-Avon. These fields were divided into furlongs, each furlong made up of a bundle of strips. A later survey of ca. 1625 names the furlongs in which Shakespeare’s strips lay. We can therefore identify the area as roughly bounded today by Guild Street and its extension (Birmingham Road) to the south-west, Warwick Road to the south-east, and the former Clopton Park to the north. Common grazing rights were linked to this land, probably on land between the Warwick Road and the river. The 1602 conveyance names the tenants as Thomas Hiccocks and his son Lewis Hiccocks. Lewis was living in Bridge Street in 1598, but by May 1602 may already have become Shakespeare’s tenant in the Birthplace in Henley Street, which he managed as an inn. At this time, the purchase price of land was generally calculated on its rental value multiplied by the number of years required to generate a return of 5%, namely twenty years. In the case of this purchase – 107 acres for £320 – the annual return may have been in the region of £16 to £20, and certainly not more than £25. 
            
One of the conditions of the conveyance, standard at the time, was that within five years the Combes would, at Shakespeare’s request and expense, ratify the conveyance by means of a final concord. This was eventually implemented but not until Trinity Term 1610.         
 

Semi-diplomatic transcription

This Indenture made the ffirste daie of Maye in the ffowre and ffortieth yeare of the Raigne of our Soueraigne Ladie Elizabeth by

the grace of god of England ffraunce and Ireland Queene defendresse of the faithe &c Betweene william Combe of Warrwicke in

the countie of Warrwick Esquier and Iohn Combe of Olde Stretford in the Countie aforesaide gentleman on the one partie And william Shakespere

of Stretford vppon Avon in the Countie aforesaide gentleman on thother partye Witnesseth that the saide William Combe and Iohn Combe

for and in Consideracion of the somme of Three hundred and Twentie Poundes of Currant Englishe money to them in hande at and before the

ensealinge and deliuerie of theis presentes well and trulie satisfied Contented and paide wherof and wherwith they acknowledge

themselves fullie satisfied Contented and paide and therof and of euerie parte and parcell therof doe clearlie exonerate acquite

and discharge the saide william Shakespere his heires Executors Administrators and Assignes for euer by theis presentes have aliened

bargayned solde geven graunted and Confirmed and by theis presentes doe fullye Clearlie and absolutelie alien bargayne sell give graunte

and Confirme vnto the saide william Shakespere All and singuler those errable landes with thappurtenances Conteyninge by estymacion ffowre

yarde lande of errable lande scytuate lyinge and beinge within the parrishe feildes or towne of Olde Stretford aforesaide in the saide Countie

of Warrwick Conteyninge by estimacion One hundred and Seaven acres be they more or lesse And also all the Common of pasture for Sheepe

horse kyne or other Cattle in the feildes of Olde Stretford aforesaide to the saide ffowre yarde lande belonginge or in any wise apperteyninge and

also all hades leys tyinges proffittes advantages and Commodities whatsoeuer with their and euerie of their Appurtenances to the saide bargayned

premisses belonginge or apperteyninge or hertofore reputed taken knowne or occupied as parte parcell or member of the same And the

Reuercion and Reuercions of all and singuler the same bargayned premisses and of euerie parte and parcell therof nowe or late in the

seuerall tenures or occupacions of Thomas Hiccoxe and Lewes Hiccoxe or of either of them or of their Assignes or any of them Together also

with all Charters deedes writinges escriptes and mynumentes whatsoeuer touchinge or concerninge the same premisses onlie or only any

parte or parcell therof and also the true Copies of all other deedes Evidences Charters writinges escriptes and mynumentes which

doe touche and Concerne the saide premisses before bargayned and solde or any parte or parcell therof which the saide William Combe or Iohn

Comhe nowe haue in their Custodie or herafter may haue or which they may lawfullye gett or Come by without suite in lawe To have and

to holde the saide ffowre yarde of errable lande Conteyninge by estymacion One hundred and seaven acres be they more or lesse and all and

singuler other the premisses before by theis presentes aliened and solde or mencioned or entended to be aliened and solde and euerie parte and

parcell therof And all deedes Charters writinges escriptes and mynumentes before by theis presentes bargayned and solde vnto the saide William

Shakespere his heires and Assignes for euer to the onlie proper vse and behoofe of the saide William Shakespere his heires and Assignes

for euer and the saide william Combe and Iohn Combe for them their heires Executors & Administrators doe Covenant promise and

graunte to and with the saide William Shakespere his heires Executors and Assignes by theis presentes that they the saide William and Iohn

Combe are seazde or one of them is seazde of a good sure perfect and absolute estate in fee simple of the same premisses before by theis presentes

bargayned and solde or ment or mencioned to be bargayned and solde without any further Condicion or lymyttacion of vse or estate vses or estates

and that he the saide Iohn Combe his heires and Assignes shall and will from tyme to tyme and at all tymes herafter well and sufficientlie

saue and keepe harmles and indempnified as Well the saide ffowre yardes of errable lande Conteyninge One hundred and Seaven acres and all other

the premisses with their Appurtenances before bargayned and solde or mencioned or entended to be bargayned and solde and euerie parte and parcell therof

as also the saide william Shakespere and his heires and Assignes and euerie of them of and from all former bargaynes sales Leases Ioyntures dowers

wills Statutes Recognizances writinges obligatorie fynes feoffamentes entayles Iudgmentes Execucions Charges titles forfeytures and encombrances

whatsoeuer at any tyme before the ensealinge herof had made knowledged done or suffred by the saide Iohn Combe or by the saide William Combe

or either of them or by any other person or persons whatsoeuer any thinge lawfullye Clayminge or havinge from by or vnder them or either

of them The Rentes and services herafter to be due in respect of the premisses before mencioned or entended to be bargayned and solde to

the Cheife lorde or Lordes of the fee or fees onlie excepted and foreprized and the saide william Combe and Iohn Combe for them their heires

Executors Administrators and Assignes doe Covenant promise and graunte to and with the saide William Shakespere his heires and Assignes by theis

presentes that they the saide William and Iohn Combe or one of them hathe rightfull power and lawfull aucthoritie for any acte or actes done by them the

saide William and Iohn Combe or by the sufferance or procurement of them the saide William and Iohn Combe to geue graunte bargayne sell convey

and assure the saide ffowre yardes of errable lande Conteyninge One hundred and Seaven acres and all other the premisses before by theis presentes

bargayned and solde or ment or mencioned to be bargayned and solde and euerie parte and parcell therof to the saide william Shakespere his

heires and Assignes in suche manner and forme as in and by theis presentes is lymytted expressed, and declared And that they the saide William

and Iohn Combe and their heires and also all and euerie other person and persons and their heires nowe or herafter havinge or C1ayminge any lawfull

estate righte title or interest of in or to the saide errable lande and all other the premisses before by theis presentes bargayned and solde with

their and euerie of their Apputenances other then the Cheife Lorde or Lordes of the fee or fees of the premisses for their Rentes and services only

at all tymes herafter duringe the space of ffyve yeares next ensewinge the date herof shall doe cause knowledge and suffer to be done and knowledged

all and euery suche further lawfull and reasonable acte and actes thinge and thinges devise and devises Conveyances and assurances whatsoeuer

for the further more better and perfect assurance suretie sure makinge and Conveyinge of all the saide premisses before bargayned and solde

or mencioned to be bargayned and solde with their Appurtenances and euerie parte and parcell therof to the saide william Shakespere

his heires and Assignes for euer accordinge to the true entent and meaninge of theis presentes as by the saide william Shakespere his heires and assignes

or his or their learned Counsell in the lawe shalbe reasonablye devized or advized and required Be yt bye fyne or fynes with proclamacion Recoverye [with]

voucher or vouchers over deede or deedes enrolled Enrollment of theis presentes feoffament Releaze confirmacion {[or otherwise with warrantie against]

the saide william Combe and Iohn Combe their heires and assignes and all other persons Clayminge by from or vnder them or any of them

or without warrantie at the Costes and Charges in the lawe of the saide William Shakespere his heires Executors Administrators or

Assignes so as for the makinge of any suche estate or assurance the said William and Iohn Combe be not Compeld to travell aboue Sixe

myles and the saide william Combe and Iohn Combe for them their heires Executors Administrators and Assignes doe Covenant promise

and graunte to and with the saide william Shakespere his heires Executors Administrators and Assignes by theis presentes that the saide

william Shakespere his heires and Assignes shall or may from tyme to tyme from henceforth for euer peaceably and quietlye haue holde

occupie possesse and enioye the saide ffowre yardes of errable lande and all other the bargayned premisses with their Appurtenances

and euerie parte and parcell therof without any manner of lett trouble or eviccion of them the saide William Combe and Iohn Combe their

heires or Assignes and without the lawfull lett trouble or eviccion of any other person or persons whatsoeuer lawfullie havinge or clayminge

any thinge in of or out of the saide premisses or any parte therof by from or vnder them the saide william Combe and Iohn Combe or either of

them or the heires or Assignes of them or either of them or their or any of their estate title or interest In wytnes wherof

the parties to theis presentes haue enterchangeably sette their handes and seales the daie and yeare first above Written 1602.

[signed] William Combe        Iohn Combe

[endorsed]
Sealed and deliuered to Gilbert Shakespere to the vse of the within
named william Shakespere in the presence of
[who sign] Anthony Nasshe   Ihon Nashe  
William Sheldon
Humfrey Maynwaringe
Rychard Mason,

 

Written by Robert Bearman

Last updated May 6, 2016