MENU
The 'Warwick' Shakespeare deed
May 1,
1602

DR232/1 recto

View Image Assets
DR232/1 recto
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
Title:  The 'Warwick' Shakespeare deed
Date: May 1, 1602
Repository: The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, Stratford-upon-Avon, UK
Call number and opening: DR232/1

Item Title
The 'Warwick' Shakespeare deed
Item Date
May 1, 1602
Repository
Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, Stratford-upon-Avon, UK
Call Number
DR232/1

DR232/1 verso

View Image Assets
DR232/1 verso
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
Title:  The 'Warwick' Shakespeare deed
Date: May 1, 1602
Repository: The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, Stratford-upon-Avon, UK
Call number and opening: DR232/1

Item Title
The 'Warwick' Shakespeare deed
Item Date
May 1, 1602
Repository
Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, Stratford-upon-Avon, UK
Call Number
DR232/1

DR232/1 recto, left hand detail

View Image Assets
DR232/1 recto, left hand 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
Title:  The 'Warwick' Shakespeare deed
Date: May 1, 1602
Repository: The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, Stratford-upon-Avon, UK
Call number and opening: DR232/1

Item Title
The 'Warwick' Shakespeare deed
Item Date
May 1, 1602
Repository
Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, Stratford-upon-Avon, UK
Call Number
DR232/1

DR232/1 recto, right hand detail

View Image Assets
DR232/1 recto, right hand 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
Title:  The 'Warwick' Shakespeare deed
Date: May 1, 1602
Repository: The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, Stratford-upon-Avon, UK
Call number and opening: DR232/1

Item Title
The 'Warwick' Shakespeare deed
Item Date
May 1, 1602
Repository
Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, Stratford-upon-Avon, UK
Call Number
DR232/1

DR232/1, verso detail

View Image Assets
DR232/1, verso 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
Title:  The 'Warwick' Shakespeare deed
Date: May 1, 1602
Repository: The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, Stratford-upon-Avon, UK
Call number and opening: DR232/1

Item Title
The 'Warwick' Shakespeare deed
Item Date
May 1, 1602
Repository
Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, Stratford-upon-Avon, UK
Call Number
DR232/1

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:  The 'Warwick' Shakespeare deed
Date: May 1, 1602
Repository: The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, Stratford-upon-Avon, UK
Call number and opening: DR232/1

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. The Combes signed the purchaser’s copy, which was filed with Shakespeare’s title deeds. Shakespeare was not present at this final stage in the proceedings, his brother Gilbert receiving the signed deed on his behalf. The second copy, shown here, once bore a single seal but was left unsigned. It too was later found among Shakespeare’s title deeds.

There are two possible explanations for the survival of this unsigned counterpart amongst Shakespeare’s deeds. It could have been prepared for Shakespeare to sign when he was next in Stratford. However, if he had not done so, and had the Combes never asked for it, it would have remained parcelled up with the purchaser’s copy.

There is, however, another possibility. It had been the convention that deeds should be written out twice on a single sheet of parchment which was then cut into two along a wavy line (hence the term indenture), each party to the deed then receiving  his or her copy. In the case of any disagreement, the two versions could be brought together to check their authenticity. By Shakespeare’s time it was by no means certain that such conventions were universally observed and, in this instance, the fact that the indented edges of the two documents do not match may not be significant, especially as they are written in the same hand. However, the unsigned copy contained an error, requiring the scribe to insert an omitted clause, soon after the words, in large letters in the image above, “To have and to holde.” It is therefore possible that the deed was re-copied in its entirety and then signed by Shakespeare before being handed over to the Combes, leaving the rejected copy, shown here, in Shakespeare’s hands.

Regardless of the status of the copy prepared for Shakespeare shown here, both it and the purchaser’s copy clearly remained parcelled up with later deeds relating to Shakespeare’s estate until ca. 1800, when R.B. Wheler, the Stratford historian, removed them. They were later found in his  papers given to the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust in 1863. As the unsigned copy was thought merely to duplicate the purchaser’s copy, it was given to James O. Halliwell-Phillipps who recorded this transaction in a signed endorsement on the verso side, citing a letter of January 10, 1863 from the secretary of the Birthplace Trust, on his giving “an equivalent donation to the Museum.” It then found its way into the collections of the earls of Warwick. It remained at Warwick Castle until its deposit in 1972 at the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, who subsequently purchased it after it had been withdrawn for sale.   

Semi-diplomatic transcription

[recto]

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 partie 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 thensealinge 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 foreuer by theis presentes have aliened bargayned solde geven graunted and Confirmed and by theis presentes doe

fullie 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 or beinge within the parrishe feilds 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 Stretforde 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 the

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 Hiccox and Lewes Hiccox 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 onlye or onlye 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 an

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 lawfully 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 it 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 onlye 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 and 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 seazed or one of them is seazed 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 sufficiently 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

euery 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 obligatorye ffynes 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 only

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 onlie 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 euerie suche

further lawfull and reasonable acte and actes thinge and thinges devise and devises assurances and Conveyances Whatsoeuer for the further, more

better and perfect assurance suretye 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 foreuer accordinge

to the true entent and meaninge of theis presentes as by the saide William Shakespere his heires or Asignes or his or their learned counsell in the

lawe shalbe reasonablie devized or advized and required Be yt by fyne or fynes with Proclamacion Recouerie 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 Compelld to travaile 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 quietlie 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 lawfully 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.

[verso, endorsed]
A duplicate of this, signed by the Combes, is in the
Shakespeare Museum at Stratford-on-Avon. The present,
with three other documents, became mine, on my giving
an equivalent donation to the Museum, by the consent of
the owners of the documents. See W.O. Hunt’s
​letter to me of 10 January, 1863.        J.O.Halliwell   
 

Written by Robert Bearman