MENU
March
1609

BRU15/5/116 recto

View Image Assets
BRU15/5/116 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 names of jurors in the action of William Shackspere v. John Addenbrooke in a plea of debt
Date: March 1609
Repository: The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, Stratford-upon-Avon, UK
Call number and opening: BRU15/5/116

Item Title
The names of jurors in the action of William Shackspere v. John Addenbrooke in a plea of debt
Item Date
March 1609
Repository
Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, Stratford-upon-Avon, UK
Call Number
BRU15/5/116

BRU15/5/116 verso

View Image Assets
BRU15/5/116 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 names of jurors in the action of William Shackspere v. John Addenbrooke in a plea of debt
Date: March 1609
Repository: The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, Stratford-upon-Avon, UK
Call number and opening: BRU15/5/116

Item Title
The names of jurors in the action of William Shackspere v. John Addenbrooke in a plea of debt
Item Date
March 1609
Repository
Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, Stratford-upon-Avon, UK
Call Number
BRU15/5/116

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 names of jurors in the action of William Shackspere v. John Addenbrooke in a plea of debt
Date: March 1609
Repository: The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, Stratford-upon-Avon, UK
Call number and opening: BRU15/5/116

On August 17, 1608, William Shakespeare (or his family or agents acting on his behalf) began an action in the Stratford court of record to recover a debt of £6 from John Addenbrooke. The case dragged on until at least June 7, 1609. The register recording the court’s proceedings during this period is lost but many cases which came before it generated a sequence of writs and other loose papers. Fortunately, seven such items survive for the case between Shakespeare and Addenbrooke, allowing us to track the progress of this particular claim in reasonable, though not complete, detail. These surviving documents are in Latin and all have small central holes or tears along one edge indicating they were once held together by a tie or pin to form a bundle. R.B. Wheler, probably broke up the bundle when he discovered the file in 1800, as two of the items, the order to produce Addenbrooke  and writ to bring Addenbrooke’s surety, Thomas Hornby to court subsequently became part of his papers.  The writs all bear the name “Greene” in the bottom right corner, indicating that they had been issued with the authority of Thomas Greene, the Corporation’s steward, who acted as the court’s legal officer.

Addenbrooke, described early in his career as a yeoman but later as a gentleman, was married at Tanworth-in-Arden in 1574 and was buried there on June 19, 1609 (perhaps the reason why the case seems to have petered out). His place of residence gave rise to another problem: as Stratford’s court of record had no jurisdiction outside the borough boundary, its officers were not able to carry out its instructions in cases where the defendant lived elsewhere. None of the papers explains how Addenbrooke contracted the substantial debt but they do provide evidence of Shakespeare’s local dealings with a man of some substance not obviously linked to a routine business transaction. Due to an outbreak of plague, the London theaters were closed from July 1608 to December 1609, leading to a reduction in Shakespeare’s income, and this may have been a factor in this attempt to recover an outstanding debt or loan.   

This “panel” listing the same men as originally summoned to act as a jury, is this time marked to indicate that the case was heard, probably at a court held on March 15, 1609. James Elliots is marked absent due to illness, but fifteen names are marked, or “pricked,” establishing they attended. Greene added the word “Juratus” against the twelve names of those sworn to give judgement. The fictitious “John Dowe” and “Richard Rowe” are again named as their sureties. At the foot is a note of the fee (“exitus”) of 6s. 8d. paid to each juror (thus totalling 4s.). On the back is their decision in Shakespeare’s favour (“They say for the complainant”), including a note of further court fees and expenses (amounting to 6d.) incurred at this stage, which would have to be met by Addenbrooke as the unsuccessful party.

Had the court register survived, it would have recorded any further proceedings, most importantly whether Shakespeare ever succeeded in recovering his money. Addenbrooke was buried at Tanworth twelve days after the final document, leaving no will.  

Semi-diplomatic transcription

[recto]

Nomina Iuratorum inter Willelmum Shackspere 
querentem et Iohannem Addenbrooke de 
placito debiti

      Philippus Greene
egrotatus     Iacobus Elliottes
       Edwardus Hunt
●    Robertus Wilson     Iuratus
●    Thomas Kerby
       Thomas Bridges
●    Ricardus Collyns      Iuratus
●    Iohannes Ingraham      Iuratus
●    Daniel Smyth      Iuratus
●    Willelmus Walker      Iuratus
●    Thomas Mills      Iuratus
●    Iohannes Tubb      Iuratus
●    Ricardus Pincke      Iuratus
●    Iohannes Smyth pannarius      Iuratus
      Laurencius Holmes
      Iohannes Boyce
●    Hugo Piggin      Iuratus 
      Iohannes Samvell
●    Robertus Cawdrey      Iuratus
      Iohannes Castle
      Paulus Bartlett
●    Iohannes Yate      Iuratus
●    Thomas Bradshawe et
●    Iohannes Gunne

Quilibet iuratorum predictorum per se separatim Attachiatus 
est per plegios Iohannem Doo & Ricardum Roo

exitus cuiuslibet eorum per se vjs  viijd

[verso, endorsed]

Iuratores dicunt pro querente
misas  iiijd  dampna  ijd

​Written by Robert Bearman

Last updated June 3, 2016