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September 11,
1611

BRU15/1/4, folio 1 recto

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BRU15/1/4, folio 1 recto
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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
Date: September 11, 1611
Repository: The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, Stratford-upon-Avon UK
Call number and opening: BRU15/1/4

Item Creator
Stratford-upon-Avon corporation
Item Date
September 11, 1611
Repository
Shakespeare Birthplace Trust
Call Number
BRU15/1/4

BRU15/1/4, folio 1 verso

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BRU15/1/4, folio 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
Date: September 11, 1611
Repository: The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, Stratford-upon-Avon UK
Call number and opening: BRU15/1/4

Item Creator
Stratford-upon-Avon corporation
Item Date
September 11, 1611
Repository
Shakespeare Birthplace Trust
Call Number
BRU15/1/4

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: September 11, 1611
Repository: The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, Stratford-upon-Avon UK
Call number and opening: BRU15/1/4

On September 11, 1611, the Stratford Corporation drafted a list of seventy-two burgesses who could be approached to subscribe “towardes the Charge of prosecutyng the Bill in the parliament for the better Repayre of the highe Waies and amendinge divers defectes in the Statutes alredy made.” While seventy-one of the names are listed in a single column down the left-hand side of the page, and then continued on the back of the sheet, William Shakespeare’s name stands alone in the otherwise blank space to the right.

The Highways Act of 1555 made road maintenance the responsibility of the parishes through which roads passed, mainly through the provision of labor services. This proved totally inadequate and, following numerous complaints, there were efforts to improve the situation by means of new legislation. Three attempts were made to introduce bills in parliament, in 1606, 1607 and 1610, all of which failed-- one through lack of funds but the third through the dissolution of parliament. These repeated failures did not put an end to the pressure. In February 1611 the government sent letters to local justices about highway repairs and by autumn further proposals were clearly under consideration. This is probably the background for the Corporation’s list, though no other document survives in the Corporation archives to throw light on its purpose.

It was clearly intended that William Walford, the bailiff at the time, should head the list. However, only “Inprimis of Mr” appears on the first line and Walford’s name is omitted, perhaps because his term of office was very near its end. The next name was Francis Smith, styled a gentleman, who that year was serving as chief alderman. He was followed by Thomas Greene “esquire,” the steward, and by eleven of the remaining aldermen with the customary prefix, “Mr.” Then, after the names of the chamberlains, Robert Butler and Julius Shaw, come the names of six local gentlemen, including, “Mr Jo. Hawle,” Shakespeare’s son-in-law. It is roughly opposite this list of gentry that the entry “Mr William Shackspere” occurs. It is in the same hand as the main list, and was apparently made at about the same time. Scholars usually assume that Shakespeare’s name was initially omitted because his frequent absences in London led to him being overlooked, casting doubt on the popular claim that Shakespeare was by 1611 spending more time in Stratford. In any event, his name was quickly added approximately opposite the point where it would have been included. 

The list continues with the names of other leading townspeople, with the interesting inclusion of three widows, “Mrs [Frances] Woodward,” “Wydow [Elizabeth] Hiccocks” and “Mrs [Elizabeth] Quynye.” Also included are two attorneys, “Mr John Greene,” brother of the steward, and “Mr William Cowrte.” The most intriguing entry, “Gr Phillip Massedon,” is taken to be the nickname for the schoolmaster, Alexander Aspinall, whose name, as an alderman, should have been included earlier in the list, “Gr” either an abbreviation for “Great” or “Grammaticus.” This suggests the list was a draft, though the hand has not been identified.

Only one contribution is listed, that of 2s. 6d. against the name of Thomas Greene, the steward, but there is no evidence that the issue of collecting other contributions was pursued.

Semi-diplomatic transcription

[BRU 15/1/4, is a biofilum (a folded sheet): folio 1 is transcribed here, folio 2 recto is blank and folio 2 verso contains notes on a later case in Chancery (1611-12), relating to the Luddington privy tithes BRU 15/3/12; BRU 15/10/12-13, 15, 113; BRU 15/16/82)]

[fol. 1r]

Wednesdaye the xjth of September 1611
Colected towardes the Charge of prosecutyng the Bill
in parliament for the better Repayre of the highe Waies
and amendinge diuers defectes in the Statutes alredy made

Inprimis of Mr

Item of Mr ffrauncis Smythe gentleman

Of Mr Thomas Greene esquire                       ijs vjd

Of Mr Thomas Barbar

Of Mr Iohn Gibbes

Of Mr William Parsons

Of Mr Henry Willson

Of Mr Danyell Baker

Of Mr Iohn Sadler

Of Mr ffrauncis Smith, senior

Of Mr Abraham Sturleye

Of Mr Iohn Smithe

Of Mr William Wyatt                                      Mr William Shackespere 

Of Mr Henry Walker

Of Mr Roberte Butler

Of Iulius Shawe

Of Mr Iohn Lane

Of Mr Iohn Combes

Of Mr William Combes

Of Mr Richard Tyler

Of Mr Iohn Nashe

Of Mr Iohn Hawle

Of Thomas Waterman

Of Lewes Hickockes

Of Michaell Iohnson

Of Thomas Rumney

Of Mrs [Frances] Woodward

Of Iohn Knight

Of Richard Ingram

Of Thomas Rutter, senior

Of [Thomas?] Mills

Of Iames Elettes

Of Richard Pincke

Of Iohn Smythe

Of Iohn Wheler

Of Edwarde Hunte

[fol. 1v]

Of Wydow Hickockes

Of William Shawe

Of Thomas Allen

Of Thomas Kirbye

Of Thomas Walker

Of Arthure Cooke

Of ffraunces Heynes

Of Mr Iohn Greene

Of Iohn Browne

Of William Chandler

Of George Sheffe

Of gr’ Phillip Massedon

Of Iohn Nason

Of Thomas Rutter

Of Henry Smythe

Of Thomas Bridges

Of Mrs [Elizabeth] Quynye

Of Thomas Rogers

Of Roger Smythe

Of Iohn Wilmore

Of George Agge

Of Phillip Greene

Of Thomas Knighte

Of William Harding

Of William Mounforde

Of Danyell Smythe

Of Thomas Swann

Of Lewes Rogers

Of Hewghe Tayler

Or Mr William Cowrte

Of Thomas Robartes

Of William Emmets

[The last three names, though in the same hand, could have been added later]

Of Iohn Ingram

Of William Walker

Of William Morrell

 
 

Written by Robert Bearman

Last updated May 25, 2016