Showing posts from September, 2011

Where did William Shakespeare live in London?

Where did Shakespeare lodge in London? On 15 November 1597 the Petty Collectors [of Taxes] for Bishopsgate stated in their accounts the names of certain persons who had avoided, for whatever reason, payment of their taxes. Among the names for St. Helen's parish (Bishopsgate) was that of William Shakespeare, assessed five shillings on goods valued at £5, the assessment made in October 1596 and falling due in February 1597. So we can conclude that sometime before October 1596 Shakespeare was living in the St. Helen's parish of Bishopsgate, perhaps near the church which is still standing. What we don't know, however, is whether he paid his five shillings taxes.
Our next sighting of the poet was again through the tax collectors when he was assessed thirteen shilling and four pence on goods valued at £5, the assessment made on 1 October 1598. On 6 October 1660 the amount due was still outstanding, and the Court of Exchequer referred the arrears to the Bishop of Winchester who ha…

Mr Anonymous : Edward de Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford (1550-1604)

"Here's one I wrote earlier, guv".  [Edward de Vere]So Hollywood has a new 'Shakespeare' movie coming out. Well, well, nearly 400 years dead and still good for business! The latest well-hyped offering is titled Anonymous and is based on the life of the 17th Earl of Oxford, Edward de Vere (1550-1604), whom the film hails as the ‘true author’ of Shakespeare’s plays. This is the also the view of a handful of crackpot Shakespearean actors and academics, though it may have been thought that the fact that de Vere inconveniently died before many of the plays had been written (Macbeth, The Winter’s Tale, Coriolanus, The Tempest) might have deterred them just a little.

One of the arguments they put forward against Shakespeare's authorship is that he did not attend a university and so would not have had the classical education needed to write the plays, many of which are based on stories from the Roman writer Ovid. But Shakespeare almost certainly attended Stratford Gra…