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in 1535. This Guild of St. Anne had a priest who said masses for them; he was a chantry priest, paid by the Guild. Some branches of the Shaksperes must have been in good circumstances, and they no doubt paid good fees to get their prayers recited, and their names recorded in these venerable registers of vellum--pious mementoes of their missals and their money. From the interesting pages of the volume I copied the following names of Shakspere :1460. Pro anima Ricardi Shakspere et Aliciæ uxor ejus, de
Woldiche. 1464. 4. Edw. IV.- Johannes Schakespere, and Radulphus
Shakespeire & Isabella his wife ; and Ricardus Schakfpere de Wrofale and Margeria his wife: and, also,
Johannes Shakespeyre, of Rowington, and his wife. 1476. Thomas Chacfper et Christian of Rowneton. 1486. 1 Henry VII. - Thomas Schakspere asks the monk to
pray for his soul: and in the same year Thomas Shak-
his wife, of Balsale, ask the monk to pray for them. 19 of Hen. VII.—Orate pro anima Isabelle Shakspere, quon
dam Priorissa de Wroxale. 3 HEN. VIII.-Alicia Shakespere and Thomas Shakespere,
of Balishalle. Also, Christophorus Shakespere, and Isabella his wife, of Pacwode. And in the Sth of the same reign, the priests are asked to pray for the fouls of Domina Jane Shakspere ; Ricardus Shakfpere and Alicia his wife; Willielmus Shakspere and Agnes
his wife; Johannes Shakspere and Johanna his wife. We thus find that the Shaksperes were located in Warwickshire, not far from Stratford and Wilmcote, as early as the fourteenth century; and the name appears at various times in connection with families and transactions at Warwick, Rowington, Wroxall, Hampton, Lapworth, Kineton, and other parts of the county. There are a few families of the name still existing—one at Warwick, others in Staffordshire, and elsewhere ; but there is no satisfactory evidence that they are descended from the poet's family. George Shakspere, of Henley in Arden, claims to be so related.
The little that is known of John Shakspere, father of the poet, is highly favourable to his character, both as illustra
tive of his good nature, in his kindness to his brother Henry, as well as of his public spirit; for, when appointed to the office of bailiff, he was a warm patron of the players, the best public teachers at the time ; and he would probably take his son William both to see the performances at the Guildhall, and to witness the revels at Kenilworth ; becoming thereby an educator of the youth for his future brilliant career as the greatest dramatist the world has yet
John Shakspere, when young, was no doubt comely in person, and fair to look on ; for he courted and won the beautiful Mary Arden, the youngest and favourite daughter and executor of Robert Arden; or, as she was tersely designated in the drafts of the grant of arms in 1696 and '99, one of the heyrs of Robert Arden of Wilmcote, Gent.”
The identity of Robert Arden as the grandson of Robert the third brother of the knight of the body-guard of Henry VII., has not yet been clearly proved, but that the family was the same is of the highest probability. There was no other family of Ardens, and the shield of the first draft of arms existing in the Herald's office makes them agree. Wilmcote and New Hall are both in the Forest of Arden. We find, too, that on 17th July, 1550, a deed was executed by Robert Arden, maternal grandfather of Shakspere, conveying lands and tenements in Snitterfield, then in the occupation of Richard Shakspere, in trust for three daughters, after the death of Robert and Agnes Arden.
Ten days previously he had executed a similar deed conveying other property in Snitterfield, for the benefit of three other daughters, Jocose, Alicia, and Margaret. The Ardens had been landed proprietors for more than a century before the marriage of Shakspere's grandfather, Robert Arden ;owning lands cut off, no doubt, from larger estates for younger sons, as in the case of Arden and Bagot, Arden and Adderley, Bracebridge and Willington. These possessions
may be taken as strong evidence of the relationship to the great Arden family. Besides this, Mary Arden was recognised in the Herald's office as belonging to the family. Although the notes of Dethick, King of Arms, are not to le relied on as to Shakspere's “antecessors,” yet the error consists in ascribing the honours and rewards as conferred by Henry VII. to the “late antecessors” of John Shak'spere; whereas they were given to the ancestor of the Ardens. This incidentally confirms the descent of Mary Arden. It is reasonable to conclude that Clarenceaux would not have declared Robert Arden a gentleman if he had not been such ; and therefore, other things considered, a descendant of the Saxon Earles of Mercia. The mother of the poet may, therefore, when the collateral evidence is fairly and candidly reviewed, be traced by heritage through a long line of ancestors up to the time of the AngloSaxon Earls ;* many of them famous for wealth, position, and influence; and moreover, celebrated for their noble integrity, firmness, patriotism, and firm determination to sustain and hold fast by whatever they considered righteous and just ; characteristics in living descendants of Shakspere's sister. We may hence with some reason assume that Mary Arden was not only handsome in form and fair in feature, but that she was mainly instrumental in transmitting to her son those exquisite sensibilities, moral and mental peculiarities in capacity and character, which have inade all the world worshippers of the memory of Shakspere.
The mother of the poet, as a descendant of the Ardens, has a pedigree older and longer than the longest line of living kings; and withal a history as worthy and as noble as the most famous of the world's proudest aristocracy. Mothers often exercise great influence in moulding both the physical constitution, and the mental character of their
and a brief sketch of the Ardens will illustrate what has been already said on the heritage of genius.
During the reign of Edward the Confessor, Aluuinus, the father of Turchil, was Vicecomes, earl or deputy, of Warwick, for the king of Mercia. Turchil, the son, was Vicecomes of Warwick at the time the Normans invaded England, and was the last of the powerful Saxon Earls, and
* Rohund, Earle of Warwick, had a daughter Felicia, or Phillis, married to Ġuido or Guy, son of Siward, Baron of Wallingford. They had a son named Reyburn, father of Wegeot, or Weyth the Humid. He had a son named Ufa (about 975), who became a benefactor to the monks of Evesham. His son was Wolgeot, whose hereditary successor was Wigod or Wigot, married to Ermenilda, a sister of Leofric, Earl of Mercia, husband of Lady Godiva, and founder of the monastery at Coventry. The son of Wigod was Alwin, Aluuinus, or Alwinus, contemporary with Edward the Confessor. Alwin was father of Turchil, the founder of the great Arden family, and governed Warwick for King William the Conqueror, till about 1070.
the first of the Ardens. This family held some forty-eight estates in various parts of the midland counties. Ethelfleda, the courageous daughter of king Alfred, built a fortified dwelling on a mound near the Avon, and added a keep or dungeon ; from which has arisen the noble towers of the present castle of Warwick, built on a rock rising from the west bank of the river, and only a short distance from Offchurch Bury, where Offa, king of Mercia, is said to have held his court. Turchil, son of Aluuinus, was lord of Warwick when Harold mustered his forces after his victory at Battlebridge, over Harfager the Norseman, and marched against Duke William the Norman to resist the invaders. But Turchil, who was probably a partisan of Edgar, the legitimate king, did not join the Saxons and Harold to repel the Normans—a circumstance which was, no doubt, remembered in his favour by the Conqueror, at least for a brief period. The rapacious Normans took possession of many of the castles and estates of the Saxons who opposed them, and Turchil compounded with the king for the title of Earl of Warwick during his life. The old chroniclers in their quaint way inform us that even those who did not muster their men at Hastings to oppose the Normans, were removed from their lands and possessions ; and declare also, that “it is evident to be seen what vast possessions the Conqueror did bestow upon those Normans, Britons, Anjovins, and other French, that assisted him thé better in keeping of what he had thus by strong hand got; and shall further crave leave, considering how vast a change this conquest made. And first, for his cruelties to the native English–'tis evident that he spared not the very clergy, imprisoning Stigand, Archbishop of Canterbury, till he died, with many others : degrading divers Abbots, wasting the lands of Wolstan, Bishop of Worcester; Walter, Bishop of Hereford ; and Frethric, Abbot of St. Albans; compelling many of the nobility and others to forsake the kingdom; forcing divers, as well priests as laymen, driven out of their possessions, to betake themselves to woods and deserts where they were constrained to live as savages, whereby there was scarce a great man left; all sorts of men being reduced to such misery and servitude that it was a disgrace to be accounted an Englishman.”*
* These severe measures of the Conqueror will explain the cause of the resistance of the Robin Hoods of this and subsequent reigns. The castles, the curfew, and the taxes, subdued the spirit of the people. “ The poor English were so humbled, that they were glad to imitate the Normans, even in the cutting their hair, and shaving their beards; and to conform to the fashions of their new masters.”
Turchil was ordered to enlarge and fortify the castle of Warwick ; but when this was done, the Norman, king became doubtful and suspicious of the Saxon Thane, who was removed from his dignity. A Norman follower, Henry de Newburgh, was the first Norman advanced to the rank of Earl of Warwick. This no doubt led to the adoption of the name of Arden, for Turchil now first assumed the surname "from their residence in this part of the country, then as now called Arden by reason of its wodinesse. Not that Turchil or his descendants lived here ; for their principal seats were in other places, viz., Kingsbury, and Hampden in Arden, on this side the shire; as also Rotley and Radburne on the other, while some male branches lasted ; but because this is the chief place which continued longest in the family, even till the late time, and was near to that where for the last 300 years they had their residence." Dugdale also says that Turchil was one of the first hera in England that, in imitation of the Normans, assumed a surname ; for so it appears he did, and wrote himself Turchillus de Eardene, in the days of King William Rufus.”
The Conqueror was a far-seeing, shrewd, practical, yet despotic reformer; for the old historian M. Paris states, “in the year in which the Norman triumphed, he took with him some of the English nobilitie into Normandy, and married them to Norman ladies; and in like manner did he inarry divers English women to his Normans; continually loading the people with heavy taxes, to the end they might have enough adoe in busying themselves how to live, rather than have any leisure to stir up commotions." William also brought over a number of Norman priests to preach submissiveness and reverence to the conquerors.
The pedigree of the Ardens from the time of William the Conqueror to that of Mary Arden, stands thus:
Turkillus de Warwick=Levurunia.
Osbertus de Arden=Matilda.
Siwardus de Ardena,