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FROM THE ORIGINAL IN THE OFFICE OF THE PREROGATIVE COURT OF CANTERBURY.
Vicesimo quinto die Martii, Anno Regni Domini nostri Jacobi nunc Regis Angliæ, dc. decimo quarto, et
Scotiæ xlix. Annoque Domini 1616.
T. W* Shackspeare
In the name of god, Amen! I William Shackspeare of Stratford upon Avon, in the countie of warr. gent, in perfect health and memorie, god be praysed ! doe make and Ordayne this my last will and testament in manner and forme followeing ; That ys to saye, First I Comend my Soule into the handes of god my Creator, hoping, and assuredlie beleeving, through thonelie merites of Jesus Christe my Saviour, to be made partaker of lyfe everlastinge, And my bodye to the Earth whereof yt ys made. Item, I Gyve and bequeath unto my Daughter? Judyth, One hundred and Fyftie poundes of lawfull English money, to be paied unto her in manner and forme followeing, That ys to saye, One hundred poundes in discharge of her marriage porcion within one yeare after my deceas, with consideracion after the Rate of twoe Shillinges in the pound for soe long tyme as the same shalbe unpaied unto her after my deceas, and the Fyftie poundes Residewe thereof, upon her Surrendring of or gyving of such sufficient Securitie as the overseers of this my Will shall like of, to Surrender or graunte All her estate and Right that shall discend or come unto her after my desceas, or that shee nowe hath, of in or to one Copiehold tenemente with thappurtenaunces, lyeing and being in Stratford upon Avon aforesaied, in the saied county of warr. being parcell or holden of the mannour of Rowington, unto my Daughter Susanna Hall, and her heires for ever. Item, I Gyve and bequeath unto my saied Daughter Judith One hundred and Fyftie Poundes more, if shee, or Anie issue of her bodie, be Lyvinge att thend of three yeares next ensueing the Daie of the Date of this my Will, during which tyme my executours to paie her consideracion from my deceas according to the Rate aforesaied ; And if she dye within the saied tearme without issue of her bodye, then my will ys, and I Doe gyve and bequeath One Hundred Poundes thereof to my Neece Elizabeth Hall, and the Fiftie Poundes to be sett fourth by my executours during the lief of my Sister Johane Harte, and the use and proffitt thereof Cominge, shalbe payed to my saied Sister Jone, and after her deceas the said 11. shall Remaine Amongst the children of my saied Sister Equallie to be Devided Amongst them ; But if my saied Daughter Judith be lyving att thend of the saied three Yeares, or anie yssue of her bodye, then my will ys, and soe I Devise and bequeath the saied Hundred and Fyftie Poundes to be sett out by my executors and overseers for the best benefitt of her and her issue, and the stock not to be paied unto her soe long as she shalbe marryed and Covert Baron ; but my will ys, that she shall have the consideracion yearelie paied unto her during her lief, and after her deceas, the saied stock and consideracion to bee paied to her children, if she have Anie, and if not, to her executours or assignes, she lyving the saied terme after my deceas : Provided that yf such husbond as she shall att thend of the saied three yeares be marryed unto, or at anie [tyme) after, doe sufficientlie Assure unto her, and thissue of her bodie landes Awnswereable to the porcion by this my will gyven unto her, and to be adjudged soe by my executours and overseers, then my will ys, that the said Cli. shalbe paied to such husbond as shall make such assurance, to his owne use. Item, I gyve and bequeath unto my saied sister Jone xx', and all my wearing Apparrell, to be paied and delivered within one yeare after my Deceas; And I doe will and devise unto her the house with thappurtenaunces in Stratford, wherein she dwelleth, for her natural lief, under the yearlie rent of xijd.
Item, I gyve and bequeath unto her three sonnes, William Harte, [Thomas+] Hart, and Michaell Harte, Fyve Poundes Apeece, to be paied within one Yeare after my decease. Item, I gyve and bequeath unto the saied
1 The will is written in the clerical hand of that period, on three sbeets of paper, fastened together at top. The poet's name is signed at the bottom of the first and second sheet, and his final signature, “ by me William Shakspeare," is near the middle of the third sheet. Malone was of opinion that he signed the last sheet first, and that the hand grew gradually weaker in signing the second and first pages. The words printed in Italics are those which in the original are interlined.
2 Originally written Januarii. 3 Originally sonne and daughter, 4 This Christian name is omitted in the original will. 5 The following words were here at first inserted, but afterwards cancelled : “to be sett out for her within one yeare after my deceas by my executours with thadvise and direccions of my overseers, for her best profitt, until her marriage, and then the sanie with the increase thereof to be paied unto her."
Elizabeth Hall 6 All my.plate, except my brod silver and gilt bole, that I now have att the Date of this my will
. Item, I gyve and bequeath unto the Poore of Stratford aforesaied tenn poundes ; to Mr. Thomas Combe my Sword ; to Thomas Russell, Esquier, Fyve pounds; and to Frauncis Collins of the Borough of warr. in the countie of wart. gentleman, thirteene poundes Sixe shillinges and Eight pence, to be paied within one Yeare after my Deceas. Item, I gyve and bequeath to Hamlett? Sadler xxvis viija, to buy him A Ringe ; to William Raynoldes, gent. xxvis viij', to buy him A Ringe; to my godson William Walker xxx in gold ; to Anthonye Nashe, gent. xxvis viijd ; and to Mr. John Nashe, xxvis viijd ; and to my Fellowes, John Hemynges, Richard Burbage, and Henry Cundell, xxvis viije A peece, to buy them ringes. Item, I Gyve, will, bequeath, and devise, unto my daughter Susanna Hall, for better enabling of her to performe this my will, and towardes the performans thereof, All that Capital messuage or tenemente, with thappurtenances, in Stratford aforesaid, Called the new place, wherein I nowe Dwell, and two Messuages or tenementes, with thappurtenaunces, scituat, lyeing, and being in Henley-streete, within the borough of Stratford aforesaied ; And all my barnes, stables, Orchardes, gardens, landes, tenementes, and hereditamentes whatsoever, scituat, lyeing, and being, or to be had, Receyved, perceyved, or taken, within the townes, Hamletes, Villages
, Fieldes, and groundes of Stratford upon Avon, Oldstratford, Bushopton, and Welcombe, or in anie of them, the said countie of warr. And alsoe All that messuage or tenemente, with thappurtenaunces, wherein One John Robinson dwelleth, scituat, lyeng, and being, in the blackfriers in London nere the Wardrobe ; and all other my landes, tenementes, and hereditamentes whatsoever : To have and to hold All and singular the saied premisses, with their appurtenaunces, unto the saied Susanna Hall, for and during the terme of her naturall lief ; and after her deceas to the first sonne of her bodie lawfullie yssieinge, and to the heires Males of the bodie of the saied first Sonne lawfully yssueinge; and for defalt of such issue, to the second Sonne of her bodie lawfullie issueinge, and to the heires males of the bodie of the said Second Sonne lawfully yssueing ; and for defalt of such heires, to the third Sonne of the bodie of the saied Susanna Lawfullie yssueinge, and to the heires males of the bodie of the saled third sonne lawfullie yssueing ; And for defalt of such issue, the same soe to be and Remaine to the Fourth, Fyfth, sixte, and Seaventh sonnes of her body, lawfullie issueinge one after Another, and to the heires Males of the bodies of the said Fourth, fifth, Sixte, and Seaventh sonnes lawfullie yssueing, in such manner as yt is before Lymitted to be and Remaine to the first, second, and third Sonns of her bodie, and to their heires Males ; And for defalt of such issue, the saied premisses to be and Remaine to my sayed Neece Hall, and the heires Males of her bodie lawfullie yssueing ; And for defalt of such issue, to my Daughter Judith and the heires Males of her bodie lawfullie issueinge, And for defalt of such issue, to the Right heires of me the saied William Shackspeare for ever. Item, I gyve unto my wief my second best bed, with the furniture. Item, I gyve and bequeath to my saied Daughter Judith my broad silver gilt bole. All the rest of my goodes, Chattel, Leases, plate, Jewels, and houshold stuffe whatsoever, after my Dettes and Legacies paied, and my funerall expences discharged, I gyve, devise, and bequeath to my Sonne-in-Lawe, John Hall, gentand my Daughter Susanna his wief, whom I ordaine and make executours of this my Last will and testament. And I doe intreat and Appoint the saied Thomas Russell, Esquier, and Frauncis Collins, gent, to be overseers hereof, And doe Revoke All former wills, and publishe this to be my last will and testament. In Witness whereof I have hereunto put my hand, the Daie and Yeare first above written.
Witnes to the publyshing hereof, Fra. Collyns, Julyus Shawe, John Robinson, Hamnet Sadler, Robert Whattcott.
By me William Shakspeare.
Probatum coram Magistro Willielmo Byrde, Legum Doctore Comiss. &c. cxjj.do die mensis Junii, Anno Domini
1616 ; juramento Johannis Hall, unius exccutorum &c. cui &c. de bene &c. jurat. reserrat. potestate de. Susannce Hall, alteri executorum dc. cum venerit petitur, (Invt. exc.).
6 This sentence was originally only her.
was first written.
8 Seale was originally written.
PURCHASE OF New PLACE. (See page xxxi.) Translation of the foot of the fine levied on the occasion of Shakespeare's purchase of this house. The original is now in the Public Record Office :
This is the Final Agreement made in the Court of our Sovereign Lady the Queen, at Westminster, in one month from the day of St. Michael in the Forty Fourth year of the reign of Elizabeth by the grace of God of England France and Ireland Queen, Defender of the Faith &c., after the Conquest : before Edmund Anderson, Thomas Walmysley, George Kingesmyll, and Peter Warburton, Justices of our Lady the Queen, and others there then present: between William Shakespeare gentleman, Complainant and Hercules Underhill gentleman deforciant; of one messuage, two barns, two gardens, and two orchards with appurtenances in Stretford upon Avon : whereupon a plea of Covenant was summoned between them in the same Court; that is to say, that the aforesaid Hercules hath acknowledged the aforesaid tenements with appurtenances to be the right of the same William as those which he the same William hath of the gift of the aforesaid Hercules, and those he hath remised and quit claimed from him and his heirs to the aforesaid William and his heirs for ever : And moreover the same Hercules hath granted for him and his heirs that they will warrant to the aforesaid William and his heirs the aforesaid tenements with appurtenances, against him the aforesaid Hercules and his heirs, for ever : And for this acknowledgment, remise, quitclaim, warranty, fine and Agreement the same William hath given to the aforesaid Hercules Sixty Pounds Sterling.
(On the back follow the Proclamations according to the Porm of the Statute.]
PURCHASE OF LAND FROM WILLIAM COMBE AND John COMBE. (See page xxxiv.) The following is a translation of the foot of the fine levied on this property thirteen years after its purchase. The original is preserved in the Public Record Office :
This is the Final Agreement made in the Court of our Sovereign Lord the King at Westminster, on the morrow of the Holy Trinity in the year of the reigns of James by the grace of God of England Scotland France and Ireland King Defender of the Faith &c. of England France and Ireland the eighth, and of Scotland the Forty Third ; before Edward Coke, Thomas Walmysley, Peter Warburton, and Thomas Foster, Justices of our Lord the King and others there then present: Between William Shakespere gentleman complainant, and William Combe Esquire and John Combe gentleman deforciants, of one hundred and seven acres of land and twenty acres of pasture with appurtenances in Old Stratford and Stratford upon Avon : whereupon a plea of Covenant was summoned between them in the same Court, that is to say, that the aforesaid William Combe and John have acknowledged the aforesaid tenements with appurtenances to be the right of him the same William Shakespere as those which the same William hath of the gift of the aforesaid William Combe and John, And those they have remised and quitclaimed from them the same William Combe and John and their heirs, to the aforesaid William Shakespeare and his heirs for ever : And moreover the same William Combe hath granted for him and his heirs that they will warrant to the aforesaid William Shakespere and his heirs the aforesaid tenements with appurtenances against him the aforesaid William Combe and his heirs for ever ; And further the same John hath granted for him and his heirs that they will warrant to the aforesaid William Shakespere and his heirs the aforesaid tenements with appurtenances against the aforesaid John and his heirs for ever : And for this Acknowledgment remise quitclaim warranties fine and agreement the same William Shakespere hath given to the aforesaid William Combe and John one hundred Pounds Sterling.
(On the back follow the Proclamations according to the form of the Statute.]
DOCUMENTS RELATING TO SHAKESPEARE'S ESTATES, RECENTLY DISCOVERED IN
THE ROLLS CHAPEL. | SHAKESPEARE by his will dated 25 March, 1616, bequeathed, as we have seen, to his daughter, Susanna Hall, (wife of John Hall] the capital messuage in Stratford-upon-Avon, called the New Place, wherein he then dwelt, and two messuages in Henley Street within the said Borough, and all bis other lands and tenements in Stratfordupon-Avon, Old Stratford, Bishopton, and Welcombe in Co: Warwick ; also all that messuage wherein John Robinson dwells, in the Blackfriars, in London, near the Wardrobe ; to hold for the term of her life, and after her decease, to the heirs male of her body; and in default of heirs male of her body, the said premises to remain to his niece (grand-daughter), Elizabeth Hall, and the heirs male of her body ; for default of such issue to his daughter Judith (wife of Thomas Quiney), and the heirs male of her body, and for default of such issue to his right heirs.
This lady, Elizabeth Hall, it has been shown, at eighteen years of age became the wife of Thomas Nash, and as the three sons of Judith Quiney all died without children, the last of them in January, 1639, the poet's elder daughter Susanna Hall, her daughter, Elizabeth Nash, and her husband, Thomas Nash, suffered a Fine and Recovery in the fifteenth of Charles I., A.D. 1639-40, by which all the estates in question were confirmed to Mrs. Hall, for her life, with remainder to Mr. and Mrs. Nash, and her issue ; and in default of such issue then upon Mr. Nash.
Mr. Nash died without issue 4th April, 1647 ; having by his will dated 25th August, 1642, bequeathed all the said estate to his wife Elizabeth, for her life, and the reversionary interest thereof to his cousin Edward Nash.
Mrs. Nash, advised that her husband had no right to make such a will, as the Fine and Recovery settled the estates upon her and her issue, and considering that she might marry again and have children (being then only thirty-nine years old), refused, it seems, to carry out her husband's will. Whereupon the said Edward Nash filed his Bill in Chancery against her and others, setting out the will in question, and calling upon the Court to compel Mrs. Nash to produce and execute the same, &c.
These circumstances, and the consequent fact that by another Fine and Recovery Shakespeare's estate were again limited to his descendants, were first made public by the late Mr. Wheeler, of Stratford. Neither be, however, nor Malone, who was indefatigable in his inquiries concerning the poet's grand-daughter and the ultimate disposition of the property, was fortunate enough to find the legal papers in the suit in Chancery between Mrs. Nash and Edward Nash. The instruments in question appear to have remained untouched in their original depository, the Rolls Chapel, for above two hundred years until a few months since, when, during some alterations in the Chapel, they were brought to light, together with the original will of Thomas Nash.? By the liberality of Sir John Romilly, the Right Honourable the Master of the Rolls, I am enabled to print the whole of these documents, as well as some others relating to the poet's property which have never, to my knowledge, been published.
N. N. 17. No. 65.
Bill of Complaynt of Edward Nash, Complainant. All advantage of excepcion to the incertanties and insufficiences of the said Bill of Complaynt now and at all tymes hereafter saved and reserved unto the Defende: for Answer sayth : That the Complainant is Cousin to the Defendts. late husband Thomas Nash Esquier deceased but not heir to the said Thomas Nash, For that the said Thomas Nash hath a sister liveing whoe is one of the Defendes. to the said Bill of Complaynt besides other kindred whoe are nearer in blood to the said Thomas Nashe deceased than the said Complainant as the Defend". takes it, And the Defend". sayth : That the said Thomas Nash in his life tyme was seized of diverse messuages, lands
, Tenem's. and hereditam's. and possesssed of a personall Estate, And that hee being soe seized and possessed made his last will and Testament in writing in or about the Twentie Fifte day of August one thousand six hundred Fortie and two and thereby Devised unto this Defend". and the other Defend his sister and the Complainant and other persons the lands and legacies in such sort and to such purpose word for word as the Complainant hath set forth in his sayd Bill of Complaynt wch. the Complainant might well doe for that the Defend". gave unto the said Complainant a true coppie of the sayd last will and Testament of the said Thomas Nashe and of the Codicell to the sayd will annexed which Codicell the said Thomas Nashe made or caused to bee made in his sicknes in or about the third day of Aprill Anno Domini one thousand six hundred Fortie and seaven and published the same for as
1 An abstract of Nash's will, and of a nuncupative codicil thereto, was printed by Malone. See Variorum edition, 1821, Vol. II. p. 619.
part of his said last will and Testam" and to bee added to the same, And that shortly after (that is to say) in or about the Fowerth day of the same moneth the said Thomas Nashe dyed haveing in or by his said last will appoynted and inade this Defend". his sole Executrix whoe proved the said will wih. the said Codicell thereunto annexed in due forme of Lawe in the Prerogative Cort of Canterbury where the said last will and Codicell are entred and remayne upon Record amongst the Records there, to wch. the Defend". for more certantie referreth herselfe for and concerning all and everie the matters contayned in the said will and Codicell and complayned of in or by, the said Bill of Complaynt, And the Defend". saith : That the said messuage called the New Place in Stratford with thappurtenncs and Fower yard land in the comon fields of Old Stratford and the messuage in London neer the Wardrope there supposed to bee devized to the Complainant and his heires by the said Thomas Nashe could not bee devised given or disposed of by the said Thomas Nashe, For that the said messuage Fower yard land and house in London WERE THE INHERITANCE OF WILLIAM SHAKESPEAR THE DEFENDTS. GRANDFATHER whoe was siezed thereof in Fee simple long before the Defend's. marriage wth. the said Thomas Nashe, And being soe seized by his last will and Testame.in writing bearing date in or about the Twentie Fifte day of March in the Fowerteenth year of the raigne of our late Soveraigne Lord King James Devised the same to Susan Hall the daughter and coheir of the said William and mother to the Defend". for and dureing her life, And after her death to this Defend". and the heires of her body, As in and by the said will readie to bee produced to which due referrence being had may more fully appeare, And the Defendo. saith: That the said Susans the Defend's mother to whome the said messuage, Fower yard land and the house aforesaid was devised by the said William Shakespear is yet liveing and enjoyeth the same, And that the said Susan and the Defend". since the death of the said Thomas Nashe have acknowledged and levyed one or more Fines and suffered a Recoverie of the said messuage called the New Place and the said Fower yard land and the house in London to the use of the said Susan the Defend's. mother for her life, And after her decease to this Defend". and her heires for ever As was lawfull for them soe to doe which are all the Conveyances and estates that the Defend" since the death of the said Thomas Nashe hath made granted or suffered of anie the lands mencioned in the said Bill of Complaynt And the Defend": denies that shee hath a mind to suppresse the said last will of the said Thomas Nashe, Or that the same can bee suppressed to the knowledge of the Defend". Or that the said Thomas Nashe made noe Codicell to his said last will Or that the said Thomas Nashe dyed without makeing any alteracion of the said will set forth by the said Complainant other then is expressed in or by the said Codicell of the said Thomas Nashe, And the Defend" denies that shee the Defend" or any other to her knowledge give out, that the said Thomas Nashe dyed intestate and that hee made noe will, Or that hee the said Thomas revoaked the said will and made a new will to the knowledge of the Defend". But true it is shee the Defende hath given forth, That the said Thomas Nashe made the said Codicell as parte of his said last will which the Defend's proved as aforesaid, And that hee the sayd Thomas Nashe had noe power to give and devise the said messuage called the Newe Place the Fower yard Land and the house in London being the Defend's. Inheritance as aforesaid. But that the Defend". with her said mother may dispose thereof as they please And the Defend denies that shee doth refuse to prove the will or to assent to such Legacies as are given to the said Complainant saveing the right and Inheritance in the said messuage Fower yard land and house in London, And saith that shee this Defend hath in her hands or custodie many Deeds Evidences Writings Charters Escripts and munumts. which concerne the lands and premises which the Defend". claymeth as her Inheritance and other the lands which are the Defendts. Joynturel and are devised to her by the said Thomas Nash in or by his said last will which writings concerning the Defend's Joynture shee may keepe for her life as shee is informed But the Defend" is readie to produce the same by coppies or otherwise to make knowne the same to the Complainant in such manner as the Honble. Cort shall appoynt, And the Defende denies, that shee doth supresse or conceale the said writings or hath cancelled the same, or doth refuse to set forth the same, Or that this Defend“ doth knowe that the said writings doe concerne the Complainant dureing the Defend's life, Or that shee this Defend" hath made or consented to the makeing any estate of the premises to any person or persons whatsoever other then as aforesaid, Without that that anie other matter or thing materiall or effectuall in the Lawe to bee Answered unto by this Defend". and not herein and hereby well and sufficiently Answered unto confessed traversed or denyed is true All wch. matters and thingst his Defend". is and will bee readie to aver mayntayne and prove as this Honble. Cort shall award And humbly prayeth to bee hence dismissed wth her reasonable costs and charges &c. &c. Predict Def Jur xvij die Aprilis anno r. R. Carol. xxiij to apud Tho: Dighton Stratford sup Avon in Com Warr. John Eston. coram
1 This declaration is interesting and important as Sir Hugh Clopton to Macklin in 1742, that she carried proving that some Shakespeare's papers were in his away with her from Stratford many of her grandfather's grand-daughter's custody after the death of her first manuscripts. busband, and coincides with the tradition mentioned by