Shakspere/Shakespeare Chronology, 1597-1600

1564-92 | 1593-96 | 1597-1600 | 1601-04 | 1605-08 | 1609-12 | 1613-16 | After 1616

References — Three asterisks (***) indicate references I have yet to verify, complete, or check for consistency.

Allusion = E. K. Chambers, ed., The Shakspere Allusion-Book, 2 volumes (Oxford University Press, London: 1932 reprint)
Arden = Katherine Duncan-Jones, ed., The Arden Shakespeare: Shakespeare’s Sonnets (1997)
EP = R[obert] A[llot], ed., Englands Parnassus (1600, reprint, Da Capo Press, New York:1970)
EKC = E. K. Chambers, William Shakespeare: A Study of the Facts and Problems, 2 volumes (Clarendon Press, Oxford: 1930)
Helicon = Hyder Edward Rollins, ed., England’s Helicon, 2 volumes, 1600, 1614 (1935)
HP = J. O. Halliwell-Phillips, Outlines of the Life of Shakespeare, 7th edition,
2 volumes (Longmans, Green, and Co., London: 1887)
Poems = F.T. Prince, ed., The Arden Shakespeare: The Poems (1960)
SS = Samuel Schoenbaum, William Shakespeare: A Documentary Life (Oxford University Press, New York:1975)
Wallace = Charles William Wallace, “New Light on Shakespeare” (Part 2), The Times (London), May 1, 1914, p. 4.

[Forms of the name “William Shakspere” or “William Shakespeare” always appear in bold. Only authorship-related items are numbered. Items in brackets refer the reader to the date the document was actually created. Documents that refer back to earlier documents no longer extant give the earlier date in parentheses. When the date is uncertain but spans a number of years, the item is listed under the earliest date. Dating issues are discussed with each item. In many cases, purely legal Latin texts and mundane business transactions are not quoted in full. Only the first issuance of a Quarto is noted. For a complete list, see Quartos.]



1597 Q1 The Tragedy of King Richard the third. No author listed. (printed by Valentine Sims for Andrew Wise) (EKC I, 294)

1597 Q1 The Tragedie of King Richard the second. No author listed. (printed by Valentine Sims for Andrew Wise) (EKC I, 348)

1. 1597 May 4 Record of New Place at Stratford-on-Avon purchase for £60 (Public Record Office, MS Warwick 39, Elizabeth 1597, Easter 237).

Inter Willielmum Shakespeare querentem et Willielmum Underhill generosum deforciantum, de vno mesuagio duobus horreis et duobus gardinis cum pertinenciis in Stratford super Avon, vnde placitum conuencionis summonitum fuit inter eos in eadem curia, Scilicet quod predictus Willielmum Underhill recognovit predictum tenementum cum pertinenciis esse jus ipsius Willielmi Shakespeare, ut illa que idem Willielmum habet de dono predicti Willielmi Underhill, et illa remisit et quietumclamavit de se et heredibus suis imperpetum, Et preterea idem Willielmum Underhill concessit pro se et heredibus suis, quod ipsi warantizabunt predicto Willielmo Shakespeare et heredibus suis predictum tenementum cum pertinenciis imperpetuum, Et pro hac recognicione, remissione, quieta clamancia, warantia, fine et concordia idem Willielmum Shakespeare dedit predicto Willielmum Underhill sexaginta libras sterlingorum.

(handwritten) (EKC II, 95-96; SS 174, with facs.)

2. 1597 Nov 15 Listed on the Subsidy Roll as a tax defaulter in Bishopgate ward who failed to pay an assessed 5s (Public Record Office, Exchequer, King’s Remembrancer, Subsidy Roll, E. 179/146/354).

The petty collectors…within the warde of Byshopsgate…upon their corporall othes upon the holye Evangelists of Allmighty God…dyd saye and affirme that the persons hereunder named are all ether dead, departed, and gone out of the sayde warde or their goodes soe eloigned or conveyd out of the same or in suche a pryvate or coverte manner kept, whereby the severall sommes of money on them severallye taxed and assessed towards the sayde second payment of the sayde last subsydye nether mighte nor coulde by anye meanes by them the sayde petty collectors, or ether of them, be levyed of them, or anye of them, to her Majesties use.

St Ellen’s parishe
William Shackspere vli – vs.

(handwritten) (EKC II, 87)


[1598 Ben Jonson’s listing of actors in Every Man In His Humour under 1616]

1598 Q1 The History of Henrie the Fourth [Part One] No author listed. (printed by P[eter] S[hort] for Andrew Wise) (EKC I, 376)

3. 1598 Q2 Richard the Third. Title page:

The Tragedie of King Richard the third. Conteining his treacherous Plots against his brother Clarence : the pitiful murther of his innocent Nephewes: his tyrannicall vsurpation: with the whole course ofhis detested life, and most deserued death. As it hath beene lately Acted by the Right honourable the Lord Chamberlaine his seruants. By William Shake-speare.

(printed by Thomas Creede for Andrew Wise) (EKC I, 294)

4. 1598 Q1 Love’s Labour’s Lost. Title page:

A Pleasant Conceited Comedie Called, Loues labors lost. As it was presented before her Highnes this last Christmas. Newly corrected and augmented By W. Shakespere.

(printed by William White for Cutbert Burby) (EKC I, 331-332)

5. 1598 Q2 Richard the Second. Title page:

The Tragedie of King Richard the second. As it hath beene publikely acted by the Right honourable the Lord Chamberlaine his seruants. By William Shake-speare.

(printed by Valentine Simmes for Andrew Wise) (EKC I, 348)

6. 1598 Richard Barnfield’s “A Remembrance of some English Poets” in Poems in Divers Humors.

Live Spenser ever, in they Fairy Queene :
Whose like (for deepe Conceit) was never seene.
Crownd mayst thou bee, unto thy more renowne,
(As King of Poets) with a Lawrell Crowne.

And Daniell, praised for thy sweet-chast Verse :
Whose fame is grav’d on Rosamonds black Herse.
Still mayst thou live : and still be honored,
For that rare Worke, The White Rose and the Red.

And Drayton, whose wel-written Tragedies,
And Sweete Epistles, soare thy fame to skies.
Thy learned Name, is aequall with the rest ;
Whose stately Numbers are so well addrest.

And Shakespeare thou, whose hony-flowing Vaine,
(Pleasing the World) thy praises doth obtaine.
Whose Venus, and whose Lucrece (sweete, and chaste)
Thy name in fames immortall Booke have plac’t.
Live ever you, at least in Fame live ever :
Well may the Bodye dye, but Fame dies never.

(printed) (Allusion I, 51; EKC II, 195)

7. 1598 Jan 24 Letter from Abraham Sturley to Richard Quiney about Shakspere. (Misc. Document 1, 135, Birthplace Museum, Stratford).

This is one speciall remembrance from vr fathers motion. It semeth bj him that our countriman, Mr Shaksper, is willinge to disburse some monei vpon some od yardeland or other att Shottri or neare about vs ; he thinketh it a verj fitt patterne to move him to deale in the matter of our tithes. Bj the instruccions v can geve him theareof, and bj the frendes he can make therefore, we thinke it a faire marke for him to shoote att, and not unpossible to hitt. It obtained would advance him in deede, and would do vs muche good. Hoc movere, et quantum in te est permouer, ne necligas, hoc enim et sibi et nobis maximi erit momenti. Hic labor, hoc opus esset eximiae et gloriae et laudis sibi…

(handwritten) (EKC II, 101)

8. 1598 Feb 4 Listed as a holder of 10 quarters (80 bushels) of corn or malt during a grain shortage. Chambers notes that Shakspere’s holdings were more likely malt. (Miscellaneous Documents 1, 106, Birthplace Museum, Stratford).

Stratford Burrowghe, Warrwicke. The noate of corne & malte Taken the iiij th of ffebuarij 1597 in the xl th yeare of the raigne of our moste gracious Soveraigne Ladie Queen Elizabethe etc…
Chapple street warde…Wm. Shackespere. x quarters.

(handwritten) (EKC II, 99; facs. SS, 179)

9. 1598 Sep 7 (registered) From Francis Meres’s Palladis Tamia: Wits Treasury

A comparatiue discourse of our English Poets
with the Greeke, Latine, and Italian Poets.

As the Greeke tongue is made famous and eloquent by Homer, Hesiod, Euripides, Aeschilus, Sophocles, Pindarus, Phocylides and Aristophanes ; and the Latine tongue by Virgill, Ouid, Horace, Silius Italicus, Lucanus, Lecretius, Ausonius and Claudianus ; so the English tongue is mightily enriched, and gorgeouslie inuested in rare ornaments and resplendent abiliments by sir Philip Sidney, Spencer, Daniel, Drayton, Warner, Shakespeare, Marlow and Chapman….

As the soule of Euphorbus was thought to liue in Pythagoras : so the sweete wittie soule of Ouid liues in mellifluous & hony-tongued Shakespeare, witnes his Venus and Adonis, his Lucrece, his sugred Sonnets among his priuate friends, &c.

As Plautus and Seneca are accounted the best for Comedy and Tragedy among the Latines : so Shakespeare among ye English is the most excellent in both kinds for the stage ; for Comedy, witnes his Getleme of Verona, his Errors, his Loue labors lost, his Loue labours wonne, his Midsummers night dreame, & his Merchant of Venice : for Tragedy his Richard the 2. Richard the 3. Henry the 4. King Iohn, Titus Andronicus and his Romeo and Iuliet.

As Epius Stolo said, that the Muses would speake with Plautus tongue, if they would speak Latin : so I say that the Muses would speak with Shakespeares fine filed phrase, if they would speake English….

As Ouid saith of his worke ;

Iamque opus exegi, quod nec Iovis ira, nec ignis,
Nec poterit ferrum, nec edax abolere vetustas

And as Horace saith of his ; Exegi momumentum aere perennius ; Regalique ; fitu pyramidum altius ; Quod non imber edax ; Non Aquilo impotens possit diruere ; aut innumerabilis annorum series &c. fuga temporum : so say I seuerally of sir Philip Sidneys, Spencers, Daniels, Draytons, Shakespeares, and Warners workes;

Non Iouis ira, imbres, Mars, ferrum, flamma, senectus,
Hoc opus vnda, lues, turbo, venena ruent….

As Pindaras, Anacreon and Callimachus among the Greekes; and Horace and Catullus among the Latines are the best Lyrick Poets: so in this faculty the best among our Poets are Spencer (who excelleth in all kinds) Daniel, Drayton, Shakespeare, Bretton.

As . . . . . . . . . so these are our best for Tragedie, the Lorde Buckhurst, Doctor Leg of Cambridge, Doctor Edes of Oxforde, maister Edward Ferris, the Author of the Mirrour for Magistrates, Marlow, Peele, Watson, Kid, Shakespeare, Drayton, Chapman, Decker, and Beniamin Johnson.

. . . so the best for Comedy amongst us bee, Edward Earle of Oxforde, Doctor Gager of Oxforde, Maister Rowley once a rare Scholler of learned Pembrooke Hall in Cambridge, Maister Edwardes one of her Maiesties Chappell, eloquent and wittie John Lilly, Lodge, Gascoyne, Greene, Shakespeare, Thomas Nash, Thomas Heywood, Anthony Mundye our best plotter, Chapman, Porter, Wilson, Hathway, and Henry Chettle.

. . . so these are the most passionate among us to bewaile and bemoane the perplexities of Loue, Henrie Howard Earle of Surrey, sir Thomas Wyat the elder, sir Francis Brian, sir Philip Sidney, sir Walter Rawley, sir Edward Dyer, Spencer, Daniel, Drayton, Shakespeare, Whetstone, Gascoyne, Samuell Page sometimes fellowe of Corpas Christi Colledge in Oxford, Churchyard, Bretton.

(printed) (Allusion I, 46-48; EKC II, 193-195)

10. 1598 Oct 1 Listed on the Subsidy Roll as a tax defaulter in Bishopgate ward who failed to pay an assessed 13s.4d (Public Record Office, Exchequer, King’s Remembrancer, Subsidy Roll, E. 179/146/369). “St. Ellen’s parishe…William Shakespeare vl.–xiii s. iiij d.”(handwritten) (EKC II, 87; SS 162, with facs.)

11a. 1598 Oct 25 Letter from Richard Quiney asking for a L30 loan. This is the only letter that has ever been found addressed to William Shakspere of Stratford. It is addressed “H[aste] To my Loveinge good ffrend & contreymann Mr Wm. Shackespere deliver thees.” (Shakespeare Birthplace Trust Records Office, MS. ER 27/4.)

Loveinge Contreyman, I am bolde of yowe as of a ffrende, craveinge yowre helpe with xxxll vppon Mr Bushells & my securytee or Mr Myttons with me. Mr Rosswell is nott come to London as yeate & I have especiall cawse. Yowe shall ffrende me muche in helpeinge me out of all the debettes I owe in London, I thancke god, & muche quiet my mynde which wolde nott be indebeted. I am nowe towardes the Cowrte in hope of answer for the dispatche of my Buysenes. Yowe shall neither loase creddytt nor monney by me, the Lorde wyllinge, & nowe butt perswade yowre selfe soe as I hope & yowe shall nott need to feare butt with all hartie thanckefullenes I will holde my tyme & content yowre ffrende, & yf we Bargaine farther yowe shalbe the paiemaster yowre self. My tyme biddes me hasten to an ende & soe I committ thys [to] yowre care & hope of yowre helpe. I feare I shall nott be backe thys night ffrom the Cowrte. Haste. The Lorde be with yowe & with vs all Amen. ffrom the Bell in Carter Lane the 25 October 1598. Yowres in all kyndenes Ryc. Quyney.

(handwritten) (EKC II, 102; SS 180, with facs.)

11b. 1598 Oct 30 Letter from Adrian Quiney to Richard Quiney. It is addressed: “To my lovynge sonne Rycharde Qwyney at the Belle in Carter Leyne deliver thesse in London.” (Misc. Document 1, 135, Birthplace Museum, Stratford).

Yow shalle, God wylling, receve from your wyfe by ye baylye, thys brynger, aswrance of xs…. Yff yow bargen with Mr Sha. . or receve money therfor, brynge your money home yf yow maye, I see howe knite stockynges be sold, ther ys gret byinge of them at Evysshome. Edward Wheat and Harrye, your brother man, were both at Evyshome thys daye senet, and, as I harde, bestow 20ll. ther in knyt hosseyngs, wherefore I thynke yow maye doo good, yff yow can have money….

(handwritten) (EKC II, 103)

11c. 1598 Nov 4 Letter from Abraham Sturley to Richard Quiney. It is addressed: “To his most lovinge brother, Mr Richard Quinej, att the Bell in Carterlane att London, geve these.” (Misc. Document 1, 136, Birthplace Museum, Stratford).

Vr letter of the 25 of October came to mj handes the laste of the same att night per Grenwaj, which imported . . . that our countriman Mr Wm. Shak. would procure vs monej, which I will like of as I shall heare when, and wheare, and howe; and I praj let not go that occasion if it may sort to any indifferent condicions. Allso that if monej might be had for 30 or 40l, a lease, &c., might be procured. Oh howe can v make dowbt of monej, who will not beare xxxtie or xll towardes sutch a match? … Now to vr other letter of the 10 of November receved the 3d of the same…. For present advise and encouragmente v have bj this time Mr Bailj . . . Mr Parsons supposeth that Wenlock came the same daj with Mr Bailj that v writt vr letter . . . From Stretford Novem. 4th 1598 . . . Abrah. Sturlej.

(handwritten) (EKC II, 103)

11d. 1598 Nov 24 Extract from a letter of Daniel Baker to Richard Quiney. (Misc. Document 1, 124, Birthplace Museum, Stratford).

My aunt Quyny telleth me that you are to receive £20 or £30 in London, and that you will pay some money for me if need be; and in that respect I have lent her some money already to serve her occasions.

(handwritten) (EKC II, 103)

12. 1598 Christmas Bill of sale: Wyllyn Wyatt Chamberlin “pd to mr. Shaxspere for on lod of ston xd.” (Stratford Chamber Account records). (handwritten) (EKC II, 96; SS 179, with facs.)

13. 1598-1601 Note by Gabriel Harvey on a blank page of a copy of Speght’s translation of Chaucer, published in 1598):

Heywoods prouerbs, with His, & Sir Thomas Mores Epigrams, may serue for sufficient supplies of manie of theis deuises. And now translated Petrarch, Ariosto, Tasso, & Bartas himself deserve curious comparison with Chaucer, Lidgate, & owre best Inglish, auncient & moderne. Amongst which, the Countesse of Pembrokes Arcadia, & the Faerie Queene ar now freshest in request: & Astrophil, & Amyntas ar none of the idlest pastimes of sum fine humanists. The Earle of Essex much commendes Albions England: and not vnworthily for diuerse notable pageants, before, & in the Chronicle. Sum Inglish, & other Histories nowhere more sensibly described, or more inwardly discouered. The Lord Mountioy makes the like account of Daniels peece of the Chronicle, touching the Vsurpation of Henrie of Bullingbrooke. Which in deede is a fine, sententious, & politique peece of Poetrie: as proffitable, as pleasurable. The younger sort takes much delight in Shakespeares Venus, & Adonis : but his Lucrece, & his tragedie of Hamlet, Prince of Denmarke, haue it in them, to please the wiser sort. Or such poets: or better: or none.

Vilia miretur vulgus: mihi flavus Apollo
Pocula Castaliae plena ministret aquae :

quoth Sir Edward Dier, betwene iest, & earnest. Whose written deuises farr excell most of the sonets, and cantos in print. His Amaryllis, & Sir Walter Raleighs Cynthia, how fine & sweet inuentions ? Excellent matter of emulation for Spencer, Constable, France, Watson, Daniel, Warner, Chapman, Siluester, Shakespeare, & the rest of owr florishing metricians. I looke for much, aswell in verse, as in prose, from mie two Oxford frends, Doctor Gager, & M. Hackluit : both rarely furnished for the purpose : & I haue a phansie to Owens new Epigrams, as pithie as elegant, as plesant as sharp, & sumtime as weightie as breife : & amongst so manic gentle, noble & royall spirits meethinkes I see sum heroical thing in the clowdes : mie soueraine hope. Axiophilus shall forgett himself, or will remember to leaue sum memorials behinde him : & to make an vse of so manie rhapsodies, cantos, hymnes, odes, epigrams, sonets, & discourses, as at idle howers, or at flowing fitts he hath compiled. God knows what is good for the world, & fitting for this age.

(handwritten; Gabriel Harvey) (EKC II, 196)


14. 1598-99 List of tax defaulters, St. Helen’s parish, “In Warda de Bishopgate…In parochia Helene…Willelmus Shakespeare ibidem xiiij.s. iiij d.” (Public Record Office, Exchequer, Lord Treasurer’s Remembrancer, Accounts of Subsidies, E. 359/56). “” (handwritten) (EKC II, 88; SS 162, with facs.)

1599 A further application was made to the Heralds for leave to impale the arms of Arden in right of Shakespeare’s mother on the coat of arms previously granted. (College of Arms, London; MS R21, formerly G13)” (EKC II, 20-22; SS 170-171, with facs.)

15. 1599 From John Weever’s Epigrammes in the Oldest Cut “Shakespeare” “Shakespear”

Ad Gulielmum Shakespeare.

Honie-tong’d Shakespeare when I saw thine issue
I swore Apollo got them and none other,
Their rosie-tainted features cloth’d in tissue,
Some heauen born goddesse said to be their mother:
Rose-checkt Adonis with his amber tresses,
Faire fire-hot Venus charming him to loue her,
Chaste Lucretia virgine-like her dresses,
Prowd lust-stung Tarquine seeking still to proue her:
Romea Richard ; more whose names I know not,
Their sugred tongues, and power attractiue beuty
Say they are Saints althogh that Sts they shew not
For thousands vowes to them subiectiue dutie :
They burn in loue thy children Shakespear het them,
Go, wo thy Muse more Nymphish brood beget them.

(printed) (EKC II, 199)

16a. 1599-1601 From The Returne from Parnassus, Part I; (MS in Bodleian Library) A series of plays performed at St. John’s, Cambridge, probably at each Christmas.

[III. i. 1006-55.]
Pardon, faire lady, thoughe sicke-thoughted Gullio maks amaine unto thee, and like a bould-faced sutore ‘gins to woo thee.
Ingen[ioso]. (We shall have nothinge but pure Shakspeare and shreds of poetrie that he hath gathered at the theators!)
Gull. Pardon mee, moy mittressa, ast am a gentleman, the moone in comparison of thy bright hue a meere slutt, Anthonio’s Cleopatra a blacke browde milkmaide, Hellen a dowdie.
Ingen. (Marke, Romeo and Juliet! O monstrous theft! I thinke he will runn throughe a whole booke of Samuell Daniell’s!)
Gull. Thrise fairer than myselfe (–thus I began–)
The gods faire riches, sweete above compare,
Staine to all nimphes, [m]ore lovely the[n] a man.
More white and red than doves and roses are!
Nature that made thee with herselfe had (at) strife,
Saith that the worlde hath ending with thy life.
Ingen. Sweete Mr. Shakspeare! . . .

Ingen. My pen is youre bounden vassall to commande. But what vayne woulde it please you to have them in?
Gull. Not in a vaine veine (prettie, i’faith!): make mee them in two or three divers vayns, in Chaucer’s, Gower’s and Spencer’s and Mr. Shakspeare’s. Marry, I thinke I shall entertaine those verses which run like these;
Even as the sunn with purple coloured face
Had tane his laste leave on the weeping morne, &c.
O sweet Mr. Shakspeare! I’le have his picture in my study at the courte.

[IV. i. 1211-27.]
Gull.–Let mee heare Mr. Shakspear’s veyne.
Ingen. Faire Venus, queene of beutie and of love,
Thy red cloth stayne the blushinge of the morne,
Thy snowie necke shameth the milkwhite dove,
Thy presence doth this naked worlde adorne;
Gazinge on thee all other nymphes I scorne.
When ere thou dyest slowe shine that Satterday,
Beutie and grace muste sleepe with thee for aye
Gull. Noe more! I am one that can judge accordinge to the proverbe, bovem ex unguibus. Ey marry, Sir, these have some life in them! Let this duncified worlde esteeme of Spencer and Chaucer, I’le worshipp sweet Mr. Shakspeare, and to honoure him will lay his Venus and Adonis under my pillowe, as wee reade of one (I doe not well remember his name, but I am sure he was a kinge) slept with Homer under his bed’s heade.

(handwritten) (Allusion I, 67-69; EKC II, 199-201)

16b. 1599-1601 From The Returne from Parnassus, Part II; (MS in Bodleian Library)

[I. ii. 304.]
….William Shakespeare.
Who loues not Adons loue, or Lucrece rape?
His sweeter verse contaynes hart trobbing line,
Could but a graver subiect him content,
Without loues foolish lazy languishment.

[IV. iii. 1806-79.]
Few of the vniuersity men pen plaies well, they smell too much of that writer Ouid, and that writer Metamorphosis, and talke too much of Proserpina & Iuppiter. Why heres our fellow Shakespeare puts them all downe, I and Ben Ionson too. O that Ben Ionson is a pestilent fellow, he brought vp Horace giuing the Poets a pill, but our fellow Shakespeare hath giuen him a purge that made him beray his credit :
Burbage. Its a shrewd fellow indeed : I wonder these schollers stay so long, they appointed to be here presently that we might try them : oh, here they come….

Bur. I like your face, and the proportion of your body for Richard the 3. I pray, M. Phil. let me see you act a little of it.

Philomusus. ‘Now is the winter of our discontent,
Made glorious summer by the sonne of Yorke.’

(handwritten) (EKC II, 201)

17. 1599 Q2 The Historie Henry the Fourth [Part One]. Title page:

The Historie Henry the Fourth ; With the battell at Shrewsburie, betweene the King and Lord Henry Percy, surnamed Henry Hotspur of the North. With the humorous conceits of Sir Iohn Falstaffe. Newly corrected by W. Shake-speare.

(printed by Simon Staffort for Andrew Wise) (EKC I, 376)

18. 1599 Q2 The Passionate Pilgrime. By W. Shakespeare.(Actually octavo. Q1 is composed of fragments without a title page.) (printed by Thomas Judson for William Jaggard) (EKC I, 547)

[1599 Feb 21 Globe Theatre ‘tripartite lease’ discussed in the Ostler plea, 1615.]

19. 1599 May 16 Inventory of Thomas Brend’s property, whose son Sir Nicholas owned the grounds on which the Globe stood.

Ac de et in vna Domo de novo edificata cum gardino eidem pertinenti in parochia Sci Salvatoris praedicta in Comitatu Surria praedicta in occupacione Willielmi Shakespeare et aliorum.

(handwritten) (Wallace)

20. 1599 Oct 6 Listed in the Residuum London accounts as owing money to the Exchequer. (Public Record Office, Exchequer, Lord Treasurer’s Remembrancer, Pipe Rolls, E. 372/444, m. ‘Residuum London’). “Willelmus Shakspeare in parochia sancte Helene in Warda predicta debet xiij.s iiij.d de eodem subsidio ibidem. [Added] Respondebet in rotulo sequente in Residium Sussex. (handwritten) (EKC II, 88; SS 163, with facs.)

21. 1599/1600 Jan 3 Entry in Register at Stationer’s Hall:

Eleazar Edgar. Entred for his copye under the handes of the Wardens.

A booke called Amours by J.D. with
Certain other sonnetes by W.S.

(handwritten)(Arden 3)


22. 1600 Records in the Stratford Parish Register, recopied by government order in 1600.

(1564 Apr 26) Baptisms, Stratford Parish Register. “Gulielmus filius Johannes Shakspere(handwritten; probably Richard Byfield) (EKC II, 1; SS 21, with facs.)

(1583 May 26) Baptisms, Stratford Parish Register. “Susanna daughter of William Shakspere(handwritten; Richard Byfield) (HP II, 51; SS 76, with facs.)

(1585 Feb 2) Baptisms, Stratford Parish Register. “Hamnet & Judeth sonne and daughter to William Shakspere(handwritten; Richard Byfield) (EKC II, 3; SS 76, with facs.)

(1596 Aug 11) Burials, Stratford Parish Register. “Hamnet filius William Shakspere(handwritten; Richard Byfield) (EKC II, 4; SS 164, with facs.)

23. 1600 From the Epistle to Bel-vedere or The Garden of the Muses, edited by John Bodenham.

I haue set down both how, whence, and where these flowres had their first springing, till thus they were drawne togither into the Muses Garden….

John Marstone.
Christopher Marlow.
Beniamin Johnson.
William Shakspeare….
Thomas Nash.
Thomas Kidde.
George Peele.
Robert Greene….

These being Moderne and extant Poets, that haue liu’d togither; from many of their extant workes, and some kept in priuat.

(printed) (EKC II, 211)

24. 1600 England’s Parnassus: or The choysest Flowers of our Moderne Poets, R[obert] A[llot] editor. Signatures on excerpts read W. Shakespeare. (printed for N.L.C.B. and T. H.) (Allusion II, 470-479; EP)

25. 1600 Q1 A Midsummer Night’s Dream William Shakespeare on title page. (printed for Thomas Fisher) (EKC I, 356)

26. 1600 Q1 The Merchant of Venice William Shakespeare on title page (printed by James Roberts for Thomas Hayes) (EKC I, 368)

27. 1600 Aug 23 Stationer’s Register entry for Henry the Fourth, Part Two and Much Ado About Nothing:

Two bookes, the one called Muche a Doo about nothinge. Thother the second parte of the history of King Henry iiijth with the humours of Sir John Falstaff : Wrytten by master Shakespere. xijd.

(handwritten) (EKC I, 377, 384)

28. 1600 Q The Second part of Henrie the fourth. William Shakespeare on title page. (printed by Valentine Simmes for Andrew Wise, and William Aspley) (EKC I, 378)

29. 1600 Q Much Ado About Nothing. William Shakespeare on title page. (printed by Valentine Simmes for Andrew Wise, and William Aspley) (EKC I, 384)

30.***1600 Signature on a poem from Loves Labours Lost in the poetical anthology England’s Helicon W. Shakespeare (printed by I. R. for John Flasket) (Helicon I, 55)

31.***1600 Court record of suit brought against John Clayton by a ‘Willemus Shackspere‘ for a £7 debt, which had been acknowledged in 1592 May 22 in Cheapside. [E.K. Chambers does not agree that this ‘Shackspere’ was from Stratford.] (handwritten)(EKC I, 62; EKC II, 52; HP I, 185)

32. 1600 Oct 6 Listed in the Residuum Sussex accounts. (Public Record Office, Exchequer, Lord Treasurer’s Remembrancer, Pipe Rolls, E. 372/445, m. ‘Residuum Sussex’) “…the tax bill of 13s.4d. is still outstanding. The notation Episcopo Wintonensi in the left-hand margin indicates that the Court of Exchequer had referred Shakspere’s arrears to the Bishop of Winchester, whose liberty of the Clink in Surrey lay outside the sheriff’s jurisdiction. The natural inference is that Shakespeare now lived in the Clink, although it is a curious fact that his name has not been traced in any of the annual lists of residents of the Clink parish (St. Saviour’s) compiled by the officers who made the rounds to collect tokens purchased by churchgoers for Easter Communion, which was compulsory.” (SS 163)

Willelmus Shakspeare in parochia sancte Helene xiij.s iiij.d de primo integro subsidio predicto Anno xxxixno concesso Qui requirtur super eundem ibidem.

(handwritten) (EKC II, 88; SS 163, with facs.)

Mark’s Commentary

Direct Shakspere docs (12). Literary (11). Literary-related (8).
Actor-related? (1).

In these years, many more direct Shakspere documents appear, all of them related to taxes or money-lending. None of them ties Shakspere to the literary Shakespeare whose work appears with a bit of a rush in 1598. There are no certain documents refering to The Actor (although I have put document 19 in that category for now, since it does not clearly refer to Shakspere or the literary Shakespeare). The others who write of the literary Shakespeare make no mention of Stratford. Oddly, none of the extant references to the literary Shakespeare supply any personal information.

A pattern of division seems to be emerging: Documents definitely connected with Shakspere never supply any literary or dramatic references. Literary references to Shakespeare never supply any personal information. It’s as if the writers of these literary references at this time know only the name and the work, not the man himself. (Some such references come many years later, after Shakspere’s death.)

Although the spelling of the name proves little, there is a remarkable consistency in the literary Shakespeare’s name. And in these years, only the title pages of plays see the hyphenated Shake-speare. (In 1594, the hyphenated form first appears in Willobie His Avisa. )

Frances Meres’s Palladis Tamia: Wits Treasury is important because it mentions both Shakespeare and Edward De Vere, indicating that Meres thought them to be different individuals. Little is known of Meres, and there is no certainty that he knew Shakespeare the man apart from the name attached to plays. Nothing indicates that the Shakespeare he mentions is the Shakspere from Stratford. Interestingly, he does know of the sonnets being privately circulated among friends. He would have known De Vere, perhaps only from a distance. This is an important document for the Stratfordian Interpretive Model. Up to this point in the chronology, the case for Shakspere and Shakespeare being one man relies primarily on this document and Greene’s Groatsworth of Wit of 1592.

The only certain documentary biography up to this point in the chronology:

William Shakspere lived in Stratford and was baptized April 26, 1564. His father’s name was John, and he was married to Anne Hathway. His daughter Susanna was baptized May 26, 1583. His son Hamnet and daughter Judith were baptized Feb 2, 1585. Hamnet was buried August 11, 1596. A family coat of arms was granted to John Shakspeare in October 1596. Shakspere bought New Place in Stratford for £60. He defaulted on his taxes in 1597, 1598, 1599, and 1600. He showed an interest in investing in some property near Stratford. In February 1598 he held 80 bushels of corn or malt during a grain shortage. Later that year Richard Quiney asked him for a loan of £30 for him and Abraham Sturley. He may have sued John Clayton in 1600.

William Shakespeare the poet wrote Venus and Adonis and Lucrece and dedicated both to the Earl of Southampton. He was recognized by two literary individuals as the fine poet of Lucrece. In 1597 and 1598 several plays were published: Richard 3; Richard 2; Henry IV, Part 1; Love’s Labour’s Lost. He was praised as the poet of V&A, Lucrece, and privately circulated sonnets. Meres praised him as eloquent, passionate, so strongly influenced by Ovid as to be the soul of Ovid reincarnated, the best for comedy and tragedy, and the best lyric poet. He is acknowledged by the literati as the author of Hamlet, Romeo and Juliet, and perhaps Anthony and Cleopatra. In 1600 he is acknowledged as the writer of A Midsummer Night’s Dream; Much Ado About Nothing; Henry IV, Part 2; and The Merchant of Venice.

The Actor was paid for performing comedies and interludes with fellow actors William Kempe and Richard Burbage as one of the Lord Chamberleyne’s Men. He was also named in a lawsuit as one who was a mortal threat to the complainant. He seems to have had a financial interest in the Globe with his fellow Burbage.

How the Name Appears To Date

  Shakspere (Stratford) Shakespeare (Author) Shakespeare (Actor)
 1582 Shaxpere
 1588 Shackespere    
 1593   Shakespeare
 1594   Shakespeare
 1595   Shakspeare Shakespeare
 1596     Shakspere
 1597 1. Shakespeare
2. Shackspere
 1598 7. Shaksper
8. Shackespere
10. Shakespeare
11. Shackspere
12. Shaxspere
3. Shake-speare
4. Shakespere
5. Shake-speare
6. Shakespeare
9. Shakespeare
13. Shakespeare
 1599 14. Shakespeare
20. Shakspeare
15. Shakespeare
16a. Shakspeare/Shakspear
16b. Shakespeare
17. Shake-speare
18. Shakespeare
 19. Shakespeare
 1600 22. Shakspere
31. Shackspere (?)
32. Shakspeare
23. Shakspeare
24. Shakespeare
25. Shakespeare
26. Shakespeare
27. Shakespere
28. Shakespeare
29. Shakespeare
30. Shakespeare

1564-92 | 1593-96 | 1597-1600 | 1601-04 | 1605-08 | 1609-12 | 1613-16 | After 1616

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