William Shakespeare’s Coat of Arms Discovered

William_Shakespeare_1609William Shakespeare’s biography has long circled a set of tantalizing mysteries: Was he Protestant or secretly Catholic? Gay or straight? Loving toward his wife, or coldly dismissive?

Most of those questions remain unanswered but one new discovery does provide a bit of insight into the man’s personal life. New documents were recently discovered by Heather Wolfe, the Folger Shakespeare Library’s curator of manuscripts. The documents are said to relate to a coat of arms given to Shakespeare’s father in the year 1596 — a discovery that offers proof of Shakespeare’s gentlemanly status and provides researchers with new insights into his life.

Wolfe’s discoveries began at the College of Arms in London, where she gathered archival materials including forgotten depictions of the coat of arms. Its existence also helps scholars refute the theory that Shakespeare didn’t author the plays attributed to him.

You can read more in an article by Jennifer Schuessler in the New York Times at http://www.nytimes.com/2016/06/30/theater/shakespeare-coat-of-arms.html.

3 Comments

Just a note that the discovery really does NOT in any way refute the theory that the man from Stratford was not Shakespeare the great author. If you read the NY Times article closely you will find that there is NO actual proof or evidence being supplied. It’s just one of Shapiro’s trademark “throw it out there” statements that the average person just accepts because he’s a “scholar”. The discovery actually reaffirms that Mr. Shakspere was thought of as only a “player” that is an actor. In fact, he would have helped his cause for a coat of arms if he had presented himself as a celebrated playwright. For those of us that closely follow the Shakespeare Authorship argument we might think of Shapiro as a kind of academic Sarah Palin. To look at the latest arguments on the authorship question one should go to the doubtaboutwill website and read the evidence there. You’ll see why the Shapiro wants to avoid any public discussion of the actual authorship evidence.

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A fascinating read! But what I find most astonishing is that these documents, as clear and significant as they appear, could have remained unnoticed for the past 400 years in the College of Arms. Shakespeare is only the most famous person in British history. What was the College doing all this time? Really, inquiring minds want to know, how could any institution, apparently devoted to history and scholarship, miss the boat so badly?

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This is rubbish. A coat of arms is issued to a person, in this case Shakespeare father, it can not be transferred to any one else. The oldest son MAY apply for the coat of arms to be transferred to him but that would show on the records.
There is no evidence of this happening. No evidence that this was even Shakespeare father.
Jennifer Schuessler has no idea of how this conclusion was reached or the way coats of arms are allocated.
Martin Coull

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