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impale the arms of Arden with his own. After the usual preamble, it proceeds :-"* Wherefore being solicited, and by credible report informed, that John Shakspeare, now of Stratford-upon-Avon, in the counte of Warwicke, gent. whose parent, great grandfather, and late antecessor, for his faithefull and approved service to the late most prudent prince, King Henry VII. of famous memorie, was advaunced and rewarded with lands and tenements, geven bim in those parts of Warwickshere, where they hare continewed by some descents in good reputacion and credit; and for that the said John Shakspeare, having maryed the daughter and one of the heyrs of Robert Arden of Wellingcote, in the said countie, and also produced this his auncient cote of arms heretofore assigned to bim, whilest he was her Majesties officer and baylefe of that town; In consideration of the premisses, and for the encouragement of his posteritie, unto whom suche blazon of arms and achevements of inheritance from theyre said mother, by the auncyent custome and awes of arms, maye lawfully descend: We the said Garter and Clarencieulx have assigned,” &c. (here follows a description of the arins) “signifying thereby, that it maye and shalbe lawfull for the said John Shakspeare, gent, to bear and use the same shield of arms, single or impaled, as aforesaid; and that it shalbe lawfull for his children, yssue, and posteryte (lawfully begotten) to beare, ose, and quarter, and shew forth the same, with their dewe differences, in all lawfull warlvke facts, and civile use or exercises,” &c. By a MS, note to the above grant of arms, John Shakspeare is further stated to possess “Jands and tenements in the county of Warwick,” valued at 5001. These documents serve to show that he was a man of property and respectability; yet Rowe, Alexander Chalmers, and sone other biographers, state that he was poor, or 6 reduced in the latter part of life,” and incapable of supporting his son William at school. They found this opinion on an entry in the books of the corporation of Stratford : whereby it appears, that John Shakspeare and Robert Bruce, in 1579, were excused paying a weekly tax of 4d. which was levied on the other aldermen. In 1586 his name was erased from the list of corporate members, and another substituted in his place, “because he doth not come to the Halls.” These facts, however, are not demonstrative either of poverty or disgrace; for they might arise from personal disputes, or political opinions, which too frequently occur in boronghs. By another memorandum in the Heralds' College, and written apparently after the death of the alderman, we are justified in thinking favourably of his circumstances. "As for the Speare in bend, it is a patible difference; and the person to whom it was granted hath borne magistracy, and was justice of peace at Stratford-upon-Avon. He married the daughter and heire of Arderne, and was able to maintain that estate.” · In the above documents we do not find any allusion to a second wife, or reference to the decease of the heiress of Arden : yet Malone, and Wheler (in his useful “History of Stratford”) assert that John Shakspeare, the presumed father of the poet, was thrice married : 1st. to Arden, daughter and co-heir of Robert Arden, of Wellingcote in Warwickshire, before 1558; 2nd. to Margery Roberts, Nov. 1584; and 3dly, to Mary - , whose maiden name is not specified, in 1588. Of these marriages we have no olher evidence than entries of children, by different mothers, in the Stratford register. These entries, however, merely slate names and dates, without particulars. Hence some doubts arise; for if the father of William Shakspeare married a third wife, that ceremony must have occurred within seven months after the decease of the second; and when he applied for the grant of the Arden arms, he is stated in the register to have had three children by this third wife. Yet these children are not alluded to by the college record, nor does it contain any reference to a second or third wife. It is also strange that the armorial coat on the poet's tomb has no quartering, nor is the impalement of the Arden and Shakspeare arms to be found on any public monumonts. Rowe, who wrote the earliest account of our poel's life, does not mention the name of his mother.

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