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the right; and Mr. Halliwell says the signature is " undoubtedly in Trussell's handwriting.” Collier thinks the word senior was in this case affixed, in order to distinguish him from a shoemaker of the same name, with whom he was perhaps then liable to be confounded, as he has some times been since.

From this time forward, his affairs were doubtless taken care of by one who, as we shall see hereafter, was much interested not to let them suffer, and also well able to keep them in good trim. In January, 1597, he is found selling a small portion of his Henley-street property to George Badger for £2; and the deed of conveyance shows him at that date still living in one of his Henley-street houses. 22 The last notice that has been discovered of him before his death is in a paper containing notes of an action for trespass brought by Sir Edward Greville against several burgesses of Stratford in 1601; in which he, along with four others. appears to have been called as a witness. He was buried on the 8th of September, the same year; so that, supposing him to have reached his majority when first heard of in 1552, he must have passed the age of three-score and ten.

On the maternal side our Poet's lineage was of a higher rank, and may be traced further back. His mother was MARY ARDEN, a name redolent of old poetry and romance. The family of Arden was among the most ancient Warwickshire. Dugdale, under the head of Curdworth, says, “ In this place I have made choice to speak historically of that most ancient and worthy family, whose surname was first assumed from their residence in this part of the country, then and yet called Arden, by reason of its woodiness, the old Britons and Gauls using the word in that sense.' He also speaks of one Turchill de Arden who received favours at the hands of the Conqueror, held large possessions in the shire, and occupied Warwick Castle as a military governor; for which cause he was called by the Normans Turchill de Warwick. The history of the Ardens, as given by Dugdale, spreads over six centuries. The earliest notice we have of the branch from which our Mary Arden sprung, is · May, 1438, when land in Snitterfield was conveyed “to Thomas Arden, of Wilmecote, and to Robert Arden, his

23 This deed was lately found in the office of a solicitor at Bir mingham, who permitted Mr. Halliwell to take a transcript of it. The following is an abstract of it as given from the original by Mr. Halliwell : “ 26 Jan. 39 Eliz. Feoffment whereby John Shakespeare, of Stratford upon Avon, yeoman, in consideration of £2 by George Badger, did bargain, sale, give, deliver and confirm unto said George Badger, bis heirs and assigns, all that loft or parcell of land in Stratford in Henley street, the house of said Shakespeare being on the East part thereof, and the house of said George Badger on the West part thereof, to hold to said George Badger his heirs and assigns. Executed by John Shakespeare, livery and seizin indorsed."


The pedigree of the family as traced by Dugdale brings us no further down in the direct line of Mary Arden than to Robert Arden, her great-grandfather. He was the third son of Walter Arden. Sir John Arden, an elder son of this Walter, was squire of the body to Henry VII. ; and he had a nephew, the son of his younger brother Robert, also named Robert, who was page of the bed-chamber to the same monarch. These offices were at that time places of considerable service and responsibility; and both the uncle and the nephew were liberally rewarded by their royal master. Sir John Arden died in 1526. By conveyances dated December 14th and 21st, 1519, it appears that his nephew Robert then became the owner of houses and land in Snitterfield, purchased of Richard Rushby and his wife. He also bought another house in the same village, October 1st, 1529. To all this add the estate conveyed to Thomas and Robert Arden in 1438, which was most likely retained by their descendants in the next century, and we shall find Mary Arden's father the owner of a pretty large property in Snitterfield. Among these possessions, no doubt,

were the house and land which we have seen occupied by Richard Shakespeare in 1550.24

Mary Arden was the youngest of seven children, all of them daughters, and appears to have been her father's fa. vourite. On the 7th of July, 1550, Robert Arden executed a deed conveying certain lands and houses in Snitterfield to Adam Palmer and Hugh Porter, to be held in trust for three daughters, Jocose Arden, Alice Arden, and Margaret Webbe. The latter was the wife of Alexander Webbe, and probabay the mother of the Thomas and Robert Webbe, whom we have found purchasing certain Shakespeare interests at Wilmecote and Snitterfield in 1579 and 1580. Ten days · later, on the 17th of July, 1550, by a similar deed, already noticed in connection with Richard Shakespeare, he conveyed certain other property in Snitterfield, reserving for himself and wife a life-interest therein, to the same trustees for three other daughters. These were Agnes Stringer, Katherine Etkins, and Joan Lambert, wife of Edward Lambert, a relative of the Edmund Lambert whom we have found taking a mortgage of Ashbies in 1579. In both the deeds here referred to, Robert Arden is styled “of Wilmecote, in the parish of Aston Cantlow, in the county of Warwick, husbandman.” It is quite probable, though no instrument to that effect has been found, that before his death he made a similar provision for his youngest daughter, Mary; for we have seen that John Shakespeare held, in right of his wife, some interest in Snitterfield, which he alienated to Robert Webbe for £4, in 1579. It was probably in this way, also, that she acquired the considerable interest at Wilmecote, which we have already noticed as being transferred, in 1579, to Thomas Webbe and Humphrey Hooper.

24 It continued in his tenure as late at least as 1560; for in an indenture made by Agnes Arden on the 21st of May, that year, she “ demyseth, graunteth, &c., unto Alexander Webbe and to his assignes all those her two mesuages, with a cottage, with all and singuler their appurtenances, in Snytterfield, and a yarde and a halfe of ayrable land thereunto belongyng, with all lands, meadowes, pastures, commons, thereunto apperteynynge; all which now are in the occupation of Richárde Shakespere, John Henley, and John Hargreve.” This property, of course, or a part of it, is the same, that we have already found Robert Arden conveying to be held in trust for three daughters, “after the death of Robert and Agnes Arden." See note 4 of this chapter.

Robert Arden's will was made November 24th, and proved December 17th, 1556, he having died in the interval. We subjoin the greater part of it:

“ First, I bequeath my soul to Almighty God, and to our blessed Lady St. Mary, and to all the holy company of heaven; and my body to be buried in the church-yard of St. John the Baptist in Aston aforesaid.

“ Also, I give and bequeath to my youngest daughter Mary all my land in Wilmecote called Ashbies, and the crop upon the ground, sown and tilled as it is; and £6 13s. 4d. of money, to be paid or ere my goods be divided. Also, I give and bequeath to my daughter Alice the third part of all my goods, moveable and unmoveable, in field and town, after my debts and legacies be performed; besides that good she hath of her own at this time. Also, I give and bequeath to Agnes my wife £6 138. 4d., upon this condition, that she shall suffer my daughter Alice quietly to enjoy half my copyhold in Wilmecote during the time of her widowhood; and if she will not suffer my daughter Alice quietly to occupy half with her, then I will that my wife shall have but £3 63. 8d., and her jointure in Snitterfield.

"Item, the residue of all my goods, moveable and unmoveable, my

funerals and debts discharged, I give and bequeath to my other children, to be equally divided amongst them by the discretion of Adam Palmer, Hugh Porter, of Snitterfield, and John Scarlett, whom I do ordain and make my overseers of this my last will and testament; and they tc nave for their painstaking in this behalf 20s. a-piece. Also, I ordain and constitute and make my full executors Alice and Mary, my daughters, of this my last will and testament. Also, I give and bequeath to every house that hath no team in the parish of Aston 4d.”


It appears that Agnes Arden had a former husband named Hill; that her maiden name was Webbe; and that she was not the mother of any of Robert Arden's children. For in her will, which was proved March 31st, 1581, she makes a bequest “ to my brother Alexander Webbe’s children;" also one “to John Fulwood, my son-in-law;" and the parish register of Aston Cantlow shows that John Fulwood and Mary Hill were married the 15th of November, 1561. Her will a’so makes bequests to divers other persons named Fulwood and Hill, especially to the children of John Fulwood and John Hill; but has no reference whatsoever to any of her second husband's children; from all which it would seem that there must have been some estrangement or coldness between her and them.

“Her jointure in Snitterfield,” mentioned in the will of Robert Arden, was a portion that he settled upon her in 1550, as appears from an instrument signed and sealed by her on the 5th of July, 1580.25 It was in this jointure, no doubt, that John and Mary Shakespeare held the reversionary interest which they sold out, as we have seen, to Robert Webbe for £40, in the spring of 1580. It may need to be observed, also, that the bequest of land in Wilmecote to Mary Arden does not mean all the land which the testator owned in Wilmecote, but merely all his estate there that

25 This instrument, after specifying “two mesuages, one cot lage, and all lands and teuements, with thappurtenaunces belong. inge to the same, lyinge and being in Snitterfield,” continues thus : “Of which sayd messuage and premisses estate was made to ine the sayd Agnes for terme of my lyffe by Roberte Arden my late husband, in the fourth yeare of the raigne of the late King Edward the Sixt ; of which sayd estate for terme of my lyffe I am yet seased.” The description here made of the properly, as will be seen, corresponds with that given in the preceding note. Prob. ably Agnes Arden's jointure included the house and land occupiea by Richard Shakespeare in 1550 and 1560; but, as these bad been conveyed in trust for three other daughters, they clearly could not be included in that part of the jointure in which John and Mary Shakespeare held the reversionary interest mentioned in the text

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