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The Shakespeare Family History Site

The Shakespeares of

Campton, Bedfordshire

The records of this family begin with William Shakespeare who married Helen Asne.  The Campton Parish Register records baptisms and burials of a number of their children. In addition there is a baptism for Thomas Shakespeare in 1573 whose parents are not named and a marriage of an Oliver Shakespeare in 1598 - these are presumed to be children of the same couple. Information from the IGI and also 'Ancestral File' from the same source at the LDS website ( gives the following:

As usual with the IGI this awaits verification from the original registers, but as there are so few Shakespeares in the county at this time the relationships seem fairly clear. The information from the IGI was found by checking the following names and may not therefore include everyone:

Thomas, John, William, Oliver, Allen, Mary, Elizabeth, Susannah, Henry, Dorothy, Alice, Joseph, Sarah, Joan, James, Edward, Richard, Robert, Ann, Jonathan, Samuel

A few isolated individuals or families occur on the IGI whose exact relationship to the above family is not clear but they are almost certainly descendants. One entry which is difficult to explain is a baptism 18 October 1586 at Wootton By Bedford of a Richard Shakespeare (parents names not given.) - this may mean that there are other early records not on the IGI.

The isolated families are:

William Shakespeare of Campton, whose children were baptised there as follows:
  • William, 26 July 1657
  • Mary, 25 Aug 1662
  • John, 6 June 1668
  • Elizabeth, 19 Nov 1670

This William may be the one born 1622 son of Allen Shakespeare. This would make him about 35 years old when his first recorded child was born, but this is not improbable as Allen Shakespeare was 46! when his first child was born.

John baptised 2 Nov 1647 at Odell, son of John Shakespeare
John Shakespeare of Lidlington,  whose children were baptised there as follows:
  • Mary, 20 Jan 1655 (this may be the same Mary who married William Harvey 30 Nov 1676 at Luton)
  • William, 6 Dec 1656 (born same day)
  • Elizabeth, 23 April 1659 (born 26 March)
  • Elizabeth, 29 June 1662
  • Joan, 16 Dec 1666
Susannah Shakespeare, whose illegitimate son Thomas was born 31 March 1709 and baptised 10 April 1709 at Colmworth. She seems to have married Thomas Brown 22 Oct 1716 at Colmworth. She was baptised 18 April 1686 at Colmworth and her fathers name was John - he may be the same John who married 'Shusan' Cooper 16 Nov 1677 at St Paul, Bedford
Susan Shakespeare bapt 9 Sept 1677, at Flitton With Silsoe, the daughter of William and Mary Shakespeare. She is possibly the Susan who married Richard Chapman 29 Sept 1704 at Upper Gravenhurst

The family seems to have died out sometime in the early 1700's - the last family recorded (until isolated entries in Victorian times) appears to be (relationship to earlier families not clear):

There are no Shakespeares in the 1881 census for the County of Bedford, and the only one listed for the whole of England as being born there is:


 Name  Relation Marital Status Gender Age Birthplace Occupation Disability
 John SHAKESPEAR   Head   M   Male   27   Bedford, England   Bar Man    
 Ann SHAKESPEAR   Wife   M   Female   30   Liverpool       
 James LEDGER   Nephew      Male   12   Liverpool   Scholar    
 Rosina DAVIDSON   Nce      Female   4   Liverpool       


Source Information:

  Dwelling   114 Teulon St
  Census Place Kirkdale, Lancashire, England
  Family History Library Film   1341880
  Public Records Office Reference   RG11
  Piece / Folio   3676 / 42
  Page Number   22

In the absence of earlier records it is difficult to say when the surname is first recorded in this county, and where the family originated.