The Fillongley Shakespeares
The Fillongley Shakespeares
Little research has been done so far on this family - much of the information below comes from a descendant, Chris Brand of British Columbia, whose ancestor Jane Shakespeare, born in Arley, Warwickshire, was the daughter of Solomon Grosvenor Shakespeare born 1805 in Fillongley. The significance of Solomons name will be seen below.
Chris's information gives the following 'family tree':
Solomon Grosvenor Shakespeare appears in the 1851 Census:
Head: SHAKESPEAR, Solomon Grosvenour
Name Relationship Mar Age Sex Occupation Birthplace
Solomon Grosvenour SHAKESPEAR Head M 45 M Annuitant Fillongley-War
Mary SHAKESPEAR Wife - 50 F --- Corley-War
Address: Parish House Wood End, Meriden
Census Place: Fillongley Meriden, Warwickshire
PRO Reference: HO/107/2063 Folio: 446 Page: 14 FHL Film: 0087322
Jane appears, after her marriage, in the 1881 census (there seems to be a discrepancy with her age):
During a conversation with his Grandfather (Max William Grosvenor Overton), Chris made the following notes from original documents in his Grandfathers possession (which have, sadly, since disappeared):
|Chris adds the following notes:|
|Note 1: The IGI has the marriage of Anne Grosvenor to William Dugdale 23 Jan 1732, Fillongley, Warwick, England.|
|Note 2: There is a monument in Fillongley church, erected by Thomas Shakespear. The genealogy of that seems to agree with the titles of the papers detailed above.|
The Fillongley Monument
this place in the Middle Be Lieth the
Body of GEORGE SHAKESPEAR Gent who
Departed this Life the 23d day of January
1699 Aged 45.
And also the Body of MARY SHAKESPEAR
the Wife of GEORGE SHAKESPEAR who~
Departed this Life the 26th day of Feb.1732,
Aged 73. She was Eldest Daughter of PHILIP
ORTON of Church Bicknell Gent. who had
Issue two Sons, and one Daughter, GEORGE,
THOMAS, and ELIZABETH.
Here also lieth ye Body of GEORGE SHAKES
PEAR who Departed this Life the 28th Day of
March 1734, Aged 50.
And also the Body of JANE SHAKESPEAR,
the Wife of THOMAS SHAKESPEAR, who
Departed this Life June 7th 1736 Aged 53. She
was the Daughter of THOMAS WRIGHT
of Neather Whitaker, Gent.
And also THOMAS SHAKESPEAR Gent. Son of the
above Named GEORGE SHAKESPEAR Gent.
who departed this Life May ye 7th, 1763, Aged 73
by whom this Monument was erected in a pious regard
to the Memory of his Father Mother Brother & first Wife
And also Francis his Son, who Died in its Infancy
whom he had by his Second Wife.
She was Daughter to SOLOMON GROSVENOR Esqr
The monument gives the following 'Family Tree':
The connection between the names on this monumental inscription and the documents originally in the possession of Chris's Grandfather is obvious, as is the significance of the name Solomon Grosvenor Shakespeare, and it is highly probable that the Thomas Shakespeare, who married Elizabeth Smith at Fillongley in 1794, is a grandson of the Thomas on the Monument: indeed, there is a baptism on the IGI: 21 April 1769, Thomas son of Thomas and Mary Shakespeare.
The age on the monument does not quite agree, as it would give George a birthdate around 1655, but he is most probably the George baptised 1658 at Little Packington, son of Thomas and Grace Shakespeare.
There is another Shakespeare tomb in Fillongley Church:
floor of the nave of Fillongley church is a flat stone, inscribed – “To the
memory of Thomas Shakespear of Fillongley, in the County of Warwick, gentleman,
who departed this life May ye 7th, 1763, in the 73rd year
of his age.
sore long time I bore,
were in vain,
death gave ease and God did please
ease me of my pain.’
Christians for Jesus’ sake forbear
disturb the dust that slumbers here’ “
the similar last two lines to those on William Shakespeare’s own epitaph in
Stratford.) A summary of this
Thomas's will is available.
A summary of this Thomas's will is available.
However, the inscription on the above stone was copied by John Shakespear (descendant of the Keresley family) in the 1980's and the full inscription contains further details (some words are missing due to the stone being worn):
There is one more stone on the floor of the aisle of the church, also transcribed by John Shakespear in the 1980's (again some words were illegible due to wear):
[This daughter Elizabeth is obviously the Elizabeth Smith Shakespear who married William Docker 6 July 1831 at Fillongley]
The parishes of Fillongley and Little Packington are adjacent, and the Shakespeare families in both used the then relatively uncommon christian name George, as did the family at Arley, where later members of the Fillongley family are known to have lived - this may indicate a possible connection between these families. Note also the information from the indenture dated 1694 between Thomas Shakespeare and Adrian Shakespeare: there is a baptism recorded 31 March 1671 at Arley of Adrian son of 'Thomae and Mariae Shakespeere.' This may be the same person.
William Shakespeare of Arley (son of
Thomas & 'Mariae'), who died in 1729, is referred to as 'kinsman' in the
will of Thomas Shakespeare
(died 1763) the son of George Shakespeare of Fillongley. Hence George
(1654-1699) may be a brother of Thomas Shakespeare of Arley who died in 1719.
William Shakespeare of Arley (son of Thomas & 'Mariae'), who died in 1729, is referred to as 'kinsman' in the will of Thomas Shakespeare (died 1763) the son of George Shakespeare of Fillongley. Hence George (1654-1699) may be a brother of Thomas Shakespeare of Arley who died in 1719.
There is also the earlier record of a will dated 26 April 1610 which mentions Adrian Shakespeare, son of Thomas Shakespeare of Little Packington. The date of this will, however, seems to be in error, and may be an estimation of this Thomas's date of birth - no will is listed in the indexes for this date at Lichfield or elsewhere: the will referred to is more likely to be one of two listed for the 1680's for Thomas Shakespeare, of Little Packington. Another reference to Adrian Shakespeare, said to be of Stratford, is a claim for him to be a member of the same family as the Poet. Curiously, both the families at Fillongley and Little Packington seem to have used the same Coat of Arms as the Poet's family.
This is the current status of research on this line - the Fillongley Parish Registers have not yet been examined, and given the family's status there are probably wills and records of land ownership yet to be found. Since writing the above further information has been received from John Shakespear, a descendant of the Keresley family, who has investigated the Fillongley Shakespeares, including a number of wills held at Lichfield Record Office, for a possible link with his own. This confirms the connection between the family on the monument in Fillongley church and Solomon Grosvenor Shakespeare:
From the IGI:
Note: Chris Brand has also provided transcripts of later legal documents concerning the Shakespeare family and their descendants the Overtons.
Revised September 2004