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John Shakespeare - the 'Shoemaker' of Stratford

Taken from 'Shakespearena Genealogica' and the Stratford Parish Registers

 

16th Century Stratford-on-Avon

Ursula, John's daughter may be the mother of Hezekias Shakespeare, baptised 12 April 1624 at Allesley, Warwickshire [from the IGI]. No other Ursula Shakespeares have been found, with the exception of a daughter of Humphrey Shakespeare of Ipsley & Preston Bagot. The occurrence of the names Humphrey and Ursula may be a clue to a connection between these two families.

Additionally, the descendants of Adrian Shakespeare, of the Fillongley family claim descent from a brother of the Poet via Phillipa, Adrian's daughter. Phillip. of course, is the name of John 'the Shoemaker' of Stratfords other child - yet another unusual name that occurs nowhere else. What is even more interesting is that the family at Fillongley, and their relatives at Little Packington used the same coat of arms as the Poet - this was carved in Marble on full view in the respective Parish Churches, at a time when to use such Arms without right was a serious crime. These are clues to the possibility that John 'the Shoemaker', of Stratford may prove to be an unidentified brother of the Poet, born before the start of the surviving Stratford Parish Registers. What makes this likely is the fact that John Shakespeare, the Poets father, is known to have been a householder in Stratford from at least 1552 (he was famously fined for having an illegal 'dung heap' outside his house) and was therefore more than likely married by this time - 6 years before the parish registers begin: ample time for the birth of two other children, as referred to by Rowe.

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