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The Shakespeare Family History Site




William Shakespeare's

Coat of Arms


Shakespeare's coat of arms

Shakespeare's coat of arms as recorded in 1602 by Ralph Brooke.

In October 1596, the College of Heralds granted a coat of arms to the family patriarch, John Shakespeare.

The grant was approved on the basis of the "faithefull & approved service to H7 [Henry VII]" performed by John's great-grandfather, and because John himself had "maryed the daughter & one of the heyrs of Robert Arden of Wellingcote."

The description of the coat of arms:

Gould, on a Bend, Sables, a Speare of the first Steeled Argent. And for his creast or cognizaunce a falcon, his winges dispplayed Argent standing on a wreath of his coullers.

Both the families at Fillongley and Little Packington used the same Arms. This was at a time when the right to bear Arms was a serious matter and considered the mark of a 'Gentleman.' Misuse would more than likely have found the abuser facing charges in a court of Law. Interestingly, both families seem to have connections with an Adrian Shakespeare (an unusual name), and another Adrian Shakespeare, 'of Stratford, Gentleman' had descendants who claimed descent from 'a brother of everybodys Shakespeare.'

The 'Stepney Shakespeares' also used the same arms, although it is conceivable that these were adopted at a later date after members of the family came into prominence, and at a time when fraudulent use of Arms was a less serious matter.