Shakespeare — Educated at Polesworth?
by Fr. P. A. Wells
Was William Shakespeare educated at Polesworth?
In his book, A Chapter in the Early Life of Shakespeare (1926), Arthur Gray presents a case that William Shakespeare was educated at Polesworth and that he spent some of his early years as a Page or Tutor in the household of Sir Henry Goodere, at Polesworth Hall.
Polesworth Hall — the remains of the Benedictine Abbey
Polesworth Hall was on the site of the present Vicarage at Polesworth. It was a sixteenth century manor house, built adjacent to the Abbey Church of St. Editha and on the site of the former abbess' house, overlooking the remains of the twelfth century abbey cloister.
Polesworth Hall was demolished in the 1860s, but the Abbey grounds, the Church, the Mediaeval Gateway — where the school certainly was held — together with the remains of the abbey cloister wall, can be seen in this historical part of the village of Polesworth, whose rich history is bound up with the Saxon monarchy — the foundation is from 827 — the Benedictine movement in pre-Norman Conquest England, the expansion of monastic life, hospitality, social concern, and community in the middle ages, and the feuding and instability of the later middle ages.
William Shakespeare and Sir Henry Goodere
Gray says this about Shakespeare:
John Shakespeare held the office of High Bailiff, corresponding to that of Mayor [of Stratford], in 1568-9, and in September, 1571, he was elected Chief Alderman. In the latter year, the Legend supposes that William began his lessons at the Grammar School [in Stratford]. John's financial embarrassments had scarcely begun — at least were not matter of notoriety. But his family was multiplying: in 1571 he had three children, besides William. A son who could so astonish his father by his proficiency in the Abesy book possibly seemed to demand an education superior to that of the Grammar School. More likely, John was simply concerned with the keep of an un-wage-earning boy.
Page 1 of 4: «Previous | Next»