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January 26,
1597

TR46/1/2 recto

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Institution Rights and Document Citation

 

Reproduced by permission of Shakespeare Birthplace Trust

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The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust has graciously contributed images under a Creative Commons Attribution NonCommerical ShareAlike 4.0 International license. Visitors may download, link to and cite the images for personal research only. Any further use, including, but not limited to, unauthorized downloading or distribution of the images, commercial or third party use, is strictly prohibited. Visitors must contact the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust to request additional use, at: images.scla@shakespeare.org.uk

Document-specific information
Date: January 26, 1597
Repository: The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, Stratford-upon-Avon, UK
Call number and opening: TR46/1/2

Item Date
January 26, 1597
Repository
Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, Stratford-upon-Avon, UK
Call Number
TR46/1/2

TR46/1/2 verso

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TR46/1/2 verso
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Institution Rights and Document Citation

 

Reproduced by permission of Shakespeare Birthplace Trust

Terms of use
The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust has graciously contributed images under a Creative Commons Attribution NonCommerical ShareAlike 4.0 International license. Visitors may download, link to and cite the images for personal research only. Any further use, including, but not limited to, unauthorized downloading or distribution of the images, commercial or third party use, is strictly prohibited. Visitors must contact the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust to request additional use, at: images.scla@shakespeare.org.uk

Document-specific information
Date: January 26, 1597
Repository: The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, Stratford-upon-Avon, UK
Call number and opening: TR46/1/2

Item Date
January 26, 1597
Repository
Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, Stratford-upon-Avon, UK
Call Number
TR46/1/2

TR46/1/2 signature detail

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TR46/1/2 signature detail
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Institution Rights and Document Citation

 

Reproduced by permission of Shakespeare Birthplace Trust

Terms of use
The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust has graciously contributed images under a Creative Commons Attribution NonCommerical ShareAlike 4.0 International license. Visitors may download, link to and cite the images for personal research only. Any further use, including, but not limited to, unauthorized downloading or distribution of the images, commercial or third party use, is strictly prohibited. Visitors must contact the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust to request additional use, at: images.scla@shakespeare.org.uk

Document-specific information
Date: January 26, 1597
Repository: The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, Stratford-upon-Avon, UK
Call number and opening: TR46/1/2

Item Date
January 26, 1597
Repository
Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, Stratford-upon-Avon, UK
Call Number
TR46/1/2

Institution Rights and Document Citation

 

Reproduced by permission of Shakespeare Birthplace Trust

Terms of use
The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust has graciously contributed images under a Creative Commons Attribution NonCommerical ShareAlike 4.0 International license. Visitors may download, link to and cite the images for personal research only. Any further use, including, but not limited to, unauthorized downloading or distribution of the images, commercial or third party use, is strictly prohibited. Visitors must contact the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust to request additional use, at: images.scla@shakespeare.org.uk

Document-specific information
Date: January 26, 1597
Repository: The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, Stratford-upon-Avon, UK
Call number and opening: TR46/1/2

On January 29, 1597 John Shakespeare sold his neighbor, George Badger, a strip of land on the north-western boundary of John’s Henley Street property (now known as the Birthplace). The conveyance shown here is in Latin. It describes the property as a “toftum et parcellum,” or a toft and parcel, of land half a virgate wide, and 28 virgates long, between John Shakespeare’s tenement on the east and George Badger’s tenement on the west, and reaching from Henley Street on the south to the King’s highway (then called Gyll Pyttes, and now Guild Street) on the north.

A “virgate”, also known as a yardland, was a unit of measure usually applied to an area. Its size varied locally but was often around 30 acres. The use of virgate as a linear measure was less common but can be taken to indicate an approximate yard. In this case, a 28-virgate-long parcel of land is described as reaching from Henley Street to Guild Street, currently about 47 yards, meaning that a virgate here would have measured less than 2 yards. The strip of land John Shakespeare sold to Badger, at half a virgate, was thus less than a yard wide.

The word “toft” also defies precise definition. However, in this context, toft most likely means a piece of vacant land on which a building previously stood. Scholars have argued that the sale of this strip might be related to the Stratford fires of 1595–96, one of which affected Henley Street. Damage from the fire might have led to a readjustment of boundaries during rebuilding work at the point where the two properties met.

This document describes John Shakespeare as a yeoman, a term applied to a well-to-do farmer of the land, one of three occupations by which he was known. In fact, as he had been granted a coat of arms in October 1596, he would have been entitled to the suffix “gentleman.” However, his local attorney, William Court, who witnesses as “scriptor,” was either unaware of the grant or chose not to acknowledge it. John made his mark with a simple cross, as he had done in 1579.

Semi-diplomatic transcription

Omnibus Christi fidelibus ad quos hoc presens scriptum pervenerit Iohannes Shakespere de Stratford super Avon in

comitatu Warr' yoman salutem in domino sempiternam Noveritis me prefatum Iohannem pro et in consideracione summe quinquaginta

solidorum bone et legalis monete Anglie mihi per quendam Georgium Badger de Stretford predicta draper premanibus solutorum

vnde fateor me fideliter esse solutum et satisfactum dictumque Georgium Badger heredes executores et administratores suos inde quietos esse

et exoneratos imperpetuum per presentes Barganizavi et vendidi necnon dedi et Concessi et hac presenti carta mea confirmavi prefato

Georgio Badger heredibus et Assignatis suis Totum illud toftum et parcellam terre mee cum pertinenciis iacentem et existentem in

Stretford super Avon predicta in quodam vico ibidem vocato Henlye Strete inter liberum tenementum mei predicti Iohannis Shakespere ex parte orientali

et liberum tenementum predicti Georgii Badger ex parte occidentali continentem in latitudine per estimacionem dimidium unius virgate apud uterque

fines et iacet in longitudine a predicto vico vocato Henlye Strete ex parte Australi usque Regiam viam ibidem vocatam Gyll Pyttes ex parte

boreali continens per estimacionem in longitudine viginti et octo virgatas vel circa et modo est in tenura siue occupacione mei predicti

Iohannis Shakespere habendum et tenendum predictum Toftum et parcellam terre cum pertinenciis prefato Georgio Badger heredibus et assignatis

suis ad solum et proprium opus et usum eiusdem Georgii heredum et Assignatorum suorum imperpetuum tenenda de Capitalibus dominis feodi illius

per seruicium inde prius debitum et de iure consuetum. Et Ego vero predictus Iohannes Shakespere et heredes mei totum predictum toftum et

parcellam terre cum pertinenciis prefato Georgio Badger heredibus et assignatis suis ad opus et usum supradictis contra omnes gentes warrantizabimus

et imperpetuum defendemus per presentes Sciatis insuper me prefatum Iohannem Shakespere plenam et pacificam possessionem

et seisinam de et in predicto Tofto et parcella terre cum pertinenciis prefato Georgio Badger secundum vim formam tenorem et effectum

huius presentis Carte mee inde ei confecte in propria persona mea tradisse et deliberasse In cuius rei testimoniuhuic

presenti scripto mea Sigillum meum apposui datum vicesimo sexto die Ianuarij Anno regni domine nostre Elizabethe Dei gracia Anglie francie et hibernie Regine

fidei defensoris etc. tricesimo nono 1596.

 

Sigillatum et deliberatum ac pacifica possessio et seisina de Tofto et parcella terre
infrascriptis deliberata fuit per infranominatum Iohannem Shakespere infrascripto Georgio
Badger die et anno infrascriptis secundum formam tenorem et effectum huius presentis
Carte in presencia viz. Richard Lane
Henry Walker
per me Willelmum Courte scriptorem
Thomas Loche Thomas Beseley.

 

Written by Robert Bearman