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Mortgage by William Shakespeare, of Stratford-on-Avon, gentleman, and others, to Henry Walker, of London, minstrel, of a dwelling-house in Blackfriars
March 11,
1613
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Egerton MS 1787 recto

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Egerton MS 1787 recto
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Institution Rights and Document Citation

From the collections of: THE BRITISH LIBRARY

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The British Library has graciously contributed the above images to Shakespeare Documented under a Creative Commons Public Domain Mark

Copyright status of the Material: The 1988 Copyright, Designs and Patents Act (as amended) states that unpublished literary and artistic works remain in copyright in the UK until at least 31 December 2039. Therefore important parts of the library’s collection remain in copyright, including very old manuscripts. However for unpublished material created many centuries ago and in the public domain in most other countries, the Library believes this material to be very unlikely to offend anyone. As an institution whose role it is to support access to knowledge, we have therefore taken the decision to release certain digitised images technically still in copyright in the UK under the Public Domain Mark.

Document-specific information
Creator
: Sealed and signed by William Shakespeare, William Johnson and John Jackson
Title: Deed of Mortgage by William Shakespeare, of Stratford-upon-Avon, and others, to Henry Walker of London, of the Blackfriars Gate-House
Date: March 11, 1613
Repository: The British Library, London, UK
Call number and opening: Egerton MS 1787

 
Item Creator
Sealed and signed by William Shakespeare, William Johnson, and John Jackson.
Item Title
ORIGINAL deed of mortgage by WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE, of Stratford-on-Avon, gentleman, and others, to Henry Walker, of London, vintner, of a dwelling-house in Blackfriars; 11 Mar., 10 Jas. I., 1612/3.
Item Date
March 11, 1613
Repository
The British Library, London, UK
Call Number
Egerton MS 1787

Egerton MS 1787 verso

View Image Assets
Egerton MS 1787 verso
Click image to enlarge

Institution Rights and Document Citation

From the collections of: THE BRITISH LIBRARY

Terms of use
The British Library has graciously contributed the above images to Shakespeare Documented under a Creative Commons Public Domain Mark

Copyright status of the Material: The 1988 Copyright, Designs and Patents Act (as amended) states that unpublished literary and artistic works remain in copyright in the UK until at least 31 December 2039. Therefore important parts of the library’s collection remain in copyright, including very old manuscripts. However for unpublished material created many centuries ago and in the public domain in most other countries, the Library believes this material to be very unlikely to offend anyone. As an institution whose role it is to support access to knowledge, we have therefore taken the decision to release certain digitised images technically still in copyright in the UK under the Public Domain Mark.

Document-specific information
Creator
: Sealed and signed by William Shakespeare, William Johnson and John Jackson
Title: Deed of Mortgage by William Shakespeare, of Stratford-upon-Avon, and others, to Henry Walker of London, of the Blackfriars Gate-House
Date: March 11, 1613
Repository: The British Library, London, UK
Call number and opening: Egerton MS 1787

 
Item Creator
Sealed and signed by William Shakespeare, William Johnson and John Jackson
Item Title
ORIGINAL deed of mortgage by WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE, of Stratford-on-Avon, gentleman, and others, to Henry Walker, of London, vintner, of a dwelling-house in Blackfriars; 11 Mar., 10 Jas. I., 1612/3.
Item Date
March 11, 1613
Repository
The British Library, London, UK
Call Number
Egerton MS 1787

Institution Rights and Document Citation

From the collections of: THE BRITISH LIBRARY

Terms of use
The British Library has graciously contributed the above images to Shakespeare Documented under a Creative Commons Public Domain Mark

Copyright status of the Material: The 1988 Copyright, Designs and Patents Act (as amended) states that unpublished literary and artistic works remain in copyright in the UK until at least 31 December 2039. Therefore important parts of the library’s collection remain in copyright, including very old manuscripts. However for unpublished material created many centuries ago and in the public domain in most other countries, the Library believes this material to be very unlikely to offend anyone. As an institution whose role it is to support access to knowledge, we have therefore taken the decision to release certain digitised images technically still in copyright in the UK under the Public Domain Mark.

Document-specific information
Creator
: Sealed and signed by William Shakespeare, William Johnson and John Jackson
Title: Deed of Mortgage by William Shakespeare, of Stratford-upon-Avon, and others, to Henry Walker of London, of the Blackfriars Gate-House
Date: March 11, 1613
Repository: The British Library, London, UK
Call number and opening: Egerton MS 1787

 

On March 10, 1613, William Shakespeare purchased the Blackfriars Gatehouse from Henry Walker (noted as a “Citizen and Minstrell” of London) for £140, paying £80 in cash. The next day, March 11, 1613, Shakespeare secured a £60 mortgage on the property from the seller, Henry Walker, for the remaining amount. This copy of the mortgage, signed by Shakespeare and two of his trustees, William Johnson and John Jackson (with the fourth tag for John Heminge left blank), belonged to Henry Walker.

As with Walker's copy of the bargain and sale, Shakespeare and Johnson both use the seal of the scribe's servant ("HL" for Henry Lawrence), whose name appears on the other side of both documents. Jackson used a seal with a coat of arms. Seals were constantly borrowed in this period, in the same way that we would borrow a pen to sign our name on a legal document. Given the identical witnesses, scribe, and signatures on the mortgage and the bargain and sale, the two documents were probably signed on the same day despite being dated a day apart. 

The mortgage was signed by Shakespeare in the bottom left-hand corner, on top of the parchment tag used to attach the wax seal to the deed. This makes it one of four surviving documents with his signature (along with the will, which is signed on each of the three leaves, Walker's copy of the bargain and sale of Blackfriars Gatehouse from the previous day, and the Mountjoy deposition.

The mortgage stipulates that Shakespeare pay £60 on September 29, 1613. Failing that, Walker would regain the gatehouse "from the feast of the Annunciation of the blessed Virgin Mary next coming" (March 25) for the term of one hundred years, and pay to Shakespeare and his heirs a peppercorn every Easter (a peppercorn was a standard amount stipulated as a nominal rent payment in the drawing up of leases).

Shakespeare biographers are virtually unanimous in claiming that the £60 mortgage remained unpaid for the remaining three years of his life, after which it was presumably transferred along with the rest of the property to John Greene of Clement’s Inn and Matthew Morris of Stratford “in performance of the confidence and trust in them reposed by William Shakespeare deceased ... according to the true intent and meaning of the last will and testament of the said William Shakespeare," according to the 1618 Conveyance signed by John Jackson, William Johnson, John Heminge, Greene, and Morris. However, nothing in any subsequent document, including a 1615 lawsuit, Shakespeare’s 1616 will, and the 1618 conveyance, suggests that the mortgage went unpaid, and the mortgage holder, Henry Walker, is not mentioned again among Shakespeare documents. B. Roland Lewis noted in 1940 that the consequence of not paying off the mortgage by the deadline would have been catastrophic, including loss of rights to the property for 100 years. It seems much more plausible, then, that the mortgage was paid off before Shakespeare’s death.

In 1768, Albany Wallis, an eminent lawyer in London, discovered this mortgage and Walker's copy of the original bargain and sale among a bundle of title deeds belonging to his client, Rev. Mr. Utrick Fetherstonhaugh. Shortly after its discovery, Rev. Fetherstonhaugh presented the mortgage to the actor (and Wallis's close friend) David Garrick, who kept it until his death in 1779. Mrs. Garrick kept it until Horace Walpole (known for his patronage of the arts and career as a politician) conveyed it to Edmond Malone, a Shakespearean collector and scholar, in 1790. Malone published a facsimile in the first part of the first volume of his 1790 edition, The plays and poems of William Shakspeare (p. 192). Perhaps he kept it until his death in 1812: the mortgage disappeared from public notice until it resurfaced in 1841, where it was exhibited by John Payne Collier at a meeting of the Shakespeare Society. According to George Wise's The autograph of William Shakespeare (Philadelphia, 1869), it belonged at this time to the son of Wallis' former partner. The British Museum purchased it at auction in 1858 for £315. 

Semi-diplomatic transcription

[This transcription is pending final vetting]
[Transcription based on: B. Rowland Lewis, Shakespeare Documents, ii, 445-7.]

This Indenture made the Eleaventh day of March, in the yeares of the reign of our Sovereigne Lord James by the grace
of god king of England, Scotland, ffraunce and Ireland Defender of the faith &c (that is to saie) of England ffraunce, and Ireland the tenth, and of Scotland the
six and fortith; Betweene William Shakespeare of Stratford vpon Avon in the Countie of Warwick gentleman, William Johnson Citizein and Vintener of London, Iohn Iackson and
John Hemmyng of London gentlemen of th'one partie, And Henry Walker Citizein and Minstrell of London of th'other partie. Witnesseth that the said William Shakespeare
William Johnson, John Jackson, and John Hemmyng Have dimised, graunted and to ferme letten and by theis presentes doe dimise, graunt, and to ferme lett vnto the said Henry Walker, All
that dwelling house or Tenement with th'appurtenaunces situate and being within the Precinct, Circuit and Compasse of the late black ffryers London, sometymes in the tenure of James
Gardyner Esquiour, and since that in the tenure of John ffortescue gent, and now or late being in the tenure or occupacion of one William Ireland or of his assignee or assigns; abutting
vpon a streete leading downe to Puddle Wharffe on the east part, right against the Kinges Mates Wardrobe, part of which said Tenement is erected over a greate gate leading to a Capitall
Mesuage which sometyme was in the tenure of William Blackwell Esquiour deceased, and since that in the tenure or occupacion of the Right Honourable Henry now Earle of Northumberland
And also all that plott of ground on the west side of the same Tenement, which was lately inclosed with boordes on two sides thereof by Anne Bacon widow soe farre and in such sorte
as the same was inclosed by the said Anne Bacon, and not otherwise, and being on the third side inclosed with an olde brick wall; Which said plott of ground was sometyrne parcell and
taken out of a great voyde peece of ground lately vsed for a garden; and also the soyle wherevppon the said Tenement standeth; and also the said Brick wall and boordes which doe
inclose the said plott of ground; With free entrie, accesse, ingresse, egresse, and regresse in, by, and through the said great gate and yarde there vnto the vsuall dore of the
said Tenement; And also all and singuler Cellours, sollers, romes, lightes, easiamentes, profittes, Commodities, and appurtenaunces whatsoever to the said dwelling house or Tenement
belonging, or in any wise apperteyning. To have and to holde the said dwelling house or Tenement, Cellers, sollers, romes, plott of ground,
and all and singuler other the premisses above by theis presentes mencioned to bee dimised, and every part and parcell thereof with th'appurtenaunces, vnto the said Henrye
Walker his executours, administratours, and assignes from the feast of Th'annunciacion of the blessed Virgin Marye next comming after the date hereof, vnto th'ende and
terme of One hundred yeares from thence next ensuing, and fullie to bee Compleat and ended, without ympeachment of or for any manner of waste. Yeelding
and paying therefore yearlie during the said terme vnto the said William Shakespeare, William Johnson, John Jackson, and John Hemmyng their heires and assignes
a pepper Corne, at the feast of Easter yearlie, yf the same bee lawfullie demaunded, and noe more. / Prouided alwayes, that if the said William Shakespeare
his heires, executours, administratours, or assignes, or any of them Doe well and trulie paie or cause to bee paid to the said Henry Walker his executours, administratours, or assignes
the somme of threescore poundes of lawfull money of England, in and upon the nyne & twentith day of September next comming after the date hereof at or in the nowe
dwelling house of the said Henry Walker situate and being in the parish of Saint Martyn neere Ludgate of London, at one entier payment without delaie; That then
and from thensforth this presente lease, dimise, and graunt and all and every matter and thing herein conteyned (other then this provisoe) shall Cease, determyne, and bee vtterlie
voyde, frustrate, and of none effect, As though the same had never beene had ne made; Theis presentes, or any thing therein Conteyned to the Contrary thereof in any wise notwithstanding.
And the said William Shakespeare for himselfe his heires, executours and administratours, and for every of them doth Covenaunt, promisse, and graunt to and with the said Henry Walker
his executours, administratours, and assignes and every of them by theis presentes; That hee the said William Shakespeare his heires, executours, administratours, or assignes shall and will cleerlie
acquite, exonerate, and discharge, or from tyme to tyme, and at all tymes hereafter well and sufficientlie save and keepe harmles the said Henry Walker his executours, administratours, and
assignes, and every of them, and the said premisses by theis presentes dimised, and every parcell thereof with th'appurtenaunces of and from all and almanner of former & other bargaynes, sales, guiftes,
grauntes, leases, Joyntures, dowers, intailes, statutes, Recognizaunces, Iudgmentes, execucions, and of and from all & every other charges, titles, trobles, and incumbraunces whatsoever by the said William
Shakespeare, William Johnson, John Jackson, and John Hemmyng, or any of them, or by their or any of their meanes had, made, committed, or donne before thensealing and delivery of theis presentes, or hereafter before
the said nyne and twentith day of September next comming after the date hereof to bee had, made, committed, or donne; Except the rentes and services to the Cheefe Lord or Lordes of the fee or fees of the premisses for or in
respect of his or their seigniorie or seigniories onlie to bee due & donne. In witnesse whereof the said parties to theis Indentures Interchaungablie have sett their seales; Yeoven the day
and yeares first above written. 1612.

Wm Shakspere
Wm Johnson
Jo: Jackson

[Endorsed]:
Sealed and deliuered by the said William Shakespeare William Johnson and John Jackson in the presence of

Will: Atkinson
Robert Andrewes Scrivener
Henry Lawrence Servant to the same Scrivener
Ed: Ouery

[Modern notes]:
Purchased at Sothebys the
14th June 1858
Lot 328

A deed Concerning the house
In black friars

Co-written by Folger Shakespeare Library staff and Alan H. Nelson

 
Last updated May 2, 2017