MENU
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
Contributed by

Egerton MS 1787 recto

View Image Assets
Egerton MS 1787 recto
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Copyright status of the Material: The 1988 Copyright, Designs and Patents Act (as amended) states that unpublished literary and artistic works remain in copyright in the UK until at least 31 December 2039.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 However for unpublished material created many centuries ago and in the public domain in most other countries, the Library believes this material to be very unlikely to offend anyone.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

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Copyright status of the Material: The 1988 Copyright, Designs and Patents Act (as amended) states that unpublished literary and artistic works remain in copyright in the UK until at least 31 December 2039.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

 

In March 1613 William Shakespeare and three associates agreed to purchase the Gatehouse of the former Dominican priory in London known as “Blackfriars” from Henry Walker for the sum of £140. The indenture of bargain and sale is dated March 10. For a discussion of these transactions, and a description of the property, see “Shakespeare purchases the Blackfriars Gatehouse.”

The purchasers also agreed to the mortgage shown here, dated March 11, for the same property, in the amount of £60, implying that the buyers put up only £80 at the time of sale. The document is signed by three buyers, William Shakespeare, William Johnson, John Jackson. The place set aside for the signature of John Heminges is left blank. The copy signed by Henry Walker, presumably cut from the same piece of parchment, has not survived.

The mortgage stipulates that Shakespeare pay £60 on or before 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, 1614) for the term of one hundred years, paying Shakespeare and his heirs a peppercorn every Easter. A peppercorn was an item of negligible value, commonly stipulated as a nominal rent payment in the drawing up of leases.

Exactly when the mortgage was paid off is a matter of disagreement among Shakespeare biographers. Most claim that the £60 was not liquidated until after Shakespeare’s death, by his son-in-law John Hall. But surviving Gatehouse documents make no further reference to Walker, suggesting that Shakespeare met the deadline, which was September 29, 1613. Additionally, as noted by B. Roland Lewis (1940, ii, 447-8), the consequence of non-payment would have been catastrophic. Henry Walker, moreover, was nobody to fool around with. His associate, the scrivener Edward Overy, according to an unrelated complaint dated December 1609, “did in most forcible, riotous, and outrageous manner, having first felled and beaten your said subject down, and trod upon him, did continue to beat and keep him down by the space of half an hour, most unmercifully” (TNA C 8/28/91).

Later documents strongly suggest that Shakespeare paid off the mortgage before the deadline. In 1615 he joined in Bendish v. Bacon, an apparently friendly lawsuit with other Blackfriars property owners, to secure “letters patentes and other deeds” related to various properties. Shakespeare’s will of 1616 mentions “All that Messuage or tenemente with thappurtenances wherein one John Robinson dwelleth, scituat, lyeing and being in the blackfriers in London nere the Wardrobe.”

The indenture of mortgage is of particular interest because it contains one of six surviving signatures of William Shakespeare. Here, his signature is written on one line: the forename is abbreviated to “Wm”; the medial “s” in the surname is the identical spidery stroke. For a further description of Shakespeare’s signature, and those of the other signatories, see “Shakespeare purchases the Blackfriars Gatehouse.” Here, as with the copy of the indenture of bargain and sale signed by Shakespeare and his associates, Shakespeare and Johnson both use the seal of the scribe's servant ("HL" for Henry Lawrence), whose name appears on the reverse (or “dorse”) of both documents.

In 1768, Albany Wallis, an eminent lawyer in London, discovered this mortgage and the copy of the original bargain and sale signed by the buyers among a bundle of title deeds belonging to his client, Rev. Mr. Utrick Fetherstonhaugh (pronounced Fanshaw). 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 in 1790 to Edmond Malone, a Shakespearean collector and scholar. 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, when it was exhibited by John Payne Collier at a meeting of the Shakespeare Society. According to George Wise's The Autograph of William Shakespeare (1869), it belonged at this time to the son of Wallis's former partner. The British Museum purchased the document 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

For more about Shakespeare’s purchase of the Blackfriars, please see Alan H. Nelson and the Folger Shakespeare Library staff’s essay.

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

Sources
James Orchard Halliwell-Phillips, Outlines (1887): 1:238-40, 2:37-41.
James Orchard Halliwell-Phillips, Outlines (1889): 2:37-41.
E.K. Chambers, William Shakespeare: a Study of Facts and Problems (1930): 2:154-9, 168.
J. Leslie Hotson, Shakespeare’s Sonnets Dated, and Other Essays (1949).
B. Rowland Lewis, Shakespeare Documents: 2:435-48, 467-71, 531-4.
Samuel Schoenbaum, William Shakespeare: A Documentary Life: 220-6.
Samuel Schoenbaum, William Shakespeare: Records and Images: 39-48.
Robert Bearman, Shakespeare's Money (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2016): 166-71.
Lois Potter, The Life of William Shakespeare: A Critical Biography. (Chichester: Wiley-Blackwell, 2012): 408-409.
Frederick C. Wellstood, Catalogue of the Books, Manuscripts, Works of Art, Antiquities, and Relics Exhibited in Shakespeare’s Birthplace. (Stratford-upon-Avon: Trustees and Guardians of Shakespeare’s Birthplace, 1937): 38-39.
London Metropolitan Archives. Shakespeare and London: A Free Exhibition at London Metropolitan Archives from 28 May to 26 September 2013... (London: London Metropolitan Archives, 2013): 3-4.

 

Last updated January 10, 2018