Shakespeare’s two Annes: 1. Anne Hathaway & Daughters (second part)

After her marriage to Shakespeare, as was the custom, Anne left her home to live with William in John Shakespeare’s house ìn Stratford. Six months after the marriage, in May 1583, Anne and William became the parents of Susanna Shakespeare.

Less than two years later, the twins Hamnet and Judith were born.
Unfortunately Hamnet, William Shakespeare’s only son, died of unknown causes at the age of 11.
William and Anne had no more children, which was very unusual at the time. During the Elizabethan era there was such a high mortality rate among children that large families were the norm.

Their daughter Susanna married John Hall, a local physician, in 1607. In 1613, a man named John Lane, accused her of adultery with a 35 year-old haberdasher, and claimed she had contracted a venereal disease from him.
The Halls sued him for slander in the Consistory Court in Worcester. Lane did not to appear, was found guilty of slander and excommunicated.
A few years later he was again found guilty of slander, this time for attacks on the Puritan vicar, the one who had been supported by Hall in 1613 against Lane, so it is possible that Lane had defamed Susanna for political reasons.

As for the other daughter, Judith Shakespeare, she married Thomas Quiney, a vintner and tavern owner in 1616. The wedding took place during the pre-Lenten season, a forbidden time for marriages.
Therefore, as in the case of the girl’s parents, years earlier, a special licence was required from the Bishop of Worcester, which the couple had not been able to obtain.
Quiney, summoned to appear before the Worcester Consistory Court, failed to appear by the required date. The situation was really serious and Judith and Thomas were excommunicated. In any case the punishment did not last long because a few months later, they were back in church for the baptism of their firstborn child.

But another scandal broke out: since Thomas Quiney had made a girl pregnant he was prosecuted for “carnal copulation” with a certain Margaret Wheeler, who died in childbirth with her baby. Quiney this time appeared before the Bawdy Court, which dealt, among other things, with “whoredom and uncleanliness”. He confessed, submitted to punishment and was sentenced to perform public penance in a white sheet (according to custom) before the Congregation on three Sundays.
This penalty, however, was commuted to a small fine of five shillings to be allocated to the poor of the parish, plus a private penance.

It was all these circumstances that probably prompted Shakespeare to rewrite his will. Quiney was struck out, while Judith’s inheritance was attached with provisions to safeguard it from her husband. The bulk of Shakespeare’s estate was left to his elder daughter Susanna and her male heirs.

Georges Seurat

Le due Anne di Shakespeare: 1. Anne Hathaway e figlie (seconda parte)

Dopo il suo matrimonio con Shakespeare, come era consuetudine, Anne lasciò la sua casa per vivere con William nella casa di John Shakespeare a Stratford. Sei mesi dopo il matrimonio, nel maggio 1583, Anne e William divennero i genitori di Susanna Shakespeare.
Meno di due anni dopo nacquero i gemelli Hamnet e Judith.
Purtroppo Hamnet. l’unico figlio maschio di Shakespeare, morì per cause sconosciute a soli 11 anni.
William e Anne non ebbero altri figli, cosa molto insolita all’epoca. Infatti durante l’era elisabettiana , a causa dell’alto tasso di mortalità tra i bambini, le famiglie numerose erano la norma.

La figlia maggiore, Susanna sposò John Hall, un medico del luogo, nel 1607. Nel 1613, un uomo di nome John Lane, la accusò di adulterio con un merciaio di 35 anni e affermò che lei aveva contratto una malattia venerea da quello.
La coppia gli intentò causa per calunnia nel tribunale del Concistoro a Worcester. Lane non si presentò, fu dichiarato colpevole di calunnia e scomunicato.
Alcuni anni dopo fu nuovamente riconosciuto colpevole di calunnia, questa volta per attacchi al vicario puritano, quello che era stato sostenuto proprio da Hall nel 1613 contro Lane, quindi è possibile che Lane avesse a quel tempo diffamato Susanna per motivi politici.

Per quanto riguarda l’altra figlia, Judith Shakespeare, sposò nel 1616 Thomas Quiney, vignaiolo e proprietario di una taverna. Il matrimonio fu celebrato alla fine della stagione pre-quaresimale, un periodo vietato per i matrimoni.
Pertanto, come nel caso di William e Anne, anni prima, era necessaria una licenza speciale rilasciata dal Vescovo di Worcester, che però la coppia non era riuscita a ottenere.
Quiney, chiamato a comparire davanti al tribunale del Concistoro di Worcester, non si presentò entro la data richiesta. La situazione era davvero grave e Judith e Thomas vennero scomunicati. In ogni caso la punizione durò ben poco perché alcuni mesi dopo tornarono in chiesa per il battesimo del loro primogenito.

Scoppiò però un altro scandalo: poiché Thomas Quiney aveva messo incinta una ragazza, era stato perseguito per “accoppiamento carnale” con una certa Margaret Wheeler, morta di parto insieme al suo bambino. Quiney questa volta si presentò davanti alla Bawdy Court (il tribunale per le oscenità) che si occupava, tra le altre cose, di “prostituzione e impurità”. Confessò , si sottomise alla punizione e venne condannato a fare una penitenza pubblica: doveva presentarsi davanti alla Congregazione avvolto in un lenzuolo bianco (secondo l’usanza) per tre domeniche.
Tale pena fu però commutata in una piccola multa di cinque scellini da destinare ai poveri della parrocchia, più una penitenza privata.

Furono tutte queste circostanze che probabilmente indussero Shakespeare a riscrivere il suo testamento. Quiney fu cancellato, mentre l’eredità di Giuditta fu soggetta a disposizioni intese a salvaguardarla dal marito. La maggior parte del patrimonio di Shakespeare fu lasciato alla figlia maggiore Susanna e ai suoi eredi maschi.

Image: Georges Seurat ( 2 December 1859 –1891) – “Young Woman Powdering Herself “(pontillism) Wikimedia Commons – Attribution: Yelkrokoyade

81 thoughts on “Shakespeare’s two Annes: 1. Anne Hathaway & Daughters (second part)

  1. Certo che i figli davano parecchio pensiero anche a quei tempi!!! Una vita non molto tranquilla quella di Shakespeare e la sua famiglia! Ma forse è per questo che ha saputo scrivere storie tanto appassionate quanto disperate, perchè conosceva i sentimenti umani!!!! Grazie Luisa per queste interessantissime notizie sulla vita di questo grande scrittore!!!! 🙂

    Liked by 4 people

      1. I’ve researched as much of my family history as I can and I know it can take ages to get anything. Nothing too. So I can see you’ve done a lot of work. Then it is also the sifting to get a concise piece which this is. So again, well done. Truly.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Your literary knowledge appears to be deep . The father of the English Drama had such a painful life , no body can imagine . His son sadly died . Daughters excommunicated for various reasons , yet he wrote and wrote and wrote . He did not succumbed to the divine drama as such . Whoever got his Estate is immaterial . What is material is he devoted his entire heart to his writings . He wrote Drams after Dramas . He , perhaps , was also related to stage performances without paying attention to what the Devine power had to performed upon him . Greatness is attributed to devotion and dedication to performances in the mortal world . And other things are immaterial to a considerable extent . Thanks !

    Liked by 2 people

  3. World’s greatest dramalist and so happy to read this power life story 👌🌷🙏
    When I was in Senior Cambridge studying time our history of English literature
    The great William Shakespeare’s story of Macbeth !! Now reviewing again after
    So many years 👌🙏🌷 in this post I’m learning so many things by the details
    From you ❤️🙏 thank you dear and take love 👏❤️🙏

    Liked by 2 people

  4. It is not always possible to cover so much knowledge of famous authors. That is why your chronicle on Shakespeare gives us a deeper idea of his life. One only knows him through his great works and now we enter his intimate life thanks to your careful research and your extensive literary knowledge. We will continue to enjoy. Greetings Luisa.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. So, it appears on the surface of things, that not only was Shakespeare the most prolific and stunning Playwright ever, but he was also the Master of keeping his own personal life story well and truly hidden from public consumption. It’s not hard to see why, his daughters suffered greatly throughout their lives, excommunication, accusations of adultery, spreading STD’s my goodness, in that time they were so fortunate to have not been imprisoned or worse. I believe Shakespeare threw himself into his writing after the loss of his son. He had a lot of plays attributed to being produced between 1595-1599 no less than 10 plays. As a scriptwriter myself, I find the sheer volume of work he produced during that time mind boggling!
    Does one ever recover from the loss of a son? I don’t believe so, I think he did the only thing he knew to do and that was to expel his pain onto his parchments, into his characters and weave his stories, perhaps he considered his son’s life as it could have been, and wrote fantasies around who he may have become.
    As the mother of a disabled son, I often have lucid dreams where I see him walking, running, climbing. All of these things are impossible for him to achieve in the broadest sense of the word, but not for our imagination to see. I write with him in mind in my daily writings, (not my blog on WP, that is for me to have fun with) I write as I see him in my mind as well as who he is in life. It is not a great leap to imagine Shakespeare would have done the same.
    Once again, I must thank you for your beautifully eloquent story telling, you really do paint a picture of the time and people you are talking about. It is so easy to imagine oneself standing on the street watching them play out their lives through your words.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I wholeheartedly thank you for this exhaustive commentary on Shakespeare’s production, which adds great value to my post.
      I add that I have read with admiration your words which show all the courage with which you can face life and its tragedies.❤️

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you for reminding me. All partners are burdens at times, right? So I can imagine historians speculating based on incomplete accounts. I’m sure there was plenty of love in the relationship as well!🙂

        Liked by 1 person

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