Thursday, July 7, 2016
New Information About Shakespeare's Arms
I ran across a recent (June 29, 2016) article with a little new information on the arms of William Shakespeare ("ye Player" according to Ralph Brooke, York Herald in the College of Arms at the time) entitled "Shakespeare: Actor. Playwright. Social Climber."
Here in the lower right are the arms of Shakespeare found in the Promptuarium Armorum, now in the possession of the New England Historic Genealogical Society. The Promptuarium Armorum was created between 1602 and 1616 by William Smith, Rouge Dragon Pursuivant, and was brought to America by one of Smith's successors as Rouge Dragon, William Crowne, in 1657.
The article, by Jennifer Schluessler, introduces us to some recently-discovered documents which shed some light on a side of Shakespeare which is not always covered very well: Shakespeare the social climber. The documents, discovered by Heather Wolfe, curator of manuscripts at The Folger Shakespeare Library, relate to the grant of arms to John Shakespeare in 1596.
It's an interesting article for both Shakespeare enthusiasts and heraldry enthusiasts (and doubly so to those of us who are both), and well worth the read. You can find this article on the website of The New York Times at http://www.nytimes.com/2016/06/30/theater/shakespeare-coat-of-arms.html?smid=fb-share&_r=0
Additional articles, mostly based on the New York Times one above, can be found at http://www.atlasobscura.com/articles/found-evidence-of-shakespeares-bold-social-climbing, http://www.theatermania.com/new-york-city-theater/news/shakespeare-coat-of-arms-discovered_77656.html, http://www.smithsonianmag.com/ist/?next=/smart-news/researcher-unearths-trove-new-shakespeare-documents-180959673/, and http://www.newhistorian.com/new-records-show-shakespeare-established-brand/6765/