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The following is an imagined account from the life of Christopher Mountjoy, William Shakespeare's landlord in London. He was a French immigrant who found success as a tiremaker and had several high-end clients.


Master Shakespeare was a modest man. He was already famous for having written a long and somewhat reprehensible poem about Venus and Adonis, and plays such as Romeo and Juliet and Hamlet. But he took lodgings with me and my family in our house in Silver Street. Students at the Inns of Court were clamouring for his portrait to pin up in their studies - he was a good-looking fellow. He was recommended to us by our friend Richard Field – they’d been at school together. I gather he had a grand establishment in Stratford-upon-Avon: New Place – even though it was quite old when he bought it. He would go up there whenever he could, to see his wife and family and to write, especially when the playhouses closed in Lent, riding the horse that he kept in our stables not far from here. But the travelling took at least two days, more usually three, both ways, so it was quite a journey.

Our house is quite a way from the playhouses on the other side of the river where he worked most afternoons, but I think he was after a bit of peace and quiet. He was a kind man, took a bit of a shine to my daughter Marie, and was tactful and helpful when she fell for my apprentice, Stephen Belott. Master Shakespeare liked him and actually conducted the handfasting ceremony that took place before their church wedding. He was a hard worker, often staying up late, writing by candle light, and when his fellows sent messages asking him to come to the tavern with them, as often as not he would ask me to send word back that he was in pain and didn’t feel up to it. In the end he moved away and I haven’t seen him for several years now.

Cast: Roger Howells, The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust

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