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The following is an imagined account from the life of Elizabeth Barnard, daughter of Susanna and John Hall, and the granddaughter of William Shakespeare. After her first husband's death in 1647, Elizabeth inherited New Place and re-married Sir John Barnard in 1649.


I was only eight years old when grandfather died, but I remember what a solemn time it was. New Place was all hung with black, and hundreds of friends and neighbours came to the funeral. Of course not many of his London friends and colleagues could make the journey, but Michael Drayton came across from Clifford Chambers where he was staying, as he often did, and promised that he would tell Master Jonson all about it next time he was in London. My grandmother was very sad. I think she rather regretted that grandfather left me most of his silver plate as she often used it for entertaining visitors, but of course I had no use for it at that time, and I let her keep it till I married my first husband, Tom. We got married in Holy Trinity on 22 April because that was as close as we could get to grandfather’s birthday, and I laid my flowers on his grave.

When grandfather’s bust was hauled into place in the church Master Jonson, who had done a lot to help with the arrangements, and wrote the inscriptions, walked all the way from London to be present. He said it was good training for the walk to Scotland that he is planning. After Tom died, it was a blessing to carry on living in New Place with my mother, but now I’m married to my dear John and we live away from Stratford in an even grander house, Abington Hall. I would like to keep up the Stratford connection especially through the Hathaways. My Sir John and I treasure grandfather’s coat of arms and the beautiful book of his collected plays which his friend Heminges gave me when it first appeared. Grandfather’s books and papers are all in the attic - I’ve no idea what will eventually happen to them.

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