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The following is an imagined account from the life of Judith Shakespeare (also known as Judith Quiney), William Shakespeare's younger daughter. She married Thomas Quiney in 1616, but their marriage was followed by scandal. All three of her children died before adulthood.


My father? Yes, I suppose he was an important man. He had a fine coat of arms and a scarlet livery and a sword, and he had to go to London a lot, and they say he knew the King quite well, and other important people. And he wrote books. He owned a lot of land around here, and half of the parish tithes. We liked to say we lived in the largest house in town (which is true), with a great garden and barns, and we owned another house on Henley Street that he’d inherited from my grandfather – the place where he’d made gloves and dealt in wool. Father’s sister, Aunt Joan, and her family lived in it till she died and her sons are still there. There’s a fine monument to Father in Holy Trinity, though not as grand as the one to John Combe who lived in The College. Father left our big house to my sister Susanna, and now it belongs to her daughter, my niece, Elizabeth, Lady Bernard. But she lives away now, in another grand house, in Northamptonshire.

Of course, Susanna was the eldest, and Father was very worried about me when he made his will because my husband, Tom, had got into a spot of trouble, and Father thought he might not look after me properly. Actually we did very well and had three boys, the eldest was born soon after Father died, so we called him Shakespeare: Shakespeare Quiney, you know, but sadly he only lived for a few months, and our two other boys died young, like my poor twin brother Hamnet. But Tom and I had a good business. We kept a tavern and lived on the High Street in The Cage. It was called that because it had been some sort of prison. Anyway, Tom died last year, over seventy he was, and I’m on my own now. Our lovely new vicar, Mr Ward, keeps saying he wants to have a proper talk to me about Father and I’d be glad to tell him what I remember - if ever he has the time.

Cast: Joy Leslie Gibson, University of Birmingham

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