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The following is an imagined account from the life of Mary Shakespeare (also known as Mary Arden), William Shakespeare's mother. 


It’s very comfortable here in New Place, where I’ve been living since John died in 1601, and my daughter-in-law Anne is a wonderful housekeeper. That’s just as well since dear William has to spend so much time in London. We all look forward to Lent, when he regularly rides home, meeting up with old friends and neighbours, and checking up on his business interests. But he comes up at other times, too. Mind you he does spend a good deal of time in his study, with his books around him – thinking up his next play, I suppose. He was always a great reader and he used to love it when I told him old tales that I’d heard from my mother and grandmother. And he did very well at school. I would send him off every morning well scrubbed and with his satchel over his shoulder.

They even kept him on after he’d finished his education to help to teach Latin grammar to the younger boys. When he came back in the evening he was a great help with his younger brothers and sisters, teaching them their letters. I used to worry that he got married too young – and with a baby on the way, too – but it’s turned out well in the end, even though he has to spend so much time away from home. And he looks after us very well, and lets his sister Joan live in the house on Henley Street. I wish we saw more of him but the carrier Master Greenaway often brings news, and we were very excited and proud to hear about him wearing the new King’s livery in the coronation procession, with his gentleman’s sword by his side.

Cast: Barbara Leigh-Hunt

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