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The following is an imagined account from the life of Thomas Quiney, who married Judith Shakespeare, William Shakespeare's daughter in 1616. His and Judith's three children did not survive to adulthood.


It was a privilege to be asked to supply the wine for the Queen when she visited New Place on her way to join Prince Rupert in Oxford, even though I had to pay for it all myself. Poor lady, it was a troubled time and she needed all the comfort she could get. I think they chose me because I understand French – I learnt it when I was training to be a vintner. So I was able to talk to her personal maid about it. Pretty girl she was, too. Judith and I were living at the Cage then – it was before my brother Richard moved in. He was very good to me – I’d retired by the time he died but he kindly left me £12 a year, almost enough for my wife and me to live on, as well as £5 to bury me when I go too.

Our boys had all passed away by then – two of them dead of the plague – but Judith and I got on well together in spite of all the trouble I got into just before we got married. She was very forgiving about that – more than her father was, he left her far less well provided for than her sister Susanna. Mind you he left her a beautiful silver-gilt bowl: we lent it to the folks at New Place when they were entertaining the Queen. And I can sign myself gentleman no less than my father-in-law Master Shakespeare could.

Cast: Thom Harvey-Ball, The Chapel Lane Theatre Company

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