9/30/15

Was Shakespeare's Family Rich?

In the Guardian, Dalya Alberge describes the research of David Fallow, a former banker who "has spent years studying the Shakespeare family’s wealth, poring over documentary evidence from a time when 'wool was to the English economy what oil is to Saudi Arabia today.'" Fallow believes that, contrary to the accepted story, Shakespeare's father wasn't a business failure who impoverished his family: “John Shakespeare was a national-level wool dealer, and legal research, coupled to analysis of the wool market, proves this. The Shakespeare family never fell into poverty.”

Shakespeare scholar Paul Edmondson says that Fallow's research suggests that Shakespeare's family money, rather than his show-biz success, explains how he could afford “remarkably large purchases of land in the Stratford area.”

An early eighteenth-century sketch of the New Place,
which Shakespeare bought in 1597 and left in his
will to his daughter Susanna.

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