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to have spent some years before his death at his native Stratford. His pleasurable wit and good


houses in Stratford, at 60l. a year, and his house, &c. in the Blackfriars, (for which he paid 1401.) at 201. a year, we have a rent-roll of 150l. per annum. Of his personal property it is not now possible to form any accurate estimate: but if we rate it at five hundred pounds, money then bearing an interest of ten per cent. Shakspeare's total income was 2001. per ann.* In The Merry Wives of Windsor, which was written soon after the year 1600, three hundred pounds a year is described as an estate of such magnitude as to cover all the defects of its pos


"O, what a world of vile ill-favour'd faults

"Look handsome in three hundred pounds a year."


to have spent some years before his death at his native Stratford.] In 1614 the greater part of the town of Stratford was consumed by fire; but our Shakspeare's house, among some others, escaped the flames. This house was first built by Sir Hugh Clopton, a younger brother of an ancient family in that neighbourhood. Sir Hugh was Sheriff of London in the reign of Richard III. and Lord Mayor in the reign of King Henry VII. By his will he bequeathed to his elder brother's son his manor of Clopton, &c. and his house, by the name of the Great House in Stratford. Good part of the estate is yet [in 1733] in the possession of Edward Clopton, Esq. and Sir Hugh Clopton, Knt. lineally descended from the elder brother of the first Sir Hugh.

The estate had now been sold out of the Clopton family for above a century, at the time when Shakspeare became the purchaser who having repaired and modelled it to his own mind, changed the name to New-Place, which the mansion-house, since erected upon the same spot, at this day retains. The house, and lands which attended it, continued in Shakspeare's descendants to the time of the Restoration; when they were re-purchased by the Clopton family, and the mansion now belongs to Sir Hugh Clopton, Knt. To the favour of this worthy gentleman I owe the knowledge of one particular in honour of our poet's once dwelling-house, of which I presume Mr. Rowe never was ap prized. When the Civil War raged in England, and King

*To Shakspeare's income from his real and personal property must be added 2001. per ann. which he probably derived from the theatre, while be continued on the stage.

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nature engaged him in the acquaintance, and entitled him to the friendship, of the gentlemen of

Charles the First's Queen was driven by the necessity of her affairs to make a recess in Warwickshire, she kept her court for three weeks in New-Place. We may reasonably suppose it then the best private house in the town; and her Majesty preferred it to the College, which was in the possession of the Combe family, who did not so strongly favour the King's party. THEOBALD.

From Mr. Theobald's words the reader may be led to suppose that Henrietta Maria was obliged to take refuge from the rebels in Stratford-upon-Avon: but that was not the case. She marched from Newark, June 16, 1643, and entered Stratford-upon-Avon triumphantly, about the 22d of the same month, at the head of three thousand foot and fifteen hundred horse, with 150 waggons and a train of artillery. Here she was met by Prince Rupert, accompanied by a large body of troops. After sojourning about three weeks at our poet's house, which was then possessed by his grand-daughter Mrs. Nash, and her husband, the Queen went (July 13) to the plain of Keinton under Edge-hill, to meet the King, and proceeded from thence with him to Oxford, where, saysa contemporary historian," her coming (July 15) was rather to a triumph than a war."

Of the College above mentioned the following was the origin. John de Stratford, Bishop of Winchester, in the fifth year of King Edward III. founded a Chantry consisting of five priests, one of whom was Warden, in a certain chapel adjoining to the church of Stratford on the south side; and afterwards (in the seventh year of Henry VIII.) Ralph Collingwode instituted four choristers, to be daily assistant in the celebration of divine service there. This chantry, says Dugdale, soon after its foundation, was known by the name of The College of Stratford-upon-Avon.

In the 26th year of Edward III. "a house of square stone" was built by Ralph de Stratford, Bishop of London, for the habitation of the five priests. This house, or another on the same spot, is the house of which Mr. Theobald speaks. It still bears the name of" The College," and at present belongs to the Rev. Mr. Fuller


After the suppression of religious houses, the site of the college was granted by Edward VI. to John Earl of Warwick and his heirs; who being attainted in the first year of Queen Mary, it reverted to the crown.

Sir John Clopton, Knt. (the father of Edward Clopton, Esq. and Sir Hugh Clopton,) who died at Stratford-upon-Avon in

the neighbourhood. Amongst them, it is a story almost still remembered in that country that he

April, 1719, purchased the estate of New-Place, &c. some time after the year 1685, from Sir Reginald Forster, Bart. who married Mary, the daughter of Edward Nash, Esq. cousin-german to Thomas Nash, Esq. who married our poet's grand-daughter, Elizabeth Hall. Edward Nash bought it, after the death of her second husband, Sir John Barnard, Knight. By her will, which will be found in a subsequent page, she directed her trustee, Henry Smith, to sell the New-Place, &c. (after the death of her husband,) and to make the first offer of it to her cousin Edward Nash, who purchased it accordingly. His son Thomas Nash, whom for the sake of distinction I shall call the younger, having died without issue, in August, 1652, Edward Nash by his will, made on the 16th of March, 1678-9, devised the principal part of his property to his daughter Mary, and her husband Reginald Forster, Esq. afterwards Sir Reginald Forster; but in consequence of the testator's only referring to a deed of settlement executed three days before, without reciting the substance of it, no particular mention of New-Place is made in his will. After Sir John Clopton had bought it from Sir Reginald Forster, he gave it by deed to his younger son, Sir Hugh, who pulled down our poet's house, and built one more elegant on the same spot.

In May, 1742, when Mr. Garrick, Mr. Macklin, and Mr. Delane visited Stratford, they were hospitably entertained under Shakspeare's mulberry-tree, by Sir Hugh Clopton. He was a barrister at law, was knighted by George the First, and died in the 80th year of his age, in Dec. 1751. His nephew, Edward Clopton, the son of his elder brother Edward, lived till June, 1753.

The only remaining person of the Clopton family now living (1788), as I am informed by the Rev. Mr. Davenport, is Mrs. Partheriche, daughter and heiress of the second Edward Clopton above mentioned. "She resides," he adds, " at the family mansion at Clopton near Stratford, is now a widow, and never had any issue.'

The New Place was sold by Henry Talbot, Esq. son-in-law and executor of Sir Hugh Clopton, in or soon after the year 1752, to the Rev. Mr. Gastrell, a man of large fortune, who resided in it but a few years, in consequence of a disagreement with the inhabitants of Stratford. Every house in that town that is let or valued at more than 40s. a year, is assessed by the overseers, according to its worth and the ability of the occupier,

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