The parish registers of Stratford-upon-Avon record the baptism, on April 26, 1564, of “Gulielmus filius Johannes Shakspere,” and the burial, on April 25, 1616, of “Will Shakspere, gent.” Despite the Latin, both entries were made by Protestant clergy, and the ceremonies were conducted according to the rites prescribed in the prayer book published in 1559, which remained in use until 1645 when it was banned by Cromwell’s parliament. The registration of Shakespeare’s marriage to Anne Hathaway in 1582 is lost, since that took place not in Stratford—perhaps out of a wish to avoid public comment, the bride being already pregnant—but probably at the nearby village of Temple Grafton, whose records for the period have not survived and whose elderly vicar, John Frith, was an unreformed Catholic priest described in a contemporary report as...


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