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DOCUMENTS RELATING TO SHAKESPEARE'S ESTATES, RECENTLY DISCOVERED IN

THE ROLLS CHAPEL.

Shakespeaiie by his will dated 25 March, 1616, bequeathed, as we have seen, to his daughter, Susanna Hall, (wife of John Hall] the capital messuage in Stratford-upon-Avon, called the New Place, wherein he then dwelt, and two messuages in Henley Street within the said Borough, and all his other lands and tenements in Stratfordupon-Avon, Old Stratford, Bishopton, and Welcombe in Co: Warwick ; also all that messuage wherein John Robinson dwells, in the Blackfriars, in London, near the Wardrobe; to hold for the term of her life, and after her decease, to the heirs male of her body; and in default of heirs male of her body, the said premises to remain to his niece [grand-daughter], Elizabeth Hall, and the heirs male of her body j for default of such issue to his daughter Judith (wife of Thomas Quiney], and the heirs male of her body, and for default of such issue to his right heirs.

This lady, Elizabeth Hall, it has been shown, at eighteen years o' age became the wife of Thomas Nash, and as the three sons of Judith Quiney all died without children, the last of them in January, 1639, the poet's elder daughter Susanna Hall, her daughter, Elizabeth Nash, and her husband, Thomas Nash, suffered a Fine and Recovery in the fifteenth of Charles L, A.d. 1639-40, by which all the estates in question were confirmed to Mrs. Hall, for her life, with remainder to Mr. and Mrs. Nash, and her issue; and in default of such issue then upon Mr. Nash.

Mr. Nash died without issue 4th April, 1647; having by his will dated 25th August, 1642, bequeathed all the said estate to his wife Elizabeth, for her life, and the reversionary interest thereof to his cousin Edward Nash.

Mrs. Nash, advised that her husband had no right to make such a will, as the Fine and Recovery settled the estates upon her and her issue, and considering that she might marry again and have children (being then only thirty-nine years old), refused, it seems, to carry out her husband's will. Whereupon the said Edward Nash filed his Bill in Chancery against her and others, setting out the will in question, and calling upon the Court to compel Mrs. Nash to produce and execute the same, &c

These circumstances, and the consequent fact that by another Fine and Recovery Shakespeare's estate were again limited to his descendants, were first made public by the late Mr. Wheeler, of Stratford. Neither he however, nor Malone, who was indefatigable in his inquiries concerning the poet's grand-daughter and the ultimate disposition of the property, was fortunate enough to find the legal papers in the suit in Chancery between Mrs. Nash and Edward Nash. The instruments in question appear to have remained untouched in their origina l depository, the Rolls Chapel, for above two hundred years until a few months since, when, during some alterations in the Chapel, they were brought to light, together with the original will of Thomas Nash.1 By the liberality of Sir John Romilly, the Right Honourable the Master of the Rolls, I am enabled to print the whole of these documents, as well as some others relating to the poet's property which have never, to my knowledge, been published.

CHANCERY PROCEEDINGS.
N. N. 17. No. 65.

The several answers of Elizabeth Nash, widowe, one of the Defend" • to the
Bill of Complaint of Edward Nash, Complainant.

All advantage of exception to the incertanties and insufficiences of the said Bill of Complaynt now and at all tymes hereafter saved and reserved unto the Defend1, for Answer sayth: That the Complainant is Cousin to the Defend"' late husband Thomas Nash Esquier deceased but not heir to the said Thomas Nash, For that the said Thomas Nash hath a sister liveing whoe is one of the Defend"- to the said Bill of Complaynt besides other kindred whoe are nearer in blood to the said Thomas Nashe deceased than the said Complainant as the Defend'- takes it, And the Defend" sayth: That the said Thomas Nash in his life tyme was seized of diverse messuages, lands, Tenem"- and hereditam"- and possessed of a personall Estate, And that hee being soe seized and possessed made his last will and Testament in writing in or about the Twentie Fifte day of August one thousand six hundred Fortie and two and thereby Devised unto this Defend" and the other Defend" his sister and the Complainant and other persons the lands and legacies in such sort and to such purpose word for word as the Complainant hath set forth in his sayd Bill of Complaynt wck- the Complainant might well doe for that the Defend" gave unto the said Complainant a true coppie of the sayd last will and Testament of the said Thomas Nashe and of the CodiceU to the sayd will annexed which Codicell the said Thomas Nashe made or caused to bee made in his sicknes in or about the third day of Aprill Anno Domini one thousand six hundred Fortie and seaven and published the same for as

1 An abstract of Nash's will, and of a nuncupative codicil thereto, was printed by Malone. See Variorum, edition, 1821, Vol. II. p. bl9.

part of his said last will and Testam'- and to bee added to the same, And that shortly after (that is to say) in or

about the Fowerth day of the same moneth the said Thomas Nashe dyed haveing in or by his said last will

appoynted and made this Defend" his sole Executrix whoe proved the said will w,h- the said Codieell thereunto

annexed in due forme of Lawe in the Prerogative Cort of Canterbury where the said last will and Codieell are

cntred and remayne upon Record amongst the Records there, to weh- the Defend1, for more certantie referreth her

sci/e for and concerning all and everie the matters contayned in the said will and Codieell and complayned of in or

by, the said Bill of Complaint, And the Defend'• saith: That the said messuage called the New Place in Stratford

with thappurtenncs and Fower yard land in the common fields of Old Stratford and the messuage in London neer

the Wardrope there supposed to bee devized to the Complainant and his heires by the said Thomas Nashe could not

bee devised given or disposed of by the said Thomas Nashe, For that the said messuage Fower yard land and house

in London Were The Inheritance Of William Shakespear The Defendtm- Grandfather whoe was siezed

thereof in Fee simple long before the Defend'*- marriage w"1- the said Thomas Nashe, And being soe seized by his

last will and Testam' in writing bearing date in or about the Twentie Fifte day of March in the Fowerteenth year

of the raigne of our late Soveraigne Lord King James Devised the same to Susan Hall the daughter and coheir of

the said William and mother to the Defend" for and dureing her life, And after her death to this Defend" and the

heirs of her body, As in and by the said will readie to bee produced to which due referrence being had may more

fully appeare, And the Defend" saith: That the said Susans the Defend". mother to whome the said messuage, Fower

raid land and the house aforesaid was devised by the saidWilliam Shakespear is yet liveing and enjoyeth the same,

And that the said Susan and the Defend" since the death of the said Thomas Nashe have acknowledged and

levyed one or more Fines and suffered a Recoverie of the said messuage called the New Place and the said Fower

yard land and the house in London to the use of the said Susan the Defend". mother for her life, And after her

decease to this Defend" and her heires for ever As was lawfull for them soe to doe which are all the Conveyances

and estates that the Defend" since the death of the said Thomas Nashe hath made granted or suffered of anie the

lactls inencioned in the said Bill of Complaint And the Defend" denies that shee hath a mind to suppresse the

said last will of the said Thomas Nashe, Or that the same can bee suppressed to the knowledge of the Defend" Or

that the said Thomas Nashe made noe Codieell to his said last will Or that the said Thomas Nashe dyed without

ntakeing any alteration of the said will set forth by the said Complainant other then is expressed in or by the said

Codieell of the said Thomas Nashe, And the Defend1' denies that shee the Defend" or any other to her knowledge

give out, that the said Thomas Nashe dyed intestate and that hee made noe will, Or that hee the said Thomas

m-o&ked the said will and made a new will to the knowledge of the Defend" But true it is shee the Defend'- hath

pven forth, That the said Thomas Nashe made the said Codieell as parte of his said last will which the Defend"

proved as aforesaid, And that hee the sayd Thomas Nashe had noe power to give and devise the said messuage

called the Newe Place the Fower yard Land and the house in London being the Defends Inheritance as aforesaid.

But that the Defend" with her said mother may dispose thereof as they please And the Defend" denies that shee

d th refuse to prove the will or to assent to such Legacies as are given to the said Complainant saveing the right and

Inheritance in the said messuage Power yard land and house in London, And saith that shee this Defend'- hath in

her hands or custodie many Deeds Evidences Writings Charters Escripts and munumf- which concerns the lands

and premise* which the Defend' claymeth as her Inheritance and other the lands which are the Defend" Joynture1

and are devised to her I y the said Thomas Nash in or by his said last will which writings concerning the Defend"'

Joynture shee may keepe for her life as shee is informed But the Defend" is readie to produce the same by coppies

a-otherwise to make knowne the same to the Complainant in such manner as the Honble- Cort shall appoynt, And the

Defend'' denies, that shee doth supresse or conceale the said writings or hath cancelled the same, or doth refuse to

set forth the same. Or that this Defend'- doth knowe that the said writings doe conceme the Complainant dureing the

Defend"- life, Or that shee this Defend'- hath made or consented to the makeing any estate of the premises to any

person or persons whatsoever other then as aforesaid, Without that that anie other matter or thing materiall or

effectual] in the Lawe to bee Answered unto by this Defend'- and not herein and hereby well and sufficiently

Answered unto confessed traversed or denyed is true All wch- matters and thingst his Defend'- is and will bee readie

to aver mayntayne and prove as this HonMe- Cort shall award And humbly prayeth to bee hence dismissed w"- her

reasraaWe costs and charges &c. &c,;

Predict Def Jur xvij die Aprilis

mno r. R. Carol. xxiiij '." apud Tho: Dighton

Stratford sop Avon in Com Warr. John Eston.

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1 This declarat:on is interesting and important as I Sir Hugh Clopton to Macklin in 1742, that she carried ravrint' that some of Shakespeare's papers were in his | away with her from Stratford many of her grandfather's

£ui.i-<Wbt*r* custody after the death of her first I husband acd coincides with the tradition mentioned by |

manuscripts.

Veneris 11° February Termino Hillarij Anno dm One thousand six hundred and forty eight
Inter Edru Nash Quer

and
Eliza Nash Deftem

Forasmuch as this Court was this present day informed by Mr. Catlin being of the Plaintiff's Counsel that the Plaintiff having exhibited his Bill into this Court to be relieved touching certain lands devised to the Defendant or her life, the remainder to the Plaintiff and his heirs the Defendant by her Answer hath confessed the having of the Original Will and the Plaintiff's estate which being an estate of an inheritance and the Defendants but an estate for life and witnesses being examined in the Cause it was prayed that the Defendant might bring the said Original Will confessed in her answer into this Court, there to remain indifferently for both parties which is ordered accordingly, unless the Defendant having notice thereof shall within a week after such notice shew unto this Court good cause to the contrary.

B 1648 folio 343 C. F. BOD WELL, Clerk.

Lune 15° May Termino Pas Anno Regni Caroli Regis 24° One thousand six hundred and

forty eight.
Inter Edwardu Nashe Quer.

Elizabeth Nashe executrix Thome Nash et Thoma Withers Deftes. Upon Motion this day made unto this Court by Mr. Catlin being of the Plaintiff's Counsel It is Ordered that process of duces tecum be awarded against the Defendants to bring into this Court the will evidences and writings confessed by their answer to be in their custody or at the return thereof to shew unto this Court good cause to the contrary.

B 1647 folio 573 C. F. BODWELL, Clerk.

Sabbi 10° Junij Term Trin A° Rs Car 24° One thousand six hundred and forty eight.
Inter Edru. Nash Quer

Eliza Nash executrix Tho: Nash and Thoma Withers Deftes

Whereas by an order of the 15lk of May last process of duces tecum was awarded against the Defendants to bring into this Court the will evidences and writings confessed by their answer to be in their custody or at the return thereof to shew unto this Court good cause to the contrary, upon opening of the matter this present day unto this Court by Mr. Dighton being of the Defendants Counsel in the presence of Mr. Chute being of the Plaintiffs Counsel and upon reading of the said Order It was alleged that the Defendant Elizabeth hath an estate for life in the Lands in question and being executrix of the said Thomas Nash hath proved the will and justifies the detaining of the said evidences in her hands for the maintenance of her title but the Plaintiffs Counsel alleging that the inheritance of the lands being in the Plaintiff the said evidences do properly belong to the Plaintiff, Whereupon and upon hearing what was alleged on either side It is Ordered that the will be brought into this Court to the end the Plaintiff may examine witnesses thereupon and then to be delivered back to the Defendant and that the Defendant shall also bring the said evidences and writings into Court upon oath the first day of the next term there to remain for the equal benefit of both parties and shall within ten days after notice deliver unto the Plaintiff a true Schedule thereof.

B 1647 folio 742 C. F. BODWELL, Clerk.

NASH'S WILL.

By this will, dated August 25, 1642, which appears to have been kept in the Chapel of the Rolls from the period when Mrs. Nash was ordered to produce it in Court, Thomas Nash makes the following disposition of that portion of his property in which alone we are interested,—the inheritance of the poet's grand-daughter :—

"That is to Baie Hirst I give dispose and bequeath unto Elizabeth my welbeloved wife and her assignes for and duringe the terme of her naturall life in lieue of her Joynture and thirdes All that messuage or Tenemente w,k thappurtenances scituate lyeinge and beinge in Stratford uppon Avon in the said County of Warwicke in a street there called or knowen by the name of the Chappell streete and nowe in the tenure, use and occupation of one Johane Norman widowe, Andalsoe one meadowe w,h thappurtenances lyeinge and beinge w«hinthe parishe of Old Stratford in the said County of Warwicke and called or knowen by the name of the Square meadowe and lyeinge nereunto thegreate stone bridge of Stratford aforesaid And nowe in the tenure use & occupacon of one Willm Abbottes Inholder And alsoe one other meadowe w,h thappurtenances lyeinge and beinge within the parishe of old Stratford aforesaid in the said County of Warwicke and Called or knowen by the name of the Washe

meadowe and lyeinge nere unto the said greate stone bridge of Stratford •*•••• Item I give dispose

and bequeath unto my loveinge kindsman Edward Nash gentleman sonne and hcire of my Uncle George

Sashe of London gentleman and to his heires and assignes for ever after the death and deceasse of Elizabeth my

said wife All that the said messuage or Tenement w"> thappurtenances scituate lyeinge and being in Stratford

unpen Avon aforesaid in the said County of Warwicke in the said Streete there Called the Chappell streete

and nowe in the tenure use and occupation of the said Joliane Norman And alsoe the said meadowe w,h

the appurtenances being and beinge within the parishe of old Stratford aforesaid in the said County of Warwicke

Called or knowen by the name of the square meadowe and lyeinge nere unto the said greate stone bridge of

Stratford aforesaid and nowe in the tenure use and occupation of one Willm Abbottes Inholder * • » » *

Item I give dispose and bequeath unto my said kindesman Edward Nash and to his heires and assignes for

ever one messuage or Tenement w'h the Appurtenances comonly called or knowen by the name of the Newe

place scituate lyeing and being in Stratford upon Avon Aforesiad in the said County of Warwicke in a streete

there called or knowen by the name of the Chappell streete Togeather alsoe w"1 all and singuler homes

outhowses barnes stables orchardes gardens easementes profiittes and Comodities to the same belonginge or in anie

wise apperteyninge or reputed taken esteemed or enjoyed as thereunto belonging and nowe in the tenure use and

iix-upacon of mee the said Thomas Nashe And alsoe ffoure yard land of earrable land meadowe and pasture wth

Thappurtenances lyeinge and beinge in the Comon ffieldes of old Stratford in the said County of Warwicke togeather

»** all easementes proffitts Comons Comodities and hereditaments to the same ffoure yard landes or anie of

them belonging or in anie wise apperteyninge * * * * And alsoe one other messuage or tenement with

thaiipurteriances scituate lyeinge & beinge in the parishe of in London and Called or knowen

by the name of the wardropp and nowe in the tenure use and occupation of one Dickes « * *

And also the said messuage or tenemente wth Thappurtenances scituate lyeinge and beinge in Stratford uppon

Aron af..rtsaid in the said County of Warwicke in the said streete there Called the Henley streete and nowe

in the tenure use & occupation of the said John Horneby blacksmith And alsoe one other messuage or Tenement' w'

Thappurtenances scituate lyeing and being in Stratford upon Avon aforesaid in the said County of Warwicke in

.1 etruyue street there Called the Chappell streets and nowe in the tenure use and occupation of the said Nicholas

Ingram •«••*• All the rest and other of my goodes Chatties Cattells leases Jewells plate howsehold

stuffe and Implementes of howsehold moveable and immoveable my debtes and legacies being paid and my funerall

expenses being discharged I give and bequeath unto Elizabeth my wife whom I make full and whole Executrix

• if this my last will and Testament And I revoke and renounce all former & other Will and Wills by mee

made And I appoynt and entreate my Loveinge ffrendes Edmund Rawlins gent Willm Smith and John Easton

to bee the overseers of this my last Will and Testament desiringe them to see this my last Will to bee •

perficmed sue farre as in them lyeth And for their paines therein I give them and every of them fforty shillings

apeece In witness to this my Will I have putt my hand & seale the day and yeare above Written.

Tho: Nashe. Witnesses to the sealing and publislunge hereof,

John Soch.

Michael Johnson.

Samuell Rawlins.

The following are translations of two Recoveries hitherto unpublished, by which Mrs. Nash, after disputing the sill in question, succeeded in limiting a portion of the poet's estates to his descendants. The first refers to the land purchased by him in 1602, of William and John Combe: the other to the house in Blackfriars, bought in 1612-13. It will be observed that the parties concerned with Mrs. Nash in this confirmation of the property are two of the Hathaways, or Hathways, an additional proof, to that afforded by her will, of her friendly intercourse with the members of her grandmother's family.

Recovery Roll, 23. Charles 1. Michaelmas. Roll 103 (on the bach).

Pleas of Land Inrolled at Westminster before Peter Phesant and John

Godl>old Justices of the Lord the King of the Common Pleas of

Michaelmas Term in the twenty third year of the reign of Lord Charles

by the grace of God of England Scotland France and Ireland, King,

Defender of the Faith, &c.

Warwick Ss. William Hathway and Thomas Hath way in their proper persons demand against Richard Lane

Mtieman and William Smyth gentleman, three messuages, three gardens, one hundred and seven acres of land

ad twenty acres of pasture with appurtenances in Stratford upon Avon, Olde Stratforde, Bishopton and

Wefeombe as their right and inheritance And into which the same Richard and William Smyth have not entry but after the disseisin which Hugh Hunt thereof unjustly and without judgment hath made to the aforesaid William Hathway and Thomas within thirty years &c And whereupon they say that they were seised of the tenements aforesaid with appurtenances in their demesne as of fee and right in time of peace in the time of our Lord the King that now is, by taking the profits thereof to the value Ike And into which ic. And thereof they bring Suit kc.

And the aforesaid Richard and William Smyth in their proper persons come and defend their right when &c. And thereupon vouch to warrant Elizabeth Nashe widow who is present here in Court in her proper person And freely wan-ants the tenements aforesaid with appurtenances to them &c And hereupon the aforesaid William Hathway and Thomas demand against the same Elizabeth tenant by her own warranty the tenements aforesaid with appurtenances in form aforesaid 4c. And whereupon they say that they were seised of the tenements aforesaid with appurtenances in their demesne as of fee and right in time of peace in the time of our Lord the King that now is, by taking the profits thereof to the value &c And into which Ac. And thereof they bring Suit 4c.

And the aforesaid Elizabeth Tenant by her own Warranty defends her right when 4c. And thereupon further voucheth to warrant Robert Lee who is also present here in Court in his proper person And freely warrants the tenements aforesaid with appurtenances to her 4c And hereupon the aforesaid William Hathway and Thomas demand against the same Robert Tenant by his own warranty the tenements aforesaid with appurtenances in form aforesaid kit. And whereupon they say that they were seised of the tenements aforesaid with appurtenances in their demesne as of fee and right in time of peace in the time of Our Lord the King that now is by taking the profits thereof, to the value &c. And into which 4c. And thereof they bring Suit &c.

And the aforesaid Robert Tenant by his own warranty defends his right when, he And saith that the aforesaid Hugh did not disseise the aforesaid William Hathway and Thomas of the tenements aforesaid with appurtenances as the same William Hathway and Thomas by their writ and declaration aforesaid above do suppose And of this he putteth himself upon the Country 4c. And the aforesaid William Hathway and Thomas thereupon crave licence to imparl And they have it &c And afterwards the same William Hathway and Thomas come again here into Court in this same Term in their proper persons And the aforesaid Robert although solemnly called cometh not again but departed in contempt of the Court And maketh default Therefore it is considered that the aforesaid William Hathway and Thomas recover their seisin against the aforesaid Richard and William Smyth of the tenements aforesaid with appurtenances And that the same Richard and William Smyth have of the land of the aforesaid Elizabeth to the value 4c. And that the same Elizabeth further have of the land of the aforesaid Robert to the value &c. And the same Robert in Mercy, &c And hereupon the aforesaid William Hathway and Thomas pray a writ of our Lord the King to be directed to the Sheriff of the County aforesaid to ■ cause full seisin of the tenements aforesaid with appurtenances to be delivered to them And it is granted to them returnable here without delay &c. Afterwards that is to say on the twenty ninth day of November in this same Term come here into Court the aforesaid William Hathway and Thomas in their proper persons And the Sheriff namely Richard Lucy Esquire now returns that he, by virtue of the said writ to him directed on the twenty sixth day of November last past did cause full seisin of the tenements aforesaid with appurtenances to be delivered to the aforesaid William Hathway and Thomas as by the said writ he was commanded. 4c.

Recovery Roll, 23. Charles 1. Michaelmas. Roll 103 (on the back).

Pleas of Land Inrolled at Westminster before Peter Phesant and John Godbold Justices of the Lord the King of the Common Pleas, of Michaelmas Term in the twenty third year of the reign of Lord Charles by the grace of God of England, Scotland, France, and Ireland, King, Defender of the Faith, &C. London Sr. William Hathway and Thomas Hathway in their proper persons demand against Richard Lane gentleman and William Smyth gentleman, one messuage with appurtenances in the parish of St Anne Blackfriers as their right and inheritance And into which the same Richard and William Smyth have not entry but after the disseisin which Hugh Hunt thereof unjustly and without judgment hath made to the aforesaid William Hathway and Thomas within thirty years &c. And whereupon they say that they were seised of the messuage aforesaid with appurtenances in their demesne as of fee and right in time of peace in the time of our Lord the King that now is, by taking the profits thereof to the value he And into which 4c. And thereof they bring suit &c.

And the aforesaid Richard and William Smyth in their proper persons come and defend their right when he. And thereupon vouch to warrant Elizabeth Nashe widow who is present here in Court in her proper person And freely warrants the messuage aforesaid with appurtenances to them ic. And hereupon the aforesaid William Hathway and Thomas demand against the same Elizabeth tenant by her own warranty the messuage aforesaid

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