Shakespeare's Granddaughter
and the Bagleys of Dudley

(An investigation of their relationship and that of others to the last direct descendant of William Shakespeare, by John Taplin)

[Editor's note - This article - without photographs and genealogies - appears in issues 38/4, 39/1 and 39/2 of The Blackcountryman. This work is very thorough, but there are questions asked and someone may disagree with some of John's research. If that is the case please contact me and I will pass your comments to John. John and I hope you enjoy this work and that it makes the link the title suggests]


Several Shakespearian biographers have speculated that of all the avenues left open to us to progress our understanding of the Poet himself, discovering more of those he knew or was associated with during his life may prove the most fruitful and, of course, much has been done in this regard already, upon which I have drawn heavily. As a small contribution to this effort, I have examined one such avenue which, as it developed, broadened to illustrate the intricate structure of the society within which the last of Shakespeare's direct descendants must have moved and been familiar.

The starting point for my research was an effort to cast light on a man who was made known to us by his appearance as her executor in the will of Shakespeare's granddaughter, Lady or Dame Elizabeth Bernard. The relationship of this man, Edward Bagley, to Lady Bernard has, surprisingly given the attention that has been lavished on much minutia concerning anything remotely touching on Shakespearian biography, been largely ignored. In the early 20th Century Charlotte Stopes tried to trace Bagley's connection to her, but failed to find anything substantive (1). A manuscript document, probably dating from the late 19th or early 20th Century, identified Bagley's potential importance, stating that:

'This person (who it is believed, was not related to Shakespeare, but kinsman either of Sir John Barnard or to the family of Hall or Nash) must have become possessed of all her Coffers & Cabinets in which undoubtedly were several of her gfathers papers. When & where Mr. Bagley died, is uncertain, no will of his having been discovered in the Prerog. Office tho' search has been made there for 50 yrs subseqt. to 1670.' (2)

1. See Shakespeare's Family by Charlotte Carmichael Stopes, 1901 pp. 106-108.

2. See Shakespeare Birthplace Trust Records Office: Papers of Richard Savage. FILE [no title] - ref. ER82/11/6/1 - date: No date

In most recent works, however, it is unusual to even find a passing reference to this man, almost as if he has been airbrushed out of existence. So who was he? However, before we examine that, it is necessary to provide some background to his origins and establish who he was not.

Black Country Beginnings:

Many students of the Black Country will be aware of the history of the Lords Dudley and of these that of the last of the male Sutton dynasty is perhaps one of the better known. Edward Sutton, 9th Lord Dudley, has gone down to posterity has a wastrel and philanderer, largely responsible for the ruination of his family's wealth and prosperity. Whether or not this perception of him as a wastrel is fair or not is a matter of opinion, as a case may be made for him as an entrepreneurial industrial pioneer ahead of his time. However, what is less arguable is that his involvement in mining and, together with his son Dud Dudley's attempts to improve the productivity and quality of iron production, proved financially disastrous. Indeed, the unrelenting demands Sutton placed upon his finances necessitated him selling, mortgaging or otherwise raising funds to satisfy his business adventures. Of those who benefited from Lord Dudley's financial predicament, none did so more than the Ward family. William Ward, a wealthy jeweller from London, married his son Humble to Edward Sutton's granddaughter Frances and when Charles I created Humble Ward Lord Ward of Birmingham in 1644, the Ward and Dudley titles passed down to the successors of this marriage. Edward Sutton's vision of the wealth to be made from industry was proved correct with the subsequent incredible fortune acquired by the Wards in the 18th and 19th Centuries.

However, it is the other aspect of Sutton's character as a philanderer that has more of a bearing on this investigation than his business acumen or lack of it. Edward Sutton, Lord Dudley, married Theodosia Harrington (3) in June 1581 (4) and she bore him some five children (5), but he also maintained a mistress in Elizabeth Tomlinson and some eleven known children (6) were born of their liaison, including Dud Dudley. Elizabeth, Lord Dudley's 'concubine' (7), was the daughter of William Tomlinson and her relation, probably her sister Ann, married a man called John Bagley. Bagley who described himself in his will (8) as a yeoman, and was in the service of Lord Dudley possibly in a land management capacity as warden and later lessee of his deer park and 'connigree', or rabbit warren, at Old Park in Dudley. John Bagley had several children (9) of whom the eldest was Edward and it is his son, also Edward, who is the subject of this inquiry regarding his connection to Shakespeare's granddaughter. However, before examining this in more detail, it is worth introducing at this point the fact that Edward Bagley junior had an elder sister, Ann, whose own story is relevant in that her antecedents and descendants have been the topic of much research and interest, mainly in America, but this has singularly not identified the Shakespearian link to the Bagleys that will be demonstrated later.

3. See PROB 11/215 Image ref: 323/233 for the will of The Honorable Lady Theodosia Dudley, wife of Edward Sutton, dated 11 September 1649 and proved 3 February 1651.
4. Theodosia Harrington, daughter of Sir James Harrington of Exton married Edward Sutton at St. Benet Fink, London on 12 June 1581. Edward Sutton was 14 years old when he married Theodosia Harrington.
5. The children of Edward Sutton, Lord Dudley and his wife Theodosia Harrington:

Anne - Born c. 1593, died 8 December 1615.
Theodosia - Born c. 1597
Mary - Baptised 2 October 1586. Buried 24 May 1645.
Ferdinando - Baptised 4 September 1588, St. Edmund, Dudley? Not in PR.
Buried 21 November 1621, St. Margaret's Westminster.
Margaret - Born c. 1597

6. See Dud Dudley's Metallum Martis (re-printed by John N. Bagnall 1854) for the pedigree of Edward Sutton's children with Elizabeth Tomlinson as certified by him.
7. In Dugdale's 1663-4 Visitation of Staffordshire as certified by Dud Dudley, his mother is described as "Elizabeth, daughter of William Tomlinson of Dudley, concubine of Edward Lord Dudley." It should be noted that the original of Dugdale's Visitation is at the College of Heralds and that Grazebrook states that no entire copy exists anywhere, although copies, such as are now available on CD, differ as Grazebrook warns, from the original. William Tomlinson (Tumlenson) and his wife Agnes (Ann) Dues (or Orres) had children, John baptised 19 February 1565-6, Jonne or Joan baptised 17 January 1569-70, Agnes (Ann) baptised 25 June 1577, all at St. Thomas, Dudley, and Elizabeth for whom no baptism has been found.
8. See PROB 11/205 Image Ref: 269/218 Will of John Bagley dated 3 May 1648 and proved 8 August 1648.
9. The parish registers for Dudley and Sedgley show nine children whose father is John Bagley baptised between 1602 and 1616 viz.:

Edward - baptised 18 October 1602 St. Edmund, Dudley
John - baptised 29 December 1603 St. Edmund, Dudley
Dudley - baptised 01 September 1605 St. Edmund, Dudley
Unnamed daughter baptised 27 December 1606 St. Edmund, Dudley
Elyzabeth - baptised 09 February 1607-8 St. Edmund, Dudley
Thomas - baptised May 1610 St. Thomas, Dudley
Robart(sic) - baptised 12 September 1612 St. Edmund, Dudley
Samuell - baptised 11 February 1613-14 St. Edmund, Dudley
Richard - baptised 28 July 1616 Sedgley

Edward Bagley: A case of mistaken identity:

In 1996 an article appeared in The American Genealogist (10) by Colonel Charles M. Hansen entitled The Ancestry of William and Ann (Bagley) Brinton, which discussed the origins of the Brinton and Bagley families of Dudley, Worcestershire and environs. It is necessary to study this article itself and the various sources referenced there to fully appreciate its scope, but in brief Colonel Hansen's article built on previous research into the Brinton ancestors and descendants, and in particular the ancestry of William Brinton and Ann Bagley who were married, it is believed, about 1659 (11) before later emigrating from England to America (12). Hansen stated that Ann's father, Edward Bagley, was the son of John Bagley who was believed to have married a woman called Tomlinson, who herself was believed to have been related in some way to Elizabeth Tomlinson, the 'concubine' of Edward Sutton, Lord Dudley. The relationship of John Bagley's wife, Tomlinson, to Lord Dudley and his mistress is therefore important to those looking to demonstrate a connection to the Sutton alias Dudley nobility, and to others because of future connections to at least one famous American (13).

10. The American Genealogist 1996 Vol. 71 Pt. 1 pp. 36-48.

11. No record has yet been found for the marriage of William Brinton and Ann Bagley. However, since both are believed to have been early Quakers, this would account for the lack of any parish record entry. Brinton was baptised at Sedgley on 1 December 1636 and his marriage to Ann Bagley is reputed to have taken place by Friends' ceremony in 1659. See Brinton Genealogy: A History of William Brinton who came from England to Chester County, p.1 Janetta W. Schoonover 1924.

12. William Brinton's "certificate was read in the Monthly Meeting at Philadelphia and acceppted, which was given him by the Monthly Meeting at Dudley the 15th day of ye 11th Mo. 1683, and subscribed by John Payton, John Newcomb, Richard Plenty, Bernard Perkes, Wm. Corbet, with severall others." Provided by Jacquie Roach of the Brinton Association of America.

13. William Brinton said to have been an ancestor of former US President Richard Nixon. See

Hansen's major contribution to this debate was his discovery of an index to administrations in the Prerogative Court of Canterbury 1634-1637 (14), citing Edward Bagley senior as the administrator of Elizabeth Tomlinson's nuncupative will, describing him as 'fili…', but then striking this out and over-writing it with the words 'nepoti ex matre'. This ambiguous term can be interpreted in a number of ways e.g. maternal grandson, maternal nephew or simply relative. Hansen was of the opinion that Edward Bagley was the child of a sister of Elizabeth and most likely Agnes or Ann Bagley, and although others have speculated that John Bagley's wife was another sister, Joan, or even another illegitimate daughter of Edward Sutton and Elizabeth, for the purposes of this discussion, Hansen's conclusion will be assumed correct.

14. Index to the Prerogative Court of Canterbury Marc Fitch 1986 p.416. The entry for Elizabeth Tomlinson appears as follows: Tomlinson, Eliz., spin., Tipton, Staffs. To Edw. BAGLEY, neph. Ex sis. 19 June 1637 p.107.

Before I was personally aware of Hansen's research and the work of others on the Brinton and Bagley pedigrees, my own research had brought me into contact with the Bagleys of Dudley, but for quite a different reason to those that had motivated them. My area of interest began with the fact that an Edward Bagley had been named as executor and a major beneficiary in the will of Lady or Dame Elizabeth Bernard (15) (or Barnard), the granddaughter and last direct descendant of William Shakespeare. As my research quickly led to the Bagleys of Dudley and the substantial work that had been done into them and their connections to the Sutton-Dudley family by previous researchers, I was initially surprised to find that none had established another and, possibly to many, more interesting connection, that being to the family of Shakespeare. However, upon reflection there was nothing obvious to the researchers of the Brinton and Bagley families to have suggested a Shakespearian connection. Even Hansen, who had so thoroughly researched the Bagley pedigree, made an assumption which would have prevented his finding such a connection by his perceiving that the Edward Bagley, son of Edward and grandson of John Bagley, was one and the same as the Edward Bagley granted 'one Cowe' and named as a kinsman to Dudley Bagley in the latter's 1685 will (16).

In fact the Edward of Dudley Bagley's will is almost certainly the Edward Bagley of Over Gournall who appears on a number of occasions from 1672 onwards in the Sedgley parish records (17), together with his wife Mary and their children. In several of these entries he is referred to as Edward Bagley 'of Over Gor. labourer'. The Edward Bagley baptised at St. Thomas, Dudley on 6 June 1641 (18), son of Edward Bagley and his wife Olive was, I contend, quite a different person.

15. Born Elizabeth Hall, only child of Susanna Hall, Shakespeare's eldest child, and her husband John Hall, physician. Elizabeth was baptised at Holy Trinity, Stratford upon Avon on 21 February 1607-8.

16. See The American Genealogist 1996 Vol. 71 Pt. 1 p. 48. See also PROB 11/380 Image Ref: 573/17366 Will of Dudley Bagley dated 12 May 1685 and proved 30 September 1685.

17. All Saints, Sedgley, Staffordshire CMB 1558-1684 available on microfiche from the Birmingham & Midland Society for Genealogy & Heraldry (BMSGH)

18. Fiche copies of transcripts of St. Thomas 1541-1649 are also available from the BMSGH. The children of Edward Bagley, John's eldest son, are recorded as follows:

Ann - baptised 27 April 1634 St. Edmund, Dudley

Suttone - baptised 22 April 1637 St. Thomas, Dudley

Edward - baptised 6 June 1641 St. Thomas, Dudley

John - baptised 14 April 1644 St. Edmund, Dudley

Apart from Ann, their mother is shown as Ollive or Olive.

Lady Bernard's Will

Nash's House, Chapel St, Stratford. (Courtesy John Taplin)

When William Shakespeare's granddaughter Lady Elizabeth Bernard died in February 1670 (19) she decreed in her will (20) that after the death of her second husband Sir John Bernard (21), her trustees Henry Smyth or Smith (22) and Job Dighton (23) should sell off her estate in and around Stratford upon Avon. This included the lands in Welcombe and Bishopton, near Stratford, which had come down from her grandfather and also his house, New Place. The estate had also originally included several properties formerly belonging to her first husband Thomas Nash, including that now known as Nash's House in Chapel Street, Stratford, adjacent to New Place, as well as land in Old Stratford and tithes for the Manor of Shottery, which Thomas had left her when he died in 1647 (24). Some of her Hathaway relatives were left monetary amounts, whilst the Hart family into which her mother's aunt Joan, Shakespeare's sister, had married received property in Henley Street, including the cottages now known as the Shakespeare Birthplace.

Side view of Nash's house from the site of New Place (Courtesy of John Taplin).

Thomas Nash's cousin Edward Nash (25) was, by previous arrangement, given first refusal on Lady Bernard's Stratford estate, not otherwise bequeathed, after Sir John's death in March 1674. However, if Edward Nash declined the offer to purchase the estate, the trustees were instructed to sell the inheritance and, after the settlement of the various legacies, the rest of the monies so raised were to pass to Edward Bagley, whom she refers to as her 'loveing kinsman' and who she made her sole executor. In 1675, Henry Smyth, or Smith, and Edward Bagley are cited in a conveyance indenture (26) as one of the parties to the sale of New Place and other land to Sir Edward Walker, Bagley being described as a 'Citizen and Pewterer of London'.

19. The Abington register records the burial of Elizabeth Bernard on 17 February 1669-70. She was buried in the parish church of St. Peter and St. Paul, Abington, Northampton.

20. See PROB 1/42 Image Ref: 2, will of Dame Elizabeth Barnard, dated 29 January 1669-70 and proved 4 March 1669-70.

21. Sir John Bernard or Barnard of Abington, Northampton. He was the only son of Baldwin Barnard by his second wife, Eleanor Fullwood of Ford Hall, Warwickshire. Eleanor's great-grandmother was Agnes Arden, nee Webbe, the stepmother of William Shakespeare's mother, Mary Arden.

22. Henry Smith of Old Stratford, Gent. Baptised at Preston on Stour on 27 November 1605. See PROB 11/386 Image Ref: 384/368 for his will dated 2 October 1684, proved 24 March 1687.

23. Job Dighton. Baptised 9 December 1593, Holy Trinity, Coventry; buried 13 October 1659 at Clifford Chambers, then Gloucestershire, now Warwickshire. See PROB 11/300 Image Reference: 618/539 for his will. His death left Henry Smith of Old Stratford as the sole trustee of Lady Bernard's will.

24. See PROB 11/200 Image References: 711 & 712 will of Thomas Nash. Under the terms of Thomas Nash's will, these properties were to pass after Elizabeth's death to his cousin Edward Nash. By the time of Sir John Bernard's death in 1674, Thomas Nash's portion of Elizabeth's Stratford holdings would have already transferred to Edward Nash.

25. Edward Nash. The cousin of Thomas Nash and son of George Nash. He was Lord of the Manor of Loxley, near Stratford. Edward Nash was named as a major beneficiary in his cousin, Thomas Nash's, will.

26. See Shakespeare Birthplace Trust (SBT) Records Office - ref. ER 2/B5. See also R.B. Wheler's History of Stratford pp. 149 - 157 for a transcript of the indenture relating to the sale of New Place to Sir Edward Walker in 1675.

Edward Bagley Citizen and Pewterer of London

Research by archivists at the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, Stratford upon Avon has provided references to an Edward Bagley found in the records of the Pewterers' Company, being presented for apprenticeship in London, namely:

12 September 1656: Robert Orme presented Edward Bagley son of Edward, deceased, of Dudly (sic) in Staffordshire, gentleman, for 8 years from All Saints Day - 2s

And again, later:

6 October 1664: Edward Bagley, apprentice to Robert Orme sworne and made free 6s 8d (26a)

Another recent publication (27) gives slightly differing dates within the same years for Bagley's apprenticeship and freedom dates, but confirms he was the son of Edward Bagley of Dudley. His birth in 1641 would make Edward 15 years old when entering upon his apprenticeship, a reasonable age. Robert Orme (28), his apprentice master, appears in catalogue references in the London Metropolitan Archives on at least two occasions, as the citizen and pewterer husband of Elizabeth (29), recipient of a legacy from her brother William Street of Harrow-on-the-Hill, yeoman, and also as Robert Orme, pewterer and Churchwarden (30) of St. Mildred, 'Breadstreete'.

26a. The references to Edward Bagley's apprenticeship and freedom details were provided to the ABT by Dr. R Homer, archivist of the Worshipful Company of Pewterers.

27. Pewterers of London 1600 - 1900 by Carl Ricketts, published by the Pewter Society, January 2001 ISBM 0-9538887-0-3. This shows Bagley's apprenticeship date as 1 November 1656, but this ties in with the commencement of All Saints' Day, which is 1 November. The Pewterers' Company archives are housed at the Guildhall Library, London.

28. See London Metropolitan Archives: Harben Bequest Ref: HB/C/079 & Allen-Cooper family Ref: ACC/0351/723 for references to Robert Orme. London Livery Company Apprenticeship Registers Volume 40 Pewterers' Company 1611-1800, Cliff Webb, published by Society of Genealogists Enterprises Limited 2003, shows Robert Orme apprenticed to Roger Seyer in 1644. Edward Bagley's apprenticeship to Orme is dated 1 November 1656.

29. By 1670 Orme is married to Elizabeth, sister of William Street of Harrow on the Hill, so if Ann Smith was his first wife, her death must have occurred prior to that date.

30. Robert Orme, pewterer, and William Savage, 'plummer', were churchwardens of St. Mildred's in 1673. The church, destroyed in the Great Fire in 1666 and rebuilt by Wren, was reopened on 23 March 1683. Their names were inscribed on the single bell cast in 1673 by Anthony Bartlett.

New Place Garden with a mulberry tree (Courtesy John Taplin).

In concluding from the reference in the conveyance documents of New Place in 1675 to one Edward Bagley, citizen and pewterer of London, and the Pewterers' Company records of the young Bagley apprenticed to Orme as one and the same person, then the placing of Edward as from Dudley, actually in Worcestershire not Staffordshire, though this is an understandable slip, demanded closer inspection of the parish records from the 16th and 17th Century to find out more of this family, which in due course resulted in my research path eventually crossing that of the Brinton-Bagley researchers' work. As much of my own research and that of others into the Bagley family's relationship with the Lord Dudley and his mistress concurs, I do not intend to add greatly to it here, other than for two points. Firstly, two documents traced in the Dudley Estate archives referring to George Bagley, John Bagley's (elder?) brother, show him to have also been closely associated with Edward Sutton (31), and secondly to point out that the Churchwardens Book for St. Thomas, Dudley provides some other valuable references to the Bagley family that are not evident from the parish record itself. Various entries refer to levies for poor rates and Edward Bagley senior and his brother Dudley are coupled together on occasions, which suggests that the property the rate was levied upon was of common ownership (32). In April 1645 Edward is shown as elected one of the Overseers for the Poor (33), however, this is the last reference to him apart from his burial entry at St. Thomas in November the same year. The same parish register shows his father, John Bagley being buried in May 1648 (34), who is undoubtedly the John Bagley of the will proved in the August of that year. Sutton(e) Bagley, as the eldest son of Edward, becomes the only child of his to be a beneficiary of John Bagley's will.

Portrait reputed to be of Sir John Bernard.
By kind permission of the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust.

The Guild Chapel from Nash's House and New Place (Courtesy John Taplin).

None of this, however, provides a pointer to how or why Edward Bagley junior came to be a kinsman of Shakespeare's granddaughter, and sufficiently regarded to inherit the bulk of the proceeds for the sale of her estate in 1675 (35). To appreciate how this connection comes about requires examination of a number of families associated with Elizabeth's own ancestry, her life in Stratford, as well of those she became involved with through marriage. Firstly, let us examine the Bernard family connections that probably led to her second marriage in 1649.

31. 17 Feb 8 Jas I (1610-11). Latin copy of the grant of the recm. of the Manors of Dudley to George Baggeley. 10 April 1625, a conveyance of the mortgage of the Manor at Himley and other lands to Edward Lord Sutton and George Bagley and Thomas Parks to Sir William Cockayne. Dudley Archive & Local History Service, Coseley. In these documents, George Bagley is described variously as, 'Yeoman', and 'servant of the said Lord Dudley'.

32. St. Thomas Churchwardens Book 1618-1725 p. 66 Poor levy 1636 Edward Baggly & Dudly Baggly 1s. This is available from the BMSGH on microfiche.

33. ibid p. 89 April 7, 1645.

34. St Thomas parish records CMB 1629-1650 microfilm held at Worcester Family History Centre shows Old John Bagley buried 15 May 1648.

35. Sir Edward Walker paid £1060 for New Place and land in and around Stratford upon Avon. It has been calculated that after the payment of the various legacies left by Lady Bernard, Edward Bagley probably received about £760.

The Bernard Family

Portrait reputed to be of Lady or Dame Elizabeth Bernard.
On display at Nash's House, Stratford-On-Avon.
'By kind permission of the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust'.

The Bernard connection to the Shakespeares comes through the second marriage of Robert Arden to Agnes Webbe. Robert was a direct ancestor of William Shakespeare, being his maternal grandfather. Agnes Webbe, who thus became the stepmother of William Shakespeare's mother, Mary Arden, was through her first marriage to a man called Hill, the great grandmother of Eleanor Fullwood. Eleanor Fullwood of Ford Hall, Warwickshire, became the second wife of Baldwin Bernard of Abington, Northamptonshire and the mother of John Bernard, who was to marry secondly Elizabeth Nash, nee Hall, William Shakespeare's granddaughter.

Baldwin Bernard's sister was Anne D'Oyley or Doyley, widow of John Doyley of Merton, Oxfordshire. She married secondly a widower, Sir James Harrington 1st Baronet Ridlington. Sir James Harrington was a brother of Theodosia Harrington who married Edward Sutton, Lord Dudley who, as we have seen, maintained Elizabeth Tomlinson as his mistress and through whom comes the connection to the Bagley family. This shows not only how Elizabeth herself would have been suitably placed to become the wife of John Bernard but also how she would have been, through his aunt's marriage to James Harrington and Harrington's sister Theodisia's marriage, part of the wider kinship of Edward Sutton, Lord Dudley. In turn this most probably accounts for her knowledge of the Bagley family. It is important too, to examine at this point the extent of the Harrington relationship to the Sutton-Dudleys and its relevance to Elizabeth Bernard and the Bagleys.

The Harrington Family:

The Harrington (36) lineage is a long and, for the most part, a distinguished one. Early generations came from Cumbria in the north west of England, having settled there after the Conquest, claiming, through the marriage to William of Normandy's niece Matilda, royal kinship. By the 14th Century the main Harrington family was established around Morecombe Bay in Lancashire, though they held land as far afield as Ireland, with other family branches in the English Midlands. The northern family's fortunes prospered under John of Gaunt, and later Harringtons distinguished themselves with Henry V on the field of Agincourt (37). Though they had been such stout supporters of the Lancastrian kings previously, the ineffectual rule of Henry VI persuaded them to support the Yorkist cause in the struggle of the Roses, resulting in catastrophic disaster for the northern Harringtons. The deaths of several of the principal males of the family resulted in most of their property and land being acquired through marital connivance by the Stanley family after the defeat of Richard III at Bosworth, an event the outcome of which had itself swung on the decision of Lord Stanley to change sides at the critical point of the battle. The northern Harringtons re-emerged under Henry VIII with one of their number, John Harrington of Stepney, marrying Ethelreda Malte, daughter of Henry's tailor, though generally regarded as an illegitimate daughter of the king himself. Though this marriage was childless, the estates Henry generously granted his tailor and Ethelreda in Somerset provided the foundation for the Harringtons of Kelston. John Harrington's son John (38) by his second marriage to Isabella Markham was a godson of Elizabeth I and was a poet of controversial distinction, though history remembers him better, unfortunately, as the inventor of an early water closet.

36. See Ian Grimble's The Harington Family, published by Jonathan Cape, London 1957 for a more detailed history. Throughout this paper the Harrington name has been spelt with double 'r' as this is how it appears in most documents of the period. It should be noted, however, the single 'r' is used in some instances and this is the way the family spells their name today.

37. Ibid., p.35. Sir William Harrington of Farleton was the king's standard-bearer at Agincourt and was made a Knight of the Garter in 1416.

38. Ibid., p.108. John Harrington of Kelston 1561-1612, author of The Metamorphosis of Ajax. Whilst not pursued here, this John Harrington was a friend of Sir Henry Berkeley, Stepfather of Thomas, later Sir Thomas Russell, the principal overseer to William Shakespeare's will. See I, William Shakespeare by Leslie Hotson for a fuller explanation of this Harrington connection.

In contrast to the actions of their northern cousins, the Harringtons who had settled further south had had a relatively tranquil time. By the 16th Century the principal branches of these families were located in east Midlands counties, mainly Leicestershire, Rutland and Lincolnshire. Sir James Harrington of Exton, Rutland married around 1540 Lucy Sidney. She was the daughter of Sir William Sidney of Penshurst, Kent. In 1552 Edward VI made a gift of Penshurst to his steward and tutor, Sir William Sidney. The Sidney fortunes increased further when Sir William's son, Henry Sidney, married Lady Mary Dudley, whose powerful family included John Dudley, Duke of Northumberland and his sons Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester and Ambrose Dudley, Earl of Warwick. Henry Sidney's son Sir Philip Sidney was to achieve great fame as a poet, soldier and the singular noblest example of the ideals of the 'age of Gloriana'. Lucy Sidney's sister, Frances married Thomas Radcliffe, Earl of Sussex and she became the foundress of Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge. At her death in 1589 she left £5000 and other gifts to help establish the college, though this proved inadequate. The main executors of her will, supervised by Whitgift (39), were Sir John Harrington and the lawyer Henry Grey, Earl of Kent. Sir John Harrington was instrumental in progressing, at personal expense, the foundation of Sidney Sussex College in 1594 after his aunt Frances' death.

Several of the children of the marriage of Sir James Harrington and Lucy Sidney were to establish distinct branches of the family that are of interest in terms of connections to the 'Shakespeare' families. The eldest son, Sir John Harrington, created 1st Baron Harrington by James I in 1603 (40) to whom he was distantly related, was charged with the protection and tutorship of Princess Elizabeth, eldest daughter of James I at Combe Abbey, his house near Coventry. During her time there she became a target for the conspirators of the Gunpowder Plot in 1605. She later married Frederick, Elector Palatine of the Rhine and Sir John accompanied her to Germany after her marriage at Whitehall in February 1613. He succumbed to exhaustion on his return home to England six months later, dying at Worms on 23rd August. Sir John Harrington's son, also Sir John and 2nd Baron of Exton, a man of devout, almost saintly nature, was the companion and great friend of the heir to the throne, Prince Henry, both of whom were destined to die young (41). One can only wonder at the course of history had these two survived.

39. John Whitgift was Bishop of Worcester between 1577 and 1583, when he became Archbishop of Canterbury. It was during his time at Worcester that the licence for Shakespeare's marriage to Anne Hathaway was granted.

40. See The Harington Family, p. 144. Grimble gives this relationship as 12th cousin through a common descent from the family of Bruce. Sir John Harrington was sometime Recorder of Coventry and is mentioned, together with Sir Fulke Greville and Sir Thomas Lucy in an instruction for a muster in 1590. See Coventry Leet Book or Mayor's Register Vol. 2 p. 833, transcribed and edited by Mary Dormer Harris.

41. Prince Henry died on 6 November 1612, leaving his brother, later Charles I, as King James's heir.

Sir John Harrington, 2nd Baron of Exton, died unmarried in 1614 shortly after his father (42). He left £200 to Dr. John Burgess (43) and Thomas Dighton (44) of Ashby de la Zouch, clerk, for some purpose he had written to Burgess about earlier (45). Dighton is, as will be recalled, a name that appears in connection with Lady Bernard as a trustee of hers in later years, and this will be examined further in due course. Burgess was a controversial Protestant divine who had displeased King James and left England for Leyden where he qualified in medicine. On his return he treated Lucy, Countess Bedford, Sir John Harrington's sister, and is mentioned in her correspondence concerning her political intrigues at court (46). Lucy, Lady Bedford was a significant presence at the court of James I. She was one of Queen Anne of Denmark's ladies and having been raised in the same household as the Princess Elizabeth, maintained her influence within royal circles after her brother's death. Her younger sister, Frances, was also present at court and appeared in Ben Jonson's Masque of Beauty in 1607 (47).

42. See PROB 11/123 Image ref: 383/343 for the will of Sir John Harrington of Exton, dated 19 February 1613-4 and proved 21 April 1614. He was 2nd Baron Harrington of Exton and with his death the barony became extinct.

43. See Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (ODNB) by Elizabeth Allen for an account of the life of John Burgess (1563-1635), Protestant divine and medical doctor. Another account appears in the older DND.

44. Thomas Dighton of Ashby de la Zouch is most probably the father of Thomas and Job Dighton, the latter being a lawyer and trustee to Lady Bernard, Shakespeare's granddaughter.

45. See PROB 11/123 Image ref: 383/343 for the will of Sir John Harrington of Exton, dated 19 February 1613-4 and proved 21 April 1614.

46. See The Harington Family, p. 172.

47. Ibid., p.151.

Sir Henry Harrington (48), the second son of Sir James, married Cecilia Agar, daughter of John Agar of Elmsthorpe. He seems to have received little by way of favour from his father and his fortunes were dampened further when he suffered an ignominious defeat at the hands of the forces of the Earl of Tyrone during the Earl of Essex's ill-fated expedition to Ireland in 1599. Sir Henry's son, Sir John Harrington of Bagworth, Leicestershire married Mary Offley (49) at St. Lawrence Pountney, London in January 1602. Around 1617 John Hall, Shakespeare's son-in-law treated their daughter and only child, Sara, after a bout of smallpox (50). Sara or Sarah attended her father's (51) cousin, Lucy, Lady Bedford who later oversaw Sarah becoming a Maid of Honour to Queen Henrietta Maria, wife of Charles I. During the early campaigns of the English Civil War the Queen stayed at New Place in Stratford upon Avon, the home of Elizabeth Nash (later to become Bernard) and Susanna Hall, widow of John Hall and Shakespeare's daughter. Later with the court at its wartime base at Oxford, Sarah, who became Lady Freschville through her marriage to John Freschville, Lord Staveley, endeavoured to engineer a barony for her husband and when this was not forthcoming, left the Queen's service and persuaded her husband likewise to abandon the King.

48. See PROB 11/122 Image ref: 151/131 for the will of Sir Henry Harrington, dated 15 May 1612 and proved 16 August 1613. In a memorandum to his father, Sir James Harrington of Exton's 1592 will, Sir Henry was denied the inheritance he had formerly been given and this went instead to his younger brother, Sir James Harrington of Ridlington.

49. See PROB 11/143 Image ref: 569/494 for the will of Dame Mary Harrington, dated 15 November 1623 and proved 21 May 1624.

50. See John Hall and his Patients pp.266-268 by Joan Lane, published by The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust 1996 ISBN 0-904201-04-X.

51. Grimble gives Sarah Harrington's father as Sir William Harrington, as stated by Sir Gervase Holles, writing of his nephew's marriage to her. In fact as can be seen from her mother Dame Mary Harrington's will, her father was Sir John Harrington, son of Sir Henry Harrington of Elmsthorpe. 52. See PROB 11/143 image ref: 569/494 dated 15 November 1623 and proved 21 May 1624 for the will of Dame Mary Harrington.

Sir James Harrington 1st Baronet Ridlington (52), the third son of Sir James, married firstly Frances Sapcote by whom all his children were born (53). Following her death in 1599 he married Anne D'Oyley or Doyley, widow of John Doyley of Merton, Oxfordshire. She, as has been noted earlier, was a sister of Baldwin Bernard of Abington, Northamptonshire and aunt to his son John Bernard. John Bernard, later Sir John, married secondly Elizabeth Nash, the widow of Thomas Nash of Stratford-upon-Avon, and Shakespeare's granddaughter. It is worth noting that after the death of Sir James Harrington, Anne Doyley, married for a third time. In 1532 Francis, 2nd Earl of Huntingdon had married Katherine Pole and Anne's new husband Sir Henry Pole, was most probably related to her family, which had also included Cardinal Reginald Pole, papal legate to the court of Queen Mary I. Sir James Harrington's eldest son, Edward, married John Doyley's daughter and heiress Margery, and through that marriage obtained the Doyley estate at Merton (54). Margery Doyley was a first cousin of John Bernard and her marriage to Sir Edward Harrington, 2nd Baronet Ridlington provided continuity of the Bernard connection to the Harrington family into the next generation. Their son, Sir James Harrington, 3rd Baronet Ridlington, was one of the judges of Charles I, though not a signatory to his death warrant. He continued to serve under Cromwell throughout the Interregnum, becoming at one stage President of the Council. After the Restoration of Charles II in 1660, James along with others was by Act of Parliament 'attained, degraded and rendered incapable of bearing arms' (55). He fled to the Continent and it was left to his wife to secure what she could for their numerous children. An oversight in the Act did not prevent, however, his title and the baronetcy continuing through his children.

52. James I on his journey south to London in 1603 knighted James Harrington in Yorkshire. Sir James was created 1st Baronet Ridlington in 1611. See PROB 11/123 Image ref: 103/96 for the will of Sir James Harrington of Ridlington, Rutland.

53. See The Bernards of Abington and Nether Winchendon by Mrs. Napier Higgins Vol.1 pp. 38-39. Sir James Harrington's first wife was Frances Sapcote, died 1599, daughter of Robert Sapcote of Elton. One of Sir James Harrington's sons, Sir Sapcote Harrington succeeded to the Sapcote estates. His son, James of Sapcote was the author of The Commonwealth of Oceana and despite his views on governance expressed there, a great friend of Charles I, whose execution he attended. In Christopher Hill's words 'Harrington was influential mainly through his emphasis on the necessity of the role of property. He had no successor in the philosophy of history until the rise of the Scottish school in the second half of the eighteenth century.' See Hill's The Century of Revolution 1603-1714 p. 251.

54. Ibid p.39. Sir James Harrington's eldest son, Edward, married Margarie Doyley, eldest coheiress of John Doyley, Anne Bernard's first husband. Marriage 21 September 1601 at Merton (IGI not a parish record extracted record)

55. Act of 13 Car.II.

Sarah Harrington, one of Sir James Harrington and Lucy Sidney's daughters married Francis, Lord Hastings, son of George Hastings 4th Earl of Huntingdon, whose own mother had been Catherine Dudley, daughter of John Dudley, Duke of Northumberland. John Dudley, from a junior branch of the Sutton-Dudley family, had acquired the Sutton titles and Dudley Castle in the first half of the 16th Century. He rose to great eminence as Duke of Northumberland, Earl of Warwick and Protector to Edward VI. His conspiring to put his daughter-in-law, the Lady Jane Grey, on the throne after Edward's death lead to his downfall and execution under Queen Mary and the restoration of the estates to the Sutton family in the person of Edward Sutton, 8th Baron Lord of Dudley. Sarah's sister, Theodosia Harrington, married his son, Edward Sutton, 9th Baron Lord Dudley in June 1581, who had the extra-martial relationship with Elizabeth Tomlinson.

Finally, returning to John Hall's mention in connection to the Harringtons, Hall was a respected doctor with a practise that extended into several counties and embraced a wide range of clientele, from ordinary townsfolk and even servants, to gentry and aristocratic families (56). His treating Sarah Harrington may simply have been one such example of this, however, it may also reflect the kinship ties described above. There is another possibility that may further draw together not only the Sutton-Dudley, Harrington, and Bernard connections, but also demonstrate closer ties to the Hall family itself.

56. See John Hall and his Patients, Appendix 2.

The Hall family

The ancestors of John Hall, physician husband of Susanna Shakespeare, have not been positively identified. Various families have been suggested as being the source of Hall's lineage including Halls of Worcester, Idicote in Warwickshire, Swerford in Oxfordshire and Acton, Middlesex (57). However, the publication of Frank Marcham's William Shakespeare and His Daughter Susannah (58) in 1931 brought most Shakespearean biographers to agree that the most probable of these was the family of William Hall of Acton, whose will was written shortly before his death in December 1607. In his own, nuncupative will in 1635 John Hall left a house in Acton to his daughter, Elizabeth. William Hall's will mentions sons Dive and John, of whom Dive seems to have been the proverbial prodigal son, whilst John, the steady, obedient, studious one. They attended Queens' College, Cambridge and the Alumni Cambrigienses shows the brothers both entering the university at Michaelmas 1589, being described as 'of Bedfordshire'. Dive would appear to have failed to achieve his degree, but John went on to gain his BA in 1593-4 and his MA, not necessarily an indication of his continued attendance at the university, in 1597 (58a). In William Hall's will (59), as transcribed by Frank Marcham, there appears a reference to an un-named daughter (60) married to a Michael Welles (61). Also, another of his daughters, Elizabeth, is cited as married to a man named Sutton. In his discussion of Hall's will in his Shakespeare Documents (1940), B. Roland Lewis speculates that this man was a William Sutton, possibly because his son William is mentioned as a beneficiary of 'tenne pounds to bybde hym an apprentise', the assumption being that the eldest son was named after his father. In fact the man who married Elizabeth Hall at Carlton, Bedfordshire on 27 August 1590 was Edmund Sutton (62).

57. See B. Roland Lewis's The Shakespeare Documents (1940) pp 587-598.

58. This work is curiously entitled William Shakespeare and His Daughter Susannah on its title page, but everywhere else in the book called William Shakespeare and His Family. The book was published by Grafton & Co., London 1931. To avoid confusion in further references to this work, the title page name will be used.

58a. It has been questioned whether the 3 years between Hall's BA and MA (1593-4 and 1597), would have necessitated his remaining at Cambridge. Arthur Gray has pointed out that at Cambridge in the 16th Century it was necessary for continuous residence for 9 terms, 3 years, to proceed from BA to MA. See Shakespeare's Son-in-law John Hall P.10 by Arthur Gray MA Master of Jesus College, Cambridge, published by W Heffer and Sons, Ltd., Cambridge, England 1939. Park Honan in his Christopher Marlowe Poet & Spy p109 has observed that the practice of 'discontinuance', that is approved periods of absence, was permissible, but as is evident from the difficulties surrounding the conferment of Christopher Marlow's MA in 1587, unexplained or unapproved absences could result in the with-holding of the higher degree.

59. Ibid., pp 590-1. See also PROB 11/110, Image reference: 440/876 Will of William Hall, Gentleman of Acton, Middlesex, dated 12 December 1607 and proved 24 December 1607.

60. Michael Welles' wife has not been positively identified. In his article Shakespeare's Son-in-Law. Irvine Gray suggests that she was Damaris.

61. Michael Welles also appears in the will of Dive Hall, who died in 1626, as the sole beneficiary and executor. See PROB 11/150 Image Reference: 204/9788 for the will of Dive Hall.

62. See Irvine Gray's Shakespeare's Son-in-Law, The Antecedents of Doctor John Hall in the Genealogist's Magazine, 7 (1935-7) p. 350 and the parish record for Carlton for the marriage of Elizabeth Hall and Edmund Sutton.

Portrait believed to be of Elizabeth Hall, Shakespeare's
granddaughter, and Thomas Nash c.1626.
On display at Nash's House, Stratford-On-Avon.
'By kind permission of the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust'.

Carlton had close associations with the Hall family as evidenced from its parish register (63), being most probably William Hall's country residence. It appears again in a reference to the distribution of the monies from the sale of her Stratford estate, by John Hall's daughter, Elizabeth Bernard, where she leaves the sum of fifty pounds to her 'cousen' Thomas Welles of Carlton in Bedfordshire (64). Elizabeth put a proviso in her will that should Thomas Welles die before such time as the legacy was paid to him, then it should pass to her 'kinsman' Edward Bagley.

In his mid-1930s article, Shakespeare's Son-in-Law, The Antecedents of Doctor John Hall (65) Irvine Gray provided a likely pedigree for the Michael Welles of William Hall's 1607 will. He found a Thomas Welles being inducted as the rector of the combined benefices of Carlton and the adjacent village of Chellington in January 1576-7. Gray also found the baptisms of Thomas Welles' children, including Michael most probably the son-in-law of William Hall. He also points to Thomas, a possible son of Michael matriculating at Oxford in November 1621, suggesting that he was the cousin referred to in Lady Bernard's will (66). As to the ancestry of William Hall himself, Gray considers he may have been the son of Robert Hall, who is mentioned in the will his brother William of the parish of St. Paul, Bedford. This William may have been the William Hall, mayor of Bedford in 1547 and 1554, who nominated Thomas Dive as one of his executors when he died in 1557.

Whilst the Hall ancestry is uncertain, in light of the family's later links to the Bernards of Abington and the Shakespeare connection to the same family, the possibility is that William, John Hall's father, was from a Lincolnshire Hall family. Such a hypothesis would run as follows:

63. The parish register for Carlton shows six children whose father is William Hall baptised between 1569 and 1585 viz.:

Susan - baptised 12 June 1569, buried 1571

Sarah - baptised 25 November 1571

Martha - baptised 02 November 1578

Mary - baptised 10 April 1580

Damaris - baptised 19 February 1583

William - baptised 05 April 1584, buried 1585

Samuel Buried 1573 (no baptism shown)

Sons Dive and John and daughter Elizabeth do not appear in the Carlton parish records. They may have been baptised at Acton, Middlesex, though Gray considered this unlikely. How long the Hall family had been or continued to be associated with Carlton is open to question. There are few other entries for them other than the entries above and although Thomas Welles is referred to in Elizabeth Bernard's will as 'of Carlton', no other mention is made to the Hall name there, though this could be explained by the Hall daughters' marriages. Joan Lane states that William Hall had 11 children. See her John Hall and his Patients p.xiv published by The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust 1996 and also her ODNB entry for John Hall.

64. See PROB 1/42 Image ref: 2 for the will of Dame Elizabeth Bernard, written 29 January 1669-70.

65. See Irvine Gray's Shakespeare's Son-in-Law, The Antecedents of Doctor John Hall in the Genealogist's Magazine, 7 (1935-7) pp. 344-354.

66. Ibid., pp. 349-350. Gray comments that Thomas Welles was buried at Chellington on 3 November 1670, adding that if this was Lady Bernard's cousin, she had left her legacy to a dead man. If fact, this is not the case as Lady Bernard would have pre-deceased him in February 1670.

Henry Sutton of the Aram or Averham, Nottingham branch of the Sutton-Dudley family, married Alice Hall about 1533 (67). She was the daughter of Francis Hall of Hall Place (68), Grantham, Lincolnshire, who had held the position of Comptroller of Calais, and Elizabeth Wingfield. Henry and Alice had four children before Alice's death. He then re-married to one Alice Harrington, who was from the same wider family as Theodosia Harrington, Edward Sutton, Lord Dudley's wife. Henry and Alice Harrington had six children of whom one was Edmund Sutton. Francis Hall and Elizabeth Wingfield also had six sons. Francis, the eldest, married Ursula Sherington. They had two daughters, Jane and Elizabeth, but no sons. No record has yet been found of the other five sons of Francis Hall and Elizabeth Wingfield, or any marriages or children of theirs, but it is certainly a possibility that one of them may be the parent of William Hall of Acton, and that it may have been Henry Sutton's son, Edmund, from his second marriage who married Elizabeth Hall, William's daughter at Carlton in 1590.

Carlton lies about 5 miles north east of Bedford and nearby are the villages of Stevington and Bromham. Bromham was the home of the Dive (or Dyve) family and this may explain the somewhat unusual name with which William Hall baptised his eldest son (69). Sir Lewis Dive of Bromham died in 1592. There is no specific mention in his will to the Halls that would indicate a relationship of some kind, however, one of the witnesses to the will was a Mr. Welles (70), perhaps the son-in-law of William Hall or his father, Thomas, the Rector of Carlton. Dive Hall of London, gent., appears briefly again in records for the locality, as in receipt of a consideration of £76 13s 4d from Thomas Barrenger the younger of Stevington, yeoman, for the purchase of 42 acres of land which were 'the inheritance of William Hall, gent., deceased, the late father of the said Dive Hall' (71).

67. See A History of Nottinghamshire Chapter 10 by Cornelius Brown (1896).

68. Hall Place, though much modified, still exists and is now known as Grantham House, a National Trust property.

69. Irvine Gary suggested this and Harriet Joseph also speculated that there was a connection to the Dive family of Bedfordshire. See her John Hall Man and Physician p.1 1976.

70. See PROB 11/80 Image ref: 184/167 for the will of Sir Lewis Dive, written 31 July 1592 and proved 19 August 1592.

71. See Stevington Parish Records, Bedfordshire. Deeds relating to the Barringer's Charity Conveyance (Feoffment) - ref. P71/25/6 - date: 1 October 7 Jas.I (1609), held by the Bedfordshire and Luton Archives and Record Service.

In 1592 Sir Lewis Dive bequeathed his lands and property to his son John Dive. In his will he also mentions his brothers Thomas and John, nephew Dive Downes, son of his sister Elizabeth Downes and Lewis Goodfellow, his godson. Forty pounds is entrusted to John Dive, to be 'imploied to suche lawfull use and profitt for the saide Lewis Goodfellow'. In 1601 another John Dive left forty shillings to his niece Goodfellow 'to make her a ring' and to his nephew 'maister Dyve Downes, a phillie' (71a). That this John Dive was the brother of Sir Lewis is apparent from the common references in their wills. He does not appear to leave lands or wealth of great consequence. However, the possibility of a connection between the Halls of Carlton and the Dives of Bromham becomes of further interest by the fact that Sir Lewis Dive's brother describes himself as 'John Dive of Ridlington Parke'.

Ridlington in Rutland was one of the estates of Sir James Harrington of Exton (72), father of Theodosia Harrington the wife of Edward Sutton, Lord Dudley. He was also the father of Sir James Harrington of Ridlington (73), who, as has been stated, married secondly Anne Bernard, widow of John Doyley of Merton, Oxfordshire and aunt of John Bernard. The Halls of Carlton being associated with the Harringtons and Suttons in the 16th Century, perhaps through their connections to the Dive family or through the Lincolnshire hypothesis put forward earlier, would allow another avenue through which Elizabeth, Shakespeare's granddaughter would have been familiar with the Suttons of Dudley and hence, the Bagleys.

John Hall's own arrival in Stratford has not been fully explained and little is known of him after his time at Cambridge until his first recorded appearance at Stratford in 1607 (74). It is supposed he travelled on the Continent and that he may have acquired his medical expertise and acknowledged understanding of the French language during this time (75). Again it has been suggested that he may have chosen Stratford through university connections (76). However, whatever the reasons, the Warwickshire town became his home for the rest of his life. His marriage to Susanna Shakespeare, eldest child of William Shakespeare and Anne Hathaway, is recorded at Holy Trinity, Stratford upon Avon on 5 June 1607, with the baptism of their only child, Elizabeth, entered into the parish record on 21 February 1608.

71a. See PROB 11/98 Image ref: 142/600 for the will of John Dive of Ridlington Park, proved 26 August 1601.

72. See PROB 11/79 Image ref: 1 for the will of Sir James Harrington of Exton.

73. See PROB 11/123 Image ref: 103/96 for the will of Sir James Harrington of Ridlington, written 20 July 1613 and proved 14 February 1614.

74. Recent evidence of Hall as a medical practitioner has emerged for the period shortly before his marriage to Susanna Shakespeare in 1607. See The Bewitching of Anne Gunter by James Sharpe published in 1999 by Profile Books Ltd., 1999 ISBN 1 86197 048X.

75. It is unknown how or where Hall obtained his medical expertise, but it has been suggested that he may have studied at Montpellier. See John Hall and his Patients p.xiv. by Joan Lane published by The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust 1996.

76. Abraham Sturley, suggested as a possible acquaintance of John Hall's, was a Queens' Cambridge man and became Bailiff of Stratford in 1596-7. Though he would have left Cambridge before John Hall's arrival, he may have known the Halls through his employment by Sir Thomas Lucy at an estate Lucy owned near Carlton. See John Hall and his Patients pp.xiv-xv. See also Park Honan's Shakespeare A Life pp.354-5 OUP 1998.

Thomas Nash (77), Elizabeth Hall's first husband, descended from Michael Nash of Old Woodstock, mentioned in the Visitation of Oxford 1566. His son, another Thomas Nash, married Anne Bulstrode (78), she being a daughter and coheiress of Godith Bulstrode of Nether Worton in Oxfordshire (79) and her deceased husband, James Bulstrode. Thomas and Anne sold the Nether Worton estate in 1575 (80) after the death of her mother, and their eldest son Anthony was established at Stratford by the time his son Thomas was baptised there at Holy Trinity church in 1593 (81). Thomas Nash, aged 32, married 18-year-old Elizabeth Hall, Shakespeare's granddaughter, in Stratford on 22 April 1626. Nash, though trained in the law at Lincoln's Inn, seems largely to have acted as a land agent as his father had done. He and Elizabeth lived, not always quietly as will be seen, at New Place with Susanna Hall after her husband's death in 1635, and it may be as a result of the legal wranglings subsequent to John Hall's demise that eventually resulted in their association with the men who were to become trustees to Elizabeth's will.

77. See the ONDB entry by Mairi MacDonald for Thomas Nash.

78. The Bulstrode family is the subject of a number of works and their ancient holdings were centred on what today is Bulstrode Park, near Gerrards Cross, Buckinghamshire. See The History of Bulstrode by Audrey .M. Baker, published by Colin Smythe Ltd., 2003, and The History of Hounslow Manor and the Bulstrode Family by Gillian M. Morris, published by the Hounslow and District History Society, 1980. No connection to the main branch of the Bulstrodes and the branch into which Thomas Nash married has been established, though it is probable. Interestingly, in his diary, Bulstrode Whitelocke mentions dining at 'Cousen Walkers house' in London in April 1661, this being Sir Edward Walker who later bought New Place. See The Diary of Bulsrode Whitelocke 1605-1675, p.627 edited by Ruth Spalding.

79. See Shakespeare Birthplace Trust Records Office: Miscellaneous Deeds and Papers ER3/630 - date 15 September 1563. Conveyance in trust by Godith Bulstrode etc. upon the marriage of her daughter Anne with Thomas Nasshe (sic) of the Manor and chief messuage of Nether Worton co. Oxon. Godith was the widow of James Bulstrode of Shutford, Oxon. who died intestate. See Shakespeare Birthplace Trust Records Office: Miscellaneous Deeds and Papers DR194/11 - Admon. 1563.

80. Ibid. Miscellaneous Deeds and Papers ER3/631 - date 20 December 1575.

81. Thomas filius Anthonii Nash gen. Baptised at Holy Trinity, Stratford upon Avon 20 June 1593.

The Trustees: Job Dighton and Henry Smith

Elizabeth Bernard nominated Job Dighton and Henry Smith as the trustees of her will and called upon Smith, and possibly Dighton, on other occasions in legal matters. Dighton was a member of the Middle Temple in London (82) and appears to have acted for Baldwin Brookes, mercer of Stratford, in an action against Susanna Hall in 1636 to recover money owing him by John Hall, deceased. This affair dragged on with counter proceedings by Susanna and eventually resulted in Brookes and others forcing entry to New Place and removing items, including books, from John Hall's study, which Susanna valued at £1000, 'att the least' (83). However, later Dighton may well have acted for Elizabeth and her mother in their action against Edward Nash in 1648. In February of that year Edward Nash filed a Bill in Chancery to uphold the terms of Elizabeth's first husband, Thomas Nash's controversial will, a synopsis of salient points of which follows.

82. Job Dighton also appears as 'Towne-Clerke' for Stratford. See The Stratford Records C.88 p. 108 dated 29 January 1633 held at the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust Archive Office.

83. See Frank Marcham's William Shakespeare and His Daughter Susannah pp. 57-78.

Thomas Nash made his will on 25 August 1642. He left to Elizabeth his wife the house in Chapel Street, probably the house now called Nash's House, a meadow called the Square Meadow in Old Stratford, another meadow in Old Stratford called the Wash Meadow with an adjourning little meadow. He also left her all the tithes he was entitled to in the Manor and Lordship of Shottery. After Elizabeth's death he willed all the above to go to his cousin Edward Nash. He also willed New Place with all its associated buildings, orchards, barns, stables and gardens to Edward Nash as well as substantial land in Old Stratford (four yardland). Edward was also left a house in London, possibly the Blackfriars Gatehouse, and property and land at Barton, about 8 miles south west of Stratford, mortgaged to the Broade family. He specifically states that the money issuing from this latter conveyance should go to Edward directly and not to Elizabeth, his wife, or her assigns.

Elizabeth Nash was left the rest of his goods and chattels and nominated her as his Executrix with Edmund Rawlings, William Smith and John Easton as the Overseers of his will, granting them 40 shillings apiece for their 'paines'. On 4 April 1647, the day he died, Nash made a codicil to his will principally containing further grants of cash to various relatives and others. Finally, he instructed that the inheritance of his cousin Edward Nash should, upon his death, pass to his son Thomas. The will was proved on 5 June 1647, just two months after Thomas Nash's death.

The likelihood is that the contents of Thomas's will were unknown to Elizabeth and her mother until after Nash's death. Elizabeth and Susanna pursued their objection to the will and Edward Nash's claim to what Elizabeth, quite rightly, saw as her inheritance and she was successful to the extent that an apparent compromise was reached whereby she and her mother retained their home, property and lands, with Edward receiving the promise of the opportunity to purchase them in due course after Elizabeth's death (84). Whether Dighton acted for Elizabeth in this matter or not, he was certainly involved in other deeds made out in respect of her wishes for her Stratford property after her marriage to John Bernard (85).

Job Dighton was most probably the son of the Thomas Dighton, clerk of Ashby de la Zouch, mentioned in the will of Sir John Harrington, 2nd Baron Harrington of Exton. What position Thomas Dighton held at Ashby is not clear as he does not appear in the listings of vicars for the church there, St. Helen's, though it is possible he has not yet been identified as such (86). Job was by the time of his death in 1659, the new holder of the manor of Clifford Chambers (87), near Stratford, but his death meant that Henry Smith was left as the sole trustee to Lady Bernard's will.

84. See Shakespeare's Family 1901 by Charlotte Carmichael Stopes pp. 103-4. Also see Catalogue of Books, manuscripts etc. exhibited in Shakespeare's Birthplace (1944) pp. 55-56.

85. Elizabeth Bernard had been set out the terms for the disposal of her Stratford property in a deed or 'wrytening' dated on or about 18 April 1653. See Shakespeare Birthplace Trust Records Office - ref. ER 1/4/15 Deed of Elizabeth Barnard 18 April 1653 (TTD, ii, nos.17-18). Copied from the original by R.B.Wheler, 1805. See Robert Bell Wheler's History of Stratford pp. 146-147 for a transcript of an earlier deed dated 20 October 1652, to which Henry Smith was a signatory, and pp. 148-149 for the 1653 deed.

86. It is possible Thomas Dighton was the vicar or perhaps a curate at St. Helen's, Ashby de la Zouch, around 1614. The records for the church show Arthur Hildersham inducted in 1593. The next known incumbent, Anthony Watson, being inducted in 1632. With the highly volatile religious situation existing within this time frame, it is unlikely Hildersham, a known radical, would have retained the living at Ashby for nearly 40 years. It is also possible that Dighton was attached to the household of the Hastings family, earls of Huntingdon whose ancestral home was Ashby Castle or their kinsmen the Fiennes', earls of Lincoln.

87. See History of the Manor & Advowson of Clifford Chambers etc. by Sir John Maclean, originally printed in the Transactions of the Bristol & Gloucestershire Archaeological Society, Vol. XIV, Part I.

Henry Smith, from his will, seems not to have married. He was the son of Anthony Smith and Frances, his wife, originally of Preston on Stour, a few miles from Stratford. Anthony Smith probably relocated to Stratford upon Avon sometime between 1613 and 1615, becoming Bailiff or mayor there in 1630-1. He may have been related to Margarett Smith who married Thomas Dighton, Job Dighton's brother, at Holy Trinity, Stratford-upon-Avon on 19 August 1627. She was the daughter of another Henry Smith (88) and Anne (probably Shaw), baptised 25 August 1603 at Holy Trinity, Stratford upon Avon. John Hall, Shakespeare's son-in-law, and Anthony Smith were Churchwardens of Holy Trinity, Stratford upon Avon in the year of Margaret's marriage to Thomas Dighton.

88. See PROB 11/214 Image Ref: 487/387 for the will of Henry Smith, Gentleman, dated 4 February 1638-9 and proved 18 November 1650, father of Margarett Smith.

Henry Smith, the trustee, had brothers Robert and Richard, both of whom were grocers in London, probably in partnership together. One of Robert's daughters, Anne, married a Robert Orme, and it will be recalled that a man of that name was the apprentice master of Edward Bagley of Dudley. It is probable that the Robert Orme who married Ann or Anne Smith on 16 December 1655 at St. Margaret Moses, Friday Street, London, was related to Robert Orme or possibly was himself, Bagley's apprentice master, though the fact that he is repeatedly described as a Salter, throws some doubt upon this suggestion (89). However, Orme may well still have been a member of the Pewterers' Company, as many practised trades other than that of their guild. Orme's ancestry is not known, but he may have descended from the Orme family who appear in Dugdale's Staffordshire Visitation of 1663-4 (90). If so, his being from a Staffordshire gentry family could account for his being the choice of apprentice master to young Edward Bagley. Another of Robert Smith's daughters, Margarett, may, as will be discussed later, have married Edward Bagley and this presents the intriguing possibility of Bagley and Orme being brothers-in-law, and a connection both to Lady Bernard and Stratford through her trustee, Henry Smith.

89. The parish register for St. Margaret Moses records the publishing of marriage banns for Robert Orme, salter, and Ann Smith, daughter of Robert Smith, grocer, on 2, 9 & 16 December 1655. Their son, Robert, was baptised at the same church on 8 May 1659.

90. See Dugdale's Visitation of Staffordshire 1663-4 p.227 for the pedigree of the Orme family of Hanse Hall, co. Staffs. Hanse Hall or Hanch Hall is situated approximately 3 miles north of Lichfield.

The Fate of the Bagleys

Having investigated the various kinship avenues through which Elizabeth Bernard would or could have known the Bagleys of Dudley, there remains the question of what became of them? Of Edward Bagley senior's four children, Ann Bagley, the eldest, moved to Pennsylvania around 1684 with her Quaker husband William Brinton and their children, except for a daughter Ann who initially remained in England with her husband, John Bennett (91). Ann Brinton died in 1699, aged 64, her husband dying shortly afterwards. Sutton Bagley, the only child of Edward to benefit from his grandfather John's will, appears on a number of occasions in the Churchwardens Book for St. Thomas, Dudley, with the last entries being as Overseer for the Poor with his kinsman Jevon Harper in March 1695 and again as a Churchwarden for 1696 (92). Edward, the second son, is discussed below, but of the youngest child, John, nothing appears to have survived.

91. See The Testimony of William Brinton concerning the Life and Death of his dear Wife, part of an article entitled Biographical Sketches published in the Friend magazine.

92. St. Thomas Churchwardens Book 1618-1725 p. 244 & p. 246.

Edward Bagley, Lady Bernard's executor, completed his apprenticeship to Robert Orme in 1664, and again we know from the Pewterers' Company records that he was still in London in 1666, having bound one Owen Buckingham (93) to him as apprentice. Halliwell-Phillips mentions the conveyance of property from Edward Bagley to Sir Heneage Fetherson in 1667 (94). This seems to refer to the land on which the Blackfriars tenement purchased by Shakespeare in 1613 (95) had stood before the Great Fire, the year prior its sale in 1667. Another recent publication of the records of the Pewterers' Company apprentices shows Bagley taking another apprentice in 1671 (96). Also, of course, we have the reference to him in the sale indenture for New Place in 1675 with the description as Citizen and Pewterer, of London. The same document tells us, somewhat pointlessly in terms of the conveyance itself, that he was married and that his wife's name was Margarett. This may, however, indicate another association in that Margarett or Margaret Smith could have been from one of the Smith families of Stratford and, possibly related to the trustee, Henry Smith. Henry Smith's brother Robert's surviving children appear in Henry's will and their baptisms, together with other siblings, can be traced to London (97). One of these was Margaret (98) baptised in November 1640 and possibly the wife of Edward Bagley (99). Recently, evidence has re-emerged from The Pewterers' Company records for 1678 showing a bond for £15 taken out by Bagley from a fellow pewterer and letters the following year between Bagley in Dublin and Thomas Tarlton, the Company's Clerk in London, regarding the outstanding repayment of this bond (99a). This has shed light on a previously regarding Bagley as 'now in Ireland' in 1679 (100). The signatures of Edward Bagley on these(click to see signature) letters match precisely the signature on the 1675 (click to see signature) conveyance document for the sale of New Place, hence proof conclusive that these men were one and the same. A final comment from the Pewterer's Company Records tells us that, as a Liveryman (100a) he was granted 30 shillings for relief in 1703. After this there is silence (101). The granting of relief suggests that his fortunes were at low ebb by 1703, but as no trace has been found of a will for either him or his wife or for their burials, this is open to conjecture.

93. Buckingham Owen, son of George, Colnbrook, Buckingham (in Ms 'Mdx') to Edward Bagley 17 May 1666. See London Livery Company Apprenticeship Registers Volume 40 Pewterers' Company 1611-1800, Cliff Webb. Published by Society of Genealogists Enterprises Limited 2003. There are several references to Owen Buckingham in the registers of St. Mildred, Bread St., London, including a reference to the burial of a daughter Sarah on 9 August 1698 in which he is described as Sr Owen Buckingham, Kt & Allderman (sic). Sir Owen Buckingham was in possession of Erlegh Court in the early part of the 18th century. He was Lord Mayor of London in 1705.

94. Halliwell-Phillips, J. O. Outlines of the Life of Shakespeare ii p.346.

95. The last of Shakespeare's London purchases, the Blackfriars house or tenement was bought from Henry Walker, 'citizen and minstrell of London' by a conveyance dated March 10, 1612/13 for £140, of which £60 was placed on mortgage with Henry Walker until the following Michaelmas. See the Catalogue of Books, manuscripts etc. exhibited in Shakespeare's Birthplace (1944) pp 37-38.

96. Edward Bagley took William Westley, son of John of Eathorpe, Warwickshire, gentleman, as apprentice 10 November 1671. See London Livery Company Apprenticeship Registers Volume 40 Pewterers' Company 1611-1800, Cliff Webb. Published by Society of Genealogists Enterprises Limited 2003.

97. Robert Smith and his wife, Mary, of London. Their children, mentioned in Henry Smith's will (see PROB 11/386 Image reference: 384/368), are found baptised in London, mostly at St. Margaret Moses in Friday Street, a daughter Margaret being baptised on 23 November 1640. Robert Orme, salter, either Bagley's apprentice master or related to him, was also a member of the parish at this time. The parish registers of St. Margaret Moses list the following children of Robert and Mary Smith:

Anne & Mary (twins) - Baptised St. Margaret Moses 10 April 1639

Margaret - Baptised St. Margaret Moses 23 November 1640

Anthony - Baptised St. Margaret Moses 29 March 1642 & buried

Robert - Baptised St. Margaret Moses 26 May 1643

Sarah - Baptised St. Margaret Moses 23 July 1644

Francis (female) Baptised St. Margaret Moses 7 July 1646

Elissabeth - Baptised St. Margaret Moses 14 May 1648

William - Baptised St. Margaret Moses 5 July 1649

Antony - Baptised St. Margaret Moses 27 August 1650

Ferdinando - Baptised St. Margaret Moses 9 November 1651

Henry - Baptised St. Margaret Moses 2 January 1652-3

Alice - Baptised St. Lawrence Jewry 19 February 1654-5

Isaac & Rebeckah (twins?) - Baptised St. Margaret Moses 26 April 1656

Rebeckah - Buried St. Margaret Moses 22 March 1656-7

Mary & John Townshend - Marriage St. Margaret Moses 29 August 1660

Robert Orme, salter & Anne Snith(sic) da. of Robert Smith, grocer, banns published 2, 9,16 December 1655 at St. Margaret Moses.

98. In the PCC copy of Henry Smith's will he leaves £10 to a niece Ipsley. This is possibly a mis-transcription of Bagley, though this may in fact may refer either to a niece 'of' Ipsley, a village near Redditch, Worcestershire, or to a niece married to a man of the Ipsley family from that area.

99. London Marriage Licences Vol. II 1660-1700, p.11 shows the following entry: January 26 1664-5 Bagley. Edw. & Smith. Margarett. A marriage between an Edward Bagly (sic) and Margarett Smith on 1 February 1664-5 at St. Bartholomew the Less, London is recorded in the parish record held in the archives of St. Bartholomew Hospital, London. It has not proved possible to confirm or deny whether this Edward Bagley was the pewterer; no Banns are extant for this period and no additional information on the couple is recorded in the marriage entry.

99a. See Pewterer's Company Guildhall GL ms.22183/1, also available on microfilm, No. 1537658 from Family History Centres in the United Kingdom. These documents contain references to the bond taken out by Bagley with Henry Perris (Guild Master) for £15, this being Bagley's "fine" for refusing the office of Steward, and subsequent correspondence between Bagley and Thomas Tarlton regarding its repayment, Bagley being in Dublin at the time. Information supplied by Dr. Ron Homer.

100. This entry and remark 'now in Ireland' in Pewterers of London 1600 - 1900 by Carl Ricketts, published by the Pewter Society, January 2001 ISBN 0-9538887-0-3 had been thought as possibly referring to Bagley's apprentice Owen Buckingham. It is now evident from Dr. Homer's that this clearly refers to Edward Bagley, as he was in Dublin at the time of the correspondence between him and Tarlton. In reply to Tarlton, Bagley states that he intends to be in London by the Spring of 1680 and to settle the bond on his return. Why Bagley was in London is not clear, as the Pewterer's Company interests in Ireland were in Londonderry. His visit may have been on personal business.

100a. Pewterers' Company records show Edward Bagley admitted to the Livery in 1671-2, having paid his £20 'fine' in full. Often this was paid in 2 annual instalments, suggesting that Bagley was not financially distressed at that time.

101. Charlotte Stopes refers to an Administration for an intestate Edward Bagley in 1686. This is at odds with the Pewterers' record of his grant of relief in 1703. Letters Edward Bagley the pewterer wrote to the Pewterer's Company from Dublin in 1678 and 1679 bear his distinctive signature, which is exactly matched by the signature on the 1675 conveyance document for New Place held by the SBT.

Whilst we are left, at least for the present, with the unresolved fate of Edward Bagley, Edward's uncle, Dudley Bagley, provides, through his descendants, the most relevant clue to the continuing relationship between the Bagleys and the successors to the lordship of Dudley. The marriage of Edward Sutton's granddaughter, Frances, to Humble Ward resulted in the lordship of Dudley passing to their descendants, and the Bagley association to the new Dudley succession continued through the marriage of Dudley Bagley's son, John Bagley to Mary Ashenhurst. The Ashenhursts had close links to the Lord Ward and also to the Harringtons, while the Bagleys reflected their connection to these families in the names they gave to subsequent generations of Bagley children. To see how the Bagley association to the new Dudley succession continued requires probing more deeply into the Ashenhursts.

The Ashenhurst family:

Dudley Bagley, son of 'old' John Bagley, younger brother of Edward and uncle of Edward Bagley the residuary legatee of Lady Bernard's will, died in 1685 (101). He left the bulk of his estate, including all his land in Sedgley and Dudley to his only son, John and after his demise, to his grandson, Dudley Ashenhurst Bagley. Dudley's son, John Bagley had married Mary Ashenhurst, a daughter of Edmund Ashenhurst of Old Park, Sedgley. Old or 'Ould' Park (102) had been in the tenure or supervision of 'old' John Bagley earlier in the 17th Century, but is not specifically mentioned as part of the inheritance he passed on to his son, Dudley (103). It is probable that he had a lease on Old Park, rather than its ownership, which most likely had remained in the hands of the Lord Dudley, Edward Sutton and after his death, passed into the ownership of his granddaughter Frances, Baroness Dudley and her husband, Humble Ward. The poor state of Edward Sutton's finances were rescued temporarily by the marriage of his granddaughter to Humble Ward whose father William, a wealthy London goldsmith and jeweller to Charles I, had taken over much of Lord Dudley's estate under a mortgage deed of 1628 (104), no doubt a part of the marriage settlement. However, Dudley Castle and the Wren's Nest were specifically excluded from the lands and property mortgaged. Another, earlier document, reveals that at the Wren's Nest there was a mansion within Old Park (105). Today the Wren's Nest Nature Reserve is a site of special scientific interest adjoining Old Park, which itself has became housing during the first half of the twentieth century.

101. See PROB 11/380 Image ref: 573/17366 for the will of Dudley Bagley, dated 12 May 1685 and proved 30 September 1685.

102. Whilst there were at least two 'Old Parks' in the Dudley locality, it appears most likely that the Old Park referred to by Edmund Ashenhurst and John Bagley was the location to the east of the Wren's Nest Hill, near Sedgley.

103. See PROB 11/205 Image ref: 269/218 for the will of John Bagley, dated 3 May 1648 and proved 8 August 1648.

104. Mortgage deed held by the Dudley Archives & Local History Service (DALHS).

105. A copy grant dated 1558 for a mansion called Wren's Nest held by the DALHS.

By 1669 Old Park was held by Edmund Ashenhurst as, in his will (106), he refers to the lease of Old Park, which, whilst leaving him all his personal estate, he withholds from his son-in-law John Bagley. His lands he divides between his five elder daughters, but the destiny of the Old Park lease is unclear. It could be that this was to pass to his youngest daughter, Rebecca whom he also made sole executrix of his will, or that with Edmund's death the lease may have reverted to Frances and Humble Ward. Edmund's only son Francis, although mentioned, is not a beneficiary of the will. The marriage of John Bagley to Mary Ashenhurst gives an indication of the improved social standing of the Bagley family locally that had seemingly taken place during the 17th Century. The Ashenhurst connection may also point to an ongoing relationship with the Sutton line and the lordship of Dudley, which now passed through Frances Sutton's marriage into the Ward family.

106. See PROB 11/331 Image ref: 522/495 for the will of Edmund Ashenhurst, dated 29 November 1669 and proved 18 December 1669.

The Ashenhursts had been resident at Ashenhurst, near Bradnop (107) in Staffordshire, since the 13th Century when Henry of Ashenhurst held an estate there. In the 1583 Visitation by Robert Glover, Somerset Herald, the Ashenhurst pedigree was recorded, but John Ashenhurst was publicly disclaimed, along with others at Uttoxeter, as having 'made noe proofe of theire Gentry, bearing of Armes, and yet, before tyme, had called and written themselves Gentlemen', and in the Herald's original documentation, the pedigree was crossed out (108). The fortunes of the family seem to have improved under John Ashenhurst's son and heir, Rauf or Ralph Ashenhurst, especially through his marriage circa 1589 to Elizabeth Beard, daughter and heir of William Beard of Beard (109) in Derbyshire. In 1625 Randle Ashenhurst of Ashenhurst, Esq. was called to make his composition for Knighthood on the accession of Charles 1. His response was to 'saith that he had compounded in Darbyshire, and hath there paid five and twenty pounds for his composition' (110). As a Justice of the High Peak Hundred of Derbyshire in 1631, he was charged with enforcing controls to alleviate the effects of the shortage of grain and limit exploitation of prices, which threatened famine among the poor (111). During the Civil War he sided with Parliament, being a member of the committee for Commonwealth Assessments for Derbyshire in 1644 (112) and he continued to act in his capacity as a Justice of the Peace throughout the Commonwealth period (113).

107. Bradnop is 2 miles south east of Leek on the A523. Ashenhurst Hall, the family seat was demolished in 1954. Ashenhurst Hall Farm was built near the former hall in 1981.

108. See The Visitation of Staffordshire A.D.1583 Vol. III p.15 & p.35. Edited by the William Salt Archaeological Society 1882, published by Harrison and Sons, London.

109. Beard, a hamlet situated in the High Peak District of Derbyshire. Beard Hall was a house of 8 hearths owned by Mr. Ashenhurst in the Hearth Tax Assessments for the High Peak Hundred in 1662. See PRO E 179/94/378 Exchequer duplicate of assessment for Michaelmas 1662. See also The Wolley Manuscripts, Derbyshire: Ashenhurst of Glossop Dale 6669 ff.103-111 pedigree of, with others.

110. See Collections for a History of Staffordshire Vol. II Part 2 p.19, edited the William Salt Archaeological Society.

111. See Three Centuries of Derbyshire Annals as illustrated by the records of the Quarter Sessions of the County of Derby from Queen Elizabeth to Queen Victoria Vol.11 p.191.

112. Ibid., Vol. 11 p.115.

113. Ibid., Vol. 1 pp. 100-101.

Edmund Ashenhurst's precise relationship to the Ashenhursts of Ashenhurst and Beard has not been identified, though this was certainly close, as subsequent events demonstrate. Also, his lease of Old Park, Sedgley may indicate more than a mere business relationship with the Ward family. He is referred to in the baptism entries at St. Edmund, Dudley for his earlier children as of the Wren's Nest (114). At least one child born to Humble Ward and Frances Sutton, Baroness Dudley, is likewise referred to as baptised at Wren's Nest about the same time (115). That Edmund's eldest son is called Humble, doubtless after Lord Ward, is suggestive of the families' involvement with each other and Edmund's witnessing of a 1655 will of Humble Ward (116) suggests that it is likely that he and Lord Ward were genuinely on good terms with one another. The lease of Old Park had traditionally been in the grant of the Lords Dudley, and thus would have been in the hands of Humble and Frances Ward by this time. Its lease being held by Edmund Ashenhurst at the time of his death would also support the view of their relationship being close, though it has to be said that, in the absence of further evidence, it is difficult to be certain of the precise nature of the relationship between the Ashenhursts and the Wards in such turbulent times.

114. See St. Edmund Dudley Baptisms, Marriages & Burials 1540-1646 published by the Birmingham & Midland Society for Genealogy & Heraldry (BMSGH) p.83 & 87. Martha, baptised at St. Edmund, Dudley on 16 October 1637, daughter of Mr Edmund Ashenhurst and his wife Mary of the Wrennes Nest. Humble, baptised at St. Edmund, Dudley on 9 December 1641, son of Mr Edmund Ashenhurst and his wife Mary in the Wrens Nest.

115. Ibid p. 92. Theodosia Ward, daughter to Mr Humble Warde and the Laidie Frances his wife baptised at the Wren's Neest House on 15 May 1642 and recorded in the parish record of St. Edmund, Dudley.

116. See Will of Humble Ward of Himley Hall dated 1 July 1655 - DE2/182. Dudley Archive & Local History Service.

It is apparent that at least some of the Ashenhursts were active on the side of Parliament during the Great Rebellion, and we know that the King honoured Humble Ward in 1644, by his creation as Baron Ward of Birmingham. Equally, Dudley Castle was garrisoned by the King's troops and besieged by Lord Denbigh for Parliament. Although the siege was lifted, after the defeat of the King at Naseby, Parliament ordered the castle sleighted, probably resulting in the Wards ceasing to use the castle as their home (117). The marriage of two of Humble's children (118), including his heir Edward, to children of Sir William Brereton may also be seen as an attempt at shoring up his dynasty. Brereton had been a senior Parliamentarian commander in the northwest of England and it was to him that Dudley Castle surrendered in 1646. These marriages may have been the price demanded to prevent Ward losing everything he and his father had achieved (119).

117. Humble Ward relocated his family to Himley Hall, near Dudley at some point during the Civil War.

118. See Dugdale's 1663-4 Visitation of Staffordshire. Edward Ward married Frances Brereton and Theodosia Ward married Sir Thomas Brereton, eldest son of Sir William Brereton. Dugdale says that this latter marriage was childless and Theodosia afterwards she married a younger son of Sir William.

119. See Himley Hall & Park - A History p.6 by David F. Radmore, published by Dudley Libraries 1996.

Edmund Ashenhurst's only surviving son at the time of his death in 1669 was Francis. Educated at Oxford (120), Francis had a successful ecclesiastic career and was a wealthy man as evidenced by his will at his death in 1704 (121). Through his marriage to Anna Whitehall, sole daughter and heir of John Whitehall of Pipe Ridware, his father-in-law settled the estate of Park Hall at Leigh, Staffordshire upon Francis (122). He also succeeded in purchasing the Beard estate from the Derbyshire Ashenhursts (123), possibly fulfilling a long held ambition of this cadet branch of the family. Through one of his sons, Ward Gray Ashenhurst (124), a physician, he continued the trend of naming children after the Wards, and the use of 'Gray' strongly suggests another link to the Wards in that their daughter Catherine had married John Gray (or Grey), 3rd son of Henry, Earl of Stamford (125) in 1683, the year before Ward Gray's birth.

120. See Alumni Oxonienses 1500-1714. Francis Ashenhurst, son of Edmund of Old Parke, co. Stafford matriculated at St. Mary Hall, 22 March 1661-2, aged 18; created M.A. 20 December 1670; vicar of Wootton Wawen, co. Warwick, 1664; rector of Kingswinford, co. Stafford 1670; master or custos of the Hospital of St. John Baptist, Lichfield, 1673 , preb. of Lichfield 1689, archdeacon of Derby 1689, and preb. of Lincoln 1689. See Foster's Index Ecclesiasticus.

121. See PROB 11/480 Image ref: 216/197 for the will of Francis Ashenhurst, Clerk of Kingswinford, Staffs. Written 14 November 1701 and proved at London 14 February 1704-5.

122. See Deeds of Park Hall and other properties in Leigh Catalogue Ref: D787/2 - date 1675, Staffordshire Record Office. As his part of the marriage settlement, Francis settled the hospital of St. Andrew, Denwall, Cheshire and the glebes and tithes of Barton on his future wife.

123. See PROB 11/480 for the will of Francis Ashenhurst of Kingswinford, written 14 November 1701 and proved at London on 14 February 1705.

124. See Alumni Oxonienses 1500-1714 and Alumni Cantabrigienses from earliest times to 1751. John Gray Ashenhurst matriculated Pembroke College, Oxford 2 June 1701, aged 17. Migrated to Trinity, Cambridge; B.A. 1704-5: M.A. 1708: M.D. 1715: Fellow 1707. See also PROB 11/648 Image ref; 130/128 for his will.

125. See Staffordshire Pedigrees 1664-1700, p.84, pedigree of Lord Ward.

Francis died aged about 60 years in late 1704 and was succeeded by his son James. An entry in the Alumni Oxenicences shows James Ashenhurst, matriculating at Pembroke College 11 March 1699-1700, aged 17, son of Francis of Kingswinford, Stafford, clerk. James and his wife, Hannah (126), had sons James and Edward, both of whom attended Cambridge (127). James and Hannah also had at least one daughter as Anna Ashenhurst is found entering into a marriage settlement in 1749 to James Harrington (128), son and heir of Sir James Harrington of Merton, Oxfordshire (129). Merton is mentioned in the 1613 will of Sir James Harrington of 1st Baronet of Ridlington (130), who had married Anne Bernard (131). Theirs had been a second marriage for both of them and the Merton estate had, as has been noted earlier, been acquired by the Harringtons through the marriage of a daughter of Anne Bernard by first husband, John Doyley, who had his estate there (132).

126. See Staffordshire Record Office ref. D787/7-9 - date: 1724. Post nuptial settlement of James Ashenhurst of Park Hall, esq. and Hannah his wife, daughter of Edward Dixon of Ealand Lodge, Needwood Forest, gent., deceased.

127. James Ashenhurst appears in the Alumni Cantabrigienses as Adm. pens (age 17) at Trinity College, June 13, 1742-3, son of James of Park Hall, Staffs. School Eton. Brother of Francis (1743). Edward Ashenhurst appears in the Alumni Cantabrigienses as Adm. pens (age 16) at Trinity College, October 20, 1743, son of James of Old Park Hall, Staffs. School Eton. Brother of James (1743).

128. James Harrington to become Sir James Harrington, 7th Baronet Ridlington.

129. See Staffordshire Records Office D787/11 Deeds of Park Hall and other properties. Date: 1749. Copy marriage settlement of James, son and heir of Sir James Harington of Merton, Oxfordshire, bart., and Anna daughter of Hannah Ashenhurst of St. Georges, Middlesex, widow and James Ashenhurst deceased.

130. See PROB 11/123 Image ref: 103/96 for the will of Sir James Harrington of Ridlington, written 20 July 1613 and proved at London on 14 February 1614.

131. See The Bernards of Abington and Nether Winchendon by Mrs. Napier Higgins Vol.1 pp. 38-39. Sir James Harrington's first wife was Frances Sapcote, died 1599, daughter of Robert Sapcote of Elton

132. Ibid p.39. Sir James Harrington's eldest son, Edward, married Margarie Doyley, eldest coheiress of John Doyley, Anne Bernard's first husband. Marriage 21 September 1601 at Merton (IGI not extracted)


The seemingly complex series of associations discussed here demonstrates how inter-twined were the various families investigated over a considerable period, and this complexity no doubt accounts for the difficulty previously experienced in determining the relationship of Lady Bernard to her executor Edward Bagley. The fact that John Bernard's aunt had been married to a brother of Theodosia Harrington, wife of Edward Sutton, whose long time mistress, Elizabeth Tomlinson, was so closely connected to the Bagleys, may in itself have been sufficient for Elizabeth Bernard in her will to describe Edward Bagley, her executor, as a 'loveing kinsman', despite the fact that the kinship may have been the wrong side of the blanket. It should be noted that although Edward Sutton had sired his children with Elizabeth Tomlinson outside of wedlock, they were not hidden away and most married into landed gentry families. Also, John Bagley's children had been the legatees of Elizabeth Tomlinson's will (133), such as it was, and Elizabeth Bernard could hardly have been unaware of Bagley's own children and grandchildren, including his grandson, Edward Bagley the pewterer. John Bernard's own cousin, Margery Doyley was married to Theodosia's nephew, Sir Edward Harrington, 2nd Baronet Ridlington, and so the Bernard-Harrington-Sutton connection extended to Elizabeth Nash on her marriage to John Bernard, if it had not already been established through the existing links between the Bernard and Shakespeare families.

133. In her nuncupative will, Elizabeth Tomlinson left various amounts from £30 to 20 shillings to John Bagley's children. See Grazebrook History of Staffordshire,
Vol. X Part II.

The association of the Halls to the Dive and Harrington families in the 16th Century seems sufficiently strong to permit this also to provide an avenue through Elizabeth Bernard's father to the Lord Dudley, especially if the Lincolnshire Halls hypothesis is accepted. The significance of John Hall's medical treatment of Sarah Harrington is open to speculation, but it has to be weighed against the various other associations raised to be dismissed as mere coincidence. Again the choice of New Place as a stopover in Stratford by Henrietta Maria, probably with Sarah among her retinue, raises the question of whether this was not influenced by its being the home of her kinswomen Susanna Hall and Elizabeth Nash.

The mention of Thomas Dighton in Sir John Harrington's will, whilst almost insignificant in some ways, provides continuity in terms of the Job Dighton's later association to Lady Bernard. Again, the possibility that Edward Bagley was married to a niece of her other trustee could provide another avenue, perhaps the strongest, through which what was almost certainly an established relationship, could have matured. The connections examined, both empiric and hypothetic, between the various families makes a substantial case for one, or more likely more, of them being avenues through which Elizabeth Bernard would have known Edward Bagley. It is tempting to see her, some 33 years his senior, and Edward in a relationship similar to wardship, though this must remain purely speculative.

The Ashenhurst and Ward association to the Bagleys continued to be reflected in the naming of subsequent generations descending from John Bagley and Mary Ashenhurst. Their son is named Dudley Ashenhurst Bagley, his three sons are named Jevon Ashenhurst Bagley, Humble Bagley and Ferdinando Ward Bagley; Ferdinando being the name of the last of the male Sutton line, whose premature death (134) had led to the Dudley title passing, through his daughter Frances, to Humble Ward. Jevon Ashenhust Bagley is described among the many entries at Sedgley for his numerous children of two marriages, as a yeoman, and that this was probably the social level at which this branch of the family remained into the 18th Century. Interestingly, Jevon's second wife was Sarah Cave (135) and it will be noted that John Bernard, younger brother of Baldwin, had married a Dorothy Cave (136).

134. Ferdinando Sutton died in November 1621, pre-deceasing his father, Edward Sutton.

135. Sarah Cave married Jevon Ashenhurst Bagley on 21 May 1731 at Lichfield Cathedral. This is shown on the IGI as Tavern Ashenhurst Bagley, which I am convinced is an error.

136. Dorothy Cave, daughter of Francis Cave of Baggrave, co. Leicester. She married secondly Richard Neale of Rugby, Warwickshire. She may have been related to the Cave family of Stanford Hall, near Lutterworth, Leicestershire.

Anna Ashenhurst's marriage in the mid-18th Century to Sir James Harrington, 7th Baronet Ridlington, may be no more than coincidence, though the history of long term relationships between families who knew and married people of their own social standing, would suggest otherwise. By this time the Harringtons were, in Grimble's words, 'slipping into the estimable ranks of the professional classes'.

On beginning this investigation of the relationship between Edward Bagley and Elizabeth Bernard it did not seem likely that some of the great families of England would feature in it. However, the fact that men of relatively low social rank, such as were the Bagleys of Dudley and indeed Shakespeare's own family in the 16th Century, became associated so closely with families of the importance as the Sutton-Dudleys, the Harringtons and others, illustrations the extent to which the old feudal barriers to social advancement changed during the Tudor reigns.

Front of Hall's Croft in Old Stratford
(courtesy John Taplin)
Hall's Croft Garden
(courtesy John Taplin)
Rear of Hall's Croft (courtesy John Taplin)

Finally, I hope that this revision of Edward Bagley's place in the Bagley pedigree and the illustration of his connection to Lady Bernard will add an extra element to the already intriguing story of the Bagley family of Dudley. If it has done nothing else, I believe it has shown the otherwise unrecognised connection by Brinton-Bagley researchers of Lady Bernard's executor to these families. As we have seen in Hansen's investigation of the Brinton-Bagley families, he did not identify young Edward Bagley other than as a kinsman and servant of Dudley Bagley, rather than the citizen and pewterer of London he actually became. Also, the importance of the Harrington family link is, I believe, something not previously appreciated by Shakespearian biographers. Likewise, Grimble in his relating the Harrington story, whilst mentioning Anne Doyley as wife of Sir James Harrington and the mother from her first marriage of the wife of his son and heir, does not connect her Bernard origins to Elizabeth Bernard and her Shakespeare ancestry.

Reader's comments

John Taplin June 2005

I would like to thank the various people who have helped me in the process of producing this article, without committing them to agree with any of my conclusions. In particular, the archivists and staff at the Shakespeare Birthplace Records Office, Stratford upon Avon, particularly Dr Robert Bearman for reading an earlier draft, Dr J F Richardson and, especially, Dr. Ron Homer of the Worshipful Company of Pewterers, Lynn van Rooijen from the Netherlands for her information on the Brinton-Bagley families genealogies, the archivists at St. Bartholomew's Hospital, Dale C Jones of St. Paul, USA for information on his branch of the Smith family from Stratford upon Avon, the archivists at the Dudley Archive & Local History Service Centre, Jacquie Roach of the Brinton Association of America, Linda J. Coate of Columbus, Ohio and Nuala Cockburn for her transcription of Theodosia Dudley's will and details of descendants of Edward Sutton, Theodosia Harrington and Elizabeth Tomlinson.

Dear Sir or Madam,

I was delighted to see that you have a page on the genealogy of the Harington family on the pages of the blackcountrysociety website. May I however point to two errors? The first is that the name is consistently spelled incorrectly on the site – these Haringtons have only one “R” in their name. You can take my word for it (as a Harington) or that of Ian Grimble who wrote a book on the family (The Harington Family). If you think I am nitpicking, it runs in the family – our motto is “Nodo Firmo” which means with a firm knot (See arms below).

The second error is to say that Sir John is “unfortunately” remembered as the inventor of the flush lavatory. I find it not the least unfortunate that my ancestor made such a valuable contribution to society and hygiene. What is unfortunate is that he did not patent it in which case everyone “spending a penny” would doubtless have been of benefit to his descendants today!

Yours sincerely,
Henry Harington

Editors' note - Names are often spelt in more than one way, as historical records will show.

I was fascinated when I found this location on the web. I had no idea that a Bagley had any connection whatsoever to Shakespeare. Who knows if there is any connection other than last name. We have often wondered why, though, that our first ancestor here in the USA was named Orlando Bagley. Perhaps it came from the connection with Shakespeare. The name has come down through the family (and all families that the Bagleys married into: such as Orlando Colby etc).

Anyway this was so much fun to read. It is always great to read things I didn't know before and to wonder. I have had so much trouble trying to make connections back to England although someone contends that Orlando's parents were a William and Katherine (Potter) Bagley and was in Boston in 1650. Of course, the variants on name spellings makes the searches more difficult.

I wish that I had the funds to spend time in England but I do plan to be there in April 2009 to see my favorite Dame - Judi Dench in Madame deSade. Perhaps I will have sometime then to do some more research. Again, I really did enjoy reviewing all this work.

Joanne Concord,