Welcome to Episode #024 of That Shakespeare Life, the podcast that takes you behind the curtain and into the life of William Shakespeare.

I believe that if you want to understand Shakespeare’s plays, then understanding the life of William Shakespeare, the man, is essential. This podcast is designed to help you explore early modern England as Shakespeare would have lived it by interviewing the historians, performers, authors, and experts that know him best.

For years, historians have ruminated on the state of William Shakespeare’s father, John Shakespeare, and the financial troubles that were speculated to have caused the bard to leave Grammar School before graduation around age 14. Without any real substantial evidence to confirm or deny what actually happened to John Shakespeare, we have been left to wonder what, if any impact, these troubles had on the budding young playwright.

Wondering, that is, until now. Dr. Glyn Parry has uncovered new documents that shed light on William Shakespeare’s early life and help us understand how some of Shakespeare’s political views might have formed.

Glyn Parry is a professor of humanities at the University of Roehampton, a fellow of Royal Historical Society, a Member of the American Historical Association, and Member of the History of Science Society. His work focuses on Early modern magic, Shakespeare and his environment, and Tudor government in action.

Glyn joins us today to explore the discovery of these new documents and explain how this new discovery offers an exciting glimpse into how young Shakespeare became the fiery political dramatist we know him as today.

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Dr. Glyn Parry is Professor of Early Modern History, and his research interests focus on England in the sixteenth century, including the financial and economic history of the period. In addition to teaching, Dr. Parry works with the National Archives and is currently co-authoring a book about Shakespeare’s life up to 1592 (when William Shakespeare was 28 years old).
In this episode, I’ll be asking Glyn about :

  • Why do these documents inform us about William Shakespeare’s history if they are records about his father?
  • If the legal action was brought against John by the Crown, why did the government care to this extreme about a glove maker and alderman in a small town like Stratford?
  • Can we tell from Shakespeare’s plays that he was personally impacted by this experience?
  • Is William the reason that john didn’t lose his house?
  • …and more!

Learn more about Glyn and his work at these places:

University of Roehampton
UK’s National Archives
Article from The Guardian on Glyn’s recent find
Cheshire Salt Mines

Books and Resources Glyn Recommends:

Any Patrica B. Royal Navy in the Napoleonic War
Patrick OBrian 21 Book Series

Unless otherwise noted, assume all links to amazon are affiliate links.

The newly found documents that Glyn discovered will be featured on Shakespeare Documented and the UK’s National Archives website as soon as the digitization process is complete. Visit Shakespeare Documented on their website here.

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