Oregon Shakespeare Society

On January 25, 2022, at 4:20 A.M. I John Presco founded the Oregon Shakespeare Society: The OSS.

John Presco

Copyright 2022

I Am Kin To Shakespeare

Posted on December 1, 2018 by Royal Rosamond Press

William Shakespeare’s grandmother, is my great, great, great grandmother, Abigail Shakespeare (Webb)

I implore the children of Elizabeth Rosemond Taylor to take the Rosamond Family DNA test. It was through this test I found Abigail. The Webb family went on crusade and is why they have a cross on their crest. I believe my grandfather picked up this relationship via genetic memory. So did I. I tried to read William’s complete set when I was eleven. Is there a Seer gene? Consider all the actors around Liz Taylor.

John Presco

Copyright 2018

A Rose Amongst The Woodwose

Study Page


John Presco

In my last post I suggested my family tree be studied after I become Governor of Oregon. In reading what I wrote, again, I clicked on a genealogical link and – Eureka! In looking at the genealogy of Sir Thomas Wilson, my alleged grandfather, I read that he was Secretary of the Navy and had died in Stratford on Avon. It said he was a torturer. Disguised as a fellow prisoner, it is alleged Wilson extracted information from Sir Walter Raliegh. However, it is clear Wilson was not a prisoner, but a member of the Privy Council, and known relative of Raleigh sent to get to the truth, and perhaps aid in his writing. Yesterday I found the theory of Deliah Bacon that Raliegh authored the work of Shakespeare with the help of a group of people who sere related. I found that group three years ago and began my novel…

A Rose Amongst The Woodwoses

The Oregon Shakespeare Society will meet several times a year in order to discuss the findings of a investigation into these matters. I made two copyrighted videos this morning to describe the formation and direction of the OSS. See below;

John Presco

President: Oregon Shakespeare Society, and, Royal Rosamond Press

Copyright 2022

“During the reign of King James I, Sir Walter Raleigh was imprisoned in the Bloody Tower for Treason, 1603-1617. Raleigh was pardoned and Letters Patent issued (26th August 1617) enabling him to embark on a private expedition to Guiana in search of gold. Raleigh was betrayed in advance and was ambushed in Guiana. See Raleigh’s letter to Sir Ralph Winwood, Secretary to King James I, dated 17th November 1617. Raleigh’s son, Wat was murdered, and Lawrence Kemish, Raleigh’s dear friend, slew himself. Reduced to failure, Sir Walter Raleigh was committed to The Wardrobe Tower on 10th August,1618. Thomas Wilson joined Raleigh on the 9th September, 1618 posing as a prisoner under strict orders to extract information from Raleigh, reporting to his superiors everything he knew. Both men were moved to the Brick Tower on 14th September and Sir Thomas Wilson was rewarded for his efforts in betraying Raleigh’s trust and was liberated on the 16th October 1618. Sir Walter Raleigh was executed on 29th October, 1618.

I have suspected..

During the early 1570’s he was entrusted with the important but unpleasant task of prosecuting traitors. He spent much of 1571 living in the Tower, preparing the case against the Duke of Norfolk, including racking two of the duke’s servants. He examined a number of those implicated in the Ridolfi plot in 1572, and he was among those sent to examine Mary, Queen of Scots, about her role in the conspiracy. He sat in several Parliaments during the 1560’s and 1570’s, and in 1577 he succeeded his friend Sir Thomas Smith as the queen’s secretary. Though overshadowed by the queen’s other secretary, the redoubtable Walsingham, Wilson remained an active participant on the Privy Council for the rest of his life. Though a client of Leicester and generally a supporter of aggressively Protestant causes (such as active intervention in the Low Countries during the revolution against the Spanish Hapsburgs), he tempered that allegiance with a conciliatory attitude toward Burleigh’s more pacific and conservative policies. Appointed a lay dean of Durham Cathedral in 1579, he died at St. Katherine’s Hospital on 20 May, 1581, and was buried in St. Katherine’s Church.

In 1603 Sir Walter Raleigh, under sentence of death, was brought from trial at Winchester to the Tower of London. The sentence, however, was not executed until fifteen years later, and contrary to custom, Raleigh was not held a close prisoner in a dungeon, but was allowed a certain amount of liberty and recreation.

Scientific visitors came to the Tower to see not only Sir Walter, but also the “Wizard-Earl” of Northumberland, and Raleigh received these visitors (among whom were Bacon, rare Ben Jonson, and Heriot), in a lath and plaster shed in the garden of the Lieutenant of the Tower. In this shed, known as “the Garden House,” Raleigh prepared his famous cordial, to which he gave the name of the “Balsam of Guiana.” This cordial was supposed to cure nearly every ill known to mankind, and contained twenty ingredients, including “pearl, musk, hartshorn, bezoar stone, mint, gentian, mace, red rose, aloes, sassafras, spirits of wine, and vipers’ hearts.’’

Sir Walter, before his imprisonment, had enjoyed a royal patent to make wines, which brought him a large income, but his patent was transferred to Lord Howard of Effingham. “The bread and food taken from me and my children,” said Lady Raleigh to King James, “will never augment my Lord of Effingham’s table, though it famish us.”

Raleigh’s generation, and the next, firmly believed in the efficacy of the balsam of Guiana, and it was drunk by Anne of Denmark, and Charles I. and II. Of Prince Henry it is recorded “after swallowing not more than two drops, he died.” In the Garden House, the “obscure parts of learning” such as astronomy, anatomy, and theology, were discussed in the reek of drugs and chemicals, and an unfriendly critic, Sir Thomas Wilson, who, strange to say, looked upon Sir Walter as an atheist, declared that the shed contained “all the spirits in the world except the Spirit of God.” The Prince said that no man but his father “would keep such a bird in such a cage.” However, the balsam was the means of Raleigh’s undoing, for one day one of his patients, the Countess of Beaumont, came to the Garden House for her favourite medicine, and brought with her as companion Captain Whitelocke, who was engaged in a conspiracy, and James I. affected to believe that Raleigh was also in the plot, and poor Sir Walter was closely confined, so that soon his left side became “numb,” his fingers “curled,” and his tongue “hardened.” His doctor, Peter Turner, after many entreaties, was given permission to remove the palsied man again to the Garden House, where he lived until his release. Then came his journey to South America, his return and imprisonment, and final execution. His last joke was not inappropriate to one who had dabbled in medicine—”Can’st thou give me any plaster to set on a man’s head when it is off?”

Shakespeare authorship theory[edit]

Delia Bacon withdrew from public life and lecturing in early 1845, and began to research intensively a theory she was developing over the authorship of Shakespeare’s works, which she mapped out by October of that year. However a decade was to pass before her book The Philosophy of the Plays of Shakespeare Unfolded (1857) was to see print. During these years she was befriended by Nathaniel Hawthorne and Ralph Waldo Emerson, and, after securing sponsorship to travel for research to England, in May 1853, met with Thomas Carlyle, who though intrigued, shrieked loudly as he heard her exposition.[5]

Hic Jacet – Sir Walter Raleigh (1552-1618) – Life in Elizabethan Times – Barbara O’Sullivan – Google Books

Delia Bacon – Wikipedia

Shakespeare and the Catholic Religion: Enos, Carol Curt: 9780805947687: Amazon.com: Books

The Christian Shakespeare: Shakespeare and Queen Catherine Parr

Demosthenes was born in 384 BC, during the last year of the 98th Olympiad or the first year of the 99th Olympiad.[4] His father—also named Demosthenes—who belonged to the local tribe, Pandionis, and lived in the deme of Paeania[5] in the Athenian countryside, was a wealthy sword-maker.[6] Aeschines, Demosthenes’ greatest political rival, maintained that his mother Kleoboule was a Scythian by blood[7]—an allegation disputed by some modern scholars.[a] Demosthenes was orphaned at the age of seven. Although his father provided for him well, his legal guardians, Aphobus, Demophon and Therippides, mishandled his inheritance.[8]

privy council is a body that advises the head of state of a state, typically, but not always, in the context of a monarchic government. The word “privy” means “private” or “secret”; thus, a privy council was originally a committee of the monarch’s closest advisors to give confidential advice on state affairs.

Demosthenes – Wikipedia

Wilson and Webb

Posted on March 5, 2019 by Royal Rosamond Press

My kindred, William Wilson, and his brother-in-law, Erasmus Webb may have known William Shakespeare – intimately! Anne (Webb) Wilson lived at Windsor Castle. Her brother, Erasmus, was the Archdeacon of Buckingham Palace. Are we looking at the authors of Shakespeare’s plays? Why has this family lineage been buried, and all but forgotten? These are extremely educated men, whose wives would be at court. They would know all the intrigues, and, hear confessions. They would know the merry wives of Windsor. People would bring them all the gossip that is the bane of the church, aimed at bringing other down as they vie for royal favors.

This bloodline flows from Bohemia and has seeded several major religions. This is the ‘Hidden Seed’. The Webb family came to America. In the chart below we see that Sir Alexander Webb married Mary Wilson, the daughter of Thomas Wilson MP, the grandfather (or Great Uncle?) of Reverend John Wilson of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, that the Webb family played a large role in. Shakespeare’s line, died out, and thus, this is his American Seed.

Statesman, Thomas Wilson MP, was a stellar scholar and author who could have prepared the way for the writing of Shakespeare. Why not put Alexander Webb is the race? Surely the Webb-Wilson family saw themselves as the family-power behind the Church and Throne, and in need of new forum.

“Wilson belongs to the second rank of Elizabethan statesmen. An able linguist, he had numerous acquaintances among Spanish and Flemish officials in the Netherlands, and, in a wider context, his range of friends included Leicester, Burghley, Hatton, Davison, Sir Francis Knollys, Paulet, Walsingham, William of Orange, Jewel, Parker, Parkhurst, Gresham, Ludovico Guiccardini and Arias Montano.”



John Presco

Copyright 2019



ER78/7Click image to enlarge

1234TAGS: Hall, John, 1575-1635Hall, Susanna Shakespeare, 1583-1649Shakespeare’s familyManuscript1630s17th-century legaciesShakespeare Birthplace TrustDOI:doi.org/10.37078/449

Institution Rights and Document Citation

The grant shown here needs to be read in the context of a fierce dispute between the zealous Puritan vicar of Holy Trinity Church, Thomas Wilson, and the more moderate majority of the Stratford Corporation. Ostensibly, this dispute concerned an increase in Wilson’s stipend, paid to him out of the income the Corporation enjoyed from its ownership of a large portion of the parish tithes. (For the origin of this responsibility, please refer to Ralph Hubaud’s 1605 assignment of a lease of a share in the Stratford Tithes to William Shakespeare.) However, it also reflected a wider concern about Wilson’s increasingly Puritan agenda and the quarrel soon overflowed into reserved seating arrangements in the parish church of Holy Trinity. This was a flashpoint in Stratford as elsewhere in an age when this issue was closely associated with social standing in the local community.

One of Vicar Wilson’s strongest supporters, at least in his claim for a higher stipend, was John Hall, Shakespeare’s son-in-law, who from July 1632 had also been serving the Corporation as a capital burgess. This inevitably led Hall into conflict with the less zealous majority of the Corporation, and on October 9, 1633 he was expelled, by nineteen votes to three, “for wilful breach of orders, sundry other misdemeanours and continual disturbances.”

It was in the middle of this controversy that on April 24, 1633 John Thornborough, bishop of Worcester, confirmed a particular seat to Hall and his family. The document begins with a statement that Wilson, and three of his churchwardens, had recently repaired or set up “a seate or pewe in the bodye of the said Church adioyneinge unto the seat of William Combes esquire and unto an Arch on the north side” and then granted it, “for a kneeling place for hearinge divine service and Sermons” to John Hall and his wife and family. However, this had clearly caused some bad feeling in the community, leading Hall to seek the approval and confirmation of the arrangement from the bishop of Worcester, John Thornborough, in whose diocese Stratford then lay. Thornborough was then in his mid-eighties and, as shown here, signs in a shaky hand.

The location of the new or repaired pew, adjoining that of the local esquire, William Combe, reflected the Hall family’s social status. However, it led to direct conflict with the Corporation who claimed that Hall and his family already had a large family pew “on the other syde the Church neare the pulpitt” (presumably linked to their ownership of New Place) and that the repaired pew now claimed by Hall had belonged “time out of mynde” to the aldermen’s wives. This dispute was doubtless a factor in the “disturbances” which led to Hall’s expulsion from the Corporation six months later.

The quarrel over the pew dragged on for over two years: at one point a local joiner was even presented by the churchwardens for pulling it down (ER 1/1/95; BRU 15/13/103, fol. 7v). The matter was eventually resolved by a ruling of June 1635 whereby the seat was confirmed to the use of Hall and his wife, their daughter, Elizabeth and her husband, Thomas Nash, and also “Mrs Woodward and Mrs Lane … for them to sitt and kneele in, yf the same seate were large ynough for them.” If this proved too small then the Halls were to return to the other seat near the pulpit (BRU 15/13/96).

A Rose Among The Woodwoses

Posted on April 1, 2019 by Royal Rosamond Press

A Rose Among The Woodwoses


John Gregory Presco

Copyright 2019

Chapter One


Lady Mary Wilson Webb, inherited the job of  keeping the fire lit below deck. All those who had gone before her, had failed. The fire tendered in a square iron tray, held together with rivets, then filled with sand, had become the altar of the Pilgrims. It, and the black pot hung on a trident, was watched most of the day by the lost souls packed under the creaking and leaking timbers. Moving about was almost impossible. Everyone was frozen in their place. But for the brave excursions above, met by some tempest, and cold sea spray, the wayfarers relieved themselves in a vile oaken bucket that was too close for comfort.  Bible’s were taken out from under pillows when a lady went to tithe the Oaken Monster as they called it. Reading verses aloud, was the polite thing to do.

Tiring of the gory and bloody Biblical tales, that increased the Cargo Dread, the men brought out their bawdy jokes that they had memorized and gathered since their school days. The women pretended they ne’er heard a one. But, that guarded secret was soon out. And, a new kind of boredom set in. It was dreadful. Ones farting was amplified in the silence. The women ran out of perfume. Everyone got to know what a women really smelled like, including the women! Everyone was grateful for the occasional flying fish that was thrown in the pot, to cook all day, like temple incense.

The men ran out of jokes. Nothing was ever going to be funny again. The art of Mary keeping the fire alive was the highlight of their existence. You could hear the beards growing. In the glow of the red coals, the women felt like roses among the Woodwoses.

Two weeks at sea and another three weeks to go. Something had to be done.

“I brought my father’s book on rhetoric with me. Does anyone know it? My kindred William Shakespeare read it and was quite impressed. I saw him perform at the Rose theatre, on several occasions. He and my father were friends. They used to go the Bearbait Theatre and sit among the Protestant Spies. There were lawyers of the Temple present. Thomas called them the Roman Senators. There were horrific scenes of animal torture going on in the round arena. It was like the Roman Coliseum. I know enough about rhetoric where I can teach you. It will make the time fly.”

“For God’s sake, Mary. Why have you withheld this book from us!”

“My father was taken prisoner by the Inquisition, put in prison, and tortured. His books were ruled heretical, I don’t want to instigate spurious opinions about me and my father, for, I have nowhere to go to get away from you if you start in on that!”

“In Jesus’ name, relieve of us of our excruciating tedium! We are dying here Mary! Don’t be cruel!”

“My tutor taught my brother and I rhetoric from your father’s book. We can have a rhetorical argument about having Mary produce it for our salvation from our mind-numbing malaise!”

“Good idea! But, it is fair we all receive a sample. Is it not?”

“Would you care to elaborate?”



On March 31, 2019 I found Thomas Wilson’s book ‘The Art of Rhetorike’. There are several spellings. After reading forty, pages I believe my theory that Thomas Wilson had a hand in writing some of William Shakespeare’s’ plays, if not all, is sound.

On this day, I copyright my idea that I arrived at with my battle I am having with Meg Whitman, and the alleged owners of  the California Barrel Company, over ownership of this company name that once made barrels. I spoke with an attorney. I am critical of Quibi. To discover Apple TV is being backed by Steven Spielberg, and a bevy of Hollywood talent, is ironic, for Elizabeth Rosemond Taylor and Richard Burton are in my Rosamond Family Tree, as is, Sir Thomas Wilson. I do not want Shakespeare to fall into either capitalist camps, because William made Acting more than an Art Form, as I will show in my novel. Then there is the question……..

Who owns America – and why?

I will give my reader a good example of how Rhetoric fits well with Shakespeare’s’ work. Peter G. Platt has written one of the finest essays I have read. I am envious.


Then, there is this illustration. It took my breath away. Do you know who he is, the man leading noble women with chains linked to the tip of his tongue. He is my hero.

What really got my interest is this line……….

“And God save the Queen’s majesty.”

Where were Britain’s great Rhetorical Men when the Brexit issue came up?



Shakespeare and Queen Catherine Parr

Carol Curt Enos on Shakespeare and Queen Catherine Parr
Shakespeare and Queen Catherine Parr
Carol Curt Enos

                                    Shakespeare and Queen Catherine Parr
            Who would suspect that the country bumpkin from Stratford on Avon would have any connection with a queen of England?  An intriguing web of relationships involving the Neville, Arden, Webb, and Green families reveals several connections between William Shakespeare’s family and Catherine Parr, last queen of Henry VIII.
            Catherine Parr, born in 1512 or 1514 either at Kendal Castle, Kendal, Cumberland, or at Blackfriars in London, represents the religious controversy initiated by Henry VIII’s break with the Pope in 1534.  She was probably raised as Catholic by her mother, her father having died when Catherine was five years old.  She ultimately became devotedly Protestant and wrote two books on religion, Prayers or Meditations and The Lamentation of a Sinner, published while she was queen.  She was closely related to the Throckmortons of Coughton Court, a militant Catholic family that engaged in nearly every plot against Queen Elizabeth and James I.  Catherine’s determined Protestantism after 1543 was at odds with the Throckmorton side of her family as well as with the staunchly Catholic Ardens of Park Hall.
            Catherine’s second husband, Sir John Neville, 3rd Lord Latimer, was also a supporter of the Catholic Church.  He had opposed the annulment of Henry VIII’s marriage to Catherine of Aragon, and in 1536 joined, perhaps reluctantly, in ‘The Pilgrimage of Grace,’ a Yorkshire uprising against Henry’s break with the Pope as well as social issues.  Lord Neville and Catherine then spent the next seven years, until his death, in disgrace and in some danger.  At one point, Catherine and Sir John’s children of a prior marriage were held hostage and their house was ransacked.  Physical and emotional strain over the penalties  Catholics endured  may have turned her from the Catholic faith in which she was raised in favor of the safety of the new state religion.
            After her marriage to Henry VIII in 1543, Catherine became embroiled in the controversy concerning the right of everyone to read and study the Bible.   She favored this right, a Protestant position, but conservatives in the Church of England, still essentially Catholic in Sacraments and ritual, warned that citizens would grow to think for themselves, lessening Henry VIII’s control.  She was accused of heresy, and Henry went so far as to sign the warrant for her arrest, but she managed to convince him that she was only trying to divert him from his physical pain with her theological arguments.
            To some of her very Catholic relatives, she surely was a heretic according to their  concept of the ‘true’ Catholic church as opposed to Henry’s new reformed church.  These family members (young William Shakespeare among them?) must have viewed her with a mixture of pride that their family could boast of their Queen of England, and shame at her turning away from the Catholic faith. 
PARR’S CONNECTION to MARY ARDEN through the NEVILLES            Catherine Parr ruled as Queen of England and Ireland from 1543 to 1547.  Her first husband, Sir Edward Burgh, died in 1533.  In 1534, she married, as his third wife, Sir John Neville 3rd Baron Latimer (1493–1543), her father’s second cousin.  He was a descendant of Ralph, 1st Earl of Westmorland, by his second wife Joan Beaufort, the daughter of John of Gaunt.  The Neville connection then leads to Shakespeare’s family, the Ardens of Park Hall. Sir John had a brother, William Neville (1497-?), who married Elizabeth Greville (1501-1600).  This William and Elizabeth Neville were the parents of Richard Neville (1523-1590) who married Barbara Arden (1535-?), daughter of William Arden (1509-1545) and Elizabeth Conway.  Barbara Arden was the sister of Edward Arden (1542-1583) of Park Hall who was executed as a participant in the Somerville Plot instigated by his son-in-law, John Somerville.  Barbara Arden and Richard Neville were the parents of Edmund Neville (1555-1629) who claimed the hereditary title of Earl of Westmorland.  Sir John Neville and Catherine Parr, as aunt and uncle of Richard Neville, probably knew Richard and his future wife, Barbara Arden.  Mary Arden (1537-1608) was second cousin to Barbara Arden and Edward Arden, so it is probable that Shakespeare’s mother was acquainted with all of these relatives:  Barbara and Edward Arden, John Neville and Catherine Parr, and their nephew, Edmund Neville, purported Earl of Westmorland.  These relationships are outlined in the following table:
ARDEN                                                                       NEVILLEWalter Arden (1437-1502)            John Arden (1467-1526)                        Thomas Arden (? 1563)                                                    William Neville (1497-1545) = Elizabeth                                                                     |                                                                               |               Greville.  William, brother                                    William Arden  (d 1545) = Elizabeth Conway          |           of John Neville 1493-1543,                                                                    |                                                                               |               John Neville = Catherine                                                                    |                                                                                |                               Parr in 1533.                                                Barbara Arden (b 1535) = Richard Neville (1523-1590)Edmund Neville (1555-1629)                                                Edward Arden (1533-1583)                        John Arden (1496-1526)                Thomas 1469-1546)                                Robert Arden (abt 1497-1556)                                                Mary Arden Shakespeare (1537-1608)                                                                William Shakespeare (1564-1616)                William Arden (about 1479)                Robert Arden about (1475-?)                                                                (Numerous sources.  Most can be found in Tudor.com)
            If John Neville and his wife, Catherine Parr visited John’s nephew, Richard Neville, Richard would have been between 10 years of age when they married and around 20 when John Neville’s died in 1543.  Barbara Arden, Mary Arden’s cousin, was around 8 years old at this time, and Mary Arden, Shakespeare’s mother, would have been around 6 years old.   Even if they had not encountered each other personally, the families would have been aware of the relationships, and Mary Arden Shakespeare’s family were probably proud of their royal relative although they differed on religion.

            As noted, Shakespeare’s mother was distantly related to the very Catholic Throckmortons of Coughton Court via Edward Arden of Park Hall’s marriage to Mary Throckmorton (1543-1643).  Catherine Parr was a descendant of the Throckmortons through her mother, Maud (also known as Matilda) Green Parr (1492-1531), granddaughter of Sir Thomas Green and Matilda Throckmorton (1425- 1496).  Matilda was the sister of Thomas Throckmorton (1412-1472) of Coughton Court, who was both the great, great grandfather of Mary Throckmorton, Edward Arden’s wife, and the great uncle of Catherine Parr.  Catherine Parr’s great grandmother, Maude Throckmorton, was the daughter of Sir John Throckmorton and Eleanor de la Spine, Heiress of Coughton.  The relationship among these families is very difficult to untangle and probably more difficult to decipher from the evidence presented here.   However, the families would probably have understood and recognized the relationships.  The diagram below may add clarity.  These families clung to their Catholic faith and had to confront the political/religious conflict that began in Queen Catherine Parr’s day. 
[The first listing below:  Thomas Green 1369 to Matilda Throckmorton is questionable.  It cannot be verified in other sources.  This came from https://www.geni.com/people/Sir-Thomas-Green-Kt/6000000002916812069.]
Thomas Green (1369-1417) = 1) Ela Malorie 2) Matilda Throckmorton (est 1339-1399) 3) Mary                                                                                                                  Talbot (1383-1433)
            Sir Thomas Green (1400-1462) = 1) Lucy Zouche, 2) Philippa Ferrers, 3) Marina                                                                                                                 Bellers (c 1414-1489)            (Sir Thomas was bro of Margaret Arderne (d 1412) = Richard Arderne (1382-1412)                        Sir Thomas Green (1421-1462) = Maud (also known as Matilda) Throckmorton                                                                           (1425-1496) (Sister of Tho Throckmorton 1412-1472)                                    Sir Thomas Green, Jr (1461-1506) = Tira Heaton and Lady Joan Fogge                                                Maude Green (1495-1531) = Sir Thomas Parr (1484-1517)                                                (Lady in waiting on Queen Katherine of Aragon)                                                            Catherine Parr (1512-1548)
Throckmorton            Sir Thomas Throckmorton (1412-1472) = Margaret Olney            (Bro of Maud Greene, (see above) wife of Sir Tho Green and great uncle of Catherine Parr.)                        Robert Throckmorton (1451- 1518) = Elizabeth Baynan and Catherine Marrow                                    George Throckmorton (1489- 1552) = Katherine Vaux                                                 Robert Throckmorton (1513-1581)= Muriel Berkley                                                            Mary Throckmorton (1531-1559) = Edward Arden
QUEEN CATHERINE’S CONNECTION to the WEBBS, ARDENS, AND SHAKESPEARES            Catherine Parr had a “trusty and well beloved servant, Sir Henry Alexander Webbe (1510-1544), gentleman, usher of her privy chamber” whose lands had been confiscated by Henry VIII during the suppression of the monasteries .  A letter Catherine Parr sent her council asking them to grant her friend, Sir Henry Webb, the lands and estates still exists.  He was also knighted by Queen Catherine and granted a Coat of Arms (Parr.  Complete Works and Correspondence, p 57).
            Sir Henry was born 11 May 1510, the son of Sir John Alexander Webb, Jr. (1484-1516) and Margaret Arden Webb.  His sister Abigail married Richard Shakespeare, and they were the parents of John Shakespeare, father of William Shakespeare.  Sir Henry married cousins, Margaret Arden and Grace Arden.  He and Margaret were the parents of Sir Alexander Webb, Jr., Kt (1559-1629), who immigrated to America.  He then married the cousin of his wife Margaret, Grace Webb, and they were the parents of Agnes O’Dell Hill Webb who married Robert Arden of Wilmcote (1506-1556), William Shakespeare’s grandfather.  Agnes became stepmother (although they were cousins) to Shakespeare’s mother after Robert Arden’s first wife, Mary Webb (1512-1550) died.  Little information is available about the Webb family, but because of their intricate intermarriage with the Catholic Ardens and Shakespeares, it is probably that they, too, were Catholic.  The Arden, Webbe, and Shakespeare families were very inbred as can be seen in the diagram of WEBBE/ARDEN/SHAKESPEARE families below.

            Henry Alexander Webbe even has a tenuous link with Shakespeare’s life in London:  through theater associate James Burbage and with Shakespeare’s patron and relative, Henry Wriothesley.  In 1922, Charlotte Stopes identified a link between Henry Wriothesley, Burbage and the Theatre, Burbage’s first theatre, built in 1576, and Susan Webbe, daughter of Sir Henry Alexander Webbe:  A close friend of Henry Wriothesley’s, the Earl of Rutland, [Roger Manners, 5th Earl of Rutland (1576-1612)] had a town house on part of the old Holywell Priory Estates, of which the other part, granted to Henry Webbe, was eventually sold to Gyles Alleyn and let to James Burbage, who was then in trouble with his landlord (Stopes, The Third Earl of Southampton, 93).  Stopes identified Susan’s father, Sir Henry Alexander Webbe (1510-154), as “a servant of Queen Katharine” (Stopes, The Third Earl . . .486).  After Sir Henry died in 1544, his daughter, Susan, and her husband George Peckham, inherited his property in the old Holywell Priory.  George Peckham was a nephew of Thomas Wriothesley (1505- 1550) who opposed Queen Catherine Parr’s protestant theology.  Thomas was the grandfather of Henry Wriothesley, 3rd Earl of Southampton (1573-1624), friend and patron of Shakespeare.  The year after Sir Henry died, his daughter Susan and her husband George Peckham mortgaged the property to Christopher Alleyn and Alleyn’s son Giles.  Susan died in childbirth in December 1555, and after her death, George became a leader in an enterprise to allow Catholics to immigrate to the New World to avoid penalties imposed by the Elizabethan government.  In 1574 he joined with Sir Humphrey Gilbert in exploring and planning the settlement of Newfoundland.  Eventually, he was imprisoned in England as a recusant and died in 1608.  His attempts to relieve the repression of Catholics in England suggest that he, too, was a Catholic.  The perilous voyages of these explorers were precursors of the 1609 voyage that ran aground in the Bermudas and is thought to figure in Shakespeare’s Tempest.
             It seems more than coincidental that a member of Shakespeare’s Arden/Webbe family participated in the transfer of property for the building of the Theater.  Recall that Sir Henry’s wife was Grace Arden.  To take this a step further, because of Sir Henry Webbe’s close work association with Catherine Parr, it is probable that his wife, Grace Arden, and some of Grace’s family would have been acquainted with the future queen.  These Ardens, Sir Henry Alexander Webbe, and James Burbage were all citizens of Stratford on Avon who were well acquainted with each other.
            Shakespeare’s seeming knowledge of the lifestyle of the upper class is often questioned and regarded as incongruous with his somewhat lowly background in Stratford.  The families named here as connections to Shakespeare’s family were anything but lowly.
            A very brief summary of the Neville family’s lengthy history comes from Wikipedia: “The House of Neville (also the House of Nevill) is a noble house of early medieval origin, which was a leading force in English politics in the later Middle Ages. The family became one of the two major powers in northern England along with the House of Percy and played a central role in the Wars of the Roses.”  
Meg MeGath delineated the Green family’s many ties to past nobility:
            “Too name a few of the ancestors of Lord Green:”

  • Edward I and Eleanor of Castile, John I of England
  • Henry II of England
  • Henry I
  • Blanche de Brienne, granddaughter of Berenguela of Leon, Empress of Constantinople, herself the daughter of Alfonso IX, King of Leon and Berengaria of Castile [daughter of Eleanor of England, Queen consort of Castile].
  • Alfred ‘the great’, King of Wessex.[3] 
  • David I of Scotland via Dervorguilla, Lady of Galloway, granddaughter of David of Scotland
  • Llewelyn, Prince of Wales.
  • Louis VI

                        (Adapted from Tudorqueen6.  The Life and Family of Queen Katherine Parr                                                https://tudorqueen6.com/2012/09/24/family-of-queen-katherine-parr-
            Additionally, the Green family history from the 1200’s can be found in The Green Family Genealogy by Lois Case.  It names, among many other notables, Sir Henry de Greene (c 1310-1369), Lord Chief Justice of England and Lord Chancellor of England and largest landholder in England.  Case refers to Queen Catherine Parr as a member of the Green family:  “It might be interesting to add here that Henry VII’s son, Henry VIII, married as his sixth and last wife Lady Catherine of Parr, a daughter of the House of Greene, and she was the only one of Henry’s wives to survive the ordeal!”
            The Throckmorton family traced its history to the 12th century and had two baronetcies in two branches of the family.  The family lineage can be traced in tudorplace.com.  An example of many members of note is Robert Throckmorton of Coughton, born 1451, who was Privy Councilor to Henry VII.  Another was Sir Nicholas Throckmorton, born 1515, sewer in the household of Queen Catherine Parr, his cousin.  After 1544, following the death of Catherine, Sir Nicholas spent some years in the service of Henry VIII’s illegitimate son, the Duke of Richmond, and eventually served as Queen Elizabeth’s ambassador to France from 1559-1562.
            The Webbe family.  Sir Henry Alexander Webbe, servant to Queen Catherine Parr appears to be the most illustrious of the line of Webbes that can be traced back to Henry Webb (1350-1397?).  However, all of those listed from Henry Webb to Abigail Webb share the honor of being ancestors of William Shakespeare, for Abigail Webb, Sir Henry Alexander Webb’s sister, married Richard Shakespeare, and they were the parents of John Shakespeare, father of William (see table below).  They were also related to William’s mother, as detailed above.
                                                                                                            Henry Webb (1350-1397)                                                                                                Geoffrey Webb (1372-?)                                                                                    John Webb (1402?-1455?)                                                                        William Webb (1425-1495?)                                                            John Webb (1450-?)                                                John Alexander Webb (1484-?)                                    Sir Henry Alexander Webb, I (1510-1544)                                    {Abigail Webb (1515-1595)  Sister of Sir Henry                                             John Shakespeare (1535-1601) = Mary Arden (1537-1608)                                          William Shakespeare (1564-1616)                                                  (Adapted from http://fabpedigree.com/s041/f376196.htm)

The following is an additional attempt to explain these complicated relationships:
Sir John Alexander Webb, Knt  (1484-1516) = 1) Margaret Arden (1488-1548) 2) Alice                                                                                                                  Brueton (1450-1490)            Mary Webb (1512-1550) = Robert Arden (1506-1556) Also = Agnes O’Dell/Hill            Abigail Webb (1515-1595) = Richard Shakespeare (1512-1561)                        John Shakespeare (1537-1601) = Mary Arden (1537-1601) D of Mary and Robert                                               Arden (1506-1556)  Sister of Margaret Webb = Sir Henry Alex Webb, I (1510-1544)                                    William Shakespeare            Sir Henry Alexander Webb, I (1510-1544) = 1) Margaret Arden (c 1538-1608) D of                                                  Robert (1506) and Mary Arden (1412).  Their son:  Alexander Webb, Jr (1559-1629)                                                immigrated to America.                                                 Grace Arden (1512- 1539) D of Thos Arden, sister of Robert Arden (1506-                                                            1556).  1st cousin of her husband.                                                                Agnes O’Dell/Hill Webb = Robert Arden (1506) His 2nd wife 
            The Arden family is one of only three families in England that can trace its lineage to before the time of William the Conqueror (James Lees-Milne.  Burke’s Peerage/Burke’s Landed Gentry, volume 1, as cited in Wikipedia, Arden family).  The extensive biographical sketches of earls and noteworthy members of the family can be found in A Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Commoners of Great Britain by John Burke, pp 637-640.
            To judge from the ties the country bumpkin’s parents had with old, powerful families of the upper classes and with Queen Catherine Parr, it should come as no surprise that William Shakespeare understood their demeanor and language well enough to incorporate it convincingly in his plays.  Shakespeare’s family surely was proud to be acquainted with and related to royalty, although for her Catholic relatives, Queen Catherine Parr must have epitomized the religious conflict that was to plague the country until the Roman Catholic Relief Act, passed by Parliament in 1829.
                                                Works Consulted or Cited
Burke, John.  A Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Commoners of Great Britain by John            (See Wikipedia)
Case, Lois.  The Green Family Genealogy  January 20, 2015. Carl J. Case,            Ph.D., ed, 16   Sunburst Lane, Allegany, NY 14706. ccase@sbu.edu

Enos, Carol Curt.  “WEBBE/ARDEN/SHAKESPEARE Families.”  Shakespeare’s Cheshire and            Lancashire Connections and His Tangled Family Web.  Parker, Colorado: Outskirts     Press, 2016.

Fab Pedigree.  http://fabpedigree.com/s041/f376196.htm
Lees-Milne James Burke’s Peerage/Burke’s Landed Gentry, volume 1.  (See Wikipedia)
Parr, Catherine.  Complete Works and Correspondence.  Janel Mueller, ed.  Chicago:  UP,            2011. 
Stopes, Charlotte Carmichael.  The Third Earl of Southampton.  Cambridge UP, 1922.
Tudor.com  The Life and Family of Queen Katherine Parr                                    https://tudorqueen6.com/2012/09/24/family-of-queen-                                                                                                                                 katherine-parr-
Wikipedia, Arden family.  Reference to article by James Lees-Milne in the 18th edition of       Burke’s Peerage/Burke’s Landed Gentry, volume 1.
  Wikipedia     https://tudorqueen6.com/2012/09/24/family-of-queen-katherine-parr-

About Royal Rosamond Press

I am an artist, a writer, and a theologian.
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