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Interrogatories and depositions in Belott v Mountjoy, on behalf of Stephen Belott [including that made by William Shakespeare]
May 11,
1612

REQ 4/1/4/1, folio 1a recto

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REQ 4/1/4/1, folio 1a recto
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Images may be used only for purposes of research, private study or education.  Applications for any other use should be made to The National Archives Image Library, Kew, Richmond, Surrey TW9 4DU, Tel: 020 8392 5225   Fax: 020 8392 5266.

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Creator: Court of Requests
Title: Interrogatories and depositions in Belott v Mountjoy, on behalf of Stephen Belott [including that made by William Shakespeare]
Date: May 11, 1612
Repository: The National Archives, Kew, UK
Call number and opening: REQ 4/1/4/1

Item Creator
Court of Requests
Item Title
Interrogatories and depositions in Belott v Mountjoy, on behalf of Stephen Belott [including that made by William Shakespeare]
Item Date
May 11, 1612
Repository
The National Archives, Kew, UK
Call Number
REQ 4/1/4/1, fol. 1ar

REQ 4/1/4/1, folio 1a recto, signature detail

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REQ 4/1/4/1, folio 1a recto, signature detail
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Institution Rights and Document Citation

 

Images reproduced by permission of The National Archives, London, England.

Terms of use
The National Archives give no warranty as to the accuracy, completeness or fitness for the purpose of the information provided.
Images may be used only for purposes of research, private study or education.  Applications for any other use should be made to The National Archives Image Library, Kew, Richmond, Surrey TW9 4DU, Tel: 020 8392 5225   Fax: 020 8392 5266.

Document-specific information
Creator: Court of Requests
Title: Interrogatories and depositions in Belott v Mountjoy, on behalf of Stephen Belott [including that made by William Shakespeare]
Date: May 11, 1612
Repository: The National Archives, Kew, UK
Call number and opening: REQ 4/1/4/1

Item Creator
Court of Requests
Item Title
Interrogatories and depositions in Belott v Mountjoy, on behalf of Stephen Belott [including that made by William Shakespeare]
Item Date
May 11, 1612
Repository
The National Archives, Kew, UK
Call Number
REQ 4/1/4/1, fol. 1ar

REQ 4/1/4/1, folio 1a verso

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REQ 4/1/4/1, folio 1a verso
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Institution Rights and Document Citation

 

Images reproduced by permission of The National Archives, London, England.

Terms of use
The National Archives give no warranty as to the accuracy, completeness or fitness for the purpose of the information provided.
Images may be used only for purposes of research, private study or education.  Applications for any other use should be made to The National Archives Image Library, Kew, Richmond, Surrey TW9 4DU, Tel: 020 8392 5225   Fax: 020 8392 5266.

Document-specific information
Creator: Court of Requests
Title: Interrogatories and depositions in Belott v Mountjoy, on behalf of Stephen Belott [including that made by William Shakespeare]
Date: May 11, 1612
Repository: The National Archives, Kew, UK
Call number and opening: REQ 4/1/4/1

Item Creator
Court of Requests
Item Title
Interrogatories and depositions in Belott v Mountjoy, on behalf of Stephen Belott [including that made by William Shakespeare]
Item Date
May 11, 1612
Repository
The National Archives, Kew, UK
Call Number
REQ 4/1/4/1, fol. 1av

REQ 4/1/4/1, folio 1b recto

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REQ 4/1/4/1, folio 1b recto
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Institution Rights and Document Citation

 

Images reproduced by permission of The National Archives, London, England.

Terms of use
The National Archives give no warranty as to the accuracy, completeness or fitness for the purpose of the information provided.
Images may be used only for purposes of research, private study or education.  Applications for any other use should be made to The National Archives Image Library, Kew, Richmond, Surrey TW9 4DU, Tel: 020 8392 5225   Fax: 020 8392 5266.

Document-specific information
Creator: Court of Requests
Title: Interrogatories and depositions in Belott v Mountjoy, on behalf of Stephen Belott [including that made by William Shakespeare]
Date: May 11, 1612
Repository: The National Archives, Kew, UK
Call number and opening: REQ 4/1/4/1

Item Creator
Court of Requests
Item Title
Interrogatories and depositions in Belott v Mountjoy, on behalf of Stephen Belott [including that made by William Shakespeare]
Item Date
May 11, 1612
Repository
The National Archives, Kew, UK
Call Number
REQ 4/1/4/1, fol. 1br

REQ 4/1/4/1, folio 1b verso

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REQ 4/1/4/1, folio 1b verso
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Institution Rights and Document Citation

 

Images reproduced by permission of The National Archives, London, England.

Terms of use
The National Archives give no warranty as to the accuracy, completeness or fitness for the purpose of the information provided.
Images may be used only for purposes of research, private study or education.  Applications for any other use should be made to The National Archives Image Library, Kew, Richmond, Surrey TW9 4DU, Tel: 020 8392 5225   Fax: 020 8392 5266.

Document-specific information
Creator: Court of Requests
Title: Interrogatories and depositions in Belott v Mountjoy, on behalf of Stephen Belott [including that made by William Shakespeare]
Date: May 11, 1612
Repository: The National Archives, Kew, UK
Call number and opening: REQ 4/1/4/1

Item Creator
Court of Requests
Item Title
Interrogatories and depositions in Belott v Mountjoy, on behalf of Stephen Belott [including that made by William Shakespeare]
Item Date
May 11, 1612
Repository
The National Archives, Kew, UK
Call Number
REQ 4/1/4/1, fol. 1bv

REQ 4/1/4/1, folio 2 recto

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REQ 4/1/4/1, folio 2 recto
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Institution Rights and Document Citation

 

Images reproduced by permission of The National Archives, London, England.

Terms of use
The National Archives give no warranty as to the accuracy, completeness or fitness for the purpose of the information provided.
Images may be used only for purposes of research, private study or education.  Applications for any other use should be made to The National Archives Image Library, Kew, Richmond, Surrey TW9 4DU, Tel: 020 8392 5225   Fax: 020 8392 5266.

Document-specific information
Creator: Court of Requests
Title: Interrogatories and depositions in Belott v Mountjoy, on behalf of Stephen Belott [including that made by William Shakespeare]
Date: May 11, 1612
Repository: The National Archives, Kew, UK
Call number and opening: REQ 4/1/4/1

Item Creator
Court of Requests
Item Title
Interrogatories and depositions in Belott v Mountjoy, on behalf of Stephen Belott [including that made by William Shakespeare]
Item Date
May 11, 1612
Repository
The National Archives, Kew, UK
Call Number
REQ 4/1/4/1, fol. 2r

REQ 4/1/4/1, folio 3 recto

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REQ 4/1/4/1, folio 3 recto
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Institution Rights and Document Citation

 

Images reproduced by permission of The National Archives, London, England.

Terms of use
The National Archives give no warranty as to the accuracy, completeness or fitness for the purpose of the information provided.
Images may be used only for purposes of research, private study or education.  Applications for any other use should be made to The National Archives Image Library, Kew, Richmond, Surrey TW9 4DU, Tel: 020 8392 5225   Fax: 020 8392 5266.

Document-specific information
Creator: Court of Requests
Title: Interrogatories and depositions in Belott v Mountjoy, on behalf of Stephen Belott [including that made by William Shakespeare]
Date: May 11, 1612
Repository: The National Archives, Kew, UK
Call number and opening: REQ 4/1/4/1

Item Creator
Court of Requests
Item Title
Interrogatories and depositions in Belott v Mountjoy, on behalf of Stephen Belott [including that made by William Shakespeare]
Item Date
May 11, 1612
Repository
The National Archives, Kew, UK
Call Number
REQ 4/1/4/1, fol. 3r

REQ 4/1/4/1, folio 3 recto signature detail

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REQ 4/1/4/1, folio 3 recto signature detail
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Institution Rights and Document Citation

 

Images reproduced by permission of The National Archives, London, England.

Terms of use
The National Archives give no warranty as to the accuracy, completeness or fitness for the purpose of the information provided.
Images may be used only for purposes of research, private study or education.  Applications for any other use should be made to The National Archives Image Library, Kew, Richmond, Surrey TW9 4DU, Tel: 020 8392 5225   Fax: 020 8392 5266.

Document-specific information
Creator: Court of Requests
Title: Interrogatories and depositions in Belott v Mountjoy, on behalf of Stephen Belott [including that made by William Shakespeare]
Date: May 11, 1612
Repository: The National Archives, Kew, UK
Call number and opening: REQ 4/1/4/1

Item Creator
Court of Requests
Item Title
Interrogatories and depositions in Belott v Mountjoy, on behalf of Stephen Belott [including that made by William Shakespeare]
Item Date
May 11, 1612
Repository
The National Archives, Kew, UK
Call Number
REQ 4/1/4/1, fol. 3r

REQ 4/1/4/1, folio 4 recto

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REQ 4/1/4/1, folio 4 recto
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Institution Rights and Document Citation

 

Images reproduced by permission of The National Archives, London, England.

Terms of use
The National Archives give no warranty as to the accuracy, completeness or fitness for the purpose of the information provided.
Images may be used only for purposes of research, private study or education.  Applications for any other use should be made to The National Archives Image Library, Kew, Richmond, Surrey TW9 4DU, Tel: 020 8392 5225   Fax: 020 8392 5266.

Document-specific information
Creator: Court of Requests
Title: Interrogatories and depositions in Belott v Mountjoy, on behalf of Stephen Belott [including that made by William Shakespeare]
Date: May 11, 1612
Repository: The National Archives, Kew, UK
Call number and opening: REQ 4/1/4/1

Item Creator
Court of Requests
Item Title
Interrogatories and depositions in Belott v Mountjoy, on behalf of Stephen Belott [including that made by William Shakespeare]
Item Date
May 11, 1612
Repository
The National Archives, Kew, UK
Call Number
REQ 4/1/4/1, fol. 4r

Institution Rights and Document Citation

 

Images reproduced by permission of The National Archives, London, England.

Terms of use
The National Archives give no warranty as to the accuracy, completeness or fitness for the purpose of the information provided.
Images may be used only for purposes of research, private study or education.  Applications for any other use should be made to The National Archives Image Library, Kew, Richmond, Surrey TW9 4DU, Tel: 020 8392 5225   Fax: 020 8392 5266.

Document-specific information
Creator: Court of Requests
Title: Interrogatories and depositions in Belott v Mountjoy, on behalf of Stephen Belott [including that made by William Shakespeare]
Date: May 11, 1612
Repository: The National Archives, Kew, UK
Call number and opening: REQ 4/1/4/1

Shown here is the first round of depositions, dated May 11, 1612, given in Bellott v. Mountjoy. The lawsuit, begun on January 28, 1612, was between Stephen Bellott and Christopher Mountjoy, head of a French Huguenot family living in Silver Street in Cripplegate Ward, just north of Cheapside and St. Paul’s Cathedral. Members of the household included Christopher and Marie Mountjoy, their only child Mary, and Stephen Bellott, an apprentice in the family business, the fabrication of elaborate and fashionable headpieces called “tires.” The lawsuit concerns negotiations which led to the marriage of Stephen and Mary on November 19, 1604. Bellott complains that his father-in-law subsequently reneged on an agreement to support the young couple financially. On May 11, 1612, William Shakespeare deposed as a witness. Depositions in the case reveal that Shakespeare, then a lodger in the Mountjoy household, had been engaged to persuade Bellott to enter the marriage.

Witnesses in this first round of depositions were to answer a list of five questions, called interrogatories, on behalf of Bellott, the complainant. The third interrogatory asked whether the defendant did send “anie person” to persuade the plaintiff to marry the defendant’s daughter Mary. The first two deponents, Joan Johnson and Daniel Nicholas, identify that person as “Mr Shakespeare,” while the third deponent, William Shakespeare himself, agreed that he had played that role.

The questions that the witnesses answered were, briefly: how long have they known the plaintiff and defendant? When Bellott was an apprentice to Mountjoy, how did he behave, and was Mountjoy pleased with his work? During the apprenticeship, did Mountjoy seem to like Bellott, and did he support the marriage between Bellott and his daughter, and did he send anyone to persuade Bellott to marry her? How much did Mountjoy promise to give Bellott for a marriage portion, was it to be paid on the day of the marriage or some other time, was there a further portion promised upon Mountjoy’s death, and did Bellott agree to marry Mary based on this knowledge? And finally, what household goods were promised, which of these were actually given, and how much do you think they were worth at the time of delivery?

As now curated by The National Archives, and as shown in the photos above, Shakespeare’s deposition appears first, reflecting the Shakespearean interest in the item. In fact, Shakespeare was the third and final witness deposed that day.

The first witness was Joan Johnson, 40 years of age and wife of Thomas Johnson of Ealing, Middlesex, basketmaker. Joan’s deposition is now bound second. She calls herself a “servant” to Christopher Mountjoy, and is called “the maid” by Noel Mountjoy in the third round of depositions She is the only witness who signed with a mark, doubtless, at least in this case, indicating illiteracy. She had known and probably worked for the Mountjoys for eight years. She testifies that Christopher Mountjoy “did send and perswade one Mr Shakespeare that laye in the house to perswade the plaintiff to the same Marriadge.” This assertion that William Shakespeare “laye in the house” confirms that he rented a room or a chamber in the Mountjoy residence.

The second witness was Daniel Nicholas, gentleman, of the parish of St. Alphage, Cripplegate, 52 years of age. Nicholas’ deposition is now bound third. Nicholas asserts that he “herd” one William Shakespeare say that he had been involved in persuading the plaintiff to marry the defendant’s daughter. Nicholas thus reports hear-say evidence rather than testifying from his own knowledge. But what he heard, he heard from William Shakespeare personally, who told him that £50 and "certain household stuff" were promised to Bellott as a dowry. (Nicholas was also interrogated in the second round of depositions, where he is identified as 62 years of age.)

The third witness was “William Shakespeare of Stratford vpon Aven in the Countye of Warwicke gentleman of the Age of xlviij yeres or thereabouts.” (The qualifier “or thereabouts” occurs in all depositions.) Shakespeare reports knowing both parties for ten years, pointing back to 1602. He confirms his involvement in persuading the plaintiff to marry the defendant’s daughter, but pleads failure of memory on exact details.

For an unknown reason, the top half of Shakespeare's deposition (Interrogatories 1-3) is written in a different hand from the rest. The hand which begins with Interrogatory 4 is the same hand that records all other depositions, as may be confirmed by tracing the majuscule “T” through all three sets of interrogatories.

At the bottom of the page occurs Shakespeare's signature in a cursive secretary hand, the earliest extant example. While the first name, “William”, and the first four letters of the last name, “Shak”, are comprehensible to any experienced paleographer, the signature trails off into what may be a cursory “s”, or more probably a standard abbreviation for “per", suggesting "pere" or "peare”. This somewhat truncated signature, most likely due to haste, may be compared to Shakespeare signatures on the bargain and sale and mortgage for the Blackfriars Gatehouse purchase, and on his will.

Shakespeare’s answers in his deposition are short and to-the-point:

1) He has known Mountjoy and Bellott for roughly ten years.

2) He knew Bellott when Bellott was an apprentice to Mountjoy. Bellott behaved well and honestly, and was a good and industrious servant during this time.

3) Shakespeare could not remember if Mountjoy commended Bellott for his services. Mountjoy showed Bellott great good will and affection, and he and his wife many times said that Bellott was an honest fellow. It was Mountjoy who suggested a marriage between Bellott and Mary, and Mountjoy’s wife who solicited and entreated Shakespeare to persuade Bellott to marry their daughter.

4) Mountjoy promised to give Bellott a marriage portion, but Shakespeare cannot remember the amount or when it was to be paid. Bellott was living in Mountjoy's house at the time, and there were many "conferences" about the marriage before it was "consumated and solempnized." (“Stephan Plott” married Mary Mountjoy at the parish church of St Olave Silverstreet on November 19, 1604.)

5) Shakespeare does not know what goods Mountjoy gave to Bellott at the time of the marriage.

Twenty-six documents survive from Bellott v. Mountjoy. This is one of twelve documents that refer to Shakespeare explicitly or implicitly. The court case is generally unremarkable and Shakespeare’s involvement is minor. However, his deposition, along with brief comments on Shakespeare’s involvement in the betrothal of Bellott and Mountjoy’s daughter from others in the case, add another small piece to understanding Shakespeare's life: that he was living in Silver Street with a French Huguenot family of headdress makers in 1604. A description of Silver Street can be found in the University of Victoria's Map of Early Modern London.

Scholars have interpreted information from Bellott v. Mountjoy in various ways. Some see a connection between Shakespeare's residency with the Mountjoys and his interest in "problem comedies," pointing particularly to As You Like It, Measure for Measure, All's Well, and Pericles. Charles Nicholl notes that Stephen and Mary, after they were married, lodged with George Wilkins (who deposed on June 19), an erstwhile playwright who sold a play to the King's Men in 1605, and who collaborated with Shakespeare on Pericles. James Shapiro suggests that Shakespeare moved to Silver Street from Southwark because of recurring plague outbreaks across the river, and that his subsequent departure was prompted by Maria Mountjoy's death in 1606. As there were other deaths by plague in the neighborhood that year, she perhaps died from the same cause.

In 1909 Charles William Wallace and his wife Hulda Berggren Wallace discovered Bellott v. Mountjoy in the Public Records Office, now The National Archives. Shakespeare’s deposition was put on display in 1910 as a result of their discovery.

Semi-diplomatic transcription

[This transcription is pending final vetting. Transcriptions of Bellott. v. Mountjoy are based on Charles William Wallace, "Shakespeare and his London Associates, As Revealed in Recently Discovered Documents," University of Nebraska Studies, 10 no. 4 (1910), 260-360. This publication has a secondary pagination, followed here for individual entries: pp. 18-23.]]
 

[Image 1: fol. 1a recto, William Shakespeare's deposition]

William Shakespeare of Stratford vpon Aven in the Countye of Warwicke gentleman of the age of xlviij
yeres or thereaboutes sworne and examined the daye and yere abouesaid deposethe & sayethe

1 To the first Interrogatory this deponent sayethe he knowethe the partyes plaintiff and deffendant and hathe ^know[ne]
them bothe as he now remembrethe for the space of tenne yeres or thereaboutes./

2 To the second Interrogatory this deponent sayeth he ^did know the complainant when he was servant with the
deffendant, and that duringe the tyme of his the complaintes service with the said deffendant he
he the said Complainant to this deponentes knowledge did well and honestly behaue
himselfe, but
to this deponentes remembrance he hath not heard the deffendant confesse that he had gott
any great proffitt and comodytye by the said service of the said complainant, but this deponent saithe he
verely thinckethe that the said complainant was a very good and industrious servant in
the said service  And more he canott depose to the said Interrogatory:/

3/ To the third Interrogatory this deponent sayethe that it did evydentlye appeare that the said deffendant
did all the tyme of the said complaintes service with him beare and shew great good will and
affeccion towardes the said complainant, And that he hathe ^hard the deffendant and his wyefe diuerse and
sundry tymes saye and reporte that the said complainant was a very honest fellowe: And ^this deponent sayethe that
the said deffendant did make a mocion vnto the complainant of marriadge with the said
Mary in the bill mencioned beinge the said deffendantes sole chyld and daughter and willinglye
offered to performe the same yf the said Complainant shold seeme to be content and well
like thereof:  And further this deponent sayethe that the said deffendantes wyeffe did sollicitt
and entreat this deponent to moue and perswade the said Complainant to effect the said Marriadge
and accordingly this deponent did moue and perswade the complainant thervnto: And more t[o]
this Interrogatorye he cannott depose:/

4/ To the ffourth Jnterrogatory this deponent sayth that the defendant promissed to
geue the said Complainant a porcion of monie and goodes in Marriad[ge]
with Marye his daughter./  but what certayne ^porcion some he Rememberithe
not/ nor when to be payed yf any some weare promissed, nor knoweth
that the defendant promissed the defendant plaintiff w twoe hundered poundes with his daughter
Marye at the tyme of his decease.  But sayth that the plaintiff was
dwellinge with the defendant in his house   And they had Amongeste them
selues manye Conferences about there Marriadge which [afterwardes]
was Consumated and Solempnized.  And more he canot [depose.]

5/ To the vth Interrogatory this deponent sayth he can saye noth[inge]
touchinge any parte or poynte of the same Interrogatory for he knoweth
not what Implementes and necessaries of houshould stuffe the defendant gaue
the plaintiff in Marriadge with his daughter Marye./
        (signed) William Shaksper

[Image 4: fol. 1b recto, Joan Johnson's deposition]
 

Depositiones Capte apud Westminster vndecimo die Maij Anno Regni  Iacobi Regis Anglie &c decimo et Scotie xlvto [=11 May, 1612] ex parte Stephanei Bellott quaerentis versus Christopherum Mountioye defendantem./

Johane Johnsone the wyffe of Thomas Johnsone of the parishe of Elinge in
the Countye of Middlesex Baskettmaker of the Age of ffortye yeres or theraboutes
swoorne and examyned the daye and yere abouesaid deposith and say[th]

1/ To the ffirste Interrogatory this deponent sayth shee knoweth the plaintiff an[d hath]
knowne him about Eight yeres./ and the defendant about Eight yeres./

2/ To the seconde Interrogatory this deponent sayth shee did knowe the plaintiff when
he served the defendant, And sayth he behaved him selfe well and in good
sorte when he served the defendant for shee was servant to the defendant
at the tyme./ but shee never herd the defendant confesse that and
saye that he had greate proffitt and Commoddytie by the plaintiffes
service./ And more shee cannot depose.

3/ To the thirde Interrogatory this deponent sayth that the defendant seemed to
beare greate good will and affection towardes the plaintiff when he
served him, geuinge him reporte to be A verry good servaunte for pliing [?]
his service./  But that the defendant moved the plaintiff to Marrye with his
daughter Marye she knoweth not./.  But sayth that there was
A shewe of goodwill betweene the plaintiff and defendantes daughter
Marye which the defendantes wyffe did geue Countenaunce vnto and thinke
well of./ And as shee Remembereth the defendant did send and perswade one
Mr Shakespeare that laye in the house to perswade the plaintiff to the
same Marriadge./  And more shee cannott depose

4/ To the iiijth Interrogatory this deponent sayth shee never herd her [Master]
the defendant proffer the plaintiff any some of money in Marriadge [with]
his daughter Marye.  but yt was Reported in the house that
the plaintiff was to haue with her in marriadge the some of ffyftye
poundes.  but what tyme of payment was therof appoynted or agreed
vppon shee knoweth not.  nor of any promise of any other or further
porcion to be payed the plaintiff eyther at the tyme of marriadge
betweene them, or at the tyme of the defendantes deceas[e] [cut off]
they ^after married togeather after./  And more shee cannott [depose]
        X [Her Mark]

[Image 6: fol. 2 recto, Daniel Nicholas's deposition]

5/ To the vth Interrogatory this deponent sayth shee can saye nothinge ^knoweth not what
parcelles of goodes and houshould stuffe the defendant promissed to ge[ue]
vnto the plaintiff in marriadge with his wyffe./   But sayth the
defendant gaue in the marriadge with her to the defendant the seuerall parcells [of]
goodes in the Interrogatory mencioned./  but the valewe of them she
Cannot certaynlie knoweth not, but thinketh ^they were woorth some Eight
Poundes./  or thereaboutes./  And more shee cannot depose./
         X [Her Mark]

Danyell Nycholas of the parishe of Sainct Olphadge within Criplegate
London gent’ of the Age of ffyftye twoe yeres or theraboutes sworn[e]
and examyned the daye and yere abouesaid deposith and sayth

1/ To the ffirste Interrogatory this deponent sayth he hath knowne the
plaintiff about twenty yeres and [the] defendant about twelue yeres

2/ To the seconde Interrogatory this deponent sayth he knewe the plaintiff
servaunte vnto the defendant who behaved him selfe verry well in
the defendantes service for any thinge he euer herd to the contrary.
And hath herd that the defendant profitted well by the plaintiffes service
with him.  And more he Cannott depose./

3/ To the thirde Interrogatory this deponent sayth he herd one William
Shakespeare saye that the defendant did beare A good opinnion
of the plaintiff and affected him well when he served him, And
did move the plaintiff by him the said Shakespeare to haue [a]
marriadge betweene his daughter Marye Mountioye [and]
the plaintiff. And for that purpose sent him the said Sh[akespeare]
to the plaintiff to perswade the plaintiff to the same, as Shakespeare
tould him this deponent ^which was effected and Solempnized vppon promise of a porcion with her. And more he cannott depose.

4/ To the iiijth Interrogatory this deponent sayth the said that the plaintiff
did Requeste him this deponent to goe with ^his wyffehim to Shakespe[are]
        (signed) Daniell Nicholas

[Image 7: fol. 3 recto]

to vnderstande the truthe howe muche and what the defendant ^did promise [to]would
bestowe on his daughter in marriadge with him the plaintiff, who
did soe./  And askinge Shakespeare therof, he Answered
that ^he promissed yf the plaintiff would marrye with Marye his onlye
the defendantes onlye daughter, he the defendant would by h[is]
promise ^as he Remembered geue the plaintiff with her in marriadge ^about the some of
ffyftye poundes in money and Certayne Houshould stuffe./
And more he cannott depose touchinge the said Interrogatory
to his Rememberaunce for he remembereth not any daye
sett downe for payment of the porcion or deliuerye of the houshould
Stuffe. but only that he would geue her soe much at
the tyme of her marriadge./

5/ To the vth Interrogatory this deponent Can saye nothinge more
then he hath alreddye deposed./
        (signed) Daniell Nicholas

[Image 9: fol. 4 recto]

Interrogatories to bee mynistred to Wittnesses to bee
produced on the parte and behalf of Stephen Belott Complainant.
against Christopher Mountioye Defendant.

1 Imprimis whether doe you knowe the parties plainant and defendant.
and howe longe haue you knowne them and either of them.

2 Item whether did you knowe the Complainant when he was
servaunt with the said defendant howe and in what sort did
he behaue himselfe in the service of the said defendant
and whether did not the said defendant Confesse that hee
had got great profitt and Comodytie by the service of
the said Complainant.

3 Item whether did not the said defendant seeme to beare
great good will and affeccione towardes the said Complainant
during the time of his said service and what report
did he then giue of the said Complainant toucheing his
said service and whether did not the said defendant make
a mocion vnto the said Complainant of marriage with the
said Mary in the Bill mencioned being the said
defendantes sole Child and daughter and willingly offer
to performe the same yf the said Complainant should
seeme to be content and well lyke thereof. and
whether did not hee lykewise ^send anie person or noe to perswade the said
Complainant to the same, declare the truthe of your knowledge
herin.

4 Item what some or somes of moneye did the said
defendant promise to giue the said Complainant for a
porcion in marriage with the said Marye his daughter
whether the some of threscore poundes [5 minims] or what other
somme as you knowe or haue hard and when was
the same to bee paied whether at the daie of
Mariage of the said Complainant and the said
Marye or whath other tyme and what further
porcion did the said defendant promise to giue
vnto the said Complainant with the said Marye at
the tyme of his decease whether the some
of twoe hundred poundes or what other somes
and whether vppon the said perswaciones and
promisses of the said defendant did not the said
Complainant shortly after marrye with her the
said Marye declare the truthe ^herin as you knowe
verylie believe or haue Credybly hard.

5/ Item what parcells of goodes or household stuffe did the defendant ^promise to geue
vnto the complainant in Marriadge with his said wiefe
And what parcells of goodes did he geue him in Marriage
with his said wyffe did he not geue them these
parcels (vizt.)  One ould ffetherbed, one oulde
ffether boulster, A flocke boulster, a thine greene Rugg,
two ordanarie blanckettes woven, two paire of sheetes,
A dozine of napkines of Course Dyaper, twoe short table
Clothes, six short Towelles & one longe one, An
ould drawinge table, two ould Joyned stooles, one
Wainscott Cubberd, one Twistinge wheele of
woode, twoe paire of litle Scyssers, one ould
Truncke and a litle ould Truncke./  One
Bobbine box:  And what doe youe thincke in your
Conscyence all these said parcelles might be
woorthe at the tyme when they weare so deliuered
by the defendauntes appoyntment, vnto the plaintiffes
declare the truthe hearein at lardge./

To learn more, read Alan H. Nelson's essay on lawsuits in Shakespeare's England.

Co-written by Folger Shakespeare Library staff and Alan H. Nelson

Sources

E. K. Chambers, William Shakespeare: A Study of Facts and Problems (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1951), 2: 90-95.

Katherine Duncan-Jones, Ungentle Shakespeare: Scenes from His Life (London: The Arden Shakespeare, 2001), 206-207, 241-244.

Alan H. Nelson, "Calling All (Shakespeare) Biographers! or, A Plea for Documentary Discipline," in Shakespeare, Marlowe, Jonson, ed. Ronnie Mulryne (Aldershot, Hampshire: Ashgate, 2006), 55-67. 

Charles Nicholl, The Lodger: Shakespeare on Silver Street (London: Allen Lane, 2007).

Lena Cowen Orlin, "Anne by Indirection," Shakespeare Quarterly, 65 (Winter 2014), 421-454.

Lois Potter, The Life of William Shakespeare: a Critical Biography (Chichester, West Sussex: Wiley-Blackwell, 2012), 385-387.

Samuel Schoenbaum, William Shakespeare: Records and Images (New York: Oxford University Press, 1981), pp. 20-39.

Samuel Schoenbaum, William Shakespeare: A Documentary Life (New York: Oxford University Press, 1975), 212.

James Shapiro, The Year of Lear: Shakespeare in 1606 (New York: Simon & Schuster, 2015), 286-287.

Charles William Wallace, "New Shakespeare Discoveries: Shakespeare as a man among men: the first complete and exclusive account of the finding of hitherto unknown documents" detached from Harper's Monthly Magazine, vol. 120 (New York, 1910),

Charles William Wallace, "Shakespeare and his London Associates, As Revealed in Recently Discovered Documents" University of Nebraska Studies, vol. 10 no. 4 (1910), 260-360.

Last updated September 17, 2018