A Life of William Shakespeare

By Joseph Quincy Adams | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XX
PERSONAL AFFAIRS, 1602-07

WHEN we think of the high position Shakespeare had now attained in theatrical, literary, and courtly circles, and call to mind the handsome country home he had provided for himself and his family in Stratford, we naturally wonder where he lived while in London. As we have already seen, in the nineties he was residing, possibly with his wife and children, in the Parish of St. Helen's, where he supported an establishment of some dignity, if we are to judge by comparative assessments. In 1596, however, he seems to have sent his family back to Stratford, and to have taken lodgings on the Bankside, near his fellow-actors Pope and Phillips. In 1601 or 1602 he moved again, this time securing rooms in the home of a French Huguenot named Christopher Mountjoy in Silver Street.1 One may indulge in the pleasant speculation that he was informed of this lodging by his printer friend Richard Field, who was closely associated with the French Huguenots in London. The Vautrollier printing house had a special license to employ six foreign printers, who most naturally would be Frenchmen. Moreover, Field had married a French widow, Jacqueline Vautrollier, who through her association with the Huguenot church would come to know the Mountjoys. And in or shortly before 1600 Field himself had moved to Wood Street, where he was living as a near neighbor to this French family.

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1
For this information we are indebted to the researches of Professor C. W. Wallace. See his article, "Shakespeare and His London Associates," in University Studies, Lincoln, Nebraska, x, 261, where the significant documents are printed; and cf. his popular article in Harper Magazine for March, 1910.

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