The remains of the Tudor palace at Greenwich
There is something special about the place where important events took place, no matter how long ago. Even where there are no remaining signs on the ground people still visit: perhaps the draw is that these sites make us use our imaginations so strongly.
It’s always surprising to find bits of the London that Shakespeare knew beneath…
Source: Shakespeare and Greenwich | The Shakespeare blog
Antony Sher as Richard III for the Royal Shakespeare Company 
The performances of Shakespeare’s Richard III scheduled to take place inside Leicester Cathedral on 19th and 20th July 2017 are causing waves. There can be little doubt that the size and extent of …
Source: Leicester, Middleham and That Play | Matt’s History Blog
I’ve never given much thought to Shakespeare’s family, but I’m currently staying at Wroxall Abbey in Warwickshire (on a ‘writing retreat’ focusing on teaching), and have found an unexpected history to the place. I knew that the building the hotel occupies was a Victorian Gothic building (which is beautiful) which has a history as a residence and then a girls’ school before it became a hotel, but it turns out that the Abbey from which the building takes its name was founded in 1141 on the site, and ruins (and I do love ruins) of the medieval Lady Chapel are on the site. Relatives of Shakespeare (and after all, we’re not far from Stratford here) were involved in the running of the Abbey: in 1501 Isabella Shakespeare was Prioress, and in 1524 Joan Shakespeare was Sub-Prioress. Later, in the 1530s, Richard Shakespeare, grandfather of William, was Bailiff of the Church. We know that Shakespeare was born and raised in the Anglican Church (as was usual at the time) but I wonder what he knew about his family at Wroxall? It’s interesting to speculate if the Abbess in The Comedy of Errors might owe anything to his forebears.
With the Dissolution of the Monasteries, the house became a private estate, with an Elizabethan manor which was…
Source: Shakespeare’s ancestors and Christopher Wren | Culture and Anarchy.
So committed to historical accuracy were Alexander Smith and Charles Johnson that in their respective History of the Lives and Robberies of the Most Noted Highwaymen (1714) and Lives and Exploits of the Most Noted Highwaymen (1734) they give us the life of Sir John Falstaff.
Falstaff lived, we are told by Smith and Johnson, during the reigns of Henry IV and Henry V. Being born of no great or distinguished parentage, they tell us that Falstaff took to the road with three accomplices to support his extravagant lifestyle. He was a very fat man, and his nicknames were:
– Ton of Man (a pun on the Biblical term ‘Son of Man’)
– Sack and Sugar
– Fat-Kidneyed Rascal
Apparently Henry IV, who Smith tells us took to life upon the road for a short while, said to him:
You are so fat-witted with drinking of old sack, and unbuttoning thee after supper, and sleeping upon benches in the afternoon.
He was also a womaniser, and could often be found in the lowest bawdy houses of London, according to Capt. Charles Johnson.
Then came the wars of the roses, we are told by Smith and Johnson, and as a consequence of his acquaintance and friendship with King Henry, Falstaff received a commission to serve as a…
Source: Sir John Falstaff, the Notorious Highwayman – Here Begynneth A Lytell Geste of Robin Hood…
Three cheers for Paul Wright, the Manager of William Cowley, interviewed on the Today programme on Monday 15 February (2hrs 49 mins in), about the decision to continue to print UK laws on vellum rather than move to archival paper. It’s a campaign that he has passionately promoted in the face of the inevitable march of progress: paper would be cheaper and more in keeping with our world, not the world of the past. But now the Cabinet Office has offered to pay for the tradition to continue. Cabinet Officer Matt Hancock has noted that vellum is “surprisingly cost-effective” and that “While the world constantly changes, we should safeguard some of our great traditions.”
Paul Wright too used the emotional argument that “We love our history” as well as the practical, reminding his interviewer that the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered after being lost for thousands of years, that vellum offers a “safe method of data storage”, and that other countries are now using vellum for their important documents: “our records are the envy of the world”.
Even so it’s a surprising turn-around. Parchment and vellum are made from…
Source: Scribbled forms on vellum: a living link with the past | The Shakespeare blog