The Antiquities of Warwickshire

Making Shakespeare –  Remembering Shakespeare

#47 William Dugdale, The Antiquities of Warwickshire (1656)

After nearly twenty-five years of research, William Dugdale published his history of Warwickshire in 1656. It provides the history of the towns within the county, including Stratford-upon-Avon, Shakespeare’s hometown. Dugdale’s main concern was to record the genealogy and heraldry of notable residents, with a particular focus on funeral monuments and churches. He notes that Stratford is where “our late famous poet William Shakespeare” was born, and is buried. He also includes an illustration of Shakespeare’s monument in Holy Trinity Church. The inscription praises his skill as poet: “all that he hath writ leaves living art but page to serve his wit.” Although the monument refers to a tomb, Shakespeare is buried nearby under a simple gravestone, with an epitaph that curses those who would disturb his bones. Dugdale himself financed the publication of his book. This copy is inscribed and dated by Dugdale, noting that the book is a gift from the author on the seventh day of May in 1656.  On loan from the collection of Arthur E. Bonfield