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1596

A coat of arms

Shakespeare family's coat-of-arms
Shakespeare family's coat-of-arms
Not long after the death of his own son – and perhaps feeling the deep loss and guilt of an absent father and a renewed sense of duty as a son – William takes John Shakespeare to the College of Arms in London to secure his father a coat of arms.

In a society driven by class and social advancement, the coat of arms will give John – now seemingly out of debt and of means again – a new badge of respectability and, perhaps more poignantly, a certain immortality.

The motto, probably chosen by William, translates from the Latin as "Not without right." Perhaps a son claiming for his wronged father, and the family name, the dues he believes they richly deserve?

Evidence

Shakespeare's coat-of-arms applicationCoat of arms application

William's handwritten application for a Coat of Arms for his father

Players

portrait not availableJohn Shakespeare

Locations

The River Thames, LondonShakespeare's London

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