John Shakespeare fined
Wool scalesAlmost every character who was close to, or influential in, William Shakespeare's life seems to find themselves on the wrong side of the law at some point.
In 1572, Will's father John, seemingly a respectable glover and public servant, is fined for making an illegal wool purchase (a practice known as "brogging"). He is informed on - and maybe even set up in the first place - by James Langrake, a professional State informer who would later be jailed for rape and blackmail.
As a first-time offender, John would have been able to get off lightly by paying off the man who informed on him.