In 1588 the Spanish Armada attacked England….
The winds famously blew….
…..and the Spanish fleets were scattered….
It seemed as if God really was on the side of Protestantantism, England and the Queen.
Actors were redundant: the English wanted ‘real’ men.
They even tore the costumes off the backs of performers to provide clothing for soldiers…
The public, also, had grown tired of Shakespeare’s ‘moralising’….
He had long toured the Midlands under the patronage of Lord Strange, performing Romances, Biblical stories and fairy tales…
The public had much preferred the thrills and spills, corpses and revenge, gun-shots and suicide that Kyd had provided in his The Spanish Tragedy…
Shakespeare reacted by becoming boastful, drunk and arrogant…..
The strait-laced Strange ditched him….
For the moment….
It was impossible, for a time, for anyone to make money in the theatre….
Kyd joined Strange’s household as tutor to his daughters…
…..who had been intriguing audiences with his God-defying tragedies….
….became tutor to Arbella, grandaughter of the much-married Bess of Hardwick….
….and Shakespeare, pulling Catholic strings, joined the household of Mary Browne, the second Countess of Southampton…
…..who was distantly related to his mother, Mary Arden….
The Countess, a Catholic activist who hid priests in her London home, was a widow….
Her husband, the Second Earl of Southampton, had died young, imprisoned and ‘examined’ in the Tower for his support of Mary, Queen of Scots…
Countess Mary’s favourite country seat was Place House, a converted Abbey in Titchfield, Hampshire….
She needed a schoolmaster for her Grammar School at the gates of Place House…
…..and a tutor for her wayward, gay, teenage son, Harry…
…...also known as Henry Wriothesley, Third Earl of Southampton….
The Countess, whose husband had disowned her for falling in love with…
….a common person….
….and who had taken Harry away from her when he was only six years old….
… took a shine to Shakespeare….
She dressed him in smart clothes……
…….gave him a massive allowance….
…… and commissioned him to write seventeen sonnets for her son’s seventeenth birthday….
….in a vain attempt to get Harry interested in girls….
(Lord Burghley, Harry’s guardian, was threatening a £5,000 [£2 and a half million] fine if he didn’t marry his grandaughter.)
Shakespeare had mixed in flamboyant, theatrical circles in London….
….but he knew he had to behave himself now he was with a ‘respectable’ Catholic family….
He stated directly in one of the ‘Birthday’ sonnets that he had no sexual interest in Harry whatsoever…
Harry, however, had other ideas….
It is the firm belief of The Shakespeare Code that an affair ensued between Shakespeare and Southampton which lasted on and off for the next fifteen years – till Southampton’s wife bore him a son…
Southampton provided Shakespeare with money – but also with an identity.
BOTH were Roman Catholics…..
And BOTH were opposed to the rule of Queen Elizabeth…..
Read the Posts that present the evidence for Shakespeare’s stay in Titchfield….
To read, ‘How these articles came to be written’, please click: HERE
To read, ‘Shakespeare in Titchfield. A Summary of the Evidence’, please click: HERE
To read, ‘Shakespeare was a Schoolmaster in the Country: TITCHFIELD’, please click: HERE
To read, ‘Just how gay was Henry Wriothesley, the third Earl of Southampton’, please click: HERE
And to read: ‘Shakespeare in Titchfield. Stunning New Evidence from Edmund Spenser’, please click: HERE.