It seems that Shakespeare, the most famous playwright and poet the world has ever seen, may not have been from Stratford-Upon-Avon after all. The current theory that is emerging us that William Shakespeare was in fact Edward de Vere, the 17th Earl of Oxford who lived at Hedingham Castle.
The against a Stratford Based Shakespeare
- There are no real records of a William Shakespeare ever existing, his origins have been a mystery for years.
- The few records of his signature show different styles and spelling
- He did not appear to go to school
- There is no evidence that anyone by that name travelled overseas – many plays include details of overseas destinations
- No one of that name was a part of the royal court – many plays indicate a very good knowledge of the inner workings of a royal court.
- There are no records of letters from William Shakespeare to anyone (very unusual for a writer not to write).
- Edward de Vere was and the Earl of Oxford and Lord of the Manor at Hedingham Castle – a good knowledge of royal etiquette and royal life
- He was well-travelled, spent a year in Italy which features in 14 plays
- He was well versed in both French and classics
- He studied law and foreign languages
- At the time the aristocracy could not be involved in theatre as it was considered a working class pursuit. Writers would use pseudonyms and anyone investing in a theatre would do so under a different name.
- Edward de Vere was a sporting man and received the nickname Spear Shaker. Spears also adorn his family crest.
- Edward de Vere had written poems under his own name, and then later as EO (short for Edward Oxenford) but from the day Shakespeare appeared, Edward mysteriously stopped writing.
- Both EO and Shakespeare have a similar style.
- In the same way that there are no records of Edward de Vere writing after his teenage years, there is no evidence of Shakespeare writing when he was younger.
- De Vere had a keen interest and involvement with the theatre. He actually held a lease on Blackfriars Theatre and had his own group of players (actors) called The Lord Oxford’s Men.
- Some known events in de Vere’s life are represented in Shakespeare plays, such as the time that two of de Vere’s servants were robbed at Gad’s Hill on the road between Gravesend and Rochester, the same place where Falstaff was ambushed by Prince Hal and his gang.
The evidence really is compelling. Not only is there nothing known of a Shakespeare, but de Vere seems to be have been very similar in many ways.
The de Vere Theory
Edward de Vere was a young writer but due to social pressure he could not openly continue his involvement in the theatre as the Earl of Oxford and Lord of the Manor. So he put together a personal team of players (the Lord Oxford’s Men) who could act out his plays under the strict rules that they did not reveal the author.
He then created an imaginary character, William Shakespeare, and then purchased a small share in the Globe Theatre under that name to provide “proof” that such a person really existed (we are suddenly reminded The Shawshank Redemption here – people existing only on paper).
He continued to fulfil his dream of being a writer and got to see all hos plays acted out in theatres while still remaining a respectable Lord and Earl. He also earned some money along the way as he had the shares in the Globe and no doubt earned when his men acted out the plays too.
It is certainly a compelling theory. You can learn more about the theory that William Shakespeare was in fact Edward de Vere from Essex over at www.deveresociety.co.uk and also shakespeareoxfordsociety.wordpress.com.
Anonymous – Was Shakespeare a Fraud?
This story coincides with a new film that is set to tackle this very question. Anonymous is a Rolan Emmerich film featuring Rhys Ifans and Vanessa Redgrave. The conspiracy will finally be revealed!