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nature engaged him in the acquaintance, and entitled him to the friendship, of the gentlemen of the neighsumed by fire; but our Shakspeare's house, among some others, escaped the flames. This house was first built by Sir Hugh Clopton, a younger brother of an ancient family in that neighbourhood. Sir Hugh was Sheriff of London in the reign of Richard III. and Lord-Mayor in the reign of King Henry VII. By his will he bequeathed to his elder brother's fon his manor of Clopton, &c. and his house, by the name of the Great House in Stratford. Good part of the estate is yet (in 1733) in the possession of Edward Clopton, efq. and Sir Hugh Clopton, Knť. lineally defcended from the elder brother of the firit Sir Hugh.

The estate had now been sold out of the Clopton family foc above a century, at the time when Shakspeare became the purchaser: who having repaired and modelled it to his own mind, changed the name to New-Place, which the mansionhouse since erected upon the same fpot, at this day retains. The house, and lands which attended it, continued in Shakspeare's descendants to the time of the Restoration ; when they were Te-purchased by the Clopton family, and the manfion now belongs to Sir Hugh Clopton, Knt. To the favor of this worthy gentleman I owe the knowledge of one particular in honor of our poet's once dwelling-house, of which I prefume Mr. Rowe never was apprized. When the Civil War raged in England, and King Charles the First's Queen was driven by the necesity of her affairs to make a recess in Warwickshire, she kept her court for three wecks in New-Place. We may reafonably fuppofe it then the best private house in the town ; and her Majesty preferred it to the College, which was in the poffeffion

of the Combe family, who did not fo strongly favor the king's party. THEOBALD.

From Mr. Theobald's words the reader may be led to suppofe that Henrietta Maria was obliged to take refuge from the rebels in Straiford-upon-Avon : but that was not the case. She marched from Newark, June 16, 1643. and entered Stratfordupon-Avon triumphantly, about the 22d of the same month, at the head of three thousand foot and fifteen hundred horse, with 150 waggons and a train of artillcry. Here she was met by Prince Rupert, accompanied by a large body of troops. After', fojourning about three weeks at our poet's house, which was then pofleffed by his grand-daughter Mrs. Nach, and her hufband, the Queen went (July 13) to the plain of Keinton under Edge-hill, to meet the king, and proceeded from thence with

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bourhood. Amongst them, it is a story almost

. still remembered in that country that he had a particuhim to Oxford, where says a contemporary historian, « herv coming (July 15) was rather to a triumph than a war."

Of the college above-mentioned the following was the origin. John de Stratford, Bishop of Winchefter, in the fifth year of King Edward III, founded a Chantry consisting of five priests, one of whom was Warden, in a certain chapel adjoining to the church of Stratford on the south side; and afterwards (in the seventh year of Henry VIII.) Ralph Collingwode ihftituled four choristers, to be daily affifiant in the celebration of divine service there. This chantry, says Dugdale, foon after its foundation, was known by the name of The College of Stratfordupon-Avon.

In the 26th year of Edward III. si a house of square ftoness was built by Ralph de Stratford, bishop of London, for the habitation of the five priests. This house, or another on the fame spot, is the house of which Mr. Theobald speaks. It still bears the name of The College, and at present belongs to the Rev. Mr. Fullerton.

After the suppression of religious houses, the site of the college was granted by Edward VI. to John earl of Warwick and his heirs ; who being attainted in the ift year of Queen Mary, it reverted to the crown.

Sir John Clopton, knight, (the father of Edward Clopton, esq. and Sir Hugh Ciopton, ) who died at Stratford-upon-Avon in April 1719, purchased the estate of New-Place, &c. some time after the year 1685, from Sir Reginald Forster, Barvnet, who married Mary, the daughter of Edward Nash, efq. cousingerman to Thomas Nash, efq. who married our poet's granddaughter, Elizabeth Hall. Edward Nash bought it, after the death of her second husband, Sir John Barnard, knight. By her will, which will be found in a subsequent page, the directed her trustee, Henry Smith, to sell the New Place, &c. (after the death of her husband, ) and to make the first offer of it to her cousin Edward Nah, who purchased it accordingly. His fon Thomas Nash, whom for the fake of difinction I shall call the younger, having died without iffue, in Augult 1652, Edward Nash by his will, made on the 16th of March, 1678-9, devised the principal part of his property to his daughter Mary, and her husband Reginald Furster, esq. afterwards Sir Reginald Forster; but in consequence of the teftator's only referring to

lar intimacy with Mr. Combe,' an old gentleman noted thereabouts for his wealth and ufury: it happened, that in a pleasant conversation amongst their a deed of settlement executed three days before, without reciting the substance of it, no particular mention of New-Place is made in his will. After Sir John Clopton had bought it from Sir Reginald Forster, he gave it by deed to his younger son, Sir Hugh, who pulled down our poet's house, and built one more elegant on the same spot.

In May 1742, when Mr. Garrick, Mr. Macklin, and Mró Delane, visited Stratford, they were hospitably entertained under Shakspeare's mulberry-tree, by Sir Hugh Clopton. He was a barrister at law, was knighted by George the First, and died in the Both year of his age, in Dec. 1751. His nephew Edward Clopton, the son of his elder brother Edward, lived till June 1753.

The only remaining person of the Clopton family now living ( 1783), as I am informed by the Rev. Mr.Davenport, is Mrs. Partheriche, daughter and heirefs of the second Edward Clopton above-mentioned. 66She resides, " he adds, obat the family mansion at Clopton near Stratford, is now a widow, and

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any The New Place was fold by Henry Talbot, efq. son-in-law and executor of Sir Hugh Clopton, in or foon after the year 1752, to the Rev. Mr. Gafirell, a man of large fortune, who relided in it but a few years ; in confequence of a disagreement with the inhabitants of Stratford. Every house in that town that is let or valued at more than 40s, a year, is assessed by the Overseers, according to its worth and the ability of the occupier, to pay a inonthly rate toward the maintenance of the As Mr. Gasrell resided part of the year at Lichfield, he thought he was affefied too highly; but being very properly compelled by the magistrates of Stratford to pay the whole of what was levied on him, on the principle that his house was occupied by his fervants in hisabfence, he peevishly declared, that that house should never be assessed again ; and foon afterwards pulled it down, fold the materials, and left the town. Wishing, as it should seem, to be 66damn'd to everlasting famie, 9he had fome time before cut down Shakspeare's celebrated mulberrytree, to save himself the trouble of the wing it to those whose admiration of our great poet led them to viết the poetick ground on which it flood.

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poor.

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coinmon friends, Mr. Combe told Shakspeare in a laughing manner, that he fancied he intended to write his epitaph, if he happened to out-live him;

That Shaspeare planted this tree, is as well authenticated as any thing of that nature can be. The Rev. Mr. Davenport informs me, that Mr. Hugh Taylor, (the father of his clerk,) who is now eighty-five years old, and an alderman of Warwick, where he at present refides, says, he lived when a boy at the next house to New-Place; that his family had inhabited the house for almost three hundred years ; that it was transmitted from father to fon during the last and the present century, that this tree (of the fruit of which he had often eaten in his younger days, fome of its branches hanging over his father's garden, ) was planted by Shakspeare ; and that till this was planted, there was no mulberry-tree in that neighbourhood. Mr, Taylor adds, that the was frequently, when a boy, at NewPlace, and that this tradition was preferved in the Clopton family, as well as in his own.

There were scarce any trees of this species in England till the year 1609, when by order of King James many hundred thousand young mulberry-trees were imported from France, and sent into the different counties, with a view to the feeding of lilkworms, and the encouragement of the filk manufacture, See Camdeni Annales ab anno 1603 ad annum 1623, published by Smith, quarto, 1691, p.7; and Howes's Abridgment of Stowe's Chronicle, edit. 1618, p.503, where we bave a more particular account of this tranfaction than in the larger work. A very few mulberry-trees had been planted before; for we are told, that in the preceding year a gentleman of Picardy, Monsieur Forest, 6 kept greate store of English silkworms au Greenwich, the which the king with great pleasure came often to see them worke; and of their filke hıç çaused a giece of tafała to be made.

Shakspeare was perhaps the only inhabitant of Stratford, whose businefs called him annually to London; and probably on his return from thence in the (pring of the year i6og, he planted this tree.

As a similar enthusiasm to that which with such diligence has fought after Virgil's tomb, may lead my comtrymen to visit the spot where our great bard spent several years of his life, and died; it may gratily them to be told that the ground on which The New-Place once flood, is now a Garden belong

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and since he could not know what might be said of him when he was dead, he desired it might be done immediately; upon which Shakspeare gave him these four verses :

si Ten in the hundred lies here ingrav'd ; 6
66 'Tis a hundred to ten his foul is not fav’d:
6. If any man ask, Who lies in this tomb ?
66 Oh! ho! quoth the devil, 'tis my John-a-Combe.997

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ing to Mr. Charles Hunt, an eminent attorney, and town-clerk of Stratford. Every Englihman will, I am fure, concur with me in wishing that it may enjoy perpetual verdure and fertility.

In this retreat our SHAKSPEARE's godlıke mind
With matchless skill survey'd all human kind.
Here may each sweet that bleit Arabia knows,
Flowers of all hue, and without thorn the role,
To laieft time, their balmy odours Aling,
And Nature here display eternal spring! MALONE.

that he had a particular intimacy with Mr. Combe,) This Mr. John Combe I také to be the fame, who by Dugiale, in his Antiquities of "l'arwick/hire, is said to have died in the year 1614, and for whom at the upper end of the quire of the guild of the holy cross at Stratford, a fair monument is erected, having a ftatue thereon cutia alabaster, and in a gown, with this epitaph. 66 Here lyeth interred the body of John Combe, Esq. who departing this life the 10th day of July, 1614, bequeathed by his last will and testament these fums enfuing, annually to be paid for ever; viz. xx. s. for two fermons to be preach'd in this church, and vi. 1. xiii. s. iv. d. to buy ten gowneş far ten poore people within the borough of Stratford ; and 100!. to be lent to fifteen poore tradelinen of the same borough, from three years to three years, changing the parties every third year, at the rate of fifty shillings per annum, the which increase he appointed to be distributed towards the relief of the almes-poor there. - The donation has all the air of a rich and fagacious ufurer. THEOBALD.

6 Ten in the hundred ties here in grav'd;) In The more the merrier, containing three jcore and odd headless epigrams, Jhot, (like the fooles bolls) among you, light where they will: By it. P. Gent. &c. 1608. I find the following couplet, which is almost the same as the two beginning iines of this Epilaph on John-a-Gombe :

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