Photo: M. Fowler. (Click pic for account of castle)
Read through, or click: De Vere News
Introduction & Overview of Case for de Vere
David Roper on the Stratford Monument
Coded Sonnets Dedication? Dr. John Rollett et al.
Derran Charlton: biog notes, and his reply to Kathman
Charles Burford: Importance of This Issue
Anglo-Spanish War | J I M Stewart
Arthur Maltby, Christopher Dams, Eddi Jolly
Win a Small Prize! | School Exams
Tourism | Rogues Gallery
Other Internet Sites, Other Candidates, Other Theories
De Vere Society AGM Apr 2000 Sep 2000 Jan 2001 AGM Apr 2001
1994 talk 2011 'Anonymous' - the film
Coded Authorship Messages?
This could be the most important academic decryption in 400 years! Seven or eight possible examples of hidden messages, including a brand new one in the Sonnets Dedication. Work described is by John Rollett, David Roper, Thomas Bokenham (with a bit by Rae West). I've included a hostile piece by a Baconian. (About 40K incl. graphics.)
This entire controversy provides an illustration
of the stultifying effect of a wrong hypothesis on academic studies. Scholars naturally have sought for evidence of William Shakspere, and equally naturally have found almost nothing. It's interesting to note that
, who is an ex-miner who once worked with pick and shovel, born in Grimethorpe, near Barnsley (where the film Brassed Off was filmed), has made a name for himself in the investigation of documents on the Bodleian Library [Oxford] and elsewhere.
This happened because, carrying out genealogical research, he'd found his own ancestors had written about de Vere; and because he happened to pick up the paperback by Charlton Ogburn, 'The Mystery of William Shakespeare', attracted only by the coincidence in the author's name. He went on to attend a sale in a large country house, where he found boxes of Elizabethan documents, auctioned for a song. He inspected, among another things, a Caxton 'Pilgrim's Progress'one of the world's most expensively-valued printed books; at least, that's my memory of what he saidand a pamphlet, 'Leicester's Commonwealth', of which all copies were believed destroyed, and found evidence of a full-length portrait of de Vere. He has found a document in Edward de Vere's handwritinga sort of Rosetta Stone in paper, with two versions of his handwriting, the court hand and the informal style. He's investigating (among many other thingsin October 1998 he wrote me he had 156 files of correspondence) handwriting samples of what may be fragments later incorporated into 'Shakespeare'. If I get his permission, more to follow. However, he told me he has a low opinion of Internet"there's no scholarship on Internet"so this may be unlikely.
Reply to Dr Kathman's Why I'm not an Oxfordian . (About 11K). A letter to Elizabethan Review which the editor didn't find room for. In mid-April 2000, Kathman has no sign on his website of an acknowledgement or a reply.
|HEALTH WARNING! You may find your teachers object to Oxfordian material. In some cases, your marks, and therefore your overall grades, and hence entire future life, may be affected. No responsibility is accepted.|
|Shakespeare's effect on society. Hello, This doesn't have anything to do with what you said, but I wanted to ask you something, since you seem to know a lot. I have this report that I can do it about anything. And I want to do it on Shakespeare. I was thinking of Shakespeare's Effects on Society. I thought you might have seen something about it and if you could you might send me a link or anything. That would be great. Thank you!|
You could make these points:
 At the time they were new, these plays probably had some effect in stimulating the war with Spain. If you read Capt Ward's piece on my site, you'll see there was a bitter war, similar to the first world war, between England and Spain. So the propaganda effect might have been important. (NB one of the characters, the old soldier, reminiscing, may have been important in the comic sense).
 Tudor England was replaced by Puritans, then by Charles I, so for a long time the plays can have had little effect, since they weren't performed!
 From the language point of view, it can be argued than 'Shakespeare' had a psychological effect a bit like the growth of empire, including in poetically-attractive ways a whole reference book of phrases and expressions, most of them still recognisable today. I don't think any other language had a single person who gave it such a jolt.
 There's a lot of 'Shakespeare' which didn't anticipate important things; it's pre-Newton, pre-Darwin and pretty much pre-science, so it can't be said to have had much effect there.
It also is rather unreliable about its own present, and past! For instance, the dissolution of the monasteries under Henry VIII is hardly mentioned, although it was important at the time. The truth is that 'Shakespeare' is rather self-absorbed and backward-regarding, and its history is fantasy rather than fact.
 In modern times, say from the mid-19th century, these plays were important in giving British people a fake sense of their past; many people still regard Elizabethan England as a golden age, despite piracy, starvation, wars etc. You could argue that they were important in keeping an element of un-realism in England.
No doubt there's plenty more!
Good luck with your piece
DE VEREAN NEWS IN BRITAIN - AUTUMN 2000
De Vere Society Meeting
At Stratford-on-Avon, in the Wolfson Hall at the Shakespeare Centre, on Sunday 17th September, 10 am to 6 pm.
... About 60 people, not a bad proportion of the total membership, turned up, despite fears over fuel shortages. Stratford is near the end of its season; nevertheless there were quite a few of the deluded wandering about, buying postcards, photographing buildings, looking at the power-station-like theatre.
Brian Hicks and Burford were absent, as was David Roper. Christopher Dams, dapper and shrewd-looking, was there with his wife. Derran Charlton, the world's most implausible ex-miner, was his usual amiable self, with his folders of reproductions of paintings and documents, their importance to be revealed in some US meeting. De Verean authors included the rather silent Rollett, Arthur Maltby with his Baconian interests, Iris Krass the ex-GP, and Eddi Jolly who teaches A-level English at a sixth form college and discreetly introduces de Verean topics in the hope of making her pupils think for themselves. There were contingents from north London and other places, including several US persons and a woman from Normandy. Jan Scheffer, forensic psychologist, was there (he told me he hated Big Brother , despite its Dutch connections). I had the impression that the average age was higher than usual for these meetings. There were a few new faces, including Kirk Jones, who heard the Oxfordian hypothesis for the first time only a few weeks ago; an ex-agony aunt journalist, called Angela (I forget her surname) who had composed the lyrics for a musical on John Dee; and Prof D Braben, an ex-physicist who figures on Internet as a research innovator once distributing money from BP, burrowing into unlikely hypotheses (I wonder if he found Harold Hillman?).
The first of two papers, on wardship, was read by Daphne Pearson, who'd managed to write a dissertation on this subject apparently by explicitly stating that she wasn't considering the authorship issue. According to an accountant friend, her talk was fascinating, but I have to confess that as far as I could see wardship only played a small part in the plot; her talk mainly dealt with de Vere's finances. Oxford, at 21, had to 'sue his livery', which seems to mean pay a hefty sum for his coat of arms and legal right to get his lands and other assetsin effect something resembling death duties to the Crown. Because the sums of money sound ludicrously small today, there's a credibility problem which Pearson in my view didn't quite solvein fact the question-and-answer session seemed to show she had little grasp of the real value of the pound in those days. At any rate, Oxford died with virtually nothing, despite massive infusions of money. Was he effectively ruined at the age of 21? I was left uncertain. There are interesting sidelights on arranged marriages, knight service, peers' immunity to legal process. This talk will be printed in the Newsletter.
Noemi Magri's grandiosely-entitled talk The Influence of Italian Renaissance Art on Shakespeare's Works: Titianthe Pictorial Source of Venus & Adonis examined Titian's many versions of Venus and Adonis and selected one of them which she felt must have been described by 'Shakespeare'. It's the version in which Adonis wears a hatnot unlike an Alpen hat of the sort often worn with a feather in it. Its provenance (painted as a wedding present for Philip of Spain in 1553, delivered from Venice in September 1554) was consistent with the known movements of Oxford in Italy. A similar hypothesis, though presumably omitting the authorship element, is in Panofsky, and othersnot surprisingly. Again this talk is to be published in the Newsletter.
The post-lunch question-and-answer session was chaired by Christopher Dams, and the panel consisted of John Rollett (in place of Brian Hicks), Eddi Jolly, Daphne Pearson, and Gerrit Quealy (an American actress). Most of the audience sat near the back (why do people do this?). Dams explained that the object was to find answers to the sort of questions asked by the man in the streetor, at least, the man in the street interested in the issue. It has to be said they weren't very successful. To the obvious question that the experts all disagree with Oxfordians, who must therefore be wrong, they could only say in effect that these people were afraid to differ, which, I think, is entirely unconvincing. Elizabeth Imlay made a good point: the Globe reconstruction shows that Shakespeare's theatrical work could not have been performed there. It's impossible to hear properly! A pony-tailed American made several points, not very clearly; a good one was that Oxfordians assume, without evidence, that a brawl with Knyvet in which Oxford was (supposedly?) injured must have involved swords, because this is consistent with an Oxfordian interpretation of several Shakespeare scenes; but there's no mention of swords or other weapons in the descriptions of the brawl. Braben said that de Vere is censored out of history books of the last 50-100 years, and there was some altercation over the meaning of 'held office' (Great Chamberlain?), and whether there was actual censorship by these historians, or whether they were justified in omitting the second-most-prominent Noble of that time. Dams said, as he has before, that he favoured the 'open secret' idea. Alan Robinson, the society's accountant, would have pointed out that there's a danger of genuinely historical Shakespeares and Shakspers getting mixed up or conflated, except that he was seated near the back. The attractions of the 'common man' theory (you too could be a genius!) were aired. I'm afraid I asked a few questions: as regards missing events in Shakespeare, isn't it odd that the Reformation, and also the 500th anniversary of the Norman Conquest, should be so under-represented? Some of the audience seemed to think these topics would be censored. Another question suddenly occurred to me as Daphne Pearson announced that the theatres of the time "were commercial". Many media (TV, films, newspapers) are and have been subsidised, directly or secretly; why shouldn't these theatres, which were certainly in part propaganda vehicles, have been partly subsidised? Alas, Daphne Pearson could produce no evidence for her statement. Finally, I was interested to hear confirmation from Ms Quealy, from what might be described as the extreme light of the panel, that expositors of the plays omit the tricky material, preferring to gloss only the simpler words and phrases. I'd assumed this must be true, but hadn't attempted to verify it. The panel, I was disappointed to find, were universally ignorant of David Roper's work on the Stratford monument inscription (just a mile or so away). Internet has a long way to go.
Saturday Jan 27th 2001: De Vere Society Winter Meeting
To show what the de Vere Society gets up to, I retain this notice of a recent meeting; a printed version will appear in their newsletter. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to attend.
April 28th 2001: De Vere Society ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING