Thomas Greene's Diary, 15 - 22 November 1614

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Date:November 1614

Description:Late in 1614, there was a controversial proposal to enclose some of the old open fields to the east and north-east of Stratford. As a titheholder, and possibly a freeholder as well, William Shakespeare had an interest in this. The town clerk, Thomas Greene, kept a diary recording the progress of the dispute, and he mentions Shakespeare several times.

On 17 November, whilst in London, he records Shakespeare's arrival there and a discussion he had with him about the enclosure. By this time, Shakespeare had already taken steps to protect his interests.

Greene's handwriting is always very difficult to read, and his diary, written for his own use only, is at times almost indecipherable.

A modernised translation of the entry for 17 November reads:

'my Cousin Shakspeare coming yesterday to town, I went to see him, how he did. He told me that they assured him they meant to enclose no further than to Gospel Bush & so straight up (leaving out part of the Dingles to the field) to the gate in Clopton hedge & take in Salisbury’s piece: and that they mean in April to survey the land and then to give satisfaction & not before & he & Mr Hall say they think there will be nothing done at all'

Shakespeare Birthplace Trust reference: BRU 15/13/26a (r)