THE TWO MURDERS IN SHAKESPEARE’S HOUSE. In Mary Jane’s post, she refers to two murders which had taken place in the house that Shakespeare bought in Stratford. When Mary Jane told me about the murders, I thought about the old movie “The Amityville Horror”, about the haunting of a house where a mass murder had taken place (IMDb plot summaries here).
Shakespeare bought New Place, the second largest house in Stratford, in 1597. Mary Jane showed me the passages in Park Honan’s SHAKESPEARE A LIFE which describe the two murders. The first murder had occurred in 1563. A man named Bott poisoned his daughter as part of a plan to gain property by forging deeds. A witness gave a deposition that he was in the house when the poisoning took place and that the daughter “did dye sodenly and was poysoned with rattes bane and therewith swelled to death”.
The second murder was in 1597. The man who sold the house to Shakespeare was poisoned by the man’s son. The murder complicated Shakespeare’s purchase, and he did not get secure title to the house until 1602.