Shakespeare Documents’ recognised by UNESCO International Memory of the World!

  • 26th January 2018


Documents revealing the story of Shakespeare’s personal, business and family life have been listed on UNESCO International Memory of the World.  The collection includes three documents  that we hold as part of the Diocese of Worcester collection.

Of the hundreds of thousands of documents in our care, William Shakespeare’s marriage bond is probably one of our most well-known.  Now this document, along with 2 others relating to the great playwright, has been recognised by UNESCO as part of an internationally significant collection.

William Shakespeare’s Marriage Bond

Following a successful nomination 90 documents relating to Shakespeare’s family, business and legal affairs have been added to the International Memory of the World Register.  We worked in partnership with The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, who led the nomination, as well as The National Archives, the College of Arms, the British Library and London Metropolitan Archives in the UK and the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington D.C, USA.   The collection is known collectively as the ‘Shakespeare Documents’, and together they are key sources for William Shakespeare’s biography.

The Worcestershire documents are part of the vast Diocese of Worcester collection, and help to tell the story of Shakespeare’s personal life in Stratford rather than his literary life.  The bond for the marriage of Anne and William, and the subsequent recording of the marriage licence in the Bishop of Worcester’s register of 1582, show the process through which the couple sought to marry, their connections and their circumstances at the time.  The will of Thomas Whittington gives a fascinating insight into his personal networks and connections in Stratford, as well as the connections of his wife and her philanthropic work.   Thomas names Anne Shakespeare, and specifically requests that she distributes money to the poor of Stratford.

We are very proud of our Shakespeare connections, and are delighted that the collection documents relating to his work and his life are being recognised in this way.


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