Reading list

BodleianThis work is not intended to be an academic treatise, but purely follows a journey of discovery, that one particular individual has made into the life of one of the most well known but secretive characters in literary history. My intention was always to try to make the work readable and not cluttered with a forest of references that might disrupt the flow – the story is already complicated enough without turning it into a Rubik’s Cube or even a Hadron Collider.

I was gratified to see that the best selling author, Bill Bryson, managed to ‘get by’, with merely a reading list of books and articles, which had clarified his thought processes. My own scribblings have been inspired by over a thousand web pages, saved on my computer, plus tens of thousands more that have been noted and then discarded. The number of purely printed volumes (books..!) I have consumed has been much more limited, but many of these are now available in ‘ebook’ form, easily accessible and at no cost. Each fact has been checked and checked again, but frequently there have been conflicts between the ‘generally accepted’ and the more liberal musings of the broad minded researcher. When the differing versions disagree, I have usually stated that there are two sides to the story and given my thoughts on both, drawing my own conclusions, but also allowing the reader the freedom to do likewise and make up their own mind.

In reality, not a single word is solely mine. How could it be because I didn’t invent the English language, although I do try to push the boundaries a little, and as with all historical work, the writer is standing on the shoulders of all those who have gone before. However, unlike some writers on the subject, I haven’t found it compulsory to treat previous writing as gospel, or to treat those graced with a fancy title, be it noble or academic, with greater respect than those mere mortals, who seem to have produced a worthy piece of honest study in their dingy garret room or conservatory study area.

My reading and reference list has grouped sources of similar type together. I have offered web links to most, which I hope will then give you hundreds of hours of extra enjoyment, following my own journey of discovery. I quite unashamedly acknowledge ‘Wikipedia’ as the primary source of my material. It was the starting point that often provided the link that led me into uncharted waters. Is it perfect – not yet, but it is aiming to be – and getting there remarkably quickly.

Biography of living people mentioned in the text

Mark Rylance

English actor, theatre director and playwright. He was the Artistic Director of Shakespeare’s Globe, from 1995 to 2005.

Professor Bryan Sykes

Former Professor of Human Genetics at the University of Oxford and a current Fellow of Wolfson College. Published the first report on retrieving DNA from ancient bone (Nature, 1989). Best known, outside the community of geneticists, for his best selling books on the investigation of human history through studies of mitochondrial DNA. He was the founder of Oxford Ancestors, a genealogical DNA testing firm.

Dr George Francklin Redmonds

Local historian with a life-long interest in name studies in Yorkshire. In 1973 he wrote Yorkshire: West Riding, the first volume in the English Surnames Series, and in 2001 he presented BBC Radio 4 series ‘Surnames, Genes and Geneaology’.

Professor Dana F. Sutton

Professor Emeritus of Classics at the University of California, Irvine, and an Honorary Fellow of The Shakespeare Institute, University of Birmingham. General Editor of The Philological Museum. Written extensively about the Greek and Latin theatre.

Dr William Rubinstein

Historian and author, born and educated in the USA, he was worked at universities in England and Australia and latterly, at AberystwythUniversity. Known for his work on Jewish history and the history of the ‘very wealthy’, he also researches unconventional history, and topics discussed by amateur historians but ignored by academics.

Brenda James

Author, who discovered Henry Neville as a ‘new’ candidate in the authorship debate. She wrote ‘The Truth Will Out, Unmasking the Real Shakespeare’; ‘Henry Neville and the Shakespeare Code’.

Jonathan Bate

British academic, biographer, critic, broadcaster, novelist and scholar of Shakespeare. ‘The Genius of Shakespeare’ was praised by Sir Peter Hall, founder of the RSC, as ‘the best modern book on Shakespeare’.

Peter Lee

Chairman of the Nuneaton and North Warwickshire Family History Society

Honor Browning

My aunt, a fellow Jaggar descendent, was my early mentor for this project. Honor is long time resident of Oxford, a lover of history and the classical, and a sponge for knowledge. She is the nearest we have, in the family, to a true intellectual. Even in her ninth decade, Honor continues with a regular diet of piano lessons and Latin tutorials.


Genealogical sources and search-engine websites –

Genes Reunited –

Family Search –

Public profiler GB names –

London Metropolitan Archive –

National Archives –

GENUKI UK and Ireland Genealogy

Tudor Place –

The Peerage –

Oxford Ancestor –


Encyclopedia, library and university resources

Wikipedia –

British History Online –

The Philological Museum and Shakespeare Institute of the University of Birmingham

Spartacus schoolnet –

History of Parliament –

Luminarium Encyclopedia Project –

Internet Archive Home –

A Who’s Who of Tudor Women, compiled by Kathy Lynn Emerson

Berkshire History –

From Weaver to Web – Online visual archive of Calderdale history

Malcom Bull’s Calderdale Companion

Cracroft’s Peerage –

Dictionary of National Biography 1885-190



William Gager, The Complete Works, by Dana F. Sutton

The Project Gutenberg EBook of An Introduction to Shakespeare, by H. N. MacCracken and F. E. Pierce and W. H. Durham

The Project Gutenberg EBook of Printers’ Marks, by William Robert

Harry Garfield Gager, Jagger-Gager genealogy: descendants of Dr. William Gager, Charlestown, Mass., 1630, Jeremiah Jagger -(Gager), with references to Dr. William Gager, of Charlestown, Mass.

The Project Gutenberg EBook of William Shakespeare.

Shakespeare’s Haunts and Homes by Samuel Levy Bensusan

Is Shakespeare Dead? By Mark Twain

Diary of Samuel Pepys –

Diary of Henry Machy –


‘Real’ books

‘Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies’ – Mr Shakespeare’s 36 plays – 1899 ‘Henry Irving’ edition

Printer of Shakespeare: Biography of William Jaggard by Edwin Eliot Willoughby

Shakespeare: The World as Stage is a biography of William Shakespeare by Bill Bryson

The Truth Will Out, Unmasking the Real Shakespeare by Brenda James and William D. Rubinstein.

Henry Neville and the Shakespeare Code by Brenda James

Contested Will -Who Wrote Shakespeare? By James Shapiro

Lady Jane Grey: A Tudor Mystery by Eric Ives

William Shakespeare and Robert Greene; The Evidence by William H Chapman

Elizabeth in the Garden by Trea Martyn

Shakespeare’s Wife by Germaine Greer

The Mid Tudors by Stephen J. Lee

Bess; The Life of Lady Raleigh by Anna Beer

The Reign of Elizabeth by J.B. Black


Google Books online

Shakespeare’s home at New Place, by John Chippendall Montesquieu Bellew

The Shakespeare Game, or, The Mystery of the Great Phoenix by Ilya Gililov

The Business of Playing by William Ingram

Shakespeare versus Shallow by Leslie Hotson

Freemasonry and the Birth of Modern Science by Robert Lomas

Shakespeare Truth and Tradition by W. Macneile Dixon and John Semple Smart

A genealogical and heraldic history of the extinct and dormant baronetcies by John Burke

The Progresses and Public Processions of Queen Elizabeth by John Nichols

Publishing and Medicine in Early Modern England by Elizabeth Lane Furdell

Shakespeare as Literary Dramatist by Lukas Erne

The works of Thomas Sackville by Thomas Sackville Dorset (Earl of)

Marketing the Bard: Shakespeare in Performance and Print, by Don-John Dugas

Typographia, or the Printers’ instructor by John Johnson

Some rules and orders for the government of the house of an earle by Richard Brathwaite

Owning William Shakespeare: The King’s Men & Intellectual Property by James Marino

Custome Is an Idiot: Jacobean Pamphlet, edited by Susan Gushee O’Malley

Shakespeare’s Patron: William Herbert, Third Earl of Pembroke, by Brian O’Farrell

Pirates and the Lost Templar Fleet by David Hatcher Childress


Shakespeare websites

Open Source Shakespeare – search the plays and poem

The Shakespeare Family History Site

William Shakespeare biography

The Lost Secret of William Shakespeare by Richard Allan Wagner.

Shakespeare’s Family by CC Stopes

Shakespeare-online –

In Search of Shakespeare by Michael Wood

Shakespeare’s Sonnet –

Mr William Shakespeare and the Internet.

Wherefore Art Thou Grandfather? by Stuart Pearson 2004 – Article – researching into the identity of the Bard’s grandfather

Donato Colucci’s 21st century Shakespeare studies.

Mr William Shakespeare and the Interne –

Folger Shakespeare Library –

Was the Earl of Oxford the true Shakespeare? by Ward Elliott and Robert Valenza, ClaremontMcKennaCollege, 1991

Shakespeare and the Geneva Bible – Article by Leland Ryken

Approaching Shakespear

An introduction to Shakespeare by H. N. MacCracken, F.E. Pierce and W. H. Durham


Alternative Candidate websites

Sir Francis Bacon’s New Advancement of Learning –

The Martyrdom of Francis Bacon by Alfred Dodd

John Florio – the man who was Shakespear

Mary Sidney –

The Case for Mary Sidney by Jonathan Star –

Forgotten Secret by Alan Tarica –

Shakespeare Oxford Society –

Politicworm – Shakespeare authorship –

The Shakespearean Authorship Trust

The Shakespeare Authorship Page by David Kathman and Terry Ross

The Shakespeare Code – The Bard, Love, Religion and Politics

Rogues Vagabonds and Sturdy Beggar


Family name websites

The Clopton Chronicles – Clopton Family Genealogical Society – by Suellen Clopton Blanton.

Clopton family history –

Early Belknaps – histories and documents –

The de Clare family by Daniel Mersey –

Brianianna – A Brief History of the Bryan family by Edward A Bryan

The Webbs of Warwickshire, England –

Grimshaw origins and history (Peele family )


Rosicrucian and Hermetic Science

The Alchemy website

John Dee: Monas Hieroglyphia

The Chemical Wedding of Rosenkruetz

Rosicrucian Studies

Ron Heisler – John Dee and the Secret Societies

The Real History of the Rosicrucians, by Arthur Edward Waite.

OU History of Science Collections ; University of Oklahoma –

Saudades – Columbus –

Origin of the Phoenicians in the Early Mediterranean Region by Sanford Holst

Christopher Columbus – was he Portuguese?

The Winthrop Society –

The Alchemical Patronage of William Cecil, Lord Burghley ; James Stuart Campbell – University of Wellington, NZ


Various articles, pamphlets and miscellaneous websites

Charles Frederick. Tucker Brooke, “The Life and Times of William Gager (1555 – 1622),”

Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society volume 95 (1951) 401 – 31.

The Earl of Southampton, Richard III, Shakespeare and Henry Neville by Dr John Casson

A Brief History of Gresham College by Richard Chartres and David Vermont Pamphlet published in 1998 for Gresham College

Professor Bryan Sykes –

Freemasonry Databank –

The Constitution of the masons of Strasburg 1459

The Masonic Trowel –

Biblical History of King Solomon’s Temple –

Life and Times of Sir Christopher Wren by Martin I Mcgregor

Sir Philip Sidney funeral cortege -University of Maryland (must see).

John Strype’s, A Survey of the Cities of London and Westminster

Ronald B. McKerrow: Printers’ and Publishers’ Devices in England 1485-164

Website of Foundation of Katherine Leveson

The Paston Book of Arms c1450 –

From Fulling to Fustaniopolis –

Elizabethan Sonnet Cycles, by Michael Drayton, Bartholomew Griffin, and William Smith

Poetry Foundation –

Stories of London by E.L.Hoskyn

The Company of Merchant Adventurers of the City of York

Ovid metamorphoses

Medieval English Genealogy

As the World Turned

Life in Tudor England by Tim Lambert –

Time Team – Channel 4 –

Measuring Worth –

The map of early Modern London –

Thomas Middleton –

Portrait of Queen Elizabeth I by Marilee Cody

Maps of Olde England

Inns and taverns of Old England by Henry C. Shelley

Printing in England from William Caxton to Christopher Barker. An Exhibition: November 1976 – April 1977, University of Glasgow

Robin Hood –

Phoenix Nest -1593

The Life of Sir John Oldcastle

Museum of the Order of St John –

The Elizabeth Files –

The Holinshead Project –

Life in Elizabethan England by Maggie Secara

Wren’s Cathedral – The Diocese of Wroxall Abbey

Yeoman of the Queen’s Bodyguard –

‘Cagots’of Bearn –

The Tunnels of Hertford by John Barber

© Keith Browning –  21st December 2012


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