Deposition of William Shakespeare in the Bellott-Mountjoy Dowry Lawsuit
11 May 1612

William Shakespeare of Stratford vpon Aven in the Countye of Warwicke gentleman of the age of xlviij yeres or thereaboutes sworne and examined the daye and yere abouesaid deposethe & sayethe

[1] To the first interrogatory this deponent sayethe he knowethe the partyes plaintiff and deffendant and hathe kno[ne] them bothe as he now remembrethe for the space of tenne yeres or thereaboutes.

[2] To the second interrogatory this deponent sayeth he did know the complainant when he was servant with the deffendant, and that duringe the tyme of his the complainantes service with the said deffendant he the said complainant to this deponentes knowledge did well and honestly behaue himselfe, but to this deponentes remembrance he hath not heard the deffendant confesse that he had gott any great profitt and comodytye by the service of the said complainant, but this deponent saithe he verely thinkethe that the said complainant was a very good and industrious servant in the said service. And more he canott depose to the said interrogatory.

[3] To the third interrogatory this deponent sayethe that it did evydentlye appeare that the said deffendant did all the tyme of the said complainantes service with him beare and shew great good will and affeccion towardes the said complainant, and that he hath hard the deffendant and his wyefe diuerse and sundry tymes saye and reporte that the said complainant was a very honest fellow: And this deponent sayethe that the said deffendant did make a mocion vnto the complainant of marriadge with the said Mary in the bill mencioned beinge the said deffendantes sole chyld and daughter, and willinglye offered to performe the same yf the said complainant shold seeme to be content and well like thereof: And further this deponent sayethe that the said deffendantes wyeffe did sollicitt and entreat this deponent to move and perswade the said complainant to effect the said mariadge, and accordingly this deponent did moue and perswade the complainant thervnto: And more to this interrogatorye he cannott depose.

[4] To the ffourth interrogatory this deponent sayth that the defendant promissed to geue the said complainant a porcion in marriadg[e] with Marye his daughter, but what certayne porcion he rememberethe not, nor when to be payed, nor knoweth that the defendant promissed the plaintiff twoe hundred poundes with his daughter Marye at the tyme of his decease. But sayth that the plaintiff was dwellinge with the defendant in his house, and they had amongeste them selues manye conferences about there marriadge which [afterwardes] was consumated and solempnized. And more he cann[ott depose.]

[5] To the vth interrogatory this deponent sayth he can saye noth[inge] touchinge any parte or poynte of the same interrogatory, for he knoweth not what implementes and necessaries of houshould stuffe the defendant gaue the plaintiff in marriadge with his daughter Marye.

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changed December 11, 2007