A Chapter in the Early Life of Shakespeare: Polesworth in Arden
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In this charming and thought-provoking 1926 volume, Arthur Gray, Master of Jesus College, Cambridge from 1912 to 1940, explored the possibility that William Shakespeare spent his formative years at Polesworth Hall in the Forest of Arden, perhaps serving as a page boy. The Forest of Arden once stretched from just north of Stratford-upon-Avon to Tamworth, and covered what is now Birmingham Polesworth, near Tamworth, was the home of Sir Henry Goodere and the centre of the famed 'Polesworth Circle'. This splendid focus of creative and cultural activity would have offered the young William exposure to the finest minds, a wonderful education and valuable introductions. Sir Henry, who evidently knew John Shakespeare in Stratford, was certainly patron of many young writers and musicians, including the eminent Elizabethan poet, Michael Drayton. If Gray is correct, Drayton would have been a contemporary of Shakespeare's at Polesworth.
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