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Shakespeare's Beaulieu

Celebrating Shakespeare's legacy and and exploring the connections between Beaulieu and the Bard.


SHAKESPEARE'S PATRON

Montagu ancestor Henry Wriothesley, the 3rd Earl of Southampton, was Shakespeare's only acknowledged patron - and a close friend of the playwright.

Shakespeare's narrative poems Venus & Adonis (1593) and The Rape of Lucrece (1594) were both dedicated to the Earl, who many scholars believe was the 'Fair Youth' of Shakespeare's sonnets.

The current Lord Montagu is a direct descendant of the Earl.

"The love I dedicate to your lordship is without end … What I have done is yours; what I have to do is yours; being part in all I have, devoted yours" - The Rape of Lucrece dedication

Henry Wriothesley, 3rd Earl of Southampton


DID YOU KNOW?

  • One of the feuding families in Romeo & Juliet is the Montagues. Anthony, Viscount Montagu (the Earl's grandfather) may have inspired Shakespeare's choice of name.
  • Shakespeare is thought to have written plays for private performances for the young Earl's social circle, including Love's Labour's Lost.
  • The Earl was a major shareholder in the Virginia Company and it is thought that the loss of the company's flagship off Bermuda may have inspired The Tempest.
  • It has been said that A Midsummer Night's Dream was written to celebrate the marriage of the Earl's mother to Sir Thomas Heneage in 1594.

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