25th April 1616

We have lost this day an entertainer beyond compare, a poet whose monumental achievements will outlive our generation by hundreds of years. But it is as a piously humble, strictly private gentleman that the fortunate handful of us whom he allowed to know him intimately will long remember Master William Shakspere.

Master Shakspere admitted fewer than a dozen devotees to his inner circle. But those close friends all knew him to be an ally who never wavered in his loyalty. He was a caring husband, a loving father, a kind father-in-law; and, to our daughter Elizabeth, a grandfather whose generosity knew no bounds.

A musketman with few equals, he was first and foremost an intrepid warrior.

Never one to be lukewarm about his religious beliefs, he breathed fire when they were challenged; and defended them passionately jealously with both quill pen and musket.

Master Shakspere fought on the enemy’s side in the Spanish naval invasion of 1588 – all because of his religious beliefs. Because of them, he refused an offer of a knighthood from Queen Elizabeth – telling me in confidence that he would rather be remembered as a musketman of the Church of Rome than as Sir William of the Church of England. Because of his religious beliefs, he was prepared to assassinate the queen’s successor and went so far indeed as to take part in a murder plot which would have changed the course of English history forever.

Let us therefore remember our dear departed, more than anything else, as Musketman Shakspere, Roman Catholic.

John Hall, Doctor of Medicine