STANDISH OF DUXBURY
1.5. Interview via FAQs (2002)
Helen Moorwood 2013
1.5. (13) Mainly about answers to some of these ‘Catholic’ questions
What are your answers?
Before I embark on answers, I feel obliged to say that the answers only came slowly and after much further reading and discussion during the last year or so with authors who have grappled with the same problems. In brief, my current interim answers are that all the questions on the page above were valid, that John Cottam, Edmund Campion, the school in Douai and all other individuals and places associated previously with Shakespeare will play a role in the ‘final biography’ of the Bard. This will, however, require many more years of research. I can only hope that I survive long enough to see some of the fruits of this research by others. I already have a month by month biography of John, Mary and William Shakespeare in my head and on my computer, but realise that these would be far too controversial until I have published all the evidence and proof (from recent discoveries by others). Be patient, Duxbury ‘cousins’, but it will come. The main published background details came from the recent explosion of ‘Shakespeare Catholic’ literature.
Explosion of ‘Catholic Shakespeare’ literature?
Yes. Not that I have been influenced by this in using any ‘new’ details to support my conclusions, which had been reached long before I started reading in this area, but as the only background story that made sense of what I had discovered purely from re-examining the primary biographical and genealogical sources.
Which developments have been most interesting?
First was the arrival of a book in my postbox called Shakespeare and the Catholic Religion by Carol Curt Enosjust a year ago, via the kind intermediary of Sir Bernard de Hoghton. When I read this I came to the same conclusion as when I first embarked on ‘Shakespeare in Lancashire’ literature. Here was someone approaching from a completely different direction, but our findings fitted together like the proverbial glove (one made by John Shakespeare?). Her work answered many of my questions and puzzles and vice versa. She had started from Catholic biographical and internal evidence and come to the conclusions that the Lancashire episode was the main link between Shakespeare and the theatre, and that research among the Cheshire Ardernes might provide interesting results. I had started with the Lancashire episode and purely biographical and genealogical evidence, which proved the Cheshire Arderne connection, and come to the inevitable conclusion that the Shakespeare family must have been Catholic. Yet again, two people’s totally independent research had met in the same places. We have spent many hours over the last year discussing where we agree or agree to disagree and these points are now incorporated in my Shakespeare book (to be).
And since then?
Largely head down and reading and writing away in any free time away from many family, social and professional commitments, but also some very interesting contacts with authors who came to similar Catholic conclusions long ago or recently. See Conlan, Milwardand Hammerschmidt-Hummel, for starters.