Monday, April 24, 2017

William Shakespeare, First Cousin 14X Removed

King Henry VIII separated the Church of England from the Catholic Church in 1533 and decreed marriage between first cousins legal, leading to perhaps the most complex family tree ever! 

William Shakespeare has no direct descendants, but he is our first cousin 14 times removed.    His mother, Mary Arden, is our 13th great grand aunt, sister to our 13th great grandmother.  Thus his maternal grandparents (Robert & Mary Webb Arden) are our 14th great grandparents.  On his father's side his, John Alexander Webb is his Great Grandfather and also our 15th Great Grandfather.   Richard Webb came to America in about 1629.  He is Beatrice Scofield Syska's 9th Great Grandfather and William Shakespeare's first cousin once removed.


The Arden Family takes its name from the Forest of Arden in Warwickshire and can trace it's male lineage back to the Anglo Saxon time period prior to the 11th century Norman Invasion.

G1) Ralph De Arden (1373-1421)  m.  Sibell DeBelgrave -  18th GRGR
G2) Robert De Arden (1413-1451) m. Elizabeth Clodshale - 17th GRGR
G3) Walter De Arden (1441-1502) m. Eleanor Hampden   -  16th GRGR
G4) Thomas Arden (1469-1546)  m. unknown - 15th GRGR
G5) Robert Arden (1506-1556) m. Mary Webb  and  Grace Arden (1514-  ) m. Henry Webb  - both are my 14th GRGR
G6Mary Arden (1537 -  )  m. John Shakespeare   (Mary is my 13th great grand aunt)
G6Margaret Arden (1538-1608) m.   Alexander Webb.  - 13th GRGR

Castle Bromwich Hall
John Arden (  -1526), apparently inherited the Arden family's primary estate at Park Hall, Castle Bromwich.   John Arden had fallen in love with Alice Bracebridge (a distant cousin), but his father,  Sir Walter  disapproved.  John was kidnapped & taken to bracebridge Hall.  Arbitrators appointed by King Edward IV, at the request of Sir Walter, permitted the marriage but ordered Richard Bracebridge to give Sir Walter his best horse for trespassing during the Kidnapping.  In 1502 John Arden inherited Park Hall in Castle Bromwich, while his younger brother, Thomas (1469-1546) settled at Wilmcote near Stratford upon Avon.



G4) Sir John Alexander Webb (1484-1516)  - 15th GRGR
G5) Henry Alexander Webb (1510-1544) m. Grace Arden and Mary Webb (1512-1550) m. Robert Arden   -  14th GRGR
G6) Sir Alexander Webb Sr. (1534-1573) m. Margaret Arden  - 13th GRGR
G6) Sir Alexander Webb Jr. (1559-1629) m. Mary Wilson  - 12th GRGR
G7) Richard Webb (1594-1676) m. Grace Wilson  - 11th GRGR

G4) Sir John Alexander Webb (1484-1516) - 15th GRGR,  an officer in King Henry VIII's army, had four children by an unknown wife,  including MaryAbigail, Sir Henry Alexander  and Margaret.  Our family is related to Mary and Henry.
  • G5) Mary Webb (1512-1550)  married Robert Arden (1506-1556) and had 2 daughters.
    • G6) Mary Arden (1537-) who married John Shakespeare and gave birth to William - see below
    • G6) Margaret Arden (1538-1608 ) who married Sir Alexander Webb Sr. and whose descendants emigrated to America  - see below
Mary Arden Home
  • G5) Abigail Webb (1515-  ) married  her first cousin, Richard Shakespeare in 1532 and had 2 sons- John and Henry.
    • G6) John Shakespeare also married his first cousin Mary Arden (1537 -  ), daughter of Robert Arden & Mary Webb (Abigail's sister), in 1557.  They several children including: 
      • G7) William Shakespeare who married Anne Hathaway and had 3 children. 
        • G8) Susanna Shakespeare married John Hall.  They had one daughter, Elizabeth Hall who died childless.
        • G8) Hamnet Shakespeare who died at the age of 11; and
        • G8) Judith Shakespeare who married Thomas Quinney and had 3 sons, but they all died young and childless.
      • G7) Joan Shakespeare married William Hart and had 4 children who inherited the Shakespeare home and have numerous descendants. 
  • G5) Sir Henry Alexander Webb (1510-1544):    Presumably named after King Henry, he was an usher in the Privy Council of Queen Regent Catherine Parr (King Henry's 6th wife), who granted him lands and privileges for his service. Henry married Grace Arden  (1514)  (daughter of Thomas Arden) and had three children:  Alexander, Agnes and Robert.  
    • G6) Sir Alexander Webb Sr. (1534-1573) also married his first cousin, Margaret Arden (1538-1608)  who was the daughter of Robert Arden.
      • G7) Sir Alexander Webb Jr. (1559-1629) married Mary Wilson (1561-1629) emigrated to America abt 1629  with their family including Richard Webb (1594-1676) (my 11th gr gr).   

Read more about the Webb family in America here:

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