Shakespeare’s younger brother
In Southwark Cathedral the other day, I found the tomb of William’s younger brother Edmond, who followed his elder brother’s path to London to become an actor. In 1607 he performed at the Curtain Theatre (situated where Curtain Road is now) in Shoreditch. Ten years earlier at this theatre, Romeo and Juliet and Henry V were premiered – William described it as “this wooden O”. Think of that, next time you visit the Hoxton Pony, American Apparel or SCP.
It seems Edmond had a life here in the neighbourhood, because his illegitimate son was baptised in St Leonard’s Church, Shoreditch, but the child died soon after and Edmond just four months later, aged only twenty seven – all in 1607. It cost twenty shilling for his burial “with a forenoone knell of the great bell”, most likely paid for by his more successful brother. Nothing else is known of Edmond Shakespeare.