Shakespeare's Will

Letter to the Editor

Times Literary Supplement, 21 Nov. 1986; © the estate of eric sams 

Sir, - In his review (November 14) of Charles Hamilton's In Search of Shakespeare, Chris Baldick refers to its "assertion" that Shake­speare's will is holographic. Is this really a fair word for a whole budget of arguments old and new, plus four pages of facsimile comparisons compellingly designed to show the identity between the will handwriting and that of the insurrection scene in Sir Thomas More? "Asser­tion”  seems to me a much apter term for the claims of Samuel Schoenbaum, Stanley Wells and others that the will was written by one Francis Collins. This is not only unsupported by any fact or argument whatever; it is in flag­rant contradiction with the verifiable evidence of Collins's hand in the Stratford archives - and indeed in the will itself as pointed out by its custodian Dr Jane Cox in Shakespeare in the Public Records (1985).


Eric Sams

32 Arundel Avenue

Sanderstead, Surrey