6. 17 May 1995 (Various; more on handwriting)

Dear John,


   Thanks for the copies.

   I wondered how Tong, Salop and its Stanley epitaphs (Oxford Complete Works 887) figured in your thoughts and itineraries. Was Shakespeare a Shropshire lad, just in time for next year's centenary? I seem to see his hand in one of those epitaphs, at least; the compound coinage 'sky-aspiring', is first cited by the OED (8d) from Richard II  (I.iii.130), and the line 'outlive marble and defacers' hands' evokes Sonnets 55. 1-2 ('marble... outlive') and 64.1 ('hand defaced' ).

   On Lloyd-Roberts's piece, why isn't ducdame dewch da mi (doesn't it mean 'come to me'? why  'gyda'?), which I'm sure I've seen somewhere attributed ages ago, long before NWR22.

   I was rather puzzled too by his peculiarly defensive stance over 'His name is Liberall honour', which rather obviously means an anagram - what else? And it's not liberallis (the third l spoils the proposed solution) but liberalis; and why not 'Iohn Sallsborie' ? But I must take a look at Carleton Brown's book, which sounds quite interesting.

   Anyhow, Lloyd-Roberts seem to have much to say that's valuable (though at the moment I prefer your interpretation of 'Danielle', subject to an investigation of Ursula Stanley's handwriting, which must surely be still available for comparison, somewhere?). And I wonder whether Jeremy Griffiths has been able to keep awake long enough to take another look at that erasure, etc.

   On handwriting, I also wondered whether you felt like following up the Ironside-Denbigh analogies, or whether there had been any further developments on that identification. I think (optimistically, no doubt) that Ironside's prospects may improve when (if ever) Yale agree to bring out my edition of Edward III; the similarities of style seem quite striking to me.

  Also, à propos, I’ve asked the BL o send a copy of the Rufford Pedigree Roll; it might help with further handwriting comparisons, and also a connection with the draft coat of arms application of 1596, about which I’ve written to York Herald with a view to a visit; he has kindly promised to turn his attention to these topics before too long. If any such aspects seem worth pursuing, I'd be happy to send you xeroxes in due course. And the 'By me...'  monograph I mentioned is slender enough to photocopy in toto; I'll gladly undertake that if your library can't help.

   Best, as ever,