Source 4

Entry on main account of the Exchequer 1599 (E 372/445)


‘William Shakespeare in the parish of St. Helen’s, 13s. 4d. of the first entire subsidy granted in the said thirty ninth year [of the reign of Queen Elizabeth] which is required upon the same there.’ Simplified Transcript ‘William Shakespeare, who lives in the parish of St.Helen’s, owes 13 shillings and 4 pence for the first subsidy (tax) of 1599.’


This Pipe Roll lists an old debt of tax owed (13s, 4d.) and points out that it is the business of the sheriff of Surrey and Sussex and according to a note in the margin of the document, this matter was sent to the Bishop of Winchester for his attention. In both Surrey and Sussex, the Bishop only had authority over the area of the Clink in Southwark. This is where many of the London Elizabethan theatres, including the Globe Theatre were built.

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4. This entry (in Latin) is in the main account of the Exchequer (Pipe Roll) of 1599-1600, and shows details of what Shakespeare has owed for tax since 1597 when he was last known to have lived in St. Helen’s, Bishopgate.

  • The money owed by Shakespeare is now the ‘business’ of’ whom?
  • What does this evidence suggest?
  • What do you think Shakespeare has been up to between 1597 and 1599?