Sir Henry Neville
1564 - 1615
Sir Henry Neville is one of the newest authorship candidates. He lived and died within a year of William Shaksper and was a descendent of the illustrious Neville family. His father was a courtier and a Member of Parliament; his mother Elizabeth was a close relative of Sir Thomas Gresham who founded the Royal Exchange in London. Sir Henry was educated at Merton College, Oxford, where he was the favourite student of Henry Savile, the great Classical scholar.
From 1578 until 1583 Neville accompanied Savile and others on a five year tour of the Continent, where he visited most of the places mentioned in the plays of the Shakespeare canon. Neville served as a Member of Parliament from 1584 until his death. From 1599-1600 he served as Ambassador to France.
The case for Neville is based in part on the chronological synchronicity between his life and the orthodox dating of Shakespeare's works. If Hamlet was written in 1601 and Othello in 1602, there is no obvious thematic alignment to be found in the life of William Shaksper. However, in 1600 Neville was sent to the Tower of London for his role in the Essex rebellion, alongside the Earl of Southampton, his close friend. There are interpretations of both these plays that lend themselves to the dramatic events in Neville’s life at that time.
During the course of his research on Henry Neville, Dr. John Casson poured over surviving books and manuscripts to discover handwritten marginalia that point to Neville's possible authorship of several Shakespeare plays.