The former Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams has written a play about William Shakespeare and St. Edmund Campion. Its title, Shakeshafte, refers to the name mentioned in the annals of Hesketh Hall in Lancashire and the Jesuits in Britain are highlighting performance this week. In interviews about the play Williams says he believes Shakespeare was a Catholic and seems to accept one theory about Shakespeare's "lost years" as fact:Share
As part of his look into Shakespeare’s life and work, Dr Williams has also concluded The Bard was probably a Catholic.(Read more.)
He said of the play: “We know they both stayed at the same house in Lancashire. I found this a wonderful idea to play with: what might a Jesuit martyr and Shakespeare have said to each other?”
Regarding the ages-old debate over Shakespeare’s religion, Dr Wiliams says he now agrees with rumours that Shakespeare may have been a secret Catholic at a time when Queen Elizabeth I was spearheadeding a brutal repression of the catholic faith.
Dr Williams said: “Shakespeare knows exactly where he does, and doesn’t, want to go, in matters of church and state. He deliberately puts some of his plays right outside the Christian, Tudor/Jacobean framework.
“For instance, King Lear takes place in a pre-Christian Britain. Again, some people argue that Cymbeline is about a rupture with Rome, leading to a reconciliation. I think Shakespeare did have a recusant Catholic background. My own hunch though is that he didn’t go to church much.”