Shakespeare’s religious affiliation has remained the centre of scholarly debate mostly because his work includes an abundant amount of biblical and liturgical allusions.
But now there’s new proof that may suggest the playwright was Catholic.
At the Venerable English College in Rome, researchers have found several cryptic signatures in its guest book that suggest Shakespeare might have sought refuge at the college during the Reformation. Today, the crypt is serving as an exhibit called ‘Non Angels but Angels’ that documents the journey priests took to and from England during the reformation.
In question are three signatures. One of them reads “Arthurus Stratfordus Wigomniensis” signed in 1585. It’s believed this was one of Shakespeare’s fictitious names. The vice rector of the college says this one is code for “King Arthur’s compatriot from Stratford of Worchester’s diocese.”
All the signatures were penned on different days during Shakespeare’s missing years after he left Stratford.
The mysterious signatures are sitting in the archives for now, but the college made replicas that are on display at the exhibit until July 2010 .