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Shakespeare's family in nine objects

The Cupboard of Boxes

Family focus

Richard Quiney – Father-in-law to Shakespeare’s daughter

About the Item

This oak cupboard made in 16 days was a sort of old-fashioned filing cabinet. It was used to store the Stratford Corporation Records which related to the running of the town. The interior includes twelve drawers with iron ring handles. It has three keyholes and required three keys, each belonging to a different person, to open it.

About Richard Quiney

Richard Quiney was born to a wealthy family of textile traders and vintners (wine-makers and sellers). He was about seven years older than William Shakespeare but their fathers would have served together on the Stratford Corporation.

He married Elizabeth Phillips in 1580 and they had 11 children together, although not all of them survived infancy. Richard Quiney’s son Thomas married William Shakespeare’s daughter Judith in 1616.

As well as buying and selling corn, Richard Quiney also served in various roles in local government. He assisted with the town’s financial relief effort after the fires of 1594 and 1595 when parts of the town were damaged and destroyed. During his time in local government he got to travel to other parts of the country, including London, on town business.

Upon Richard’s death a large number of his letters and papers were stored in the Corporation’s ‘cupboard of boxes’ for safekeeping and have survived to this day.

About Richard Quiney

Read more about Richard Quiney in this fact file about Shakespeare's family.

Try this!

Have fun with these cross-curricular activities that link to the Cupboard of boxes.


CC-BY-NC-ND Image Courtesy of the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust