A guestbook for visiting pilgrims to Rome. A handful of signatures containing references to “Stratford”, circa late 1500s. Hmmm…who do we know that was from Stratford, living around 1585 or so?
“Arthurus Stratfordus Wigomniensis” signed the book in 1585, while “Gulielmus Clerkue Stratfordiensis” arrived in 1589.
A third entry in 1587, “Shfordus Cestriensis”, may stand for “Sh[akespeare from Strat]ford [in the diocese] of Chester”, he said.
Other than the Stratford pointer, you have to get creative. “Arthurus” is supposed to be “King Arthur’s compatriot”, they say – is that supposed to be some sort of “I’m from England” reference? The second one, although it’s apparently in Italian, is a more straightforward translation - “William, clerk from Stratford.”
It’s always fun to find “evidence” like this, and see how it fits in the grand scheme of things. I like the idea of accounting for Shakespeare’s lost years more than I like jumping on the “secret catholic!” bandwagon, I’ll say that much.