Shakespeare’s links with Shropshire unveiled – when and where you can hear about them

Tim Ashton from Soulton Hall, Wem travelled to London in January to give a lecture on Sir Rowland Hill, who lived in the hall.

Sir Rowland is recognised as the real life person from whom Shakespeare created the character, Old Rowland, in As You Like It.

He was the publisher of the Geneva Bible and Lord Mayor of London in the 16th century.

Mr Ashton, giving the lecture at St Mary’s, Abchurch, said most people recognised As You Like It as a love story.

“However there is also a political story inside the play, very like Tudor England in the 16th Century when first protestants then Catholics were killed for their faith.”

“In the play Old Rowland is invoked as a model of virtue. Sir Rowland Hill was also a model of virtue playing his part in the Renaissance, a protector of art and a protector of people.”

Mr Ashton said there were family links between Sir Rowland and Shakespeare, the playwright’s mother’s second cousin marrying the heiress to Rowland Hill.

The illustrated lecture will also be given at St Peter’s and Paul’s Church in Wem on February 10 at 7pm.

“It will also focus on the economic uplift that North Shropshire can unlock through this,” he said.

Shropshire Star