Shakespear Family

This record is held by Royal Society for Asian Affairs

Details of Shakespear Family
Title: Shakespear Family
Reference: RSAA/SC/S

Papers relating to several members of the Shakespear family, including Emily Shakespear (1780-1824), her son Brigadier-General Sir Richmond Campbell Shakespear (1812-1861), his youngest son Col John Shakespear (1861-1942), Captain William H I Shakespear (1878-1915), and Frank Shakespear (1865-1905). The majority of the material derives from Sir Richmond Campbell Shakespear.


For background to the Shakespear family papers, see Omar Pound, "Sir Richmond Campbell Shakespear (1812-1861): His Life and Papers," Asian Affairs, XXII, I (1991), pp. 121-4. Of the family, Pound wrote (p.121): "The Shakespears had a long tradition of military and civil service in India, Afghanistan, Burma, and later in Kuwait where Captain W H I Shakespear was Political Agent until his death in 1915. Originally they came from a family of ropemakers in Shadwell, east of the Tower of London, where until well into the 19th century there was still a ropewalk named after them - Shakespear's Walk. With the enormous growth of shipping and trade to and from India through the London docks at the end of the seventeenth century the Shakespears soon found their sons going out to India as 'writers', or through military school at Addiscombe and into the Indian Army. Whole families of Shakespears were born and raised in India, their children being sent to England for school and then returning to India, either in the civil service or the army. There was much inter-marrying among what were then called Anglo-Indians, creating close family ties with the Thackerays, Ricketts, Irvines, Grants, Crawfords and Lows." For further background, see also Ursula Low, Fifty Years with John Company (John Murray: London, 1936).

Date: 1814-2003
Held by: Royal Society for Asian Affairs, not available at The National Archives
Language: English
Extent: 392 files
Related Material:
  • For a biography of Col John Shakespear, extracted from the "Distinguished Service Order", Vol II, see RSAA/M/273

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