Shakespeare May Have Secretly Been Catholic
English seminary in Rome says it has docs to prove it
By Emily Rauhala,  Newser User
Posted Dec 22, 2009 9:42 AM CST
Not much is known about the bard's beliefs   (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)

(Newser) – Documents discovered by an English seminary in Rome suggest William Shakespeare may have been a secret Catholic, a revelation that could potentially solve the mystery of the bard's religious leanings. The Venerable English College points to cryptic names signed in its guest book for visiting pilgrims that they say indicate that a young Shakespeare stayed there during his "lost years"—the time after he left Stratford in 1585 and before he emerged, in London, as a playwright in 1592.

The pages are signed by "Arthurus Stratfordus Wigomniensis" in 1585, "Shfordus Cestriensis" in 1587 and "Gulielmus Clerkue Stratfordiensis" in 1589, the Telegraph reports. The school claims the names mean "King Arthur's compatriot from Stratford in the diocese of Worcester"; "Sh(akespeare from Strat)ford in the diocese of Chester"; and "William the Clerk from Stratford." Shakespeare's family was Catholic, but his affiliation has never been confirmed.