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Comments (61)

  • anon

    I know less about the Prince Tudor theories than some of the other people who have contributed to this site (though I do know enough to know it is laughable nonsense).  Althought many Oxfordians have distanced themselves from the Prince Tudor theories, there are a significant number of ardent supports of the theory (including some who have defended it on the "Anonymous" discussion board on the IMDB).  I think there should be a refutation of the Prince Tudor theories on this site.  If no one else wants to write one, I can write one, but it will take me a while to do the research.

    Feb 09, 2013
  • anon

    What's there to refute, Richard? That Oxford was the son of Queen Elizabeth, with whom he had a son, to whom he later wrote homoerotic poetry, seems pretty legit to me.

    Refuting that historical scenario seems like an impossible task!

    Feb 10, 2013
  • anon

    Normal behaviour for an Earl back then as you can see from this recently unearthed new poem from De Vere himself, carved into a fireplace in the Old Arts Library at Queen's College.

    There once was a student from Trinity
    Who ruined his sister's virginity
    He rogered his brother
    Had twins by his mother
    And then got a first for Divinity

    You can see from the stylometric results and the references to Cambridge University that this is definitely the work of the Earl. And few verses manage to pack quite so many biographical details into so few lines. The similarities between it and The Rape of Lucrece are astonishing even though I have found any yet. Another nail in the Strafordian coffin.

    Feb 10, 2013
  • anon

    Oh, just waot a  it. Paul Strietz will find us eventually.  Some foolishness is better refuted when raosed by adherents. If only because it is so absurd positing it to refute it seems like a straw man argument.

    If I recall aright, Orloff himself did not buy into thar nonsense. Emmerich was the genius behind that aspect of Anonymous [sic].

    Feb 11, 2013
  • anon

    As far as I can recall, Orloff objected strenuously to having Oxford be Elizabeth's son, but did not object (at least not strenuously) to the equally ridiculous notion that Oxford was the father of Southampton.   There seem to be a significant number of Oxfordians who subscribe to the part of the Prince Tudor theory that says Oxford and Elizabeth were the parents of Southampton, without subscribing the Prince Tudor 2 theory that Oxford was also Elizabeth's son. 

    Feb 13, 2013
  • anon

    See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prince_Tudor_theory. Reading this stuff you get a sense that you're dealing with some real, off-the-wall whackos who make run-of-the-mill Oxfordians seem like conservative historians in comparison. It seems to be on the way to becoming mainstream Oxfordian theory, though.


    Feb 14, 2013
  • anon

    There was a long contest with Streitz himself on the imdb Anonymous board on both The Prince Tudor Theory and his KJV Theory. His misunderstandings multiplied to the point where even he got completely lost. The PTT does appear to be causing a schism. Kurt Kreiler and his crew are very dismissive. Revsiting Looney for articles on the site I am amazed at what people seem to able not only to swallow but accept as foundations to build on. There are things in Looney that are just as mad and madder than the PTT.

    Feb 14, 2013
  • anon

    Thanks to Tom Reedy for the wiki link about the Prince Tudor theory, which may be useful for psychiatrists. It should be unnecessary to point out that if Queen Elizabeth had had a child, let alone five, this would be known at once to the Cecils and other Court insiders, to all foreign Ambassadors, who all wanted to know who would succeed to the Throne, to the Vatican, etc., etc., and it is inconceiveable that there would not be surviving written letters or documents about this, all of which would be well known to historians. Needless to say there are no such sources.

    Any child of the Queen would be an automatic candidate to succeed her, rather than the Scottish King who had never set foot in England. Apart from the absurd Prince Tudor theory, many extreme Oxfordians also claim that Oxford not only wrote Shakespeare's works, but virtually every other piece of literature of the time, and virtually everything else except "You Ain't Nothing But a Hounddog"- although I may be doing Oxford an injustice- he may have been Elvis's songwriter, too- his songs were found in an old trunk in Tennessee, I understand.

    Feb 14, 2013
  • anon

    The idea that Oxenford was responsible for everything in Elizabethan literary history is a consequence of the original Looney method taken to loony extremes; if you divorce "sounds like Shakespeare" from close study of word usage nd style analysis and the like, that's what you get: to modern ears, it ALL kind of sounds like Shakespeare.  Ergo, it all was Shakespeare! http://www.amazon.com/Shakespeares-Fingerprints-Michael-Brame/dp/0972038523/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1361653519&sr=1-1&keywords=shakespeare%27s+fingerprints

    (How do I link?  I SUCK at this!)

    I see it is on sale, used, for like a buck.  Almost tempted.


    Feb 23, 2013
  • anon

    If you use the Paste icon to paste in from outside, rather than CTRL V it should convert links. You have a choice of editors, as a contributor. Try using the Comment Editor. But it's the PHP editors which suck, in this instance, not the people trying to use them.

    Feb 24, 2013
  • anon

    @ reform: "it is inconceiveable that there would not be surviving written letters or documents about this..."  Actually, there are contemporary documents regarding Arthur Dudley, who claimed to be the son of Elizabeth and Robert Dudley.  Fascinating tale, hard to dismiss entirely; you should be able to find it easily on the internet and judge for yourself. At the least, we can't deny there were plenty of rumors going around regarding Elizabeth having children, rumors at the highest level, and going all the way back to the Thomas Seymour affair of 1548.  If you look outside Oxfordian sources, you should find these many documented suspicions without too much trouble. 

    It should be unnecessary to point out that if the unmarried Elizabeth had had a child at any time of her life, whether as princess or as queen, that fact would have endangered not only Elizabeth herself, but also the lives of all those who were her closest supporters.  While her father could get away with promoting Henry Fitzroy (his bastard son by Bessie Blount) to a duke at age 6, and then named for the succession shortly before he died in 1536, a pregnant Elizabeth would have been branded a harlot, and probably beheaded - especially when the rumors circulated about her and Tom in 1548, while her young half-brother wore the crown.  Even after she became queen, a public pregnancy would have given tremendous fuel to the Catholic cause.  Those who depended on her for the security of a Protestant regime had every motive to hide an inconvenient pregnancy, should one occur.  

    Also unnecessary to point out should be Elizabeth's documented flirtations with her favorites, especially with Robert Dudley and Christopher Hatton. There's also that gossip heard by Mary Queen of Scots about Elizabeth and the earl of Oxford.  And we shouldn't forget the hot water that Henry Howard, Oxford's cousin, got himself into by testifying (in the so-called Howard-Arundel "libels") that Oxford had bragged of receiving certain "favors" from her majesty.

    There's plenty of suggestive, contemporary evidence for you to consult - documented gossip as well as the authentic letters from Engelfield and others - but one thing you will not find is Oxford's name among the men rumored to be fathers of Elizabeth's supposed bastards.  It's quite likely that Elizabeth did flirt with Oxford, especially in the year following her signing of the warrant for the beheading of his cousin, Thomas.  That's when we have the record of him being high in her favor - along with the record of his ire towards Cecil for not saving Norfolk - a fury that he vowed to revenge upon his young wife, Cecil's daughter Anne.  That fury smoldering among such an unstable courtier - who also happened to be Lord Great Chamberlain, allied to the Catholic Howards, heir to an ancient name etc. - could have erupted into further rebellion, had Elizabeth not used her great charm and intelligence to bring him in from the cold.

    Personally, I think Henry Howard was telling the truth when he said Oxford bragged about those "favors" from the queen.  Given Oxford's reputation for "lying for the whetstone", and his reported malice toward Elizabeth, would Henry Howard actually have believed his cousin?     


    May 13, 2013
  • anon

    There are still some articles that do not have a "Comment" option - including "Canopies and Litters" and "Court Out."

    May 04, 2013
  • anon

    I've done Canopies but I've left Court out for you to test your permissions. You should now be able to switch comments on (and off) on any article.

    May 05, 2013
  • anon

    Question. Some articles have comments enabled some do not. For example the William Basse article does not allow comments while the Twain article does.

    Is there a policy for this or some other reason?



    May 10, 2013
  • anon

    When the site was in build, comments were set to off. For various reasons, all bad, we turned them on piecemeal in the very early days. This banjaxed the ability to turn them on and off globally. So there are a few articles still lurking about with comments off. There's no policy and any contributor can turn them on or off for any article. They can also be edited but we have never needed to do that.

    May 10, 2013
  • anon


    Is thhere any way you can make the number of reason more clear??

    If you have been away for a while, to find the reasons you haven't seen yet is rather hard to find

    (I read number 25 but which is 26 for instance??)

    Jul 03, 2013
  • anon

    Welcome back!! In the Navigation menu on the home page - the one in slightly smaller type - you should see a 'Reason List' which takes you to this pages


    which should show you which ones have been added or updated since your last login. Let me know if you have a problem with it. There are some articles which are in a state of flux and when we unpublish them they retain their number, so a few are missing from the sequence.


    Jul 03, 2013
  • anon

    Howdy all,

    Your new site looks great!! One suggestion please... Could you add a Search Box?


    O hai, I'm just noticing the comments are dated Jan 19, 2013...

    Oct 16, 2013
  • anon

    Hi again!. 50 or 60 comments had to be reformatted in the new style and they have been promoted in the 'Recent Comments' table without any changes to justify it. Quite a lot of articles will have had their 'New' flags reset for the same reason.

    And the Search Box is top left everywhere except the front page. You'll find a nifty Advanced Search feature on the results page, too.

    Oct 17, 2013
  • anon

    Hi alfa! Your "the Search Box is top left everywhere except the front page"... umm... I'm not seeing it (Firefox 24.0, Vista)... Any suggestions?

    Also, would you consider pretty please adding "Independent" to the Combat Status? Thanks and Best! Knit

    Oct 18, 2013
  • anon


    I can't check browser variants until I get back to the big machine in the office on Monday, but I'll move it for you so it should now appear at the bottom.


    And you've done enough recently to earn your own classification, so I've added Independent.  Winku

    Oct 19, 2013
  • anon

    Hi alfa 2^4

    Thanks very much for granting me my Independent status! Whew!! I now feel like a real person again :)

    Best, Knit

    Nov 02, 2013
  • anon

    I am just an interested reader, but several things about the Neville authorship strike me as compelling. First, from what I understand, Shakespeare got small Latin and no Greek at school yet obviously is highly learned in both languages.He also knew no Italian yet translated from Italian. Having spent years working on the classial languages myself, I know how hard it is to master them. Is it conceivable that WS  could find the time, money, and tutor to manage this multi-years task along with all his other acting duties and responsibilities, etc? 

           Secondly, is it probable that our greatest writer would have come from illiterate parents, married an illiterate woman, and raised two illiterate daughters? And died without a book to his name and with no copies of his work? I just don't buy it. I don't know a single literate person who doesn't own at least one book. Books are to writers what paintings (or copies thereof) are to artists, or musical scores to composers: they are absolutely necessary for one's artistic growth. Or solace: Queen Victoria kept In Memoriam by her bedside; that's the power and importance of books. And yet our "Shakespeare" had none? That's simply Impossible! To live in a world surrounded by illiteracy on all sides and devoid of culture and ideas may be a life fit for a mere actor in those days, but hardly for our greatest and most profound writer. (Or any writer.) 

          Thirdly, as a struggling writer myself, I find the argument about Neville's switching genres, and writing his most profound works due to incarceration and impending death, to be wholly convincing. Writers don't write in a personal-social-political vaccum--least of all a H Neville, a Lancaster, Parliamentarian, former Ambassador, and friend of Essex. Nothing comes of nothing. Your personal situation added to constant rereadings of your favorite books, being drawn to new books and ideas that mirror your changed life-situation, with new understandings of your life and purpose arising therefrom, and thus mandating a change of topics to write about--this is just plain ole commonsense. This is how we grow and change--and how a writer's life--or any artist's life--changes also. An exquisitely sensitive man as  Neville must have been must be expected to be changed by his new, tragic circumstances, all the more so given his depth and genius. And these few obvious points regarding Neville's authorship don't even begin to touch upon the bookfulls of evidence in favor of H Neville by Brenda James et al.

          Fourthly,  Shakespeare's works are endowed with  high culture and an aristocratic and highly intellectural ambiance which would have been impossible for WS to fake, let alone to acquire.  Like it or not, we are to a very large extent determined by our socio-economic situation, then as now. The stamp of our upbringing only grows more visible over time. In days of old when the caste barrier was most impregnable, only those "to the manor borne" could've written about Princes and Kings and Queens so facilely and convincingly.

          Fifthly, "Shakespeare" knew the world of commerce as well as the gentile world. Neville's background fits the bill here too.

         One last, intriging idea: Neville's Oxford don, Saville, was put in charge of translating parts of the Bible. Could it be that this is why the KJV is so lovely, that one of its writers was "Shakes-speare" himself, Henry Neville. Nothing comes of nothing.

    May 31, 2014
  • anon

    First, it is "small Latin ad LESS Greek", not NO Greek. Shakespeare's grammar school background would have easily given him more than sufficient background to read the Latin and Greek in the canon. And I know of nothing from any other language source material that would require him to be fluent in that language. Most, if not all, of the Italian sources were readily available in English translations.

    Second, "illiterate parents, married an illiterate woman, and raised two illiterate daughters" is an intellectually dishonest statement. The evidence of Susanna's literacy would be deemed conclusive in any context other than these ridiculous authorship arguments. She signed her name, and there is absolutely no evidence to contradict the normal - if not exclusive - conclusion of literacy that this fact would give rise to. And yet, people like you blithely repeat that "illiterate" comment as if there was not even a contrary argument. You OUGHT to be ashamed. Not that you will be. Susanna was indisputably literate in every context except where the desire is that she not be so.

    There is also good evidence that John Shakespeare had at least a degree of literacy, even though he marked official documents. He held a series of posts with the Borough of Stratford, including Ale Tester, for which literacy would be required in order to function. He also may have signed a Catholic testament, though the document has disappeared, and was of fairly doubtful provenance to begin with. But to blithely assert illiteracy for John Shakespeare as an established fact is wrong.

    While Judith signed with a J, rather than her whole name - and a fairly poor J at that - this is hardly conclusive on her literacy either. And I know of no evidence specific to either Mary or Anne Shakespeare that would lead to the conclusion they were illiterate. We have nothing in their writing, but that is the rule for people of that class, not an exception. You can argue it is unlikely they would have been literate, as women in an Elizabethan village, but there is nothing specific to indicate illiteracy. There are small indications that they might have been literate: Mary was an Arden, after all, and William Shakespeare appears to have written a sonnet to his wife (145 - easily the worst of them) which he would have been more likely to do if she could read.

    Besides, you are making the capital mistake of transposing modern ideas on to Elizabethan times. If your reasoning behind claiming Anne and Mary were not literate involves their class and status, why would you expect Shakespeare's family to be different? Why would an 18 year old Shakespeare have sought literacy in a wife? And why would Mary's literacy have any bearing on her son's literacy? Somewhere along the line, everyone of us had illiterate ancestors, or none of us would be literate (Hi Richard Nathan!).

    "To live in a world surrounded by illiteracy on all sides and devoid of culture and ideas may be a life fit for a mere actor in those days, but hardly for our greatest and most profound writer." Then explain Ben Jonson. George Chapman. Thomas Dekker. Many others, who were all from similar backgrounds, as far as we can tell (Dekker's background before he appears as a writer is pretty much a complete blank). Besides, what makes you think Shakespeare was "surrounded by literacy on all sides and devoid of culture and ideas"? What repulsive, elitist nonsense.

    " Your personal situation added to constant rereadings of your favorite books, being drawn to new books and ideas that mirror your changed life-situation, with new understandings of your life and purpose arising therefrom, and thus mandating a change of topics to write about--this is just plain ole commonsense." Not it is not. It is the product of a relationship with writing that post-dates Shakespeare by 150 years. Your relationship with what you write, as a 21st century person, has no bearing whatsoever on what Elizabethans were like. Until you set aside the notions about writing that first came about in the Romantic era, you will never come to grips with Elizabethan writing. Shakespeare is of a piece with his peers; people like Ben Jonson and George Chapman, grammar school (allegedly; there's no record of their attending school either) educated and yet writers of highly learned works. Including the first full translation of Homer into English, and the second greatest body of literature of the age.

    "Shakespeare's works are endowed with high culture and an aristocratic and highly intellectural ambiance which would have been impossible for WS to fake, let alone to acquire", no, they aren't. Remember the "Small Latin and Less Greek"? Shakespeare's works were far less learned than, say, Jonson's. He was thought of as a "natural" wit; that is, one who did not write from great learning. And what is "aristocratic and highly intellectual ambiance" anyway? THE MAN ROUTINELY MADE DICK JOKES. Just attended a nice version of Midsummernight's Dream. Always like the moment when Bottom awakes and muses about his dream, touching his head to see if the ears were still there, the nose for the snout, and then... looking in his pants for yet another part of the donkey.

    Anyway, this gives me cause to add something I posted elsewhere that is probably germane here.

    Jun 04, 2014
  • anon

    Len, that was more aggressive than I wanted to be. My apologies.

    Jun 04, 2014
  • anon

    Pulled from imdb:

    There is really no conflict between the idea of a conflict between the historical William Shakespeare and William Shakespeare the author. The idea that such a conflict exists usually centers on one of two arguments: either the idea that someone of Shakespeare's background could not have the knowledge or experience to write such wide-ranging works, or the idea that what we do know about Shakespeare seems at odds with our conception of what a great writer ought to be. Neither of those views really hold water.

    For the first, all you really have to do is look at the works of Shakespeare's contemporaries. Ben Jonson had the same education that William Shakespeare had - a grammar school education - and his works show a greater classical knowledge than Shakespeare's do. George Chapman was only grammar school educated, and he also wrote plays that displayed great classical learning, he made the first complete translation of Homer [sic] into the English language. The fact is that grammar school education in England at the time gave students a grounding in Latin and rhetoric that far exceeds what we think of when we think of grammar school.

    And more importantly, what sets Shakespeare apart is not his learning or his background. It is his intellectual curiosity, his memory and his facility with words - how they sound, what they mean, what they can mean - that has literally no connection with rank or class or education. Shakespeare's plays show some familiarity (often overstated) with falconry, or bowls, or other matters normally associated with rank. But they also show perhaps even greater familiarity with rural matters.

    People who opt for a more noble Shakespeare, like Oxenford [add: or Neville], often neglect the rural matters in the plays. For instance, in Cymbeline, Shakespeare wrote, "Golden lads and girls all must, As chimney-sweepers, come to dust." Golden lads and chimney sweepers were Warwickshire terms for the stages of dandelions. Mercutio speaks of a wit of cheveril stretched from an inch narrow to an el broad. Those are leather working and glove making terms. Hamlet talks about a divinity that shapes our ends, rough hew them how we may. Those are hedge trimming terms.

    People who argue that Shakespeare never, in the record we have of him, showed a familiarity with falconry never want to come to grips with the fact that there is nothing in the biography of, say, Oxenford [add: or Neville] to show a familiarity with ruralisms. Yes, Oxenford [add: or Neville] could have asked someone, but then so could have Shakespeare. That's intellectual curiosity at work to ask, and memory and word skills at work to bring it up at the appropriate time. That has nothing to do with education or class.

    Whoever wrote Shakespeare was able to recall, assimilate, and use with ease ideas and concepts from a very broad range of life. That is not taught in schools, and it is not the property of the elite. It is an astonishing individual ability that, in those rare instances where it does arise, can arise from anywhere.

    All that is required is access to information, and there are plenty of opportunities in Elizabethan England for Shakespeare to have learned what he learned of Court matters and the like, just as people like Jonson did.

    The idea that Shakespeare's known biography seems in conflict with the idea of what a great writer should be is a Romantic era notion that ignores the facts of Shakespeare's times. Most Elizabethan era writers present biographic lapses and questions, because no one thought to write down or note what common people did or said or how they lived. The term "biography" did not even exist.

    No one thought to ask, or at least write down anything about Shakespeare until after everyone who knew him had died. This was not because people did not think Shakespeare was Shakespeare (a common notion for anti-Stratfordians), but because that was the way people of that era operated: they did not record their own lives or investigate the lives of others. This was, after all, a full century before Boswell.

    Shakespeare was not unique in this. What we know about Shakespeare is the norm for people known for their writing at the time. If someone did something in addition - get involved in a star chamber case like Kyd, or be attached to a noble house, or be a civil servant, or go to University - we know about that, but not about their writing lives. No one thought to collect information to write a biography of Chapman, or Marlowe, or Kyd, or Fletcher, or Shakespeare. That was not because those people did not do what history shows they did, but because that was the late 16th/early 17th century mindset.

    What is left to us is the Elizabethan and Jacobin documentary record, and that record is mostly rather dry and uncomplimentary information about property acquisition and legal matters. It skews our perception of what people were like. Because the only records we have of Shakespeare show he purchased property, loaned some money, was involved in law suits and the like, we have a perception of him that looks a lot like someone obsessed with money, but that is a function of the records we have and not the personality that left the records.

    Besides, there is really no great conflict between a man who is prudent and stinting financially and a playwright and poet of talent, particularly in Elizabethan times, which were a far more Darwinian struggle than Romantic times, when the whole issue first struck people as odd. No one but a blockhead wrote but for money, as Johnson noted over a century after Shakespeare died, and that was particularly true of Elizabethan times, when the line between poverty and abject poverty was easily and quickly passed.

    Finally, I should note that the "known facts" about Shakespeare does include one thing I suspect you are not taking into account: the Shakespeare was the author of the poems and plays of William Shakespeare. There is unambiguous direct evidence that William Shakespeare was the author, and there is a strong, unambiguous, and unquestioned evidence that that person was William Shakespeare, actor and Stratford born.

    Likewise, by the way, even though we have a much larger amount of available information regarding Oxenford [add: or Neville] , there is nothing on that record - literally nothing - that connects him at all with the works of Shakespeare. Nothing.

    Adding this from another imdb post:

    Shakespeare's nobles mirrored the rising middle class, with direct relationships to servants, not the vast noble households. His royal courts had things like people bursting in without leave that show an ignorance of actual Court customs.

    I guess I am going to have to say this until I am blue in the face: what Shakespeare's plays show is a knowledge of people. That those people, set in noble courts, seem real to us is a testament to Shakespeare's art, not a reflection of any intimate knowledge.

    Besides, where do you get your idea that the plays are "well versed" in the nobility? You have no direct knowledge, and I suspect you have not made it your field of study. Twain had no direct knowledge, and did not make it his field of study. The people who have made it their field of study have not found any great insight in Shakespeare's nobles. Here's the thing: for us, our idea of what nobles are like is shaped, in part, by the representations of nobility we have seen, which is shaped, in large part, by Shakespeare. Shakespeare's nobles seem to be the product of intimate knowledge in part because Shakespeare has shaped our perception of what nobles were like.

    Jun 04, 2014
  • anon

    Ods bodkins what the hairy horse crap is going on? There were paras, I swear!

    Jun 04, 2014
  • anon

    "One last, intriging idea: Neville's Oxford don, Saville, was put in charge of translating parts of the Bible. Could it be that this is why the KJV is so lovely, that one of its writers was "Shakes-speare" himself, Henry Neville. Nothing comes of nothing."

    Saville was part of the committee - not in charge, he was a pretty junior member, he would hardly be in charge of a project like the KJV over Abbot or Ravis - that translated the Gospels, Acts, and Revelations. There was no evidence he had anything to do with, say, the majesty and beauty of the KJV Psalm 23, or any of the rest of it. And no evidence at all, not even a whiff, that Neville had anything to do with it. He would not have, anyway. Saville was the only person on the committee that had not taken Holy Orders; the translation was a political and religious (also, at the time, political) document, not an artistic one. They did not consult poets and artists; they were guided by a very specific purpose, strengthening the hold of the bishops, and ultimately the king, on the church, which was being undercut by the Geneva translation.

    Highly recommend the book, God's Secretaries, by Adam Nicolson.

    Jun 04, 2014