Richard-Quiney Richard-Quiney

Richard Quiney Biography and life history

Little is known of Richard Quiney’s life but fragments of information paint a picture of a man involved in the professional and social life of Elizabethan England. Want to learn more about Richard Quiney? Stick around!


In 1557, Richard Quiney was born in Stratford-upon-Avon, to Adrian Quiney, a glover (glove maker), and Judi. This fitted him into the local social fabric of Shakespeare’s hometown. A market town called Stratford offered several opportunities for trade and advancement and the Quiney family was somewhat successful there.

Education and Career

Specific details regarding Richard Quiney’s education are not known from available records. It seems that his work as a bailiff and later chamberlain in Stratford indicates some level of literacy and numeracy. These tax collection and town administration positions probably required some basic law and record keeping skills.


The Financial Woes: The Famous Letter

The best known details regarding Richard Quiney is his famous 1598 letter. This is the last document written by Quiney himself and addressed to William Shakespeare in London. In the letter, he begged Shakespeare for PS30, a large sum at the time. The reason for the loan request is unknown but fuels speculation. Perhaps Quiney had a business setback or maybe personal expenses stretched his finances. In any case, the letter gives an insight into the financial realities of a playwright such as Shakespeare and how loans from acquaintances might work.

Beyond the Loan: A Man of Civic Duty

The loan request dominates talk of Richard Quiney but he was also involved in Stratford. He was a bailiff and later a chamberlain who showed civic engagement and a willingness to help the town. Such posts likely demanded some social standing and respect in the community.

Personal Life and Family Ties

The private life of Richard Quiney adds to his connection to Shakespeare. His sister Agnes married the daughter of Shakespeare’s wife, Anne Hathaway, from a previous marriage – Susanna Hall. This family connection suggests that there is social interaction and familiarity with the Shakespeare and Quiney families beyond the loan request.

A Life in Shadows

Despite the intriguing glimpses the letter and historical records offer, large parts of Richard Quiney’s life remain a mystery. Details about his education, personal beliefs and even his physical appearance are unavailable. And while his net worth is probably comfortable because of his family’s trade, it cannot be determined accurately. Unfortunately, Richard Quiney passed away in 1602.

A Legacy of Connection: Part of the Shakespearean Puzzle


A lot of people today might not know much about Richard Quiney but his story matters. And he is an important link in the study of William Shakespeare’s world. His letter offers a rare window onto the finances and social networks of Elizabethan playwrights. In addition, his family connections with Shakespeare reveal a network of personal connections that probably influenced the Bard.


Richard Quiney illustrates how Elizabethan society was interconnected. His story reminds us that history is also about those supporting characters who stand next to the greats and tell us about the past.