Whether it’s Celine Dion, Roy Chubby Brown or even The Amazing Michael Barnsley and his Curious Musical Balls, Bankstone News has always been a big fan of culture. So naturally we were delighted to get an unexpected serving of the stuff in the pages of popular industry journal Insurance Aches this week.

A welcome whiff of the C word came in the shape of a whimsical piece contributed by insurer Agean on the putative property insurance needs of Wm. H. Shakespeare Esq., actor/playwright/theatrical impresario of Stratford upon Avon, upon whose hallowed grave a grateful nation will soon be cavorting in joyous and reverent celebration of the 400th anniversary of the Über-Bard’s death.

The immediate pretext for Agean’s cultural contribution to the pages of Aches was the suspiciously convenient discovery, about which readers will doubtless have read in the national press, on some cloud-enshrouded islet up in Drear Hibernia, of an almost priceless First Edition of the Bard’s acclaimed blockbuster Foaleo in the library of some or other stately home in urgent and underfunded need of major restorative works.

Shakespeare, the insurer reveals, was a bit of property magnate in his later years. Not only did he have a highly desirable HNW residence in the shape of the unimaginatively named New Place in Stratford (which came with more than 100 acres of prime farm land), but also a cottage in Chapel Land (perhaps some kind of religiously inspired theme park? Or maybe just a typo for Chapel Lane), and also the (inherited) house in Henley Street where he was born.

“What would it take for brokers to make sure Shakespeare was fully covered?” the article asks. Setting aside the difficulty that insurance for anything other than Italian merchant vessels wouldn’t be available for another hundred years or so, Agean seem to reckon the main problem would be that Shakespeare’s portfolio of Tudorbethan (at least)-half-timbered and thatched properties are “non standard”.

Not for the early 1600s, they’re not! In a world yet to discover the joys of Nash, Adam, Bovis and Barratt, timber framed post-and-beam construction was absolutely bleedin’ standard.

Nor was listed status likely to constitute too much of a problem, since none of that nonsense would come into effect for another 350 years. And worries raised by Agean over Shakespeare’s criminal status as an alleged deer poacher diminish when one considers that that little story wasn’t trumped up until sometime in the 1800s.

No, the crux of the matter surely is the heartbreaking realisation that, tragically, poor old Shakespeare lived out the entirety of his benighted existence in a world denied the blessings of domestic property insurance. If only Agean had been around back then. How differently it might have all turned out!

Next week: insuring Chaucer’s horse.



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