Crown Tavern



  • A tavern in the Cornmarket in Oxford, where the playwrightWilliam Davenant was born in 1606. Davenant's father wasthe innkeeper there and one of the regular guests was Shakespeare,who is said to have stayed at the tavern on his journeys between Stratford-upon-Avon and London. Shakespeare became William Davenant'sgodfather but, according to the antiquaries John Aubrey and Anthony Wood, their relationship was even closer; it was popularly believed that Shakespeare was in fact the child's natural father. Although the truth of this has never been generally accepted, Davenant himself made great capital out of his claim to being Shakespeare's son. One well-known anecdote has the young Davenant hurrying home from school on being told that Shakespearehad arrived at the inn. When an acquaintance of the family asked wherehe was going in such haste, the boy said: "To my godfather,Shakespeare." "Fie, child," came the other's reply,"Have not you learned yet that you should not use the name ofGod in vain?"