Researchers in Oxford have now uncovered a 1569 coroner's report of a two and a half year old girl who drowned in a mill pond while picking marigolds in a small village 20 miles from Stratford-upon-Avon.
Her name: Jane Shaxpere
Wow! It seems that the five year old William heard about an accident in a "neighboring" village (20 miles away is really a journey of at least a few days), remembered it, and then put it in a play he was working on about thirty years later (to use the Stratfordian chronology of when Hamlet was written).
Well, I for one, can now rest easy, knowing that this nagging question has been answered in such a satisfying manner.
Oh, by the way, Jane Shaxpere was "almost certainly" related to William Shaxpere (or Shakspere, or Shagspiere, etc) according to these same researchers/
The fullest account of this "discovery" that I know of is at the following link:
Other accounts are at
This last article is interesting in its last line: "
Well, why not? Couldn't Jane Austen also have been reading the coroners reports of the mid 16th century (just as the five year old William Shakspere apparently did) when she was searching for a name for one of her own works. Hmm?