I first got involved in the Shakespeare Authorship Problem way back in July, 1996. The clues indicated that Christopher Marlowe did not die on May 30th, 1593, and that he lived on, writing under the name 'William Shakespeare'.
Marlowe was stabbed in his right eye, which did not mean that he necessarily died; it was possible that he survived the incident and I was satisfied that he did.
Those researches culminated in the publication of a book in the autumn of 1999, called The Shakespeare Invention. A good proportion of the book detailed my discovery that the 'Invention' consisted of three men -- the author, the actor, and the man from whom they took the name. I stand by that as well as my identification of the Dark Lady and the Fair Man of the Sonnets.
The problem turned out to be that it was NOT the Canterbury man who was stabbed in the eye. There wasn't an author called Christopher Marlowe until some time after the incident in Deptford; the name was another pseudonym of the man who was 'Shakespeare', as well as many other authors of the day.
The cobbler's son from Canterbury was Christopher MARLEY. That was the name he was known as and that was the name that he signed himself as. Students of the history of Christopher MARLOWE have shrugged their combined shoulders when the variants in the spelling of his name have been questioned and glibly passed them off with the statement that they were variants of the same name. They weren't.
Unfortunately, it was during the year following the publication of my book that I realised my error. It was Professor Leslie Hotson who led us all astray by insisting that a note from the Privy Council to the Cambridge University authorities referred to the author 'Christopher Marlowe' when the note specifically mentioned Christopher MORLEY. According to the official reports at the time of the "death in Deptford", it was Christopher MORLEY who [allegedly] died and yet it was Christopher MARLOW who was buried in Deptford graveyard two days later.
Confused? You were meant to be. It was a plot cooked up by two friends from Cambridge University. Christopher MARLEY of Benedict College [now known as Corpus Christi] and Christopher MORLEY of Trinity College. MARLEY was in trouble with the authorities, as history says he was, and he did flee to the Continent as Marlovians believe -- but he was not a poet and he was not a playwriter. Just as 'Christopher Morley' used a variant of the name 'Shakspere' as a nom-de-plume, he also used a variant of the name 'Marley' as another. But his real name wasn't Christopher Morley either; that was another pseudonym used by the 'Concealed Poet' who called himself 'The Phoenix'.
What is a Phoenix famous for? Dying and resurrecting from its own ashes. Why would a poet call himself a Phoenix? Because he kept re-inventing himself as another person. Every time he got into trouble as one person, he became another. He wasn't the first and he won't be the last -- but I doubt if anyone else in the history of mankind has done it so many times.
Why did he conceal his real name? Because he did not wish to bring attention to himself. He learned as a child that it was better to hide his light under a bushel. His abilities were so great that people thought he was a magician and were frightened of him. So much so that they threatened to kill him.
The 'Man of the Millenium' NEVER revealed his real name but he often alluded to it and he often mentioned his friends and family. It is now twelve years since I started on the quest to find the man behind the mask and at last I have found him. His name was WILLIAM PIERCE and I have now begun to get the full story written down. The truth will finally be revealed...
P.S. The Shakespeare Invention may be purchased through your local book shop or direct from the publisher, Dick Richardson, at Country Books, Courtyard Cottage, Little Longstone, Bakewell, Derbyshire, DE45 1NN. Telephone 01629 640670 or e-mail by clicking here - Dick Richardson