THE MYSTERY around a skull reputed to be that of William Shakespeare will not be answered after an application for DNA testing was rejected.
Reverend Paul Irving, of St Leonard’s Church in Beoley, applied to have the skull, which was in the vault of the church, sent for testing to see if it was the great bard himself.
Although many favoured the idea, Charles Mynors, Chancellor of the Diocese of Worcester, rejected the application on the grounds there was nothing to link the remains to Shakespeare.
The theory is based around articles published in the 1800s which claim a £300 bounty was offered by art historian and gothic novelist Horace Walpole to anyone who could obtain the skull from the grave which is reputed to have a curse on anyone that who disturbed the bones.
It is claimed Dr Frank Chambers broke into the tomb and stole the skull but was unable to persuade Walpole to hand over the money and arranged for it to be returned. A later article speculated this was never done and the skull was traced to the church in Beoley, just 15 miles Stratford.
Rev Paul Irving said: “We were obviously disappointed at first when the decision was made not to send the skull off for testing and get the answer of who it belongs to once and for all but we have accepted that there is a need for balance between our need to know and having respect for the deceased.”