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November 30, 1988|JOHN VOLAND and STEVE WEINSTEIN | Arts and entertainment reports from The Times, national and international news services and the nation's press

Our Bard of Avon Watch continues: Records of William Shakespeare's shotgun wedding may be hidden beneath a disused church near Stratford-Upon-Avon, says an amateur British sleuth. "If you can find where he was married, you might stumble across something else," said retired metallurgist Arthur Marlow, 69, on Monday. He is seeking permission from the Redundant Churches Fund to open the vault beneath All Saints Church at Billesley, 4 miles west of Stratford, where pictures taken through a fiber-optic probe inserted into the vault show several coffins and what appear to be two chests in the vault. "What I want to know, what thousands of people want to know, they want to know about his background, his life. What did he do? Where did he live?" Marlow said. He hopes to find records relating to Shakespeare's November, 1582, marriage to Anne Hathaway, then three months pregnant. Her pregnancy, Marlow said, may account for the couple's choice of a rural church instead of the notoriety of a wedding in Stratford.

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