Martin Dodwell is a writer and historian, born in Caithness within yards of the Pentland Firth in the far north of Scotland and now in Northamptonshire in the geographical centre of England.
In June 2008 I set myself the task of tracking down every contemporary record of Anne Line or her husband Roger. I was interested in the intriguing possibility of a connection with Shakespeare but in reading about Anne Line it was not always clear what we really knew about her from contemporary sources. If Shakespeare makes coded reference to her then we need to clarify as much as possible the details of her life to pick up any potential allusions. It was certainly quite obvious that an element of mythology had accumulated. For example, that Anne Line had been arrested for sheltering priests at a particular house in the Essex town of Great Dunmow – The Clockhouse on the Causeway. This is one of those ‘facts’, asserted with great confidence, that are quite spurious. Another is the idea that she was born in 1567.
The first-fruits of my research were published in a journal article: “Revisiting Anne Line: Who was she and where did she come from?”, Recusant History, Vol. 31, No. 3 (May 2013) 375-389. I have also written a biography, Anne Line: Shakespeare’s Tragic Muse published by The Book Guild Ltd., September 2013.