A MILVERTON author has upset traditionalists by claiming William Shakespeare never actually wrote a single word of any of the plays and poems attributed to him.

Alexander Waugh has even gone as far as to state that the revered 'playwright' was probably uneducated, illiterate and incapable of quilling classics such as Hamlet or Romeo and Juliet.

Mr Waugh, who attended Taunton School, says he has irrefutable evidence that the genius behind many GCSE students' nightmares was in fact Edward de Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford.

The grandson of one of the 20th Century's greatest novelist, Evelyn Waugh, who most definitely did pen Brideshead Revisited, scoffs at critics he says have branded him "a lunatic".

"Nearly everything written about Shakespeare in his lifetime is cryptic, hidden and secret," said Mr Waugh.

"This is absolutely central to lots of things painted and written at that time."

Following extensive research, Mr Waugh has concluded that hidden geometrics, grid patterns and clues reveal the dramatist was laid to rest underneath his monument in Poets' Corner, Westminster Abbey, and spell out 'Edward de Vere lies here'.

He believes he has cracked the code in an apparently nonsensical dedication to Shakespeare's sonnets that has "funny dots all over the place".

He said: "The title page and dedication page have encrypted in them the exact church, the exact part of that church and the exact spot...where Shakespeare is buried.

"It's like an old-fashioned treasure island map. You overlay the title page on a ground plan of Poets' Corner and it just points to exactly where he's buried.

"The dot marking the burial place on the title page landed on the exact spot where the famous monument to Shakespeare was erected by Alexander Pope and Lord Burlington, a direct descendant of Oxford's sister, Mary Vere.

"It strongly implies that the people who put that statue there knew damned well he was buried right underneath it."

He is also convinced that a riddle on the Shakespeare monument in Holy Trinity Church, Stratford-upon-Avon, reveals the writer is buried alongside Beaumont, Chaucer and Spenser in Poets' Corner.

Mr Waugh added: "Certain people always get hysterical when Shakespeare's identity is questioned.

"But I've made some incredible discoveries. In those days, it was very common for people to use an allonym - (the name of a living person as a pseudonym).

"William Shakespeare never claimed to be a writer of any sort. And there's no evidence during his lifetime he had any eduction. None of his daughters could write.

"The Earl of Oxford was a member of the nobility. Nobility would never publish a play and try to sell it as plays were considered the lowest of the low.

"Shakespeare had a business arrangement with the Globe theatre and may have been an actor. It's extremely likely Oxford would have been aware of him."

Mr Waugh is giving a talk about his investigations in The Seed Factory, Aller, on Friday, October 5, at 7.30pm - tickets £15 on the door.