William Shakespeare was born in Stratford-upon-Avon, on the 23rd of April 1564. He was the 3rd of 8 children and the eldest son of John Shakespeare and Mary Arden. He had 4 sisters, Joan, Margaret, Joan and Anne, and 3 brothers, Gilbert, Richard and Edmund. However his 2 elder sisters, Joan and Margaret, died before he was born. His father, John Shakespeare, was a tradesman and an alderman. His mother, Mary Arden, was the daughter of a Roman Catholic member of the landed gentry. William Shakespeare was baptised on the 26th of April 1564.
William Shakespeare was probably educated at the local Grammar school, and he did not go to university. As the eldest son, William Shakespeare would have been to apprenticed to his father’s shop, so that he could learn and eventually take over the business. However apparently he was apprenticed to a butchers because of his father’s financial situation another account says that, he became a school master.
In 1575, when he was 11, there was a great plague in the country and Queen Elizabeth 1 journeyed out of London to avoid its consequences and stayed for a while at Kenilworth Castle that was near Stratford. Whilst staying there she enjoyed the “festives” arranged for her by her host Lord Leicester. It is likely that these events may have had a strong impact of the mind of William Shakespeare.
On the 28th of November 1582, The Bishop of Worcester married William Shakespeare and Ann Hathaway of Stratford. William Shakespeare was 18 and Ann Hathaway was five years older than him. She was the daughter of a farmer. They had to marry quickly as, he had got her pregnant. And children who didn’t live with there father/mum, would be bullied and neglected by other members of the village.
William and Ann had 3 children, 2 daughters, Susanna and Judith and a son, Hamnet. Susanna was born on 26th May in 1583, and Hamnet and Judith, (who were twins) were born on 2nd February in 1585. Both daughters lived longer than their father. Susanna until 1649 when she was 66, and Judith until she was 77 in 1662. Hamnet however died in 1596, when he was only 11. Susanna married Dr. John Hall in 1607. Susanna was 24 and John was 32. They had 1 daughter, Elizabeth who was born in 1608. Elizabeth married Thomas Nash in 1626, he was 33 and she was 18. However their marriage didn’t last, because in 1647, Thomas died at the age of 54. Elizabeth however did marry again. In 1649 Elizabeth married Sir John Bernard. They were married 21 years when Elizabeth died in 1670 at the age of 62. Four years later John died too. During her life Elizabeth had no children. William Shakespeare’s other daughter, Judith got married to Thomas Quiney Vintner in 1616. Judith was 31 and Thomas was 27. However before marring Judith, Thomas got another girl pregnant. A month after their this girl and her baby died in childbirth. (It was after this that William Shakespeare summoned his lawyer and modified his will.) Thomas and Judith had 3 children, all boys, Shakespeare, Richard and Thomas. Shakespeare was born in 1616, however he died only a year later at the age of 1. Richard was born in 1618, he died at the age of 21 in 1639. Thomas was born in 1620, however he too died in 1639 at the age of 19. In 1655 at the age of 66, Thomas died. 7 years later in 1662 at the aghe 0f 77 Judith died. Because none of Judith’s and Thomas’ children survived, and Elizabeth had no children, William Shakespeare’s family tree was lost.
Five years after he married Ann, William Shakespeare had fallen into ill company, some of whom regularly stole deer. He ended up being prosecuted for robbing for a park that belonged to Sit Thomas Lucy of Cherlecot. William Shakespeare thought that he had been prosecuted to severely. After this he had to leave his family and business in Warwickshire, for shelter in London. William Shakespeare then worked at the Globe Theatre as an actor, he appeared in many small parts. He then became a poet and then a play-writer. Finally he became joint proprietor of The Globe Theatre and he also had an interest in the Blackfriars Theatre. He became very wealthy though this, indeed when he returned back to Stratford, he was one of the richest people living there. William Shakespeare’s professional life in London was marked by a number of financially advantageous arrangements that permitted him to share in the profits of his acting company, the Chamberlain’s Men, later called the King’s Men, and its 2 theatres, The Globe Theatre and the Blackfriars. His plays were given special presentations at the courts of Elizabeth 1 and James 1 more frequently then those of any other dramatists. William Shakespeare wrote about 38 different plays.
When he retired from writing in 1611, he returned to Stratford to live in a house, which he had built for his family called New place, and he became a leading local citizin. On his 54th birthday, on 23rd April 1616, William Shakespeare died, after an evening of drinking with some of his theatre friends . He was buried in the Church of the Holy Trinity, the same as where he was baptised in 1564. His gravestone bears the words:-
Good Frend for Jesus sake forebeare,
to digg the dust encloased heare,
Bleste be ye man yt spares thes stones,
And curst be he yt moves my bones.