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William Shakespeare

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William Shakespeare's father, John Shakespeare, moved to the town of Stratford-upon-Avon in the mid- sixteenth century, here ha became a successful landowner, moneylender, wool and glover. In 1557 he married Mary Arden. The town records indicate that William Shakespeare was John and Mary's third child. He was born on the 23rd April 1564, he had several sisters and at least one brother. Shakespeare grew up in the Tudor market town of Stratford-on-Avon, a lovely village surrounded by extensive, unspoiled woods. His father, John Shakespeare, served as a burgess on the local municipal council, and it was because of his father's status as a town official that Shakespeare was able to attend Stratford Grammar School. ...read more.


After Susanna's marriage, William and Anne had two more children, the twins Hamnet and Judith. Shakespeare spent a great deal of his time with his family in Stratford-on-Avon. But there was a tragedy in the marriage of William and Anne that their only son, Hamnet died suddenly at the age of eleven. Shakespeare died on 23 April 1616, his fifty-second birthday. He was buried three days later (exactly fifty-two years after his baptism). Shakespeare became ill after a bout of hard drinking with his fellow playwrights Ben Johnson and Michael Drayton, possibly as a result from having caught a chill. Shakespeare retired as a playwright in 1612 or 1613, two or three years before his death, and it may be that his failing health had a part in this. ...read more.


and that of their older daughter, Susanna Hall. The grave is covered by a flat stone that bears an epitaph, which has traditionally been ascribed to Shakespeare himself. It reads: Good friends for Jesus sake forebeare, To dig the dust enclosed heare Blest be y man y spare thes stones, And curs't be he y moves my bones. The purpose of the inscription was apparently to prevent the removal of Shakespeare's bones from the church to the charnel house, as was customary in Elizabethan England. We do not know whether the inscription was heeded, for Shakespeare's grave has never been opened. There is some speculation that the original stone was replaced in the eighteenth century as Shakespeare's reputation rose. Picture of the slabstone over Shakespeare's tomb. ...read more.

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