William Shakespeare is probably the most famous writer in history. Shakespeare’s plays are read and performed all over the world, even though he wrote them during the time of the Tudors and the reign of James I.
Here are some of the key facts about William Shakespeare.
- William Shakespeare was born in Stratford-Upon-Avon in 1564. It is thought that he was born on or quite close to 23rd April.
- His father, John, was a glovemaker and he was an important and well-respected resident of Stratford, and his mother came from a wealthy farming family.
- William probably went to the local grammar school at the age of about 7.
- When William Shakespeare was about 13, his father experienced some money problems and got into debt. It is thought that William left school at this point in order to help his father run the family business and generate more income.
- Very little is known about William Shakespeare until his marriage in 1582. Shakespeare wasn’t famous at this point, so he is not mentioned in any written sources from the Tudor period.
- In 1582 Shakespeare married Anne Hathaway. She was the daughter of a local farmer and was eight years older than Shakespeare.
- Anne and William had a child, called Susanna, in 1583. In 1585 they had twins, Hamnet and Judith.
- William and Anne and their three children lived with Shakespeare’s parents in Stratford. In about 1587 Shakespeare moved to London. It is not known exactly when Shakespeare got a taste for acting, but many think he might have got to know some of the individuals involved in the scene when the Queen’s Men acting group performed in Stratford in 1586.
- It is not known for cetain exactly when Shakespeare began writing plays, but it is thought that some his work was being performed on stage in 1591 or 1592.
- From 1594, Shakespeare’s plays were only performed by Lord Chamberlain’s Men (later to become the King’s Men during the reign of James I), an acting company part owned by Shakespeare.
- In 1599, members of Shakespeare’s company built the Globe Theatre, and this made William Shakespeare a very wealthy man.
- Shakespeare bought in New Street in Stratford, the second largest house in the town.
- William spent time in both London and the family home in Stratford.
- The last plays written by Shakespeare were completed in 1613, in collaboration with John Fletcher, the playwright who would become the writer for the King’s Men after Shakespeare.
- Some his best known works include: Macbeth, Hamlet, Romeo and Juliet, Much Ado About Nothing and the Tempest.
- William Shakespeare died on 23rd April 1616, aged 52.. He was buried in the chancel of the Holy Trinity Church, Stratford-Upon-Avon. There is a monument to Shakespeare in Poet’s Corner in Westminster Abbey.
Follow the links to find out more about the theatre in Elizabethan times and another Tudor playwright called Christopher Marlowe.
Click here to learn more about the Tudors.