Facts Regarding the Life and Death of Shakespeare

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There are few facts known with certainty about William Shakespeare's life and death. The best-documented facts are that Shakespeare was baptised 26 April 1564 in Stratford-upon-Avon in Warwickshire, England in the Holy Trinity Church, married Anne Hathaway at age 18, with whom he had three children, was an actor, playwright and theatre entrepreneur in London, owned property in both Stratford and London, and died 23 April 1616 at the age of 52.

William Shakespeare [1] was born in Stratford-upon-Avon, a small country town. He was the son of John Shakespeare, a successful glover and alderman from Snitterfield, and of Mary Arden, a daughter of the gentry. They lived on Henley Street, having married around 1557. The date of his birth is not known, but his baptismal record was dated 26 April 1564. This is the first official record of Shakespeare, as birth certificates were not issued in the time of Queen Elizabeth. Because baptisms were normally performed within a few days of birth it is highly likely Shakespeare was born in April 1564, although the long-standing tradition that he was born on 23 April has no historical basis (baptisms at this time were not invariably performed exactly three days after birth as is sometimes claimed). Nevertheless, this date provides a convenient symmetry because Shakespeare died on the same day in 1616. It is also the Feast Day of Saint George, the patron saint of England, which might seem appropriate for England's greatest playwright. Shakespeare's parents had eight children: Joan (born 1558, died in infancy), Margaret (1562–1563), William (himself, 1564–1616), Gilbert (1566–1612), Joan (1569–1646), Anne (1571–1579), Richard (1574–1613), and Edmund (1580–1607).[2][3] Shakespeare's father, prosperous at the time of William's birth, was prosecuted for participating in the black market in the dealings of wool,[4] and later lost his position as an alderman. Some evidence pointed to possible Roman Catholic sympathies on both sides of the...
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