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History of England
William Shakespeare

Where did William Shakespeare live?

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April 28, 2016 10:52AM

William Shakespeare, the great playwright and poet, was born in Stratford-Upon-Avon, in Warwickshire, England in April 1564. Very little is known about his early life and the best known documentary evidence relating to him are the records of his baptism, his marriage and his death.

His parents, John Shakespeare and his wife, Mary Arden, lived on Henley Street in Stratford-Upon-Avon. There is a house still standing in Henley Street, which is a tourist attraction as "Shakespeare's birth place" but it is uncertain whether this is the actual house.

On 29th November 1582, William married Anne Hathaway at Temple Grafton or possibly Shottery, near Stratford. She gave birth to a daughter, Susanna, in May, 1583, and to twins, Hamnet and Judith in January/February 1585. There are records of the baptisms of these children in Stratford so it may be assumed that Shakespeare still lived there at this time.

The first record of his plays being performed in London appears in 1592, and the period between 1585 and 1592 is known as "Shakespeare's lost years" because there are no official records relating to him during that time.

There has been some speculation that he worked as a schoolteacher in Lancashire, in the North of England, but the evidence on which this is based may relate to someone else.

By 1592 we know that Shakespeare was living in London. In 1593 Shakespeare lived in Bishopsgate (we know this because there are court records dated 1597 saying that he owed taxes here). In 1596 he was living in the parish of St Helen's in Bishopsgate. 1599 he had moved across the river to Bankside on property owned by the of the Bishop of Winchester's estate, the Liberty of the Clink, where the Globe Theatre was also built. In 1604 Shakespeare is known to have moved back to the city and rented lodgings at the house of Christopher and Mary Mountjoy in on the corner of Monkwell and Silver Street in Cripplegate, not far from St Paul's.

By 1597 William Shakespeare was rich enough to purchase his own property. He bought New Place, described as the second largest house in Stratford-Upon-Avon, for £60. In 1613 he invested £140 in a gate-house near the Blackfriars theater. It was located in Ireland Yard which joins Blackfriars Lane via, would you believe, Playhouse Yard!. The former gatehouse had been the main entrance to the vast monastery of the Blackfriars which had been seized and sold off during the Dissolution of the Monasteries. In 1615 litigation over legal title to the gatehouse showed that he had made improvements to the property.

He seems to have retired in 1613 and gone to live in New Place, where he died on 23 April 1616.

Stratford is now the home of the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, a Charity which owns and maintains various buildings as visitor attractions. These are Mary Arden's House, Shakespeare's Birth Place, Anne Hathaway's Cottage, Hall's Croft - the home of Shakespeare's daughter, the garden of New Place (the building itself has been torn down) and Harvard House, once the home of the parents of John Harvard, founder of Harvard University in USA.
once upon a time in stratford-on-avon he did dwell,

but now he doth live underground, and just as well.

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June 05, 2014 5:07PM

He was born and grew up in the town of Stratford-upon-Avon, in Warwickshire.