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William Shakespeare 1564- 1612

Born at Stratford upon Avon in 1564, Shakespeare was the son of a prosperous glover who was a prominent figure in civil affairs.

He attended the local grammar school but little is otherwise known of his early youth except that, aged 18, he married the older Anne Hathaway who bore him a daughter, Susanna, in the following year. Twins Hamnet and Judith followed in 1585.

Shakespeare is thought to have then become a private tutor but, in his early or mid twenties, he went to London and began an acting career appearing first at The Theatre in north, but now close to the centre of, London, and, later, on the south bank of the Thames at a specially constructed open air theatre, The Globe, in which he was a shareholder.

He wrote numerous sonnets in a format of his own creation as well as 36 plays many of which are still frequently performed. He was widely acknowledged by his contemporaries as a gifted writer and has been recognized for centuries as the greatest writer the world has known.

His son, Hamnet, died in childhood. Both daughters remained in Stratford and married but their issue died out in the 17th century.

Shakespeare retired as a well to do gentleman to New House in Stratford which he had purchased for his family several years earlier but died allegedly on his 52nd birthday, 23rd April 1616, and is interred in Holy Trinity church.

The Shakespeare Memorial Theatre, Stratford, was built in the 1930's and houses The Royal Shakespeare Company that presents mostly his works.