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The Complete Shakespeare Experience    

With roots in Stratford and London, Shakespeare divided his time between the two locales. Along with New Place, Shakespeare also maintained a residence in St. Helen’s parish, Bishopsgate, north of the Thames. In 1599, with the construction of the Globe Theater, he relocated to Southwark, on the southern bank of the river, and in 1604, he again relocated just north of St. Paul’s Cathedreal, this time renting rooms from Christopher Mountjoy, a French Huguenot who made ladies’ wigs.

It is thought that Shakespeare largely retired from work (although such a thing was rare in those times) upon returning to Stratford-upon-Avon in 1613. Still, he visited London often, including to testify in a court case regarding Mountjoy’s daughter, Mary and for several weeks at least in 1614 with his son-in-law John Hall who married to Shakespeare’s eldest daughter, Susanna in 1607. Two months before his death, Judith Shakespeare married a vintner, Thomas Quiney.

Many speculate that a number of Shakespeare’s plays might have been the result of collaborations, the last three with John Fletcher, who followed Shakespeare as the King’s Men’s resident playwright.  Some conjecture that Shakespeare might not have written many of the works attributed to him, but his stature and prominence as a playwright and actor during his lifetime, and the praise lauded upon him by contemporaries such as Ben Jonson, would seem to deflate such theories as they would have required a mass deception of Elizabethan England.

 Shakespeare died on April 23, 1616, just a few days shy of his 52nd birthday. The cause of death is not certain, but in 1664, Reverend John Ward, vicar of Stratford wrote that “Shakespeare, Drayton and Ben Johnson had a merie meeting, and itt seems drank too hard, for Shakespeare died of a feavor there contracted.”


WILLIAM

SHAKESPEARE

The Bard of Avon

1564-1616

A

long with his fellow actors, Shakespeare was part owner of a player’s company, Lord Chamberlain’s Men, which, upon receiving a patent from King James I in 1603, became known as the King’s Men players. In 1599, members of the King’s Men players built their own theater, the Globe, along the south bank of the Thames River in London.


The company also acquired the Blackfriars theater. These investments and others made Shakespeare a wealthy man, allowing him to purchase New Place, the second-largest home in Stratford. In 1605, his investment in the upkeep of Holy Trinity Church in 1605 bestowed the title of lay rector upon him and entitled him to a share of the parish tithes which added to his wealth.

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Shakespeare drawing circa 1600

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John Shakespeare’s house, thought to

be William Shakespeare’s birthplace.