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Guide to Stratford-Upon-Avon
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Stratford-Upon-Avon History

History of Stratford-Upon-Avon Stratford Upon Avon has always been a thriving market town, even before the birth of its most famous son.

Thanks to the River Avon, trading flourished during the Roman times and by the reign of Edward VI in the 16th century a boom in agriculture and the cottage industry meant that Stratford became one of the most successful market towns in the United Kingdom.

William Shakespeare was born on 23 April, 1564 - St George’s Day – and was one of seven children born to John Shakespeare and Mary Arden. Three of his siblings died in childhood, two of them from the plague that hit Stratford the year Shakespeare was born.

Shakespeare’s actual birthplace [map] can be found at Henley Street, and is now a popular tourist attraction.

In 1582, at the age of 18, Shakespeare married Anne Hathaway. She was eight years older than Shakespeare and already three months pregnant when they wed. They went on to have three children, including twins Hamnet and Judith.

Shakespeare headed to London to find work in the theatres. He began to write plays for the theatre located on the banks of the Thames, which opened in 1576 and became The Globe Theatre [map] 20 years later.

Shakespeare’s contribution to the English language and British playwriting is immeasurable. During his life he wrote dozens of plays and poems, including Romeo and Juliet, Hamlet, Othello and Much Ado About Nothing.

In 1609, after writing 24 plays, Shakespeare took semi-retirement and returned to Stratford. In 1614 he wrote his final play The Two Noble Kinsmen and he died in 1616 on the day of his 52nd birthday. This date is remembered in the UK as National Poets Day.

He is buried at The Holy Trinity Church in Stratford.

Despite Shakespeare’s death, it became apparent that he would be forever associated with the town and this has helped keep Stratford-Upon-Avon in the top 10 most visited places in the UK.

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