|| 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
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
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.