William Shakespeare is widely regarded as one of the greatest writers in the English language.
He was born on or around 23 April 1564 in Stratford-upon-Avon, the eldest son of John Shakespeare,
a prosperous glover and local dignitary, and Mary Arden, the daughter of a wealthy farmer.
There are no records of William’s education, but he probably went to King’s New School –
a reputable Stratford grammar school where he would have learned Latin, Greek, theology and rhetoric –
and may have had a Catholic upbringing.
He may also have seen plays by the travelling theatre groups touring Stratford in the 1560s and 70s.
At 18, William married Anne Hathaway, and the couple had three children over the next few years.
What is Shakespeare’s ‘lost years?
No-one knows what Shakespeare did between 1587 – the last documentary record of his youth in Stratford –
and 1592 when he is first mentioned in London.
There is much speculation about these ‘lost years’, including stories that Shakespeare was exiled from
Warwickshire for deer-stealing and that he worked at the London playhouses holding horses for theatre-goers.