William Shakespeare Last Will and Testament

Picture of a Tudor Bed
Shakespeare left his 'Second Best Bed'

The Biography of William Shakespeare
  • When did William Shakespeare make his will?
  • Who were the beneficiaries?
  • Did he leave any manuscripts?
  • Who did he leave his 'Second best bed' to?
  • Interesting information about the family, life and times of William Shakespeare

William Shakespeare Last Will and Testament

THE LAST WILL AND TESTAMENT OF WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE

  • William Shakespeare died on April 23rd 1616 - just four weeks prior to his death on 25th March 1616 Shakespeare made his last Will and Testament
  • No one knows whether he knew was ill and realised that his death was imminent but it does seem likely that he knew he did not have long to live ( his son-in-law was a Doctor, so he would have received the best treatment available)
  • His Last Will and Testament mentioned his family and friends
THE LAST WILL AND TESTAMENT OF SHAKESPEARE - HIS DAUGHTER, JUDITH
  • William Shakespeare died on April 23rd 1616 - just four weeks prior to his death on 25th March 1616 Shakespeare made his last Will and Testament
  • No one knows whether he knew was ill and realised that his death was imminent but it does seem likely that he knew he did not have long to live ( his son-in-law was a Doctor, so he would have received the best treatment available)

THE LAST WILL AND TESTAMENT OF SHAKESPEARE - HIS DAUGHTER, JUDITH

  • William Shakespeare died on April 23rd 1616 - just four weeks prior to his death on 25th March 1616 Shakespeare made his last Will and Testament
  • No one knows whether he knew was ill and realised that his death was imminent but it does seem likely that he knew he did not have long to live ( his son-in-law was a Doctor, so he would have received the best treatment available)

THE LAST WILL AND TESTAMENT OF SHAKESPEARE - HIS SISTER, JOAN

  • Shakespeare left 30 to his sister Joan Hart
  • And he gave permission for her to stay on, for a nominal rent, in the house on Henley Street

THE LAST WILL AND TESTAMENT OF SHAKESPEARE - HIS NEPHEWS, JOAN'S SONS

  • William Shakespeare left each of Joan's three sons the sum of 5

THE LAST WILL AND TESTAMENT OF SHAKESPEARE - HIS GRANDDAUGHTER, ELIZABETH

  • William Shakespeare left all of his silver plate, except the silver bowl left to his daughter Judith, to his granddaughter Elizabeth - the daughter of Susanna
THE LAST WILL AND TESTAMENT OF SHAKESPEARE - POOR PEOPLE OF STRATFORD
  • William Shakespeare left all 10 to the poor of Stratford

THE LAST WILL AND TESTAMENT OF SHAKESPEARE - HIS FRIENDS

  • William Shakespeare left his sword and various small bequests to friends and neighbours who lived in Stratford
  • His lifelong friend Hamnet Sadler was specifically mentioned and left money to enable him to buy a memorial ring
  • His London friends and fellow actors "my fellows John Hemynges Richard Burbage & Henry Cundell," were named leaving them 26s..8d to "buy them Ringes."

THE LAST WILL AND TESTAMENT OF SHAKESPEARE - HIS WIFE ANNE

  • William Shakespeare's will is famous because the only mention that Shakespeare specifically makes of his wife was to leave her his "second best bed" - hence the picture at the top of the page!
  • This sounds terrible but is, however, understood that she would have had the right, through English Common Law, to one-third of his estate as well as residence for life at New Place

THE LAST WILL AND TESTAMENT OF SHAKESPEARE - HIS DAUGHTER, SUSANNA

  • To his Daughter, Susanna and Son-in-Law, Dr John Hall left:

"All the Rest of my Goods, Chattels, Leases, Plate, Jewels & Household stuff whatsoever
after my debts and Legacies paid & my funeral expenses discarded"

  • Susanna was clearly Shakespeare's favourite, his other daughter Judith disgraced through he marraige to Quiney

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