The Ancestors of William Shakespeare

Was a Prioress an ancestor of
William Shakespeare?

The Biography of William Shakespeare

  • What do we know about the history of his Ancestors?
  • Family tree of Shakespeare Ancestors
  • Was the family part of the Aristocracy?
  • Did they include a nun, a prioress and a thief?
  • Interesting information about the ancestors of William Shakespeare

The Ancestors of William Shakespeare


  • The History of Shakespeare's early Ancestors cannot be confirmed
  • But there are authenticated records which indicate that the following people were possible ancestors
  • And records which indicate probable ancestors
A thief, a prioress and a nun are the occupations of possible ancestors of William Shakespeare!
  • In 1279 a John Shakespeare is recorded as living at 'Freyndon,' perhaps Frittendon in Kent
  • In 1284 a William Sakspere of Clopton in Gloucestershire was recorded as being hung for theft
  • In 1385 a William Shakespeare is recorded as serving on a coroner's jury in Balsall
  • In 1457 an Isabella Shakespeare is mentioned in the Register of the Guild of St Anne at Knowle as the
    prioress of a Benedictine convent and a Jane Shakespeare is also mentioned as a nun of the same convent
  • In 1487 Hugh Shakspere of Merton College, Oxford changed his name to Sawndare, because his former
    name was of 'vile reputatum'!


Soldiers fighting for Henry VII in the War of the Roses? His father was a Yeoman but the mother of William Shakespeare was a member of an Aristocratic family!

  • Adam Shakespeare was the first probable ancestor of Shakespeare mentioned in records as a tenant by military service of land at Baddesley Clinton. He is believed to be the great-great-grandfather of William Shakespeare
  • In 1535 an entry relates to Richard Shakespeare as a yeoman of Snitterfield and is believed to be Shakespeare's paternal grandfather. He worked on the land owned by the Ardens
  • Robert Arden belonged to the aristocratic family of the Ardens of Park Hall and was Shakespeare's maternal grandfather. The Ardens were part of the noble Catholic family of the Ardens of Park Hall whose family forebears had been given land by William the Conqueror
  • Robert Arden's daughter, Mary, was the mother of William Shakespeare. Click the following link for more information about Mary Arden - the Mother of William Shakespeare
  • John, the younger son of Richard, was the father of William Shakespeare. Click the following link for more information about John Shakespeare - the Father of William Shakespeare

William Shakespeare Index

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