The Death of William Shakespeare
THE DEATH OF WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE - THE GREAT BARD OF STRATFORD
- The cause of Shakespeare's death is unknown - he died April 23rd 1616 at the age of 52 (William Shakespeare's birth date has been estimated as 26th April 1564)
- The exact date of death is not known but it seems fitting that he died on April 23rd April, the same date given for his birth
- April 23rd is St. George's Day - the patron Saint of England
- Just four weeks prior to his death, on 25th March 1616, William made his Last Will and Testament
- Is this a coincidence or did Shakespeare know that he was about to die?
- A contemporary of Shakespeare was said to have reported the following:
"Shakespeare, Drayton, and Ben Jonson had a merry meeting and it seems drank too hard for Shakespeare died of a fever there contracted."
- Shakespeare's burial is recorded in the Stratford Parish Register as occurring on 25 April, 1616
- The exact words used on the register are "Will Shakspeare gent"
- William Shakespeare was buried on April 25th 1616 in Holy Trinity Church, Stratford-upon-Avon
- His tomb lies beneath the floor of the church, in the chancel
- The chancel is the space around the altar of a church for the clergy, and sometimes the choir, often enclosed by a lattice or railing
- The tombstone is inscribed with the following words, which are believed to have written by Shakespeare:
Good friend for Jesus sake forbear
To dig the dust enclosed here!
Blest be the man that spares these stones,
And curst be he that moves my bones
- Shakespeare is said to be buried 17 feet under the stone but his bones have not been moved, as per his wishes on the tombstone, so this has not been confirmed
- Anne Hathaway Shakespeare, wife of the great Bard, died in 1623 at the age of 67. Her funeral was on August 6, 1623 and she was buried next to William also in the chancel of Holy Trinity Church in Stratford
- The Memorial to William Shakespeare at Holy Trinity Church in Stratford-upon-Avon is illustrated in the picture at the top of the page - move the mouse over it for a close up view!