When & Where was William Shakespeare born?

Picture of house in Henley Street

The Biography of William Shakespeare

  • When & Where was William Shakespeare born?
  • Where was William Shakespeare born?
  • Where and when was he baptised?
  • Why is there confusion regarding his date of birth?
  • Interesting information about the family, life and times of William Shakespeare

When & Where was William Shakespeare born?


  • William Shakespeare was believed to have been born in the Shakespeare family home in Henley Street, Stratford-upon-Avon, England
  • His actual date of birth cannot be substantiated as at this time in England births were not formally registered and Birth Certificates were not produced
  • His birth date can, however be guessed as due to the high mortality rate of infants it was the custom of Elizabethan parents to have their children baptised three days after their birth
  • There is a record of William's baptism in the register of the Holy Trinity Parish Church in Stratford dated 26th April 1564
  • The baptismal register of the Holy Trinity parish church, in Stratford, shows the following entry, in Latin, for April 26, 1564: Gulielmus Filius Johannes Shakespeare
  • Therefore the birthday of William Shakespeare has been set as April 23rd 1564
  • This date has importance to England as April 23rd is St Georges Day - the Patron Saint of England
  • William Shakespeare was the third child of John and Mary - the two previous children, Joan and Margaret, sadly died of the Bubonic Plague (also known as the Black Death)
  • The Bubonic Plague was often transmitted by the fleas that lived on animals
  • The father of John Shakespeare was a retailer of farm produce, such as animal hides, and the family were therefore in constant danger of contracting the Bubonic Plague via the farm produce
  • The Bubonic Plague could also be air bound and transmitted from an infected person's breath
  • It is therefore not surprising that the virulent nature of the disease resulted in frequent outbreaks of the terrible disease and that the two sisters of Shakespeare died in their infancy, one at the age of eight and one of his brothers at the age of 27 years old - all victims of the plague
  • Neither is it surprising that William Shakespeare therefore suffered from a terrible fear of the Plague throughout his life - his own son, Hamnet died at the young age of just eleven years old from this terrible disease

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