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When Was Shakespeare Born?

Find out why we celebrate Shakespeare's birthday on 23 April.

The Birth of William Shakespeare

The stone font is on a hexagonal pedestal with a decorated base. The font itself is shaped like a hexagonal chair,, higher at the rear three sides of the hexagon, and the stone is carved all round with a geometrical pattern.
The font in which William Shakespeare was baptised, Holy Trinity Church.

William Shakespeare was born in Stratford-upon-Avon, England, in April 1564. The exact date of his birth is not recorded, but it is most often celebrated around the world on 23 April.

Shakespeare’s baptism is recorded in the Parish Register at Holy Trinity Church, Stratford-upon-Avon on Wednesday 26 April 1564. Baptisms typically took place within three days of a new arrival, and parents were instructed by the Prayer Book to ensure that their children were baptised no later than the first Sunday after birth. This means that it’s unlikely that Shakespeare was born any earlier than the previous Sunday, 23 April. Given that three days would be a reasonable interval between birth and baptism, 23 April has therefore come to be celebrated as his birthday. 

Shakespeare also died on 23 April; in 1616, when he was 52 years of age.

'Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon 'em. '

— Twelfth Night, Act 2, Scene 5

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