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Shakespeare's Birthplace

This is where the story began

Visit Shakespeare’s Birthplace to walk in Shakespeare’s footsteps and explore his childhood world. Hear tales of Shakespeare’s family life and get up close to rare objects from the Trust’s world class collections as you discover how the extraordinary William Shakespeare continues to shape our lives today. Continue reading...

William Shakespeare was born in this house and grew up here with his parents and siblings. He also spent the first five years of his marriage living here with his wife Anne Hathaway. John and Mary Shakespeare were wealthy enough to own the largest house on Henley Street.

John Shakespeare lived and worked in this house for fifty years. When he married Mary Arden she came to live with him and they had a total of eight children, William was the third to be born. In 1568 John became the Mayor of Stratford, which was the highest elective office in the town. On Sunday, dressed in his fine red robes, he would have been escorted to Holy Trinity church to attend mass. It was because of his father’s status as Mayor that William was privileged enough to have attended the local grammar school to begin his education.

John Shakespeare died in 1601 and as the eldest surviving child, William inherited the house. He leased part of the property and it became an inn called the Maidenhead (and later the Swan and Maidenhead). The inn remained until 1847. When Shakespeare died he left the house to his eldest daughter Susanna, and when she died she left it to her only child, Elizabeth.

Although she married twice Elizabeth had no children, so when she died the house fell to a descendant of Joan Hart, one of Shakespeare’s sisters. The house was owned by the Hart family until the late 18th century, until it went up for sale and was purchased by the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust in 1847. We have cared for it ever since.

For the official guidebook of the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust visit our online shop.

    Keep Shakespeare’s Story Alive

    Now more than ever we need your help to protect all five of Shakespeare’s family homes

    Shakespeare's Birthplace
    Mary Arden's Farm
    Anne Hathaway's Cottage
    Shakespeare's New Place
    Hall's Croft
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    Getting here

    Shakespeare's Birthplace
    The Shakespeare Centre
    Henley St
    CV37 6QW
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    Open today: 10am - 4pm

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    Mary Arden's Farm is currently closed Anne Hathaway's Cottage is currently closed Shakespeare's New Place is currently closed Hall's Croft is currently closed