Shakespeare’s life: a timeline

Shakespeare's Globe. Credit: Visit Britain
Shakespeare's Globe. Credit: Visit Britain

To mark the 400 anniversary of the death of Shakespeare, we have put together a timeline of the life and times of the great British playwright.

Britain magazine



William Shakespeare is born to parents John Shakespeare and Mary Arden in Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire.

Shakespeare marries Anne Hathaway, the daughter of a local farmer, who is eight years his senior.


William and Anne welcome their first child, Susanna, only six months after their wedding.


Shakespeare’s first poem is published in London – Venus and Adonis.


Records of Shakespeare’s first plays begin to appear. He joins other playwrights to form a new theatre company under the patronage of Lord Chamberlain. They are known as Lord Chamberlain’s Men.


Shakespeare buys a second home called New Place in Stratford. He is starting to become wealthy from his work and New Place is the second biggest house in Stratford.


Shakespeare buys a place in London’s Silver Street – the location in which the Barbican Centre now stands. It was here where he wrote many of his great plays  such as Hamlet and Macbeth.


King James I comes to the English throne and grants royal patronage to Shakespeare’s acting company who then came to be known as the King’s Men.


The King’s Men acquire an indoor theatre – the Blackfriars.


Shakespeare spends the last few years of his life at New Place before dying in 1616, aged 52.


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