On this day in history, April 23, 1564, Shakespeare is born in Stratford-upon-Avon, becomes renowned writer
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Legendary playwright, poet and actor William Shakespeare is believed to have been born on this day in history, April 23, 1564, in Stratford-upon-Avon, England. 

Shakespeare’s exact date of birth was not recorded, says the website for the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust — but his baptism at Holy Trinity Church in Stratford-upon-Avon was documented as taking place on April 26, 1564.

“No records of births and deaths were made in those days. We do, however have records of his baptism on (April 26th 1564: Gulielimus, filius Johannes Shakspeare) and of his burial on (25th April 1616: Will Shakspeare, Gent),” says the website for Holy Trinity Church.  

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As both his baptism and funeral occurred at Holy Trinity Church, “it can be fairly safely assumed that he worshiped here as a boy and young man, and again after he retired to his home town,” says the church’s website. 

The date of his baptism is another clue as to Shakespeare’s birthdate, says the website for the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust. 

This March 17, 2009 photo provided by VisitBritain shows a monument to William Shakespeare in the Poets’ Corner at Westminster Abbey in London. Many famous British writers are memorialized here, including Charles Dickens and Geoffrey Chaucer, so it’s a popular destination for visitors on a literary tour of London. (AP Photo/VisitBritain)

A statue of William Shakespeare at the Poets’ Corner in Westminster Abbey in London, England.  (AP/VisitBritain)

“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 baptized no later than the first Sunday after birth,” it said. 

As April 26, 1564, was a Wednesday, this means the earliest date of Shakespeare’s birth could have been April 23, noted the website. 

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“Given that three days would be a reasonable interval between birth and baptism, 23 April has therefore come to be celebrated as his birthday,” said the site.

Shakespeare’s parents were John and Mary Shakespeare, notes the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust website; he was the third of eight children. 

He was the oldest surviving male child, said the site. 

Shakespeare

Shakespeare authored at least 37 plays during his lifetime.  (iStock)

From age seven until his mid-teens, Shakespeare attended grammar school in Stratford-upon-Avon. He married his wife, Anne Hathaway, in November 1582, says the same source. 

At the time of their wedding, Shakespeare was 18 — and eight years younger than his 26-year-old bride, says the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust.

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Hathaway and Shakespeare would go on to have three children: Susanna, born in May 1583, and twins Hamnet and Judith in February 1585. 

Hamnet died at age 11, in August 1596, said the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust.

A detail of the newly discovered portrait of William Shakespeare, presented by the Shakespeare Birthplace trust, is seen in central London, Monday March 9, 2009. The portrait, believed to be almost the only authentic image of the writer made from life, has belonged to one family for centuries but was not recognized as a portrait of Shakespeare until recently. There are very few likenesses of Shakespeare, who died in 1616. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)

A portrait of William Shakespeare, who was (most likely) born on this day in history, April 23, 1564.  (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)

In the 23-year period between 1590 and 1613, Shakespeare wrote at least 38 plays

He is believed to have collaborated on others, says the website for the British Library. 

The “First Folio” contained 36 of Shakespeare’s plays. 

He also published a book of more than 100 sonnets in 1609, said the British Library. 

By 1592, Shakespeare had established himself as a playwright of note in London.

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He had written “Henry VI Part 1,” “Henry VI Part 2,” “Henry VI Part 3,” “The Two Gentlemen of Verona” and “Titus Andronicus” by then, says the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust website. 

As with many details about Shakespeare’s life, it is unclear which play he wrote first, said the trust.

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Shakespeare is believed to have died on April 23, 1616, on what was possibly his 52nd birthday. 

Following Shakespeare’s death in 1616, actors from his works collected manuscripts and published them in 1623 as the “First Folio,” says the trust. 

The “First Folio” contained 36 of Shakespeare’s plays. 



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