During the period between
1597 and 1611, Shakespeare, apparently, spent most of his time during
the theatrical season in London, but was also active in Stratford, particularly
as an investor in grain dealings.
In 1597, Shakespeare purchased a Tudor Mansion in Stratford-Upon-Avon
known as the New Place. He also had lodgings in London at least until
1604 and probably until 1611, though family events such as his daughter
Susanna's marriage in 1607 and his mother's death in 1608 would certainly
have called him back to Stratford.
Registering his Sonnets in May 20, 1609, William Shakespeare
wrote his will in 1611. It is from around 1611 Shakespeare seems largely
to have disengaged himself from the London theatre world and to have spent
his time at his Stratford house, New Place, and in 1612, four years before
his death; Shakespeare went into semi-retirement at the relatively young
age of forty-eight.
During his last eight years of life, Shakespeare wrote
only four plays--Cymbeline, Henry VIII, The Tempest, and The Winter's
Tale. In the past, some scholars argued that The Tempest, written about
1610, was Shakespeare's last play. They stated that he then retired almost
completely to Stratford. However, Henry VIII can be dated about 1613.
In addition, Shakespeare purchased a house in the Blackfriars district
of London in 1613.
The evidence thus suggests that Shakespeare gradually
reduced his activity in London rather than ending it abruptly. Shakespeare
also purchased real estate in the countryside and in London as well, the
latter including the aforementioned Blackfriars Gatehouse
In March 1616 revised his will. leaving substantial property
and other bequests to his family and friends, including theatre colleagues
in the King's Men. Bequeathing his properties to his daughter Susanna
(married in 1607 to Dr. John Hall), to his surviving daughter Judith,
he left £300, and to his wife Anne left "my second best bed."
Shakespeare died in Stratford, aged fifty-two, on 23 April
1616, his birthday,
Supposedly dying of a chill caught after a night of drinking
with fellow playwrights Ben Jonson and Michaal Drayton, Shakespeare was
buried at Holy Trinity in Stratford on April 25, 1623, exactly 52 years
after his baptism. Within a short time a monument to him was put up, probably
by his family, on the wall close to his grave. His monument records the
day of death as April 23, the generally accepted date of his birth.
His widow, Anne, dieing in 1623 and was buried beside
Seven years after he died, in 1623, two working companions
of Shakespeare from the Lord Chamberlain's Men, John Heminges and Henry
Condell, printed the First Folio edition of the Collected Works, that
nobody could take his work as theirs. Half the plays contained therein
were previously unpublished. The First Folio also contained Shakespeare's
sonnets. William Shakespeare's first folio was published including 154
sonnets, 36 plays, and his two long poems.
His two daughters followed different paths. His older
daughter, Susanna, married a prominent local doctor, John Hall, in 1607
and there are indications that a close friendship developed between Hall
and his renowned father-in-law. Susanna gave Shakespeare his only grandchild,
Elizabeth Hall in 1608. Although she inherited the family estate and was
married twice (her first husband dying) Elizabeth had no children of her
own. Shakespeare's other daughter,
On Feb. 10, 1616, Shakespeare's younger daughter, Judith,
married Thomas Quiney, the son of his Stratford neighbour Richard Quiney.
Thomas Quiney, was a tavern owner with a dubious reputation, supposedly
given to pre-marital and extramarital affairs and the fathering of illegitimate
children. They had three legitimate sons, all of whom died young.
William Shakespeare's family lineage came to an end two
generations after his death with the death of his grand-daughter Elizabeth
Good friend, for Jesus' sake forbeare
To dig the dust enclosed here.
Blessed be the man that spares these stones,
And cursed be he that moves my bones