John Shakespeare - The Father of William Shakespeare
THE EARLY YEARS
John Shakespeare was the father of William
He lived between 1531 - 1601
John's father, Richard Shakespeare, was a tenant farmer of Robert Arden of Wilmecote
John was illiterate - he used glovers compasses as his signature!
He moved to Stratford-upon-Avon in 1551 to set up business trading in animals, wool, malt and corn
His father Richard produced the goods and John sold them!
He bought a house in Henley Street, Stratford , which was conveniently near the market
John Shakespeare used the skins of animals to set up trade as as a Glover and Whittawer (making saddles, harnesses and fine leather gloves)
He sold goods to the wealthy and made the right connections in Stratford - an ambitious man!
John was also involved in the dubious business of money lending!
He made enough money to purchase another house in Greenhill Street, Stratford in 1552
THE SUCCESSFUL YEARS
He married Mary Arden in 1557 - great marriage as she was the daughter of the wealthy Robert Arden
John and Mary married at the ages of 26 and 17 respectively (a year after her father had died)
In 1557 John Shakespeare was obtained Public Office when he was elected as ale-taster of the Borough of Stratford (an important role as people drank ale which was safer to drink than water!)
John and Mary had eight children between 1558 - 1580
John became important and was elected Chamberlain of Stratford in 1561, Alderman in 1565 and Mayor in 1568
THE DOWNFALL OF JOHN SHAKESPEARE
In 1570 John Shakespeare was accused of Usury for lending money at the rate of 20% and 25% Interest
In 1570 his application to bear a Coat-of-Arms and for the title of Gentleman fails
Why? No one knows for sure but it is possibly to do with the Shakespeare's Catholic religion
In 1570 the Queen, Elizabeth I, was excommunicated by the Catholic Church and feared that her crown would be taken by Catholic plots involving Mary Queen of Scots
Catholics were viewed with suspicion. Some of the Catholic relatives of the family were sent to the Tower of London!
In 1578 John became behind with his taxes
In 1579 He was forced to mortgage Mary's estate, Asbies
In 1583 Edward Arden, the head of the Catholic Arden Family was executed for his beliefs and for plotting against the life of the Queen. Edward Arden's son-in-law, John Somerville, was also arrested, tortured on the rack and died in the Tower of London for being supporters of the Catholic Mary, Queen of Scots
In 1586 John Shakespeare was removed from the Board of Aldermen
By 1590 John Shakespeare's only possession was the house on Henley Street
In 1592 he was fined for not attending church
THE RISE OF JOHN SHAKESPEARE
By 1592 John's son, William Shakespeare, was mixing with nobles and courtiers
In 1594 William Shakespeare would play before Queen Elizabeth. The name of Shakespeare was again accepted
John's fortunes rose with those of his son and on October 20, 1596 he was granted permission to display a Coat-of-Arms
In 1599 John Shakespeare was reinstated on the Town Council at Stratford-upon-Avon
In 1601 Shakespeare's father, John Shakespeare dies
1608 Shakespeare's mother Mary Shakespeare nee Arden dies