John Shakespeare

John Shakespeare - the father of the Great Bard!

  • John Shakespeare was the father of William

  • What was his background? Was he well educated?

  • Was he rich? Was he powerful?

  • What was his occupation?

  • Interesting information about the family, life and times of William Shakespeare

Picture of John Shakespeare's house in Henley Street, Stratford-upon-Avon

 

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

John Shakespeare

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