Richard Shakespeare

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Richard Shakespeare (1490–d. before 10 February 1561) was a husbandman of Snitterfield, Warwickshire, 4 miles (6.4 km) north-northeast of Stratford-upon-Avon, the father of John Shakespeare and the grandfather of William Shakespeare.[1][2]

He was probably born around the Rowington/Wroxall area, about 7 miles (11 km) to the north in Warwickshire.[3] Sometime before 1529, he removed to Snitterfield, where he was a tenant farmer until his death on land owned by Robert Arden, the father of Mary Arden, who married John, the poet's father.[4]

Richard Shakespeare is mentioned in the court and manorial records as a prosperous farmer with livestock. Thomas Atwood alias Taylor, a prosperous vintner and clothier who was a member of the Stratford Guild, bequeathed him a team of four oxen he was keeping. He was fined two pence for not attending the manor court in 1529, and he was charged with overburdening the commons with his cattle and fined for letting them run loose in the meadows and neglecting to ring or yoke his swine.[5]

At the time of his death, Richard leased 80 acres of farm land on which his house stood, situated from the corner of High Street (now Bell Lane) down to the ford over the stream that flowed through the village into the Avon.[6] His estate was valued at £38 17s.


  1. ^ Chambers, E. K. (1930), William Shakespeare: A Study of Facts and Problems, 2 vols., Oxford: Clarendon Press, ISBN 0-19-811774-4, OCLC 353406, I:11, II:26.
  2. ^ Schoenbaum, Samuel (1987), William Shakespeare: A Compact Documentary Life (Revised ed.), Oxford: Oxford University Press, ISBN 0-19-505161-0, p. 14, 16.
  3. ^ Honan, Park (1998), Shakespeare: A Life, Oxford: Oxford University Press, ISBN 0-19-811792-2, p. 28.
  4. ^ Schoenbaum, 15.
  5. ^ Schoenbaum, 15.
  6. ^ Wood, Michael (2003), Shakespeare, New York: Basic Books, ISBN 0-465-09264-0, p. 21.