MENU

Shakespeare died 400 years ago, but today more people than ever know his name, and his plays are among the best-selling works of all time. Shakespeare’s enduring fame was predicted by one of his playwriting friends, Ben Jonson. After Shakespeare’s death, Ben Jonson described him as “a monument without a tomb” and proclaimed that “he was not of an age but for all time!” The first edition of his collected plays in 1623, known as the First Folio, solidified this legacy, and original copies are considered to be some of the most valuable books in the world.

Shakespeare died on April 23, 1616, at the age of 52. He was buried two days later in Holy Trinity Church at Stratford-upon-Avon. The epitaph on his monument, written soon after, refers to him as a writer whose wit exceeds that of all living writers: “all that he hath writ / leaves living art but page unto his wit.” Friends and colleagues acknowledged the loss of the great writer in their own epitaphs and elegies, contributing to his posthumous role as a literary icon.  

All Documents

Printed as 1608, i.e. 1619
SHAKESPEARE DOCUMENTED IS STILL GROWING! Descriptive content and transcriptions will continue to be added, updated and expanded. Check back for regular updates!
1617- 1619
John Weever, a 17th century antiquary, spent approximately three decades gathering notes for his magisterial Ancient Funeral Monuments (1631). One of his surviving notebooks includes notes on Stratford-upon-Avon, with transcriptions from William Shakespeare’s funeral monument.
1619
SHAKESPEARE DOCUMENTED IS STILL GROWING! Descriptive content and transcriptions will continue to be added, updated and expanded. Check back for regular updates!
April 20, 1619
SHAKESPEARE DOCUMENTED IS STILL GROWING! Descriptive content and transcriptions will continue to be added, updated and expanded. Check back for regular updates!
April 28, 1619
SHAKESPEARE DOCUMENTED IS STILL GROWING! Descriptive content and transcriptions will continue to be added, updated and expanded. Check back for regular updates!
May 10, 1619
SHAKESPEARE DOCUMENTED IS STILL GROWING! Descriptive content and transcriptions will continue to be added, updated and expanded. Check back for regular updates!
Imprint 1600, i.e. 1619
The 1619 quarto of Sir John Oldcastle Part 1 is the first to attribute the play to Shakespeare, some three years after his death.
1620
John Tyler’s The Praise of Hemp-Seed was first published in 1620 by Edward Allde for H. Gosson. The poem includes an early remembrance of Shakespeare four years after his death, praising paper for keeping his art alive (image 2): 
ca. 1620
SHAKESPEARE DOCUMENTED IS STILL GROWING! Descriptive content and transcriptions will continue to be added, updated and expanded. Check back for regular updates!
April 23, 1620
SHAKESPEARE DOCUMENTED IS STILL GROWING! Descriptive content and transcriptions will continue to be added, updated and expanded. Check back for regular updates!

Pages