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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.  

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ca. 1625- 1650
William Basse (1583?-1653?) apparently attended Oxford University before entering the service of Francis Lord Norris (or Norreys) (ODNB).
ca. 1650
Sir Nicholas L’Estrange (1604-1655) recorded over 600 jokes and anecdotes from his Norfolk friends and family in this manuscript, noting the source for each one in a separate section.
October 2, 1652
Following the death of her first husband, Thomas Nash in 1647, Elizabeth Hall Nash, Shakespeare’s granddaughter, married John Barnard of Abington, near Northampton, on June 5, 1649. A month later, her mother Susanna also died.
October 2, 1652
Following the death of her first husband, Thomas Nash in 1647, Elizabeth Hall Nash, Shakespeare’s granddaughter, married John Barnard of Abington, near Northampton, on June 5, 1649. A month later, her mother Susanna also died.
April 18, 1653
Six months after the settlement of the Shakespeare family estates, Elizabeth Barnard issued a deed poll, shown here, claiming in her own right the “power to limitt, appoynte & dispose of” the settled estates (listed as before as New Place and four and a hal
1660
SHAKESPEARE DOCUMENTED IS STILL GROWING! Descriptive content and transcriptions will continue to be added, updated and expanded. Check back for regular updates!
1662-1663
John Ward, vicar of Stratford-upon-Avon and physician, collected extensive notes on religion, medicine, and literature alongside miscellaneous gossip.
November 1665
As in another notebook, John Ward, vicar of Stratford-upon-Avon, here notes, and wonders why, Peter Heylyn did not include Shakespeare among the dramatic poets in his Cosmographie in 4 bookes (London, 1652).  
1666- ca. 1669
As in an earlier notebook, John Ward again notes that Peter Heylyn did not include Shakespeare among the dramtic poets in his Cosmographie in 4 bookes (London, 1652).
March 4, 1670
SHAKESPEARE DOCUMENTED IS STILL GROWING! Descriptive content and transcriptions will continue to be added, updated and expanded. Check back for regular updates!

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