William Shakespeare remains a mysterious figure regarding to his personal history. There are only two primary sources for information: his works, and various legal and church documents that have survived.
William Shakespeare was born in Stratford-upon-Avon, around April 23, 1564. Church records from Holy Trinity Church indicate that he was baptized there on April 26, 1564. William was born to John Shakespeare, a glover and leather merchant, and Mary Arden, a landed heiress. William was the third of eight children the Shakespeare family. Unfortunately, three of his siblings died in childhood.
On November 28, 1582, at the age of 18, he married Anne Hathaway. She was pregnant at the time. She was from Shottery, a village close to from Stratford. Anne was eight years older than Shakespeare. Their first daughter, Susanna, was born on May 26, 1583. Two years later William and Anne had twins, Hamnet and Judith.
Most people think that that Shakespeare arrived in London around 1588 and began to establish himself as an actor and playwright. Shakespeare demonstrated considerable talent. By 1592, however, Shakespeare was already recognized as an actor and playwright. By 1594, he was not only acting and writing for the Lord Chamberlain's Men, but was also a managing partner in the operation as well.
When the plague forced theatre closings in the 1590s, Shakespeare and his company made plans for the Globe Theatre in the Bankside district, which was across the river from London proper. Shakespeare's name first appeared on the title pages of his printed plays in 1598.
Shakespeare's company was the most successful in London in his time. He had plays published and sold to his audiences. Shakespeare retired from his theater work in 1610 and returned to Stratford. While Shakespeare could not be considered wealthy, by London standards, his success allowed him to purchase New House and retire in comfort to Stratford in 1611.
The same year, William Shakespeare wrote his will. He left most of his property to his daughter Susanna. On May 3, 1616, Shakespeare died - he was 52 at the time. He was buried in the chancel of the Church of the Holy Trinity in Stratford. In death, he leaves a final piece of verse as his epitaph:
Good friend, for Jesus' sake forbeare
To dig the dust enclosed here.
Blessed be the man that spares these stones,
And cursed be he that moves my bones.