William Shakespeare is traditionally said to have been born on 23 April, 1564, in Stratford-upon-Avon, England. However, there is no record of his birth, so this date is merely speculation based partly upon the date of his baptism - 26 April, 1564. This is also a convenient date to choose as it is both St George's Day [St George, the Patron Saint of England. ] and the day on which Shakespeare would die 52 years later [By speculating that Shakespeare was born on 23 April it creates symmetry with the playwright's death. ] . This date is now also recognised as National Poets Day.
Shakespeare was one of seven children born to John Shakespeare and Mary Arden. His siblings were Joan, Margaret, Gilbert, Joan (named after the first-born, who died at an early age), Anne, Richard and Edmund. Joan and two other siblings died in childhood of a plague ( hicincipit pestis ) that came to Stratford in 1564, taking the lives of 200 people living within the town.Continued page 2/23