Shakespeare's will back in Stratford-Upon-Avon for first time

Shakespeare's last will and testament Credit: The National Archives

One of the most important original documents about William Shakespeare is coming back to his hometown of Stratford-Upon-Avon for the very first time since it was written 400 years ago.

The last will and testament of the world's greatest playwright will be displayed at The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust from Saturday 16 July until 4 August.

It's part of a major exhibition called Treasures which celebrates 400 years of Shakespeare's legacy.

This is the first time Shakespeare’s will is returning to Stratford-upon-Avon since Dr. John Hall, Shakespeare’s son-in-law took the will to London in June 1616 to get a grant of probate.

After August, the document will be stored away to rest for a recommended 20 years.


  • William Shakespeare died on the 23 April 1616 at the age of 52.

  • He was a man of considerable means and in possession of substantial property.

  • He left the bulk of his estate to his elder daughter, Susanna Hall.

  • He left £300 to his younger daughter, Judith.

  • He gave his wife Anne Hathaway, his 'second-best bed'.

  • Beds and other pieces of household furniture were often the sole bequest to a wife.

  • It was common practice for the best things to go to the children and the second best to the wife.

Portrait of William Shakespeare Credit: PA
  • WATCH AGAIN: A look back at our Shakespeare400 coverage earlier this year