©National Archives

Shakespeare's Will, 1616 Will of 'Wllm Shackspeare of Stratford upon Avon in the countie of warr Warwickshire gent', dated 25 March 1616.

The will was signed 'By me William Shakespeare' and this signature is believed to be one of only three known examples of Shakespeare's handwriting.

Shakespeare was clearly a man of some means by the time of his death. He left the bulk of his estate to his elder daughter, Susannah Hall. 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 articles to go to the children and the second best to the wife.

Shakespeare died on his birthday, 23 April 1616, after having caught a fever at a 'merry party' thrown by Ben Jonson. He was buried in the chancel of Stratford upon Avon church two days later.

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