The National Archives is one of the world’s most valuable resources for academic research and an independent research organization in its own right. As the official archive and publisher for the UK government, and England and Wales they are the guardians of some of the UK's most iconic national documents dating back more than 1,000 years. Their role is to collect and secure the future of the government record, both digital and physical, to preserve it for generations to come, and to make it as accessible and available as possible. The collection at Kew is open to everyone.


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Images reproduced by permission of The National Archives, London, England.

The National Archives give no warranty as to the accuracy, completeness or fitness for the purpose of the information provided.
Images may be used only for purposes of research, private study or education.  Applications for any other use should be made to The National Archives Image Library, Kew, Richmond, Surrey TW9 4DU, Tel: 020 8392 5225   Fax: 020 8392 5266.  

Documents contributed by The National Archives (UK)

May 22, 1615
In 1613 William Shakespeare, with the assistance of three trustees, purchased the gatehouse in the Blackfriars neighborhood of London, evidently as an investment.
October 9, 1615
Ostler v. Heminges, a lawsuit regarding shares in the Globe and Blackfriars playhouses, is remarkable for two reasons.
after June 22, 1616
The registered copy of Shakespeare’s last will and testament is shown here. The original will was probated on June 22, 1616, and entered in the register shortly thereafter.
March 25, 1616
William Shakespeare’s last will and testament provides one of the richest surviving accounts for understanding his familial and professional networks.
June 22, 1616
The original copy of Shakespeare’s last will and testament was probated on June 22, 1616, and an entry in the parchment register, shown here, was made recording the date of probate.