The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust is the world’s leading charity in promoting the works, life and times of William Shakespeare. The Trust offers a unique Shakespeare centered experience with outstanding archive and library collections, inspiring educational and literary event programs and five wonderful houses all directly relating to Shakespeare. As an independent charity the Trust receives no public subsidy or direct government funding. The Trust depends entirely on income generated through their supporters: their visitors, volunteers, donors and Friends.

The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust’s History
The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust was formed in 1847 following the purchase of Shakespeare’s Birthplace as a national memorial.

The role of the Trust grew with the purchase in 1876 of Shakespeare’s New Place estate, comprising the site of Shakespeare’s grand final home and Nash’s House (the home of Thomas Nash and Shakespeare’s grand-daughter Elizabeth).

The Trust purchased Anne Hathaway’s Cottage, the girlhood home of Shakespeare’s wife, in 1892 and Mary Arden’s House was purchased in 1930.

The last house to be acquired was Hall’s Croft, the home of Shakespeare’s daughter Susanna and her husband, physician Dr John Hall, in 1949.

In 1964 to celebrate the four hundredth anniversary of Shakespeare’s birth the Trust threw open the doors of its new headquarters and study facility, the Shakespeare Centre.  This distinctive building provides a home for the Trust’s extensive Shakespeare Centre library and archive (including the RSC archive). The second part of this project, an extension including facilities for the Trust's educational and cultural work and a visitor centre for Shakespeare’s Birthplace, was added in 1981.

In addition to the Shakespeare Houses, the Trust cares for Harvard House on behalf of the Harvard House Memorial Trust.

Terms of use

The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust has graciously contributed images under a Creative Commons Attribution NonCommerical ShareAlike 4.0 International license.  Visitors may download, link to and cite the images for personal research only. Any further use, including, but not limited to, unauthorized downloading or distribution of the images, commercial or third party use, is strictly prohibited. Visitors must contact the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust to request additional use, at:

Documents contributed by The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust

January 18, 1572
Under the 1553 charter of incorporation, Stratford-upon-Avon had been granted a certain degree of self-government, independent of the lord of the manor who had previously held authority over the town's affairs.
March 11, 1574
Richard, John and Mary Shakespeare’s seventh child, was baptized on March 11, 1574, according to the Holy Trinity Church parish register. Next to the entry, an “X” added by a later hand highlights its significance.
September 20, 1575
A surviving bundle of deeds, dating back to the mid sixteenth century, documents the ownership of the house in Henley Street adjoining the Shakespeare family property on the south-east.
November 19, 1578
From the late 1550s until the mid-1570s, John Shakespeare’s service as a member of the Stratford Corporation, first as a capital burgess and then as an alderman, had been exemplary.
October 15, 1579
John Shakespeare's wife was born Mary Arden, the daughter of Robert Arden. In 1550, Robert Arden settled two properties he owned in Snitterfield on trustees, to be divided among six of his daughters after their mother’s death.