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The Evidence

All history is a detective story. And like any historical investigation, our Shakespeare Dossier relies on the primary or first-hand sources for Shakespeare's life and works.

Read Michael Wood's article, "Shakespeare and the Documents"

Explore Some of the Evidence:

Public Records Office document, John Shakespeare's fine for wool dealingJohn Shakespeare's fine for wool dealing

Court documents held at the Public Records Office
Councilors in Stratford-upon-AvonStratford Council records

Records of the council that show the rise and fall of William Shakespeare's father
William Shakespeare baptismal registerBaptismal register, Stratford parish church

The first documentary evidence of the existence of William Shakespeare
Public Records Office surety case documentShakespeare's summons

Public Record Office documents showing William's summons
William Shakespeare's marriage certificateMarriage certificate

Marriage certificate records held at Worcester Cathederal
William Knell murder Coroner's reportWilliam Knell coroner's report

Report on the murder of one of the Queens' Men players
Shakespeare's coat-of-arms applicationCoat of arms application

William's handwritten application for a Coat of Arms for his father
Hamnet Shakespeare's burial register entryBurial of Hamnet Shakespeare

The death of William's young son
William Shakespeare last will and testamentShakespeare's will

The Last Will and Testament of William Shakspere
William Shakespeare's burial registerBurial of William Shakespeare

Burial Record, Stratford parish register
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