William Shakespeare (1564-1616)

The life of William Shakespeare

William Shakespeare
William Shakespeare

1564 - William Shakespeare was born (Baptised 26th April 1564) and brought up in Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire. His actual date of birth remains unknown, but is traditionally observed on 23rd April which is Saint George's Day.

November 1582 - At the age of 18, William married 26-year-old Anne Hathaway while pregnant with the couple's first child. Six months later Susanna would be born, they would also go on to have a pair of twins in 1585 - Hamnet and Judith.

Shakespeare produced most of his known work between 1589 and 1613 during his successful career in London as an actor. Amongst the many plays he wrote were, Hamlet, Othello, King Lear, and Macbeth, these were considered some of the finest works in the English language.

He would become a part-owner of the playing company called ‘the Lord Chamberlain’s Men’ which would later be known as ‘the King’s Men’.

1613 - He retired at the age of 49 to his birth place of Stratford-upon-Avon.

23rd April 1616 - A week before William’s 53rd birthday he died at Stratford-upon-Avon.

Hinckley mentioned in Shakespeare’s Henry IV, Part 2

Hinckley is mentioned is Shakespeare’s play 'Henry IV, Part 2' that he wrote in 1600. Below is a part from 'Act 5, Scene 1', that shows both the original Text and the modern text. The part of the play that Hinckley appears in has been coloured in Blue

Name Description
Sir John Falstaff Usually called Falstaff but sometimes called Jack. A fat, cheerful, witty, aging criminal, he has long been Prince Hal's mentor and close friend. He pretended to have killed Hotspur at the Battle of Shrewsbury, and Prince Hal 'the actual killer' agreed to go along with the lie. For this reason, everyone gives Falstaff much more respect than he deserves.
Justice Shallow Middle-class country landowner who is also a justices of the peace (minor local law officer). Shallow is an old school friend of Sir John Falstaff.
Davy An honest, industrious, and talkative household servant of Justice Shallow.

Henry IV, Part 2, Act 5, Scene 1
Character Original Text Modern Text
Shallow Davy, Davy, Davy, Davy, let me see, Davy, let me see, Davy, let me see. Yea, marry, William cook, bid him come hither.—Sir John, you shall not be excused. Davy, Davy, Davy, Davy, let’s see, Davy, let’s see, Davy, let’s see. Oh yes, right: tell William the cook to come here. Sir John, you will not be excused.
Davy Marry, sir, thus: those precepts cannot be served. And again, sir, shall we sow the hade land with wheat? Well sir, here’s the thing. Those warrants couldn’t be served. And once more, sir, should we plant wheat at the field’s edges?
Shallow With red wheat, Davy. But for William cook, are there no young pigeons? Plant red wheat, Davy. But as for William the cook—aren’t there any young pigeons?
Davy Yes, sir. Here is now the smith’s note for shoeing and plow irons. Yes, sir. Here’s the bill from the blacksmith for horseshoes and plow blades.
Shallow Let it be cast and paid.—Sir John, you shall not be excused. Check the figures and then and pay it. Sir John, you will not be excused.
Davy Now, sir, a new link to the bucket must needs be had. And, sir, do you mean to stop any of William’s wages about the sack he lost the other day at Hinckley Fair? Now, sir, we need some new chain for the bucket. And sir, do you plan to dock William’s pay for the wine he lost at the Hinckley fair?
Shallow He shall answer it. Some pigeons, Davy, a couple of short-legged hens, a joint of mutton, and any pretty little tiny kickshaws, tell William cook. He’ll pay for that. Some pigeons, Davy; a couple of short-legged hens, a leg of lamb, and any fun little fancy dishes. Tell William the cook.
Davy Doth the man of war stay all night, sir? Is the soldier staying all night?
Shallow Yea, Davy. I will use him well. A friend I' th' court is better than a penny in purse. Use his men well, Davy, for they are arrant knaves and will backbite. Yes, Davy. I’ll take good care of him. A friend at court is better than money in your pocket. Take good care of his men, Davy. They’re good-for-nothings, and they’ll bite you.
Davy No worse than they are back-bitten, sir, for they have marvellous foul linen. No worse than they’re bitten, sir. Their clothes are full of lice.
Shallow Well-conceited, Davy. About thy business, Davy. Good one, Davy. Get on with your work, Davy.
Davy I beseech you, sir, to countenance William Visor of Woncot against Clement Perkes o' th' hill. Please, sir, rule in favour of William Visor of Woncot in his lawsuit against Clement Perkes of the hill.
Shallow There is many complaints, Davy, against that Visor. That Visor is an arrant knave, on my knowledge. Davy, there are a lot of suits against that Visor. That Visor is a good-for-nothing, as best I can tell.
Davy I grant your Worship that he is a knave, sir, but yet, God forbid, sir, but a knave should have some countenance at his friend’s request. An honest man, sir, is able to speak for himself when a knave is not. I have served your Worship truly, sir, this eight years; an if I cannot once or twice in a quarter bear out a knave against an honest man, I have a very little credit with your Worship. The knave is mine honest friend, sir; therefore I beseech you let him be countenanced. I agree with your honour that he’s a good-for-nothing, but God forbid that a good-for-nothing should be denied a favour when his friend asks for one on his behalf. An honest man can speak for himself, but a good-for-nothing can’t. I’ve worked for you for eight years, sir. If I can’t get you to rule in favour of a good-for-nothing once in a while, then obviously you don’t think very much of me. That good-for-nothing is my good friend, sir. So I ask you, please: rule in his favour.
Shallow Go to, I say he shall have no wrong. Look about, Davy. Stop now; I tell you he won’t be wronged. Now get going, Davy.

First page of Henry IV, Part 2 Henry IV Part 2
Methodist Wesleyan Chapel

Press play to hear Act 5, Scene 1

Hinckley Fair
Hinckley Fair, painted by James Holland (1799-1870) - The Hinckley fair, here depicted, has a long history. Fairs provided a venue and opportunity for people to gather, sell goods, to see and be seen, and were yearly events that often included entertainment meant to appeal to people's curiosity. This painting has all the elements of a rousing day at the fair of the period with a pantomime show, an acrobatic performance, a 'smallest woman,' 'largest man' and 'fat girl.' All this excitement is portrayed with a further air of whimsy as the crowd’s cheer and enjoy themselves near the nursery rhyme-inspired 'House that Jack built.'