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Shakespeare's Children & Grandchildren 

William Shakespeare

William Shakespeare

William Shakespeare had three children. Susanna was born in May 1583, six months after the wedding of her parents Anne Hathaway and William Shakespeare. The baptism of Susanna Shakespeare took place in Stratford Parish Church on May 26th 1583.

Two years later in 1585 Anne and William's twins, Hamnet and Judith Shakespeare, were born. The baptism of Hamnet and Judith Shakespeare took place in Stratford Parish Church on February 2nd 1585.The twins were named after two very close friends of William and Anne, the baker Hamnet Sadler and his wife, Judith. These were the three legitimate children of the Bard.

Little is known about the life of William Shakespeare's son Hamnet. He was raised in his grandfather's house predominantly by his mother Anne as his father's work in Theatre was based in London. There are no records that show that Hamnet Shakespeare ever attended a school although it was customary for a boy from Hamnet's background to have had an education. Neither of Hamnet's sisters had an education and neither of them were able to read or write. There were constant outbreaks of the  Bubonic Plague, otherwise known as the Black Death or the Black Plague, during Elizabethan times and in 1596 Hamnet contracted the deadly disease and died at the age of eleven. Shakespeare's son Hamnet was buried in Stratford on August 11, 1596.

Anne raised all of her children including her daughters in Stratford. The first we hear of Susanna is in 1606 when on May 5th Susanna was named as a recusant for not attending an Easter Day Church service. When Susanna was 24 years old she announced her betrothal to Dr. John Hall. Hall had settled in Stratford around 1600, where he founded a prosperous medical practice and became one of the town's leading citizens. The wedding took place on June 5th 1607. Susanna's marriage to the noted physician must have pleased Anne and William enormously. Evidence of the esteem that Shakespeare held for Dr. John Hall and his marriage to his daughter was that Shakespeare appointed John and Susanna executors of his will. (Dr. Hall and Susanna inherited and moved into New Place after Shakespeare's death). Susanna gave birth to a baby girl eight months after her wedding to Dr. John Hall. Anne and William's granddaughter, Elizabeth, was baptized February 21, 1608 at Holy Trinity Church in Stratford. William and Dr. Hall also had mutual business interests as they were known to have travelled to London on business concerning Stratford tithes. 

Anne and William's younger daughter, Judith, the youngest of the Bard's children was betrothed to Richard Quiney. Anne and William would have initially approved of the betrothal of Judith and Thomas as Quiney came from a good family. In view of the changes in his family's circumstances, and his own advancing years and possibly declining health, William Shakepeare prudently drafts his will on January 25th 1616, a few days before Judith and Quiney's marriage. Judith married Thomas Quiney, a vintner and tavern owner from Stratford, on February 10th 1616. Judith was 31 and Thomas Quiney was 27 years of age. The initial approval of the marriage quickly changed with the scandalous news that Thomas Quiney had made another girl pregnant. Anne must have been desperately worried about Judith. The scandal would have spread through Stratford. It then appeared that Quiney did not receive the special licence necessary for a wedding during lent before his marriage. The situation was really serious and on  March 12th Judith and Thomas were excommunicated. William must have been mortified with the turn of events. He summoned his lawyer and promptly modifies and signs his will on March 25th 1616.  The modification of the will was to ensure that Judith would receive a sum of money (300) inherited in her own name. Shakespeare leaves the bulk of his fortune to his daughter, Susanna. On March 26th Quiney was prosecuted for 'carnal copulation' with a woman named Margaret Wheeler, who had died in childbirth that month along with her baby by Quiney. He confessed and was sentenced to perform public penance. His penalty, however, was commuted to a small fine of five shillings and private penance.

Richard and Judith Quiney had three children giving the Bard three Quiney grandchildren:
Shakespeare Quiney was born in Nov 1616. He died in infancy, aged 6 months, in May 1617. 
Richard Quiney was born in Oct 1617. He died in Jan 1639 aged 21 (possibly of the plague). 
Thomas Quiney was born in Jan 1619. He also died in Jan 1639, the same month as his brother, aged 19 (possibly of the plague). So none of the children of Judith survived to continue the Shakespeare line.

Susanna and Dr. John Hall had just the one daughter, Elizabeth who was born in 1608. Elizabeth was the only grandchild that William Shakespeare knew as his other grandchildren were born after his death in 1616. Elizabeth married Thomas Nashe in 1629. They were married for just six years when in 1635 Thomas Nashe died.  He was buried in the chancel of Holy Trinity Church next to Elizabeth's grandfather, William Shakespeare. Elizabeth married again. Her second marriage was to Sir John Bernard (1604 - 1674) and so Elizabeth received the title Lady Elizabeth Bernard. Although she inherited the family estate and was married twice Elizabeth had no children of her own.

And so ends the direct line of William Shakespeare

1583 May 26, The baptism of Susanna in Stratford Parish Church Susanna was the first of Anne and
         William's children, born six months after the wedding of her parents.
1585 Anne and William's children - twins, Hamnet and Judith Shakespeare, were born
1585 February 2,  The baptism of Hamnet and Judith Shake-speare in Stratford Parish Church
1596 August 11, Hamnet Shakespeare died, possibly from the plague, at the age of eleven. He was
         buried in Stratford
1607 June 5, Marriage of Anne and William's daughter Susanna to Dr. John Hall
1608 February 21, The baptism of Elizabeth Hall Anne and William's granddaughter
1616 February 10th -  Marriage of Anne and William's daughter Judith to Thomas Quiney
1616 March 12th Judith and Thomas are excommunicated
1616 November -  Shakespeare Quiney, Judith Quiney's son ( Anne and William Shakespeare's
         grandson) was born
1617 May - Shakespeare Quiney dies just six months old
1617 October - Richard Quiney was born
1619 January - Thomas Quiney was born
1629 Elizabeth Hall marries Thomas Nashe (1575 -1635)
1635 Thomas Nashe, husband of Elizabeth Hall, dies and is buried in the chancel of Holy Trinity Church
1639 January 28th January Richard Quiney dies, possibly of the plague
1639 January Thomas Quiney dies ,possibly of the plague
1649 Dr. John Hall, husband of Susanna, dies and is buried in the chancel of Holy Trinity Church 
1649 Elizabeth Hall marries Sir John Bernard (1604 - 1674)
1649 Susanna (Shake-speare) Hall dies and is buried next to her mother and father in the chancel of Holy
         Trinity Church, Stratford 
1670 Lady Elizabeth Hall Bernard dies leaving no heirs


So ends the legitimate children and grandchildren - the direct line of
William Shakespeare and Anne Hathaway


The life of the Bard is full of mystery and so it follows that there have been persistent rumours that he was father to an illegitimate son. Please click the following link for more details William Davenant the possible illegitimate son of William Shakespeare.

Shakespeare Biography - Sir William Davenant, actor - Godson  and rumoured to be the Bard's illegitimate child

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