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The Second Lost Years
1582 - 1592

William Shakespeare

William Shakespeare

Little is known about Shakespeare's activities between 1582 and 1592, the second period of Shakespeare's ' Lost Years '. But at some point during this time, the second lost years, it must be assumed that Shake-speare leaves Stratford for London to work as an actor and playwright.

We start the second ' Lost  Years ' with Shakespeare's marriage to Anne Hathaway in November 1982.  Six months after the marriage, in May 1583, Anne and William became the parents of Susanna Shake-speare. The baptism of Susanna Shakespeare was conducted on May 26, in Stratford Parish Church.

Anne became pregnant again and Anne and William's twins, Hamnet and Judith, were born two years after Susanna. Anne would have been 28 years old and William 21. Let's take a look at some facts about this period of the second lost years:

Biography - Second Lost Years - 1582 - 1592
1582 William and Anne Hathaway marry
1583 May 26th William's first child, Susanna, is baptised
1585 William's twins, Hamnet and Judith, were born
1585 February 2,  The baptism of Hamnet and Judith
1586 The Catholic Mary Queen of Scots, cousin of the Protestant Queen Elizabeth 1, tried for treason
1586 John Shakespeare was removed from the Board of Aldermen
1588 Spanish Armada of 132 ships sails for England and is defeated.
1589 William Shakespeare was named, with his parents, in a legal action against a neighbour called John
         Lambert. The case was over a dispute about some land in Wilmcote
1590  to 1592 Assumed Shakespeare writes parts 1, 2, and 3 of Henry VI.
1592 March 3,   Henry VI Part 1 is produced by Strange's Men at the Rose Theatre
1592 September 3, Death of Robert Greene author of Groatsworth of Wit in which he complains about
         Shakespeare as an "upstart crow"
1592 December, Robert Greene's editor Henry Chettle made a public apology to Marlowe and
         Shakespeare for the Groatsworth of Wit
The period of the Second Lost Years - 1585 - 1592

Biography - William Shakespeare - What work did he take up during the lost years?
He was clearly busy in his domestic life starting his family with Anne. William and Anne no doubt shared his father's house in Henley Street in Stratford. He clearly had responsibilities to his family. But there is no evidence to indicate what Shakepeare was doing at this time. At this point the conjecture has to start. We have no documented evidence to link William with any specific job or trade either in the first 'Lost years' between 1578 and 1582 and the second ' Lost years ' between 1582 and 1592. There are several options and views:

  • He helped his father in the family business (leathers and grains)

  • He took a job as a law clerk

  • He worked as a schoolmaster

  • He worked work as a scrivener

  • He travelled to Italy

  • He served as a soldier or sailor for an England threatened by Spain

The reason for this diverse selection of opinions was that the content of his plays required a significant knowledge of the law, astronomy, the sea and of Italy. Scholars have rationalised that some of this experience might have been acquired during his first  and some of his second ' lost years '. He was definitely in Strafford in 1589 as he was named, with his parents, in a legal action against a neighbour called John Lambert. The case was over a dispute about some land in Wilmcote. One thing is certain and that is that sometime during this period,  the second lost years, he left Stratford to pursue and acting career in London. The 1592 comments from Robert Greene in the ' Groatsworth of Wit ' in which he complains about Shakespeare as an "upstart crow" make it very clear that Shakespeare had started his career in London by this time.

Biography - William Shakespeare Leaves Stratford for London
There is speculation that it was about this time that William might have offended Sir Richard Lucy by poaching a deer on his grounds. What with this, and what with the general misfortunes of the family, William left his young family and Stratford to seek his fortune in London during the second lost years. Acting troupes regularly visited the town of Stratford and this would have been a major form of entertainment. It is likely that William Shakespeare knew Will Kempe and possible that Shakespeare went to London with a troupe of actors when he left Stratford between 1585 and 1592. Further facts about his life can be obtained from Part 2 of the William Shakespeare Timeline 1593 - 1646 The rest, as they say, is history... 

FACTS - Elizabethan Timeline 1531 to 1592 - William Shakespeare Time line with key dates and events of the era
FACTS - Elizabethan  / Stuart Timeline 1593 to 1646 - William Shakespeare Time line with key dates and events of the era
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