William Shakespeare’s Children

William Shakespeare and his wife, Anne Hathaway, had three children. Their first child was Susanna, born on the 26th of May, 1583. In 1585, Anne gave birth to twins named Hamnet and Judith. They were christened on the 2nd of February, 1589. Unfortunately, Hamnet died in 1596 at the age of 11.

Susanna Shakespeare (1583 – 1649)

In June 1607, Susana Shakespeare married a well-to-do town physician named Dr. John Hall. William Shakespeare must have been pleased with his daughter’s marriage to a doctor because he named Susanna and John as executors of his will. After the marriage, Susanna settled into her husband’s home. In February 1608, their child was born, a daughter whom they named Elizabeth Hall. When his father died, Susanna inherited much of his property, as stated in his will. She and her husband eventually moved into his father’s large house called New Place and lived there with her mother, Anne Hathaway.

Susana was said to be an intelligent lady with a sharp business sense. There were indications that she knew how to read as she was capable of signing her own name. This also meant that she must have enjoyed her father’s writings. In 1635, Dr. John Hall died and was laid to rest near William Shakespeare at Holy Trinity Church in Stratford-upon-Avon. Susanna died many years later, in 1649, aged 66. She was also buried at Holy Trinity Church beside her parents.

Hamnet Shakespeare (1585 – 1596)

Because Hamnet died at the young age of 11, not much is known about his short life. It can be safely speculated, though, that his mother sought the best education for his son. Shakespeare was already busy as a playwright in London when Hamnet was about four years old. This meant that Hamnet may only have seen his father on those occasions that he visited his family in Stratford-upon-Avon. Hamnet’s death is thought to have been caused by the bubonic plague.

Judith Shakespeare (1585 – 1662)

In February 1616, Judith Shakespeare married a wine merchant named Thomas Quiney. The marriage made William Shakespeare unhappy as the couple was wed during lent without the required bishop’s license. Because of this, Judith and Thomas were excommunicated. Not more than two months after the wedding, Quiney was called before the court to face accusations of “carnal copulation” he committed with a woman named Margaret Wheeler. Wheeler died while giving birth to Quiney’s son.

 It turned out that Quiney had been keeping Wheeler as a mistress while he was courting Judith. Quiney admitted to all this and received a sentence of public penance. Fortunately for him, the sentence was reduced to a small fine. While this scandal was going on, Shakespeare called on his lawyer and revised his will so that Quiney was not to receive any of his properties. According to Shakespeare’s will, Judith received 150 pounds, along with a silver bowl. The deeply-upset Shakespeare died a few weeks after this. Her small inheritance must have deeply saddened Judith, as her sister Susanna inherited much more. Judith’s sadness must have been worsened by the fact that Susanna had a much more successful married life.

Judith and Quiney had three sons — Shakespeare, Richard, and Thomas. Shakespeare Quiney died as an infant, Richard died at age 21, and Thomas died at 19. Juliet died at the age of 77 on the 9th of February, 1662, while Thomas Quiney died around 1663. They were both buried at the Holy Trinity Church but in the cemetery, and not at the church chancel where William Shakespeare was buried, along with family members.