Shakespeare’s Will goes on display in Stratford

William Shakespeare’s handwritten will has gone on display in his home town for the first time in 400 years.

Four centuries after the (almost) universally admired bard died, his will, written back in March 1616 will be available for the public to see until August 4th.

Shakespeare’s son-in-law collected the will in June 1616 and took it to get a grant of probate in London, where it remained.

The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, the charity which promotes Shakespeare’s work, life and times and cares for the world’s largest Shakespeare-related museum and archives, will display Shakespeare’s last will and testament in its Treasures exhibition, which gives an insight into Shakespeare’s social circle.

Dr Delia Garratt, Director of Cultural Engagement at The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, said: “We’re incredibly excited to be able to present this once in a lifetime opportunity for people to see Shakespeare’s original will back in his hometown where it was drafted by local solicitor Francis Collins 400 years ago.

“Displaying this historic document alongside other treasures from our collections will complete the story of Shakespeare’s social circle and his relationships with family, friends and business associates.”

Dr Katy Mair, Early Modern Records Specialist at The National Archives, said: “We are delighted to be working with The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust to bring Shakespeare’s will back to his hometown.

“Thanks to work carried out by The National Archives’ conservation team, the will’s appearance is now closer to its original state allowing us to carry out new scientific and archival research into this iconic document. This summer offers a great opportunity to see the will, which includes three of Shakespeare’s six known signatures, before it has to rest for a recommended 20 years.”

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