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School for William

The King's New School

Young William would have been taught by his mother at home until the age of 5, then gone on to a local woman teaching “petty school” until he was 6 or 7 years old. We know he attended the local grammar school, the King’s New School, beginning at the age of 6 or 7 and a short distance from his house on Henley Street. This was also the site of the Guild Hall where the borough council met. Shakespeare would have been familiar with this building because of his father’s civic positions.

He would have learned basic reading and writing and also Latin, both Latin composition and Latin authors like Ovid and Virgil. He would have studied Latin drama as well. William may have left school at the age of 13 or 14 (Boys would normally attend grammar school until they were 15 or 16), possibly due to his father’s financial difficulties.

We are unsure what Shakespeare did after leaving school early. He most probably left school to take an apprenticeship of seven years, perhaps as a glover. What we do know is that he did not attend university, which would have been cost prohibitive to a family of Shakespeare’s means.

The King's New School - interior





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