Shoreditch is a district in Central and North East London and located in the East End, is divided between the London boroughs of Hackney and Tower Hamlets. A historic entertainment quarter since the 16th century, today it hosts a number of nightclubs and bars to the west, while the northern area of Hoxton is residential. In Tower Hamlets, a small part of Shoreditch is a small exclave separated by Bethnal Green from the rest of the district in East London, it is considered part of the district due to the now-closed Shoreditch tube station location; the district itself lies to the north and north east of the City of London while the exclave lies north and east of Spitalfields and south and west of Bethnal Green. Toponymists believe that the name comes from Old English "scoradīc", i.e. shore-ditch, the shore being a riverbank or prominent slope. One legend holds that the place was named "Shore's Ditch", after Jane Shore, the mistress of Edward IV, supposed to have died or been buried in a ditch in the area.
This legend is commemorated today by a large painting, at Haggerston Branch Library, of the body of Shore being retrieved from the ditch, by a design on glazed tiles in a shop in Shoreditch High Street showing her meeting Edward IV. But the area was known as "Soersditch". London County Council Survey of London attests to at least thirty deeds between 1150 and 1250 CE which refer to Shoreditch. Another suggested origin for the name is "sewer ditch", in reference to a drain or watercourse in what was once a boggy area, it may have referred to the headwaters of the Walbrook. In another theory, antiquarian John Weever claimed that the name was derived from Sir John de Soerdich, lord of the manor during the reign of Edward III. Though now part of Inner London, Shoreditch was an extramural suburb of the City of London, centred on Shoreditch Church at the old crossroads where Shoreditch High Street and Kingsland Road are crossed by Old Street and Hackney Road. Shoreditch High Street and Kingsland Road are a small sector of the Roman Ermine Street and modern A10.
Known as the Old North Road, it was a major coaching route to the north, exiting the City at Bishopsgate. The east–west course of Old Street–Hackney Road was probably a Roman Road, connecting Silchester with Colchester, bypassing the City of London to the south. Shoreditch Church is of ancient origin, it is featured in the famous line "when I grow rich say the bells of Shoreditch", from the English nursery rhyme "Oranges and Lemons". Shoreditch was the site of a house of canonesses, the Augustinian Holywell Priory, from the 12th century until its dissolution in 1539; this priory was located between Shoreditch High Street and Curtain Road to east and west, Batemans Row and Holywell Lane to north and south. Nothing remains of it today. In 1576, James Burbage built the first playhouse in England, known as "The Theatre", on the site of the Priory; some of Shakespeare's plays were performed here and at the nearby Curtain Theatre, built the following year and 200 yards to the south. It was here that Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet gained "Curtain plaudits", where Henry V was performed within "this wooden O".
Shakespeare's Company moved the timbers of "The Theatre" to Southwark at the expiration of the lease in 1599, in order to construct The Globe. The Curtain continued performing plays in Shoreditch until at least 1627; the suburb of Shoreditch was attractive as a location for these early theatres because it was outside the jurisdiction of the somewhat puritanical City fathers. So, they drew the wrath of contemporary moralists, as did the local "base tenements and houses of unlawful and disorderly resort" and the "great number of dissolute and insolent people harboured in such and the like noisome and disorderly houses, as namely poor cottages, habitations of beggars and people without trade, inns, taverns, garden-houses converted to dwellings, dicing houses, bowling alleys, brothel houses". During the 17th century, wealthy traders and French Huguenot silkweavers moved to the area, establishing a textile industry centred to the south around Spitalfields. By the 19th century, Shoreditch was the locus of the furniture industry, now commemorated in the Geffrye Museum on Kingsland Road.
These industries declined in the late 19th century. In the 19th and early 20th centuries, Shoreditch was a centre of entertainment to rival the West End and boasted many theatres and music halls: The National Standard Theatre, 2/3/4 Shoreditch High Street. In the late 19th century this was one of the largest theatres in London. In 1926, it was converted into a cinema called The New Olympia Picturedrome; the building was demolished in 1940. Sims Reeves, Mrs Marriott and James Anderson all appeared here. There was considerable rivalry with the West End theatres. John Douglass wrote a letter to The Era following a Drury Lane first night, in which he commented that "seeing that a hansom cab is used in the new drama at Drury Lane, I beg to state that a hansom cab, drawn by a live horse was used in my drama... produced at the Standard Theatre... with real rain, a real flood, a real balloon." The Shoreditch Empire known as The London Music Hall, 95–99 Shoreditch High Street. The theatre was rebuilt in 1894 by Frank Matcham.
The architect of the Hackn
William Blake was an English poet and printmaker. Unrecognised during his lifetime, Blake is now considered a seminal figure in the history of the poetry and visual arts of the Romantic Age. What he called his prophetic works were said by 20th-century critic Northrop Frye to form "what is in proportion to its merits the least read body of poetry in the English language", his visual artistry led 21st-century critic Jonathan Jones to proclaim him "far and away the greatest artist Britain has produced". In 2002, Blake was placed at number 38 in the BBC's poll of the 100 Greatest Britons. While he lived in London his entire life, except for three years spent in Felpham, he produced a diverse and symbolically rich œuvre, which embraced the imagination as "the body of God" or "human existence itself". Although Blake was considered mad by contemporaries for his idiosyncratic views, he is held in high regard by critics for his expressiveness and creativity, for the philosophical and mystical undercurrents within his work.
His paintings and poetry have been characterised as part of the Romantic movement and as "Pre-Romantic". A committed Christian, hostile to the Church of England, Blake was influenced by the ideals and ambitions of the French and American Revolutions. Though he rejected many of these political beliefs, he maintained an amiable relationship with the political activist Thomas Paine. Despite these known influences, the singularity of Blake's work makes him difficult to classify; the 19th-century scholar William Rossetti characterised him as a "glorious luminary", "a man not forestalled by predecessors, nor to be classed with contemporaries, nor to be replaced by known or surmisable successors". William Blake was born on 28 November 1757 at 28 Broad Street in London, he was the third of seven children. Blake's father, was a hosier, he attended school only long enough to learn reading and writing, leaving at the age of ten, was otherwise educated at home by his mother Catherine Blake. Though the Blakes were English Dissenters, William was baptised on 11 December at St James's Church, London.
The Bible was an early and profound influence on Blake, remained a source of inspiration throughout his life. Blake started engraving copies of drawings of Greek antiquities purchased for him by his father, a practice, preferred to actual drawing. Within these drawings Blake found his first exposure to classical forms through the work of Raphael, Maarten van Heemskerck and Albrecht Dürer; the number of prints and bound books that James and Catherine were able to purchase for young William suggests that the Blakes enjoyed, at least for a time, a comfortable wealth. When William was ten years old, his parents knew enough of his headstrong temperament that he was not sent to school but instead enrolled in drawing classes at Pars's drawing school in the Strand, he read avidly on subjects of his own choosing. During this period, Blake made explorations into poetry. On 4 August 1772, Blake was apprenticed to engraver James Basire of Great Queen Street, at the sum of £52.10, for a term of seven years.
At the end of the term, aged 21, he became a professional engraver. No record survives of any serious disagreement or conflict between the two during the period of Blake's apprenticeship, but Peter Ackroyd's biography notes that Blake added Basire's name to a list of artistic adversaries – and crossed it out; this aside, Basire's style of line-engraving was of a kind held at the time to be old-fashioned compared to the flashier stipple or mezzotint styles. It has been speculated that Blake's instruction in this outmoded form may have been detrimental to his acquiring of work or recognition in life. After two years, Basire sent his apprentice to copy images from the Gothic churches in London, his experiences in Westminster Abbey helped form his artistic style and ideas. The Abbey of his day was decorated with suits of armour, painted funeral effigies and varicoloured waxworks. Ackroyd notes that "...the most immediate would have been of faded brightness and colour". This close study of the Gothic left clear traces in his style.
In the long afternoons Blake spent sketching in the Abbey, he was interrupted by boys from Westminster School, who were allowed in the Abbey. They teased him and one tormented him so much that Basire knocked the boy off a scaffold to the ground, "upon which he fell with terrific Violence". After Basire complained to the Dean, the schoolboys' privilege was withdrawn. Blake experienced visions in the Abbey, he saw Christ and his Apostles and a great procession of monks and priests and heard their chant. On 8 October 1779, Blake became a student at the Royal Academy in Old Somerset House, near the Strand. While the terms of his study required no payment, he was expected to supply his own materials throughout the six-year period. There, he rebelled against what he regarded as the unfinished style of fashionable painters such as Rubens, championed by the school's first president, Joshua Reynolds. Over time, Blake came to detest Reynolds' attitude towards art his pursuit of "general truth" and "general beauty".
Reynolds wrote in his Discourses that the "disposition to abstractions, to generalising and classification, is the great glory of the human mind".
London is the capital and largest city of both England and the United Kingdom. Standing on the River Thames in the south-east of England, at the head of its 50-mile estuary leading to the North Sea, London has been a major settlement for two millennia. Londinium was founded by the Romans; the City of London, London's ancient core − an area of just 1.12 square miles and colloquially known as the Square Mile − retains boundaries that follow its medieval limits. The City of Westminster is an Inner London borough holding city status. Greater London is governed by the Mayor of the London Assembly. London is considered to be one of the world's most important global cities and has been termed the world's most powerful, most desirable, most influential, most visited, most expensive, sustainable, most investment friendly, most popular for work, the most vegetarian friendly city in the world. London exerts a considerable impact upon the arts, education, fashion, healthcare, professional services and development, tourism and transportation.
London ranks 26 out of 300 major cities for economic performance. It is one of the largest financial centres and has either the fifth or sixth largest metropolitan area GDP, it is the most-visited city as measured by international arrivals and has the busiest city airport system as measured by passenger traffic. It is the leading investment destination, hosting more international retailers and ultra high-net-worth individuals than any other city. London's universities form the largest concentration of higher education institutes in Europe. In 2012, London became the first city to have hosted three modern Summer Olympic Games. London has a diverse range of people and cultures, more than 300 languages are spoken in the region, its estimated mid-2016 municipal population was 8,787,892, the most populous of any city in the European Union and accounting for 13.4% of the UK population. London's urban area is the second most populous in the EU, after Paris, with 9,787,426 inhabitants at the 2011 census.
The population within the London commuter belt is the most populous in the EU with 14,040,163 inhabitants in 2016. London was the world's most populous city from c. 1831 to 1925. London contains four World Heritage Sites: the Tower of London. Other landmarks include Buckingham Palace, the London Eye, Piccadilly Circus, St Paul's Cathedral, Tower Bridge, Trafalgar Square and The Shard. London has numerous museums, galleries and sporting events; these include the British Museum, National Gallery, Natural History Museum, Tate Modern, British Library and West End theatres. The London Underground is the oldest underground railway network in the world. "London" is an ancient name, attested in the first century AD in the Latinised form Londinium. Over the years, the name has attracted many mythicising explanations; the earliest attested appears in Geoffrey of Monmouth's Historia Regum Britanniae, written around 1136. This had it that the name originated from a supposed King Lud, who had taken over the city and named it Kaerlud.
Modern scientific analyses of the name must account for the origins of the different forms found in early sources Latin, Old English, Welsh, with reference to the known developments over time of sounds in those different languages. It is agreed; this was adapted into Latin as Londinium and borrowed into Old English, the ancestor-language of English. The toponymy of the Common Brythonic form is much debated. A prominent explanation was Richard Coates's 1998 argument that the name derived from pre-Celtic Old European *lowonida, meaning "river too wide to ford". Coates suggested that this was a name given to the part of the River Thames which flows through London. However, most work has accepted a Celtic origin for the name, recent studies have favoured an explanation along the lines of a Celtic derivative of a proto-Indo-European root *lendh-, combined with the Celtic suffix *-injo- or *-onjo-. Peter Schrijver has suggested, on these grounds, that the name meant'place that floods'; until 1889, the name "London" applied to the City of London, but since it has referred to the County of London and Greater London.
"London" is sometimes written informally as "LDN". In 1993, the remains of a Bronze Age bridge were found on the south foreshore, upstream of Vauxhall Bridge; this bridge either reached a now lost island in it. Two of those timbers were radiocarbon dated to between 1750 BC and 1285 BC. In 2010 the foundations of a large timber structure, dated to between 4800 BC and 4500 BC, were found on the Thames's south foreshore, downstream of Vauxhall Bridge; the function of the mesolithic structure is not known. Both structures are on the south bank. Although there is evidence of scattered Brythonic settlements in the area, the first major settlement was founded by the Romans about four years after the invasion
Edward IV of England
Edward IV was the King of England from 4 March 1461 to 3 October 1470, again from 11 April 1471 until his death. He was the first Yorkist King of England; the first half of his rule was marred by the violence associated with the Wars of the Roses, but he overcame the Lancastrian challenge to the throne at Tewkesbury in 1471 to reign in peace until his sudden death. Before becoming king, he was Duke of Earl of March, Earl of Cambridge and Earl of Ulster. Edward of York was born at Rouen in Normandy, the second son of Richard, 3rd Duke of York, Cecily Neville, he was the eldest of the four sons. He bore the title Earl of March before his accession to the throne. Edward's father Richard, Duke of York, had been heir to King Henry VI until the birth of Henry's son Edward in 1453. Richard carried on a factional struggle with the king's Beaufort relatives, he established a dominant position after his victory at the First Battle of St Albans in 1455, in which his chief rival Edmund Beaufort, Duke of Somerset, was killed.
However, Henry's Queen, Margaret of Anjou, rebuilt a powerful faction to oppose the Yorkists over the following years. In 1459 Margaret moved against the Duke of York and his principal supporters—his brother-in-law Richard Neville, Earl of Salisbury, Salisbury's son Richard Neville, Earl of Warwick, who rose in revolt; the Yorkist leaders fled from England after the collapse of their army in the confrontation at Ludford Bridge. The Duke of York took refuge in Ireland, while Edward went with the Nevilles to Calais where Warwick was governor. In 1460 Edward landed in Kent with Salisbury and Salisbury's brother William Neville, Lord Fauconberg, raised an army, occupied London. Edward and Fauconberg left Salisbury besieging the Tower of London and advanced against the king, with an army in the Midlands, defeated and captured him in the Battle of Northampton. York returned to England and was declared the king's heir by parliament, but Queen Margaret raised a fresh army against him, he was killed at the Battle of Wakefield on 30 December 1460, along with his second surviving son Edmund, Earl of Rutland, the Earl of Salisbury.
This left Edward, now Duke of York, at the head of the Yorkist faction. He defeated a Lancastrian army at Mortimer's Cross in Herefordshire on 2–3 February 1461, he united his forces with those of Warwick, whom Margaret's army had defeated at the Second Battle of St Albans, during which Henry VI had been rescued by his supporters. Edward's father had restricted his ambitions to becoming Henry's heir, but Edward now took the more radical step of proclaiming himself king in March 1461, he advanced against the Lancastrians, having his life saved on the battlefield by the Welsh Knight Sir David Ap Mathew. He defeated the Lancastrian army in the exceptionally bloody Battle of Towton in Yorkshire on 29 March 1461. Edward had broken the military strength of the Lancastrians, he returned to London for his coronation. King Edward IV named Sir David Ap Mathew Standard Bearer of England and allowed him to use "Towton" on the Mathew family crest. Lancastrian resistance continued in the north, but posed no serious threat to the new regime and was extinguished by Warwick's brother John Neville in the Battle of Hexham in 1464.
Henry VI had escaped into the Pennines, where he spent a year in hiding, but was caught and imprisoned in the Tower of London. Queen Margaret fled abroad with many of their leading supporters. Edward IV had deposed Henry VI, but there was little point in killing the ex-king as long as Henry's son remained alive, since this would have transferred the Lancastrian claim from a captive king to one, at liberty. At the age of nineteen, Edward exhibited remarkable military acumen, he had a notable physique and was described as handsome and affable. His height is estimated at 6 feet 4.5 inches, making him the tallest among all English and British monarchs to date. Most of England's leading families had remained loyal to Henry VI or remained uncommitted in the recent conflict; the new regime, relied on the support of the Nevilles, who held vast estates and had been so instrumental in bringing Edward to the throne. However, the king became estranged from their leader the Earl of Warwick, due to his marriage.
Warwick, acting on Edward's behalf, made preliminary arrangements with King Louis XI of France for Edward to marry either Louis' daughter Anne or his sister-in-law Bona of Savoy. He was humiliated and enraged to discover that, while he was negotiating, Edward had secretly married Elizabeth Woodville, the widow of John Grey of Groby, on 1 May 1464. Edward's marriage to Elizabeth Woodville has been criticised as an impulsive action that did not add anything to the security of England or the York dynasty. A horrified Privy Council told him with unusual frankness, when he announced the marriage to them, "that he must know that she was no wife for a prince such as himself, for she was not the daughter of a duke or earl... but a simple knight." Christine Carpenter argues against the idea that it had any political motivation, that Edward's creation of a strong Yorkist nobility meant that he did not need the "lightweight connections" of the Woodvilles, whereas Wilkinson described the marriage as both a "love match, a cold and calculated political move".
J. R. Lander suggested in 1980 that the King was "infatuated," echoing P. M. Kendall's view that he was acting out of lust. Elizabeth's mother was Jacquetta of Luxembourg, wi
Andrew Marvell was an English metaphysical poet and politician who sat in the House of Commons at various times between 1659 and 1678. During the Commonwealth period he was a friend of John Milton, his poems range from the love-song "To His Coy Mistress", to evocations of an aristocratic country house and garden in "Upon Appleton House" and "The Garden", the political address "An Horatian Ode upon Cromwell's Return from Ireland", the personal and political satires "Flecknoe" and "The Character of Holland". Marvell was born in Winestead-in-Holderness, East Riding of Yorkshire, near the city of Kingston upon Hull, the son of a Church of England clergyman named Andrew Marvell; the family moved to Hull when his father was appointed Lecturer at Holy Trinity Church there, Marvell was educated at Hull Grammar School. A secondary school in the city, the Andrew Marvell Business and Enterprise College, is now named after him. At the age of 13, Marvell attended Trinity College and received a BA degree.
A portrait of Marvell attributed to Godfrey Kneller hangs in Trinity College's collection. Afterwards, from the middle of 1642 onwards, Marvell travelled in continental Europe, he may well have served as a tutor for an aristocrat on the Grand Tour, but the facts are not clear on this point. While England was embroiled in the civil war, Marvell seems to have remained on the continent until 1647. In Rome in 1645 he met the Villiers brothers, Lord Francis and the 2nd Duke of Buckingham, as well as Richard Flecknoe, about whom he would on write a satirical poem, it is not known where his travels took him except that Milton reported that Marvell had mastered four languages, including French and Spanish. Marvell's first poems, which were written in Latin and Greek and published when he was still at Cambridge, lamented a visitation of the plague and celebrated the birth of a child to King Charles I and Queen Henrietta Maria, he only belatedly became sympathetic to the successive regimes during the Interregnum after Charles I's execution on 30 January 1649.
His "Horatian Ode", a political poem dated to early 1650, responds with lament to the regicide as it praises Oliver Cromwell's return from Ireland. Circa 1650–52, Marvell served as tutor to the daughter of the Lord General Thomas Fairfax, who had relinquished command of the Parliamentary army to Cromwell, he lived during that time near York, where he continued to write poetry. One poem, "Upon Appleton House, To My Lord Fairfax", uses a description of the estate as a way of exploring Fairfax's and Marvell's own situation in a time of war and political change; the best-known poem he wrote at this time is "To His Coy Mistress". During the period of increasing tensions leading up to the First Anglo-Dutch War of 1652, Marvell wrote the satirical "Character of Holland," repeating the then-current stereotype of the Dutch as "drunken and profane": "This indigested vomit of the Sea,/ Fell to the Dutch by Just Propriety." He became a tutor to Cromwell's ward, William Dutton, in 1653, moved to live with his pupil at the house of John Oxenbridge in Eton.
Oxenbridge had made two trips to Bermuda, it is thought that this inspired Marvell to write his poem Bermudas. He wrote several poems in praise of Cromwell, by this time Lord Protector of England. In 1656 Marvell and Dutton travelled to France. In 1657, Marvell joined Milton, who by that time had lost his sight, in service as Latin secretary to Cromwell's Council of State at a salary of £200 a year, which represented financial security at that time. Oliver Cromwell died in 1658, he was succeeded as Lord Protector by his son Richard. In 1659 Marvell was elected Member of Parliament for Kingston-upon-Hull in the Third Protectorate Parliament, he was paid a rate of 6 shillings, 8 pence per day during sittings of parliament, a financial support derived from the contributions of his constituency. He was re-elected MP for Hull in 1660 for the Convention Parliament; the monarchy was restored to Charles II in 1660. Marvell avoided punishment for his own co-operation with republicanism, he helped convince the government of Charles II not to execute John Milton for his antimonarchical writings and revolutionary activities.
The closeness of the relationship between the two former colleagues is indicated by the fact that Marvell contributed an eloquent prefatory poem, entitled "On Mr. Milton's Paradise Lost", to the second edition of Milton's epic Paradise Lost. According to a biographer: "Skilled in the arts of self-preservation, he was not a toady."In 1661 Marvell was re-elected MP for Hull in the Cavalier Parliament. He came to write several long and bitterly satirical verses against the corruption of the court. Although circulated in manuscript form, some finding anonymous publication in print, they were too politically sensitive and thus dangerous to be published under his name until well after his death. Marvell took up opposition to the'court party', satirised them anonymously. In his longest verse satire, Last Instructions to a Painter, written in 1667, Marvell responded to the political corruption that had contributed to English failures during the Second Anglo-Dutch War; the poem did not find print publication until after the Revolution of 1688–9.
The poem instructs an imaginary painter how to picture the state without a proper navy to defend them, led by men without intelligence or courage, a corrupt and dissolute court, dishonest officials. Of another such satire, Samuel Pepys, himself a government official, commented in his diary, "Here I met with a fourth Advice to a Painter upon the coming in of the Dutch and the End of the War, that mad
William Shakespeare was an English poet and actor regarded as the greatest writer in the English language and the world's greatest dramatist. He is called England's national poet and the "Bard of Avon", his extant works, including collaborations, consist of 39 plays, 154 sonnets, two long narrative poems, a few other verses, some of uncertain authorship. His plays have been translated into every major living language and are performed more than those of any other playwright. Shakespeare was raised in Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire. At the age of 18, he married Anne Hathaway, with whom he had three children: Susanna and twins Hamnet and Judith. Sometime between 1585 and 1592, he began a successful career in London as an actor and part-owner of a playing company called the Lord Chamberlain's Men known as the King's Men. At age 49, he appears to have retired to Stratford. Few records of Shakespeare's private life survive; such theories are criticised for failing to adequately note that few records survive of most commoners of the period.
Shakespeare produced most of his known works between 1589 and 1613. His early plays were comedies and histories and are regarded as some of the best work produced in these genres; until about 1608, he wrote tragedies, among them Hamlet, King Lear, Macbeth, all considered to be among the finest works in the English language. In the last phase of his life, he collaborated with other playwrights. Many of Shakespeare's plays were published in editions of varying quality and accuracy in his lifetime. However, in 1623, two fellow actors and friends of Shakespeare's, John Heminges and Henry Condell, published a more definitive text known as the First Folio, a posthumous collected edition of Shakespeare's dramatic works that included all but two of his plays; the volume was prefaced with a poem by Ben Jonson, in which Jonson presciently hails Shakespeare in a now-famous quote as "not of an age, but for all time". Throughout the 20th and 21st centuries, Shakespeare's works have been continually adapted and rediscovered by new movements in scholarship and performance.
His plays remain popular and are studied and reinterpreted through various cultural and political contexts around the world. William Shakespeare was the son of John Shakespeare, an alderman and a successful glover from Snitterfield, Mary Arden, the daughter of an affluent landowning farmer, he was born in Stratford-upon-Avon and baptised there on 26 April 1564. His actual date of birth remains unknown, but is traditionally observed on 23 April, Saint George's Day; this date, which can be traced to a mistake made by an 18th-century scholar, has proved appealing to biographers because Shakespeare died on the same date in 1616. He was the third of eight children, the eldest surviving son. Although no attendance records for the period survive, most biographers agree that Shakespeare was educated at the King's New School in Stratford, a free school chartered in 1553, about a quarter-mile from his home. Grammar schools varied in quality during the Elizabethan era, but grammar school curricula were similar: the basic Latin text was standardised by royal decree, the school would have provided an intensive education in grammar based upon Latin classical authors.
At the age of 18, Shakespeare married 26-year-old Anne Hathaway. The consistory court of the Diocese of Worcester issued a marriage licence on 27 November 1582; the next day, two of Hathaway's neighbours posted bonds guaranteeing that no lawful claims impeded the marriage. The ceremony may have been arranged in some haste since the Worcester chancellor allowed the marriage banns to be read once instead of the usual three times, six months after the marriage Anne gave birth to a daughter, baptised 26 May 1583. Twins, son Hamnet and daughter Judith, followed two years and were baptised 2 February 1585. Hamnet died of unknown causes at the age of 11 and was buried 11 August 1596. After the birth of the twins, Shakespeare left few historical traces until he is mentioned as part of the London theatre scene in 1592; the exception is the appearance of his name in the "complaints bill" of a law case before the Queen's Bench court at Westminster dated Michaelmas Term 1588 and 9 October 1589. Scholars refer to the years between 1585 and 1592 as Shakespeare's "lost years".
Biographers attempting to account for this period have reported many apocryphal stories. Nicholas Rowe, Shakespeare's first biographer, recounted a Stratford legend that Shakespeare fled the town for London to escape prosecution for deer poaching in the estate of local squire Thomas Lucy. Shakespeare is supposed to have taken his revenge on Lucy by writing a scurrilous ballad about him. Another 18th-century story has Shakespeare starting his theatrical career minding the horses of theatre patrons in London. John Aubrey reported; some 20th-century scholars have suggested that Shakespeare may have been employed as a schoolmaster by Alexander Hoghton of Lancashire, a Catholic landowner who named a certain "William Shakeshafte" in his will. Little evidence substantiates such stories other than hearsay collected after his death, Shakeshafte was a common name in the Lancashire area, it is not known definitively when Shakespeare began writing, but contemporary allusions and records of performances show that several of