Facts and Events
Mary Shakespeare, née Arden, (c. 1537–1608) was the mother of William Shakespeare. She was the daughter of Robert Arden. The Arden family had been prominent in Warwickshire since before the Norman Conquest. She was the youngest of eight daughters, and she inherited her father's farm, now called Mary Arden's House, in Wilmcote, Warwickshire when he died in December 1556.
Richard Shakespeare, the father of John Shakespeare, Mary's husband, was a tenant farmer on land owned by her father in Snitterfield. As the daughter of Richard's landlord; she may have known John since childhood. Mary married John Shakespeare in 1557, when she was 20 years old. She birthed eight children: Joan (1558), Margaret (1562–63), William (1564–1616), Gilbert (1566–1612), Joan (1569–1646), Anne (1571–79), Richard (1574–1613), and Edmund (1580–1607). Though they had many children, the couple did not have good luck. Their first daughter, Joan, born 1558 died, the name was used again for their third daughter. Their second daughter, Margaret, also died in infancy. Some members of the wider Arden family were of the Catholic faith.
Mary was from a family of status and her ancestors had connections in society, such as Thomas Arden, who fought in the thirteenth-century civil war for the Barons and Simon de Montfort; Robert Arden who fought in the War of Roses; John Arden who served on the court of King Henry VII. Upon her Father's death, Mary inherited land in Snitterfield and Wilmcote.