Joan Shakespeare

Joan Shakespeare

Joan Shakespeare (1569 - 1646) was the sister of William Shakespeare and the mother of the actor William Hart.

Joan was Shakespeare's younger sister. She was named after her parents' deceased first-born child. She is known to have been illiterate, like most women of her social background. She married a hatter called William Hart with whom she had four children, of which two boys, William and Michael, survived to adulthood. [ University of Liverpool, "Siblings of William Shakespeare"] ]

Joan's husband, William, died in April 1616, only a few days before her brother William. Her brother left her a legacy of £30, according to his will. He also granted her the right to live, for a nominal rent, in one of his two houses on Henley Street, Stratford. She continued to reside there for the remainder of her life, dying at the age of 77.

Though her son William never married, he may have fathered an illegitimate son, Charles Hart, who was also a leading actor. Joan's other descendants via Michael lived in Stratford until 1806.

Shakespeare's family tree


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