As a writer, before you die, you must go to Stratford-upon-Avon, the birthplace and burial ground of William Shakespeare and pay tribute to the greatest writer of all time.
And it was there that I learnt that William Shakespeare might have been a criminal.
I was visiting Anne Hathaway’s Cottage (the place where his wife lived prior to their shotgun wedding) when I met a local historian. She said that Shakespeare invested in theater companies in London, purchased a new home (fittingly named the New Place) for 120GBP and invested in farm land with 320GBP.
Not much money, you might say. But you may be wrong.
At that time, the annual salary of a schoolteacher was 25GBP. Shakespeare’s investments would have put him in the realm of nobility, royalty and aristocracy—and yet he was a simple playwright. A poet. A wordsmith.
As a writer, there should have been NO WAY for him to afford these kind of investments.
Even the Shakespeare Work Life and Times Official Guide wrote:
“It is not known what William did to support his wife and child.”
The historian then told me about this recent, shocking theory: Shakespeare might have been a criminal. How is that possible?
There are records that show that William’s father, John Shakespeare, was involved in a case of money laundering and that was one of the reasons why the Shakespeare family was so wealthy.
Some historians have a theory that William might have been actually sent to London in order to operate the London side of the money laundering business.
He then diversified his assets by investing in theater companies and real estate. Then later those investments lucked out and he became insanely wealthy.
The New Place home he lived in would have been the 17th century equivalent of an apartment in Trump Towers.
And while he was at it, he wrote some plays and became famous too.
Of course, this is an unproven theory with no evidence to support it. However it does explain the previously unanswered question: how did the Shakespeare become so insanely wealthy.
But regardless of wether he was involved in money laundering or not, it is certain that William was both creative and had incredible business acumen. He knew how to monetize his work.
Below are some pictures I took during my tour through Stratford-upon-Avon. It is a beautiful place and I will 100% be visiting again in summer when the trees and flowers are in full bloom.
Stratford-upon-Avon welcomes you!
Do you dare to enter?
A beautiful little town.
The Melancholy Thinker
The Worried Wife
William and his wife Anne Hathaway are buried here in the Trinity Church
The place where William Shakespeare was born
Anne Hathaway's Cottage - looks like a fairytale!
Living standards have improved a lot since then...
How did these people survive without a microwave? Where do they heat up the Marks and Spencer ready made meals?