William Shakespeare


William Shakespeare was an English poet, playwright, and actor, widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language and the world's greatest dramatist. He is often called England's national poet and the "Bard of Avon". 1 2 3


In William Shakespeare’s time, as there was no electric or gas lighting, natural sunlight could be seen as a commodity to a writer. Hence, to maximise writing time in the light, Shakespeare rose very early at 4:45 am, ready to start writing by 5 am. He’d spend the next two hours writing, only stopping for a short break at 6 am. Shakespeare ate breakfast at 7 am with his wife, Anne, and daughters Susanna and Judith. It was common in his time to drink beer with breakfast, this was a form of weak ale and did not get the consumers drunk. He would then work off his breakfast with a walk through Stratford, taking a route that passed the Holy Trinity’s churchyard. Upon returning home, usually around 9am, Shakespeare wrote for the rest of the morning.


Lunch was typically served at 1 pm, Shakespeare would have been working while his family and servants prepared the food. At his residence was large quantities of malt which he would sell for a profit if supply was short. Shakespeare had acquired a lot of wealth in the form of land. Having such a large estate meant farming played a growing role in his life. Some afternoons at around 2:30 pm, Shakespeare visited his farmlands across town to inspect the crops and livestock. He also developed a habit of stopping at a cottage on the way home where he’d observe different flowers which served as an inspiration for many of his plays.


In the early evenings (~5 pm), Shakespeare headed to the pub in town to discuss business over a pint before returning home to eat dinner with his family at 6 pm. After dinner, the Shakespeare family sat together around the fire in the hall and enjoyed some card games.


10pm is when the family retired to bed. All expect Shakespeare, who spent the midnight hours writing not plays but poetry.