SHAKESPEARE’S last will and testament will be returning to his home town this summer for the first time since it was written 400 years ago.
The documents, penned in March 1616, are among the most important original documents relating to the Bard, and are cared for by The National Archives.
The playwright’s original will is being loaned to The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust (SBT) from July 16 to August 4 as part of a major exhibition celebrating 400 years of Shakespeare’s legacy.
The document will return to Stratford for the first time since Dr John Hall, Shakespeare’s son-in-law, took the will to London in June 1616 to get a grant of probate.
SBT, the charity which promotes Shakespeare’s work, life and times and cares for the world’s largest Shakespeare-related museum and archives, will temporarily display the last will and testament in its Treasures exhibition, offering an insight into Shakespeare’s social circle.
Dr Delia Garratt, SBT Director of Cultural Engagement, said: “We’re incredibly excited to be able to present this once in a lifetime opportunity for people to see Shakespeare’s original will back in his hometown where it was drafted by local solicitor Francis Collins 400 years ago.
“Displaying this historic document alongside other treasures from our collections will complete the story of Shakespeare’s social circle and his relationships with family, friends and business associates.”
Dr Katy Mair, Early Modern Records Specialist at The National Archives, said they were delighted to be working with The SBT to bring Shakespeare’s will back to his home town.
She added: “Thanks to work carried out by The National Archives’ conservation team, the will’s appearance is now closer to its original state allowing us to carry out new scientific and archival research into this iconic document.
“This summer offers a great opportunity to see the will, which includes three of Shakespeare’s six known signatures, before it has to rest for a recommended 20 years.”
Visit see www.shakespeare.org.uk for further details.