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It is fairly well established that Shakespeare died on 23 April, 1616, his fifty-second birthday. From parish records we do know that he was buried three days later (exactly fifty-two years after his baptism). Local tradition has it that Shakespeare became ill after a bout of hard drinking with his fellow playwrights Ben Jonson and Michael Drayton, possibly as a result from having caught a chill. But there is good cause to believe that Shakespeare was ill for some time prior to his death. To begin, Shakespeare retired as a playwright in 1612 or 1613, two or three years before his death, and it may be that his failing health had a part in this. We know that Shakespeare wrote his last will in January, 1616, and that he rewrote it on 25 March of that year (less than a month before his death) to protect his family estate from one of his sons-in-laws, his younger daughter Judith's rogue husband Thomas Quincy. As with so much of Shakespeare's life, we have some hard evidence about Shakespeare's final days, but no firm knowledge of his death's cause.

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