On April 23rd 1616 the playwright William Shakespeare died on his birthday so we now celebrate 400 years of this great playwright.
1. John Shakespeare William’s father, was identified in 1592 as a recusant, that is a Catholic who refused to attend the services of the Church of England.
2. Fr. John Frith, who officiated the marriage of Shakespear to Anne Hathaway in 1582 in the village of Temple Grafton, was identified by the government in 1586 as a Roman Catholic priest. This Church was at a distance from Shakespeare's home so it is speculated that he went there due to his adherence to the Catholic Church.
3.Shakespeare’s daughter Susanna was named a recusant onn May 5, 1606 by the government. Shakespeare left all his wealth to her.
4. Shakespeare purchased Blackfriars Gatehouse in London on March 10, 1613. The gatehouse was rumored to be a hiding place for Catholic priests and had secret tunnels. The Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, D.C., holds Shakespeare's copy of the deed of purchase.
5. An Anglican minister wrote a statement confirming that Shakespeare died a Catholic. Archdeacon Richard Davies, of Gloucestershire wrote in notes —a collection of biographies written by the Rev. William Fulman—that Shakespeare "dyed a Papyst [died a Papist]." According to an article first published in 1918 in Old and Sold Antiques Digest, the Fulman manuscript is at Oxford University's Corpus Christi College.