Stratford-upon-Avon was established in the 7th century, when the Saxons founded a settlement by the Roman Road (Straet) near a crossing (Ford) of the River Avon.
By the 12th century it had grown into a market town and received its first Market Charter in 1196. In Medieval times Stratford was a busy place with many craftsmen, including blacksmiths, carpenters, bakers and shoemakers and leather workers. One such leather worker was a glover by the name of John Shakespeare.
In 1557 John married Mary Arden, the daughter of a farmer from Wilmcote and in 1564 on or about 23 April, Mary Arden gave birth to their son William. William Shakespeare became one of the most famous playwrights of all time and today millions of visitors each year come to Stratford-upon-Avon to see where he grew up.