John Shakespeare and the Borough Council
William Shakespeare's father John Shakespeare was a member of the Borough Council. He started out as Aletaster in 1556, and gradually worked his way up through the town offices. In 1568 he reached the top when he became Bailiff - effectively the mayor of Stratford.
As Bailiff, John Shakespeare presided over Council meetings and the Court of Record. Ultimately he represented the royal authority of Queen Elizabeth I in Stratford. But his success didn't last. In the 1570s he got into serious trouble with the authorities, and damaged his reputation in the town. He fell into debt and resigned from the Borough Council.