In March 2010, the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust started to lift the turf on the site of William Shakespeare's family home. This introduction presents an overview of the key concepts discussed in the subsequent chapters of this book. The book provides the first 6,000 years of the site, from its prehistoric beginnings through its development into a plot within the economic context of early medieval Stratford-upon-Avon, and the construction of the first timber-framed building. It describes the construction and distinctive features of Hugh Clopton's brick-and-timber house, the first New Place, and provides a detailed account of it. The book also provides a cultural, religious and economic context for Shakespeare's upbringing; education; work; marriage; and early investments up to his son, Hamnet's death, and his father, John Shakespeare, being made a gentleman. It discusses the importance of New Place to Shakespeare and his family during the nineteen years he spent time there.