William Shakespeare, tax-evader

William Shakespeare may have been the world's greatest writer, but he routinely failed to pay his taxes. This is the conclusion of a new study by scholars from Aberystwyth University which shows that Shakespeare was "repeatedly prosecuted and fined for illegally hoarding food, and threatened with jail for failing to pay his taxes."

Dr Jayne Archer, Professor Richard Marggraf Turley and Professor Howard Thomas recently showed that the writer made himself wealthy by inflating prices and refusing to pay his taxes. "By combining both illegal and legal activities, Shakespeare was able to retire in 1613 as the largest property owner in his home town, Stratford-upon-Avon. His profits - minus a few fines for illegal hoarding and tax evasion - meant he had a working life of just 24 years," they wrote.