William Shakespeare's father, John, was a glover. He earned extra income through his involvement with illegal and unlicensed wool dealing and was called to court twice on charges related to this side business.
John Shakespeare also held several municipal positions in Stratford-upon-Avon. About eight years before William was born, John was an ale taster, which meant that he served as an inspector for malt liquors and bread. He also became Stratford's constable and the chamberlain responsible for the town's finances and property. After William was born, John was appointed as an alderman. He was appointed to serve as the High Bailiff of Stratford, a position roughly equivalent to a mayor and a justice of the peace.