William Strachey was born on 4th April 1572 in Saffron Walden, Essex. He was born to William Strachey and Mary Cooke.
Strachey attended Emmanuel College, Cambridge but it appears that he did not undertake a degree. He is also recorded attending Gray’s Inn but again there is nothing to suggest he completed his education and began a career in law.
Strachey began writing sonnets and was a keen attendant of London plays. He also owned shares in the Children of the Revels child acting troupe who performed in the Blackfriars Theatre. Blackfriars was leased to them by Richard Burbage, who also owned The Globe Theatre with William Shakespeare.
In 1605 Strachey was in financial difficulty and gained a position with the ambassador to Turkey, which meant Strachey began travelling the world but less than three years later he was dismissed due to an argument. In 1609 Strachey bought shares in the Virginia Company and set off for the New World and joined Sir Thomas Gate and sir George Somers about the Sea Venture to set sail for Virginia.
The Sea Venture had set sail and was blown off course because of a hurricane. The ship found itself not in Virginia but in Bermuda, where they were stranded for a year. Strachey wrote a letter in 1610 simply addressed to ‘Excellent Lady’ in 1625 it was published. This letter is believed to be one of William Shakespeare’s key sources for one his later plays The Tempest. This was due to similar themes between the two.