This is the 449th birthday of William Shakespeare. Well, actually, it might be his birthday, because we don’t really know when he was born.

There is a date for his baptism – with his name recorded in Latin as “Gulielmus” – and then it’s a case of working back a few days.

It’s an educated guess. And much of the endless debate about the identity of the author of Shakespeare’s plays is because so much of the presumed life story is educated guesswork.

But a new book – William Shakespeare Beyond Doubt – wants to put the record straight once and for all, as a forthright counterblast against those who question his authorship.

Stanley Wells, honorary president of the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust and eminent Shakespearean scholar, now aged 82, has marshalled an international line-up of academics to defend the Bard.