William Shenstone (1714-1763) was an English poet and one of the earliest practitioners of landscape gardening through the development of his estate, The Leasowes. He was born at The Leasowes, Halesowen. He received part of his formal education at Halesowen Grammar School. He went up to Pembroke College, Oxford in 1732. He took no degree, but, while still at Oxford, he published Poems on Various Occasions, Written for the Entertainment of the Author (1737). This edition was intended for private circulation only but, containing the first draft of The Schoolmistress, it attracted some wider attention. Shenstone tried hard to suppress it but in 1742 he published anonymously a revised draft of The Schoolmistress: A Poem in Imitation of Spenser. In 1741 he published The Judgment of Hercules. He inherited the Leasowes estate, and retired there in 1745 to undertake what proved the chief work of his life, the beautifying of his property.