What to See in England
By Gordon Home
Public Domain Books
THE BIRTHPLACE OF SHAKESPEARE
=How to get there.=–Train from Paddington. Great Western Railway. =Nearest Station.=–Stratford-on-Avon. =Distance from London.=–121-1/2 miles. =Average Time.=–Varies between 3 to 4-3/4 hours.
1st 2nd 3rd =Fares.=–Single 16s. 0d. 10s. 6d. 8s. 5d. Return 29s. 3d. 18s. 6d. 16s. 10d.
=Accommodation Obtainable.=–"Red Horse Hotel,” “Shakespeare Hotel,” “Golden Lion Hotel,” “Red Lion,” etc. =Alternative Route.=–Train from Euston. L. and N.W. Railway.
Stratford-on-Avon, a picturesque town situated on the river Avon, in Warwickshire, is visited yearly by thousands of people desirous of seeing the birthplace of William Shakespeare. John Shakespeare, the father of William, bought the two half-timbered houses in Henley Street, where he practised his trade of wool-stapler, and it was in one of these houses that William Shakespeare was born in 1564. These houses are now practically in their original condition, although at one time the wool-shop was turned into an inn. The desk, said to have been used by Shakespeare when at school, is to be seen in the former wool-shop, now converted into a museum. The King Edward VI. Grammar School, to which Shakespeare went, occupies the first floor of the old Guildhall, built in the thirteenth century, but much altered in the fifteenth century. It was in this Guildhall that Shakespeare saw for the first time a theatrical performance given by travelling players. Close to the Guildhall is the site of New Place, which was bought by Shakespeare. Only the foundations of this house remain, as in 1753 the owner, the Rev. Francis Gastrell, being angry at having to pay some rates, was not content with cutting down the famous mulberry tree planted by the poet, but caused the whole house to be razed and the materials sold.
The Church of Holy Trinity, most beautifully situated on the river Avon, is cruciform in plan. In the chancel is Shakespeare’s grave, with the stone slab having the well-known lines:–
GOOD FREND, FOR IESVS SAKE FORBEARE, TO DIGG THE DUST ENCLOASED HEARE; BLESTE BE YE MAN YT SPARES THES STONES, AND CVRST BE HE YT MOVES MY BONES.
At Shottery, one mile from Stratford, is the half-timbered cottage where Anne Hathaway, the wife of Shakespeare, was born.
[Illustration: Valentine & Sons, Ltd. TRINITY CHURCH, STRATFORD-ON-AVON.
From the river. In the chancel is Shakespeare’s grave.]