Stratford-upon-Avon, England

This evening we are in Stratford-upon-Avon with object of attending a performance of taming of the Shrew tomorrow evening at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre.

Stratford has a population of about 23,000 and is located some 100 miles ( 160 km), or two hours,  N.W. of London. The town sits on the banks of the gentle flowing River Avon, is home to five historic houses associated with William Shakespeare and the Royal Shakespeare Theatre. Close by are the Cotswolds, a range of undulating hills populated with historic small towns and villages which are mainly built of attractive yellow or honey coloured limestone. 

More information on Stratford-upon-Avo

→History: Stratford has recorded history going back to about AD 700. At time of the Domesday Book (1086) it was known as Stradforde which means ‘ford on a Roman road’. The original charter dates to 1196 subsequent to which the town grew and prospered as a market town. Shakespeare’s father was a dynamic businessman with interests in varied commercial activities.

→William Shakespeare:  Shakespeare was born at Stratford in 1564 and died there in 1616. His early life is not well documented but from around 1590 onwards he was responsible for a prodigious output of some thirty eight plays including Hamlet, Romeo & Juliet and Macbeth. In addition to the plays Shakespeare produced 154 sonnets. The principal houses associated with Shakespeare (open to the public) are:
    • Shakespeare’s Birthplace in Henley Street. This timber frame building is the principal visitor attraction. There is also a 19th century designed garden featuring many plants mentioned by Shakespeare in his writings. The birthplace is second house on right in image below.
  •  Nash’s House and New Place in Chapel Street.. The former adjoins site of  the latter. New Place was Shakespeare’s Stratford home for the last eighteen years of his life but was demolished in the 18th century. Both buildings were owned by relations of Shakespeare’s family.
    • Hall’s Croft in Old Town. Named after John Hall, a physician who married Shakespeare’s daughter, Susanna in 1607.
    • Anne Hathaway’s Cottage. The pre-marital home of Shakespeare’s wife is located in Shottery, about one mile from Stratford. There is also an orchard and garden.
    • Mary Arden’s House and Palmer’s Farm. Childhood home of Shakespeare’s mother located in Wilmcote, about three miles north of Stratford. In addition to the properties there are farm animals from the Shakespeare era, wildlife and a field walk.
→Shakespeare’s School: King Edward VI School, Church Street.  Shakespeare is believed to have attended this school from about age seven to fourteen years. Still in use today.

→Holy Trinity Church, Trinity Street: Shakespeare ( Gulielimus, filius Johannes Shakspeare) was baptised here on April 26th 1564. He ( Will Shakspeare, Gent) was buried in the chancel of the same church on April 25th 1616.  The church is built on an ancient Christian site dating back to at least the 8th century. The present building dates from 1210 with oldest features comprising tower, transepts and nave pillars.
→Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Waterside: Comprises a ‘thrust stage’, main auditorium seating 1040 and art deco interiors. Home of the Royal Shakespearee Company which performs throughout the year.

→Swan  Theatre, Waterside: Associated with the Royal Shakespeare Company and seats 450 on three sides of a ‘deep thrust’ stage.
→River Avon: Sightseeing cruises are available. Also, rowing boats, punts and self-drive motor boats are available for hire.

More images-

 The Windmill Inn. a pub/hostelry contemporary with W.S.

 The Other Place Theatre Venue
 Bridge Street

 Havard House, connected with the eponymous founder of Havard University, U.S.A.


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