On International Book Day and it was time to talk about books, writers, and even roses and San Jordi. Going a little out of line, instead of talking about travel books we are going to go on a trip to the United Kingdom to walk in the footsteps of William Shakespeare in Stratford-Upon-Avon on his birthday.
The choice of April 23 to celebrate books and the reading comes because in 1616 they died on that day Miguel CervantesWilliam Shakespeare (here is a trick) and Inca Garcilaso de la Vega. Also many other writers “chosen” that date to say goodbye to the world. Perhaps tired of so much Quixote, we are going to the United Kingdom to see that beautiful town that breathes Master William in every stone.
Anne Hathaway’s Cottage
Let’s start with one of the most beautiful places (they all are) of the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, which is the organization that is in charge of its management and conservation. The Anne Hathaway’s Cottage is the wonderful country house where William Shakespeare courted the love of his lifeAnne Hathaway, and which was built ago over 500 years and in which 13 generations of the family lived until the organization acquired it. It is in a perfect state of preservation and still has original furniture and parts of the house, which our protagonist walked through.
Originally, in the 15th century, it had no more than three rooms and the upper floor with all the fireplaces is from the 16th century, when Anne Hathaway’s brother inherited it. William Shakespeare went to that house, to step on that kitchen floor (in the visit they tell you that it is the original) when he courted the love of his life.
The delight of visiting old houses is that they are always full of objects related to the time, replicas and others, as well as the perfect setting in kitchens and bedrooms. One of the originals is this courtship chair which is the one used by lovers. She is in the kitchen.
In one of the bedrooms that are visited there is also an original chair next to a bed, with its heater and all the paraphernalia. The wood is perfectly treated and cared for, but it creaks alive under your feet. A small detail: Shakespeare did not live here, although it is one of the most visited places related to him.
Mary Arden’s farm
Continuing with the houses related to the history of William Shakespere we move to the Mary Arden’s Farmwhich is none other than the writer’s grandmother. Built by his father, it has undergone many reforms throughout its history, but it still retains its layout and importance. Nowadays is a beautiful Tudor-run school farm in which there are demonstrations of crafts, falconry and there are many animals.
Birthplace of William Shakespeare
Returning to the center of Stratford-upon-Avon we go to the most important house. Maybe it’s not the prettiest but it is the house where William Shakespeare was born on April 23, 1564, and then it was the most luxurious of Henley Street. In it William’s father had his glove workshop, honest work with which he supported a family with eight children. He was even mayor of the city.
the house iWilliam inherited when his father died and rented a part of it to be converted into a boarding house. Today, as the focal point of the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, it is always bustling with life and activity and is very common to see representations in the interior garden (which is where you access the house). If you look closely at the photo there is a man with leggings from the time who was reciting the harangue of Henry V on Saint Crispin’s day.
Perhaps if you are very observant you will have noticed that in that facade that faces the street there is a window that looks different. It is the only one that remains from the original house, so surely William looked out for her more than once. also there it is the room in which he was born and that, although it does not preserve the original furniture, it has a crib to point it out.
Shakespeare’s New House
A short distance from there, on the same street is the family home of William Shakespeare and Anne Hathaway, where he formed a family. He bought it as a famous playwright in 1597 and in it he died on April 23, 1616. With a trick, because that was the date of the Julian calendar and in the Gregorian (the one used now) it was really May 3.
And yes, we haven’t gone crazy, there is no house, because it was demolished in 1759 and to commemorate its importance a protected garden was created in which it is intended that there is a special connection between the writer and the visitors. Here he wrote his last works, among them ‘The Tempest’
If we go further into Stratford-upon-Avon we will come to Hall’s Croftthe house in which Shakespeare’s daughter Susanna lived with her husband, John Hall, a renowned physician, even with a published book, who cared for rich and poor, Catholic and Protestant, making great use of plants, herbs, and animal extracts. There is still everything in the house.
Throughout history it was always in the hands of people with money, such as merchants, and it was the last acquisition of the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, in 1949.
Holy Trinity Church
Good friend, by Jesus, refrain from digging the dust enclosed here. Blessed be the man who respects these stones, and cursed be he who removes my bones.
As everything has an end we leave for this moment William Shakespeare’s resting place with that rather menacing epitaph on the slab. We arrive at Holy Trinity Church, a beautiful temple, almost on the outskirts, majestic and full of precious things. Towards the end is the Shakespeare tomb area, all in a row. Next to him is his Anne.
Another of the curious things that we find there is the birth and death inscription of the bard and there is also a bible written by him. I don’t know how true he is, but the nice volunteer who explained things to us during the visit told us that he slipped in words that didn’t previously exist in the text. I want to believe the story because I like it.
Pictures | Viola de Lesseps, Char and Karen Ro