Going to visit William Shakespeare's hometown of Stratford-upon-Avon? Well, one of the main attractions there is his birthplace - that goes by the rather original name of "Shakespeare's Birthplace". Shakespeare's Birthplace is the house in which Shakespeare was born in 1564 and where he spent his childhood years.
One day is enough to see the whole town of Stratford-upon-Avon. Fortunately, the town is quite compact and all the main historic sites are all quite close to each other. There are numerous tours on offer in this stunning town. The town itself is a superb example of a quaint English town complete with swans in its ponds and on the Avon River.
History of Shakespeare's Ancestral Shakespeare's Birthplace
Shakespeare's Birthplace is located in the heart of the charming historic market town of Stratford-upon-Avon. John Shakespeare (William's father) lived and worked in the house and he married Mary Arden in around 1557. William was born there a number of years later in 1564.
- Location: Henley Street, Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire, England
- Born: William Shakespeare Was Born in 1564
- Parents: His Parents Were John and Mary
- Married: William Married Anne Hathaway When He Was 18 in 1582
William was one of eight children of which he was the third. His father, John, went on to become the mayor of Stratford - the highest elective office in the town. It was thanks to his father's respectful position that William was able to attend the local grammar school.
Later on, he married his wife, Anne Hathaway, and they continued to live in "Shakespeare's Birthplace." Their children Susanna, Judith, and Hamnet were born in the house.
- Shakespeare's Children: Three Children Were Born Here - Susanna, Judith, and Hamnet
As William was the oldest surviving son, he inherited the property on the death of his father in 1601. He then leased the small adjoining two-room cottage to his sister (Joan Hart) and then leased out the main home (which then became an inn called the Maidenhead). That inn continued for hundreds of years until 1847.
- Inherited: He Inherited The House On This Father's Death in 1601
- Leased: William Leased The Building Out
- Maidenhead: William Leased Out the Building And It Became An Inn Called The Maidenhead (Later Swan and Maidenhead Inn)
When William died 15 years after his father in 1616, he left the property to his oldest daughter Susanna - the next to inherit it was her only child, Elizabeth.
Preservation And the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust
In the mid-1800s an effort was made to preserve the, by then, historic building. Even Charles Dickens support the public campaign. It was purchased by the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust in 1847 for £3,000 and they have continued to maintain it ever since.
- Charles Dickens: Supported The Preservation of The Building
- Bought: The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust Bought It In 1847
- Other Trust Properties: Anne Hathaway Cottage and Shakespeare's Newplace
The three properties managed by the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust are Anne Hathaway Cottage, Shakespeare's Birthplace, and Shakespeare's Newplace.
What To Know of The Building Itself
While visitors today may think of the building as fairly simple 450 years ago it would have been thought of as quite a substantial dwelling. It was quite standard for the day and was made of wattle and daub around a wooden frame. The oak in the building is from the Forest of Arden and the blue-grey stone is from Wilmcote.
- Father's Trade: John Was A Glove Maker and Wool Dealer - The House Was Split Between Living Space and His Workspace
Originally the building was more of a simple rectangle in design. The ground floor had a parlor with a fireplace, a room that served as John's workshop, and a hall with a large open hearth. The upper floor had three chambers.
A single-bay house was later built the north-west of the house (today called Joan Hart's Cottage).
- Joan Hart's Cottage: A Single Bay House Built Later On
- Age: The Age Of The House is Uncertain. Could Have Been Built In The 15th Century But More Likely In The Mid-16th Century
Planning One's Visit to Shakespeare's Birthplace
Today Shakespeare's Birthplace is a small museum run and owned by the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust (that also manages other sites of interest in Stratford like his wife's childhood home Anne Hatherway's House.
While visiting this national treasure, one will learn about the tales of Shakespeare’s family life and get up close to objects from the Trust’s world-class collections.
- Duration: One Hour
- Opening Hours: 26 March, 10 am - 5 pm (last entry 4.30 pm)
- All Three Properties: Adult: £26.50 ($35.00
- Single property ticket: Adult (before 26 March) - £18.00 ($24.00)
The next time in England, pop in. Stratford-upon-Avon is the heart of the locations that every Shakespeare fan needs to visit.