the home of William Shakespeare
||Geese, swans, ducks, pigeons and seagulls, all fighting
for pieces of bread along the Avon River. These pictures are from
Bancroft Gardens. It's a place originally used by the towns people
to graze their livestock. It is located at the end of a canal built
in 1816 that connects to larger city of Birmingham.
||Cheryl and the boys are looking over the bridge at the
starting point of the canal. On the other side of the bridge is a
lock gate that rises about six feet into the canal. The lock gate
uses a simple operation that hasn't change since it was built.
The canal boats are long and skinny -- only about ten feet
wide but as much as forty feet long. A restaurant cruiser, (also
partially seen on the left in the picture below,) was about to travel through
the locks, so we waited to watch. We asked if Mitch and Max could
help open the gates to the locks. So they jumped down and as soon
as the water drained out they pushed the gate open.
||Around the canal basin is a nice floral garden, (though
it was not very impressive on this dreary November day). Stratford-upon-Avon
is the birthplace of William Shakespeare.
Inscribed on this statue of Shakespeare is:
"Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player that struts
and frets his hour upon the stage and then is heard no more."
||Shakespeare's home is a popular tourist attraction.
We were satisfied with a look at the exterior of the building. This
building, like many others in England, is built from timbers and filled
in with some sort of plaster. Some of the older building, (and I
don't mean from the 1900's,) have timbers that sag and warp as much as
|Unlike communities in the United States, most towns and
cities in Europe have very few supermarkets, (though Stratford-upon-Avon
did have a Safeway on its outskirts.) Most shopping is done at small
specialty stores. These shops, which appear to be family owned, are
just as interesting to visit as the any "tourist attraction." Here,
Mitch had noticed the different style of keys at the local Iron Monger,
Following the suppression of the guild in 1547, (good 'ol
Henry VIII's reforms), the Chapel was granted by the Crown in 1553 to the
Mayor and Corporation of Stratford-upon-Avon as trustees of the Guild Estate.
The Guild Chapel has played an important part in the life of this community
for over 700 years. It was undoubtedly a building familiar to Shakespeare.
It is still an active church and has, for generations, served as the Chapel
for the adjoining school.
||We were so occupied looking at all of the sites and shops
in town that when we came to the Guild Chapel I suddenly remembered it
was time to put some more money in the parking meter across town.
So Cheryl stayed to look further and I headed off to feed the meter.
This chapel, founded in 1269, by the fraternity or Guild
of the Holy Cross, was already in existence in 1269, when the Bishop of
Worcester granted a license to the Brethren of the Guild to build a Chapel
and to found a hospital for the poor priests in the diocese. The
present chapel is original, but the nave and tower were add in the fifteenth
century, (sounds funny -- "new construction" in the 1400's.).
One interesting note about the school -- while Ed was
feeding the meter, Mitch and Cheryl walked by the school next to the chapel.
Classes were just getting out and the sidewalk was full of boys, (no co-ed
here). They were all wearing white shirts, striped neckties and navy
blue blazers with insignias of the school on the breast pocket -- just
like you see in the movies.
||As we walked back from the Ticket Collection office,
(that's right, Ed was too late getting to the meter,) we noticed this plaque
on the side of a building. I guess with so many centuries to gather
history it's more common to see things like this, than in the U.S., (especially
the western half.)
As we were driving in London, Cheryl spotted a plaque
on a house that stated it was the home of Alfred Hitchcock.
By 1703, records indicate that a malthouse was established
upon the site, probably since 1683 when a mortgage deed showed the owner
to be Richard Hull, Multster of Stratford. It became known as the
Green Dragon Inn in 1792 when sold. [more recently] In 1858 the son
of the new owner changed the name to the Rose & Crown as it is today.
||This pub, the original Rose and Crown was next to town
hall. It was in the late 1850's that the original hostelry closed
and the name transferred to an inn on the present site, (formerly known
as the Green Dragon.) Due to a fire which burnt down most of the
property on Sheep Street, (and a lot of the town's records), records for
the present property do not go back further than 1596.
I know that nobody really cares about all of this, it's
just that we find it very interesting that these buildings are so old and
that ownership can be traced so far back.
Before leaving this area and heading for Scotland, the boys
wanted to learn a little archery. After a few pointers from the instructor
they were hitting the target very well.
||After all, we were just 5 km from Loxley. (Yes,
as in "Robin of Loxley")
Now that's tempting, how about an English pheasant for
dinner? Our apartment was about a mile off of the main road through
One day we saw nothing but rabbits -- there were rabbits
everywhere. Another day it was deer -- there must have been two or
three dozen deer. The next day it was pheasant -- thirty or forty
of them. It seemed strange that we didn't see a mix of these animals
on any one day.
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