continuing my tour of Shakespeare's hometown
Stratford-upon-Avon Travel Blog› entry 60 of 68 › view all entries
For breakfast, I made myself some eggs and crumpets (known to Americans as, â€śEnglish muffinsâ€ť) and left with the receptionist a load of laundry to wash. With my dirty clothes queued behind linens, I posed for a photo by Shakespeareâ€™s Birthplace (from the outside, as admission to it and the other â€śShakespeare housesâ€ť was outrageously priced), which he occupied 1564-1616.
In search of free internet access, I entered the village library, but the one computer was booked for the rest of the day and into the next. It was not wasted time, however, since it gave me an opportunity to see at Tudor construction from the inside. On the second floor, the roof system stimulated my fondness for limber and old wooden beam trusses really wowed me.
A short distance down the street, I felt my posture straighten as I spotting an American flag.
I next stopped inside the simple, yet peaceful Guild Chapel (built in 1269). A mural (painted in the early 16th century) representing the Day of Judgment faintly remains above the focal arch before the alter, small lamps picketed the pews, and stained glass surrounds the room. It was eerily quiet in the empty place of worship, as though perhaps the door had been left unlocked by mistake.
Lined with history, Church Street led from Nashâ€™s House past the chapel and Almshouses (charitable housing) to Shakespeareâ€™s elementary school, King Edward VI School and more.
Over the wall I went, through the graveyard of the surrounding lawn to Holy Trinity Church (1210, rebuild completed 1520). Inside, I visited the graves of William Shakespeare and his family as well as the sarcophagi of George Carew and his wife Joyce Clopton in a separate room. Surround the centre chapel, were ornately carved misericords reminiscent of those I had seen in Durham.
With tired feet, I wrapped up my tour of the lovely, historic town. Along the river, I watched swans loitering by their namesake, the Swan Theatre, which sits behind the Royal Shakespeare Theatre. My back to the burning sun, I took a rest on a fountain bench in Bancroft Gardens to observe the half-speed people as they ate and mingled, and meandered about. Had I been of better means, I might have paid the â‚¤12 charge for entrance to the five Shakespeare houses, and shopped, and eaten, and taken a longboat cruise on the river. There was so much to see and do, but I had a schedule to keep. I waited anxiously on the terrace for the last of my laundry to dry before stuffing it in my pack and hurrying to make the 14:04 train to Oxford.