A History of the County of Warwick: Volume 3, Barlichway Hundred. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1945.
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BOROUGH OF STRATFORD-UPON-AVON (fn. 1)
Acreage: Stratford-upon-Avon Borough, 6,900; (fn. 2) Old Stratford and Drayton, 2,778; Luddington, 1,158.
Stratford takes its name from the crossing of the Avon by a Roman road which ran from the Rykneild Street at Alcester to join the Fosse. (fn. 3) The settlement at this point, out of which developed the borough of Stratford-upon-Avon, was part of the manor and parish of Old Stratford, which comprised also the hamlets of Shottery, Luddington, Dodwell, Drayton, Bishopton, Clopton, Welcombe, Ruin Clifford, and Bridgetown, besides the isolated hamlet of Bushwood, now in the parish of Lapworth. This large area represents the estate held, as early as the 7th century, by the church of Worcester, and its boundaries can at some points be identified in the charters of Saxon bishops. Thus Shottery, as granted to Worcester early in the 8th century, was bounded on the west side of the Avon by West Grove (in Haselor), Billesley, and Bardon Hill, and stretched eastwards across the river as far down as its confluence with the Stour. (fn. 4) By 988 the eastern portion of this land appears as Ruin Clifford, which extended along the left bank of the Avon from the Stour up to the 'mycel straete', (fn. 5) which was presumably the Roman road (now the road to Banbury) and formed also the south-western boundary of Alveston. (fn. 6) Bishopton, to the north-west of Stratford, is described in 1016 as lying between Shottery and Clopton, and its boundaries as then enumerated include the 'sealstret' (the present Alcester road), the 'feldene stret' (now the Birmingham road), and Shottery Brook. (fn. 7)
The name, Old Stratford, is of 13th-century origin (fn. 8) and was probably used to distinguish the chief manor from the various sub-manors which by then had been formed out of it. (fn. 9) In later times it was more particularly applied to the area round the church, including the street still known as Old Town, leading from the church to the borough. The remoteness of the church from the centre of the town is probably to be explained by the conjecture, mentioned by Leland, (fn. 10) that it occupies the site of the monastery which existed at Stratford in Saxon times. Until 1879 this part of the town, including Southern Lane (fn. 11) and Waterside to a point about half-way between the ferry and Chapel Lane, Old Town as far as the north side of Hall's Croft, and all the land of the college which lay to the west of it, remained outside the borough. The boundaries of the borough are first recorded in 1591, (fn. 12) but they were of medieval origin. (fn. 13) From the 16th century onwards the distinction between borough and parish was a frequent source of confusion and inconvenience. The liability of the whole parish to contribute towards the relief of the borough poor, a point which the county justices found 'difficult and doubtful', was confirmed by the Judges of Assize in 1628. (fn. 14) But it was continually disputed by the inhabitants of the 'out towns', who in the confusion of the Civil Wars evaded it altogether; (fn. 15) and they were ultimately exempt from further payments in 1672. (fn. 16) On the other hand, the Elizabethan corporation found it difficult to fill up their numbers so long as some of the most eligible inhabitants, living just outside the borough, might plead exemption from service; (fn. 17) while the borough justices could not punish the 'horrible disorders being at all tymes comitted about the church and churchyard bywayes'. (fn. 18) The extension of the borough boundaries to include the whole parish was therefore one of the main objects of the corporation in seeking a renewal of their original charter. (fn. 19) The draft of a new charter, drawn up about 1600 but never issued, actually grants this request, (fn. 20) and in 1837 the Commissioners on Municipal Boundaries made recommendations for extension which, also, were not acted upon. (fn. 21)
The present municipal boundaries were fixed by the Stratford-upon-Avon Borough Act of 1879 (fn. 22) and by a provisional order of the Ministry of Health in 1924, (fn. 23) by which the parish of Alveston was included in the borough. Under the Local Government Act of 1894 (fn. 24) the parish of Old Stratford was divided into two civil parishes, known as Old Stratford Within and Old Stratford and Drayton, the latter being outside the borough boundaries. The inhabitants of Luddington had established their claim to form a separate civil parish in 1664, as a result of the controversies already mentioned over payments for the relief of the borough poor, and by the early 19th century this included Drayton. (fn. 25)
The layout of the older part of the town has changed little since the 15th century. It consists of three streets running parallel and three at right angles to the river, and seems to be an example on a small scale of medieval town-planning, modified by early encroachments. (fn. 26) A survey of the borough in 1252 gives about 240 burgages, besides 47 placks of land and various shops, stalls, and other tenements. (fn. 27) A later survey, of 1590, (fn. 28) which mentions 217 houses in the town belonging to the lord of the manor, suggests that there had been little if any growth in the course of more than three centuries. In 1590 most of the houses were concentrated in Bridge Street, Wood Street, Henley Street, Mere Street, High Street, Sheep Street, Chapel Street, and Church Street; Windsor Street, Ely Street, Chapel Lane, and Scholars Lane (fn. 29) still consisted largely of barns and closes, and the western corner of the borough was almost wholly unbuilt upon. The borough was bounded on the north by the Gild Pits (now Guild Street) and on the west by the line of Grove Road and Arden Street which was the road from Old Stratford to Bishopton. (fn. 30) Beyond, on each side, the common fields began, whence Greenhill Street derived its alternative name of Moor Towns End. (fn. 31) A glimpse of the appearance of Stratford in Shakespeare's time is afforded by another survey, of 1582, which records nearly 1,000 elm trees and 40 ash on the corporation property alone. (fn. 32) Different points on the borough boundaries were marked by elms, and the last of these landmarks, the One Elm, or Gospel Elm, opposite the corner of Arden Street and the Birmingham road, was cut down and sold in 1847. (fn. 33)
The concentration of houses in the 1590 survey shows how the town had begun along the high road from London, which passes up Bridge Street and divides along Henley Street and Wood Street, to Birmingham and Worcester. Originally, Bridge Street, Wood Street, Henley Street, and the Rother Market must have been one continuous open space, though it was already divided up by the beginning of the 14th century. (fn. 34) Until little more than a century ago, a line of houses known as Middle Row, or, in medieval times, as the Shop Row, (fn. 35) ran up the centre of Bridge Street, dividing it into Fore Bridge and Back Bridge Street. The line was continued by the black between Wood Street and Henley Street which was also known as Middle Row in the 15th century. The houses were interrupted by 'chewers', or alleys, (fn. 36) one of which still remains as the passage between Henley Street and Wood Street, known locally as Cook's Alley. (fn. 37) The crossing at the Town Hall, between High Street and Chapel Street, is variously referred to from the 15th to the 17th centuries as the Bull Ring (fn. 38) and the Corn Market (fn. 39) and may also have been formed by encroachments on an original open space. The pillory stood here in 1328, (fn. 40) and on the house at the corner of High Street and Ely Street was a public clock which was removed to the High Cross in 1478. (fn. 41) The Cross in the 'Heiestret' is referred to in 1381. (fn. 42) It was demolished, except for the base, in the 16th century and replaced by a square two-storied structure resting on pillars and surmounted by a cupola with a clock. (fn. 43) It stood near the corner of High Street and Wood Street and was finally pulled down when a new Market House, now Barclays Bank, was built at the top of Bridge Street by William Izod and William Thompson in 1821. (fn. 44) There was another cross, sometimes called the White Cross, opposite the Gild Chapel, which is mentioned before the end of the 13th century (fn. 45) and was still standing in 1608. (fn. 46) In the Rother Market was a third cross, the top of which was taken down in 1681. (fn. 47)
Until the beginning of last century there were two brooks or watercourses flowing through the streets of the town to join the Avon. The larger entered the borough at the Gild Pits and ran westwards across Henley Street into the Meer Pool which gave Mere Street its original name of Meer Pool Lane. It then continued along the Rother Market, Ely Street, Sheep Street, and Waterside, and fell into the Avon close to the present Memorial Theatre. (fn. 48) It may have been joined in the Bancroft by the other brook which ran from Old Town along Church Street (fn. 49) and Chapel Lane. In 1676 a bridge was built over the brook in the Rother Market, (fn. 50) which remained open until the 1780's. The other sections of it and also the Church Street brook were covered in c. 1804–8. (fn. 51) Ely Street, which used also to be called Swine Street, takes its present name from an 'Eale Mill', presumably used for crushing seeds for oil. This was probably the 'Ullemylle' which John Ulemaker was renting from the gild in 1407. (fn. 52) John Umfrey, 'Ulyman', was admitted to the gild in 1428–9, (fn. 53) John Fyscher, 'Ulemaker' (a tenant of the gild in Swine St.), in 1438–9, (fn. 54) and John Rotherford, 'Ylymaker', in 1469–70. (fn. 55) Robert son of Walter Huberd of Stratford, 'Ulemaker', made a grant of land in Rother Street in 1435. (fn. 56) In the middle of the 15th century the mill in Swine Street was in the possession of William Bole, or Bull (fn. 57) (bailiff 1444–5), and afterwards of Margaret his widow. (fn. 58) It is last mentioned, as a malt mill, in 1599. (fn. 59)
Stratford was 'reasonably well buylded of tymbar' in Leland's time. (fn. 60) But most of the timbered houses for which it is now so famous date only from the rebuilding after three disastrous fires which ravaged the town in 1594, 1595, and 1614. The fire of 22 Sept. 1594 consumed a great part of the west side of Chapel Street and of High Street, Wood Street, and Henley Street. In the second fire, on 21 Sept. 1595, most of the damage was confined to a single large block in the centre of the town bounded by the north side of Sheep Street, the east side of High Street, and the south side of Bridge Street. (fn. 61) These two conflagrations were said to have destroyed 200 dwelling-houses and caused £12,000 of damage. (fn. 62) In 1598 the Corporation, supported by the neighbouring gentry, petitioned the Lord Treasurer that the town might be relieved from subsidies and taxes owing to the distress which the fires had caused. (fn. 63) The fire of 9 July 1614 destroyed 54 houses and caused a further £8,000 worth of damage in less than two hours. (fn. 64) There was another serious outbreak, in which the damage was estimated at £20,000, on 10 March 1641. (fn. 65) It was alleged that all the fires 'had their beginninges in poore Tenements and Cottages wch were thatched wth Strawe, of which Sort very many have byn lately erected there'. (fn. 66) The order that all houses should be roofed with tiles was in force as early as 1583. (fn. 67) A survey of corporation property in 1599 shows that while most of the houses in the main streets were tiled the barns and outbuildings attached to them were very frequently thatched, (fn. 68) and the danger of fire was increased by the practice of converting these premises into dwelling-houses for strangers and 'inmates'. The large number of malthouses in the borough constituted a further danger. (fn. 69) Immediately after the fire of 1614 it was resolved to petition the Lord Chief Justice for some additional power to restrain the use of thatch, (fn. 70) and in 1619 the corporation obtained an Order of the Privy Council (fn. 71) in virtue of which three persons were summoned to London in 1620 to answer for their refusal to change their thatch for tiles. (fn. 72) Presentments against thatched buildings continued to be made down to 1665. (fn. 73)
Before 1684 the principal means of dealing with fires were the leathern buckets which members of the corporation and the wealthier inhabitants were required to provide. (fn. 74) The obligation was very imperfectly fulfilled, for only three weeks before the fire of 1614 three-quarters of the corporation had none at all. (fn. 75) The first fire-engine in Stratford was made by the wellknown Warwick ironworker, Nicholas Paris, in 1684. (fn. 76) A second engine was added in 1694, (fn. 77) the year of the great fire of Warwick, which prompted the corporation also to enforce the obsolete order regarding fire buckets; (fn. 78) and this was again revived in 1731. (fn. 79)
The first recorded use of brick at Stratford is at New Place, 'a praty howse of brike and tymbar' (fn. 80) built by Hugh Clopton during the last quarter of the 15th century. Brick did not become common, however, except for chimneys, until the early 1670's and then, it seems, as a result of the various schemes of development connected with the navigation of the Avon. Two of the earliest brick houses in the town, the Swan's Nest Hotel and No. 5 Chapel Street, were both built in or about 1673, and the bricks for the former are known to have been made on the site. (fn. 81) About the same time a part of Bridge Street was also being rebuilt in brick. (fn. 82) The fashion of brick-fronting the timbered houses in the main streets had certainly come in by the beginning of the 18th century, and by 1730 a number of houses in High Street had been treated in this way. (fn. 83) A great part of Henley Street was rebuilt or refronted c. 1750–80. Here the new 'White Lion', built in 1753, set the fashion, which, so far as the corporation property was concerned, was probably due to a desire to improve the appearance of the increasingly busy main road through the town to Birmingham. (fn. 84) Much of the early-19th-century brickwork in Stratford, especially in the smaller houses, displays a chequer pattern of dull red and yellow bricks and is a local type probably to be associated with Thomas and William Heming, the latter of whom was appointed surveyor to the corporation in 1812. (fn. 85)
The town seems to have grown but little between Shakespeare's time and the beginning of the 19th century. The figure of 217 houses in the survey of 1590 may be compared with the Hearth Tax Returns 1662–74, in which the number of liable houses varies between 199 and 231: while the total number of houses in the two most complete returns, those of 1663 and 1670, is respectively 421 and 429, agreeing very closely with Thomas's estimate of 420 houses in the borough in 1730. (fn. 86) The earliest plan of Stratford, made by Samuel Winter (fn. 87) about the middle of the 18th century, shows much the same concentration of houses as the 1590 survey. A plan by Saunders, (fn. 88) dated 1802, is almost identical with Winter's, but Swanwick's plan, c. 1830, (fn. 89) shows the beginnings of expansion beyond the borough limits. This was made possible on the north by the inclosure of 1775, on the west by the Shottery inclosure of 1786, and on the south by the demolition of the College in 1797. The first and most considerable development took place on the north side, beyond the Gild Pits. Here John Payton of the 'White Lion' laid out John Street, Payton Street, and other streets on land allotted to him in the inclosure. The completion of the canal in 1816 greatly enhanced the importance of this colony, which is marked by Swanwick as the New Town. (fn. 90) Direct communication with the centre of the old town was made by the cutting of Union Street through the hitherto continuous north side of Bridge Street and Henley Street in 1830. (fn. 91) At the same time a new semi-industrial area was developing along the Birmingham road, and the 1830's saw the growth of a residential suburb along the Warwick road, though here expansion was limited, as it still is, by the Welcombe estate. (fn. 92) To the west of the town the process was much slower, and though the laying-out of Mansell Street, originally a foot-path into the common fields, was contemplated in 1834 (fn. 93) it was not effected until 1877. College Street was already cut across the old College grounds by 1830 and the small streets on the south side of College Lane were in process of being laid out.
The first record of the division of the borough into wards occurs in a corporation rental of 1573. (fn. 94) There were then eight wards, namely, Church Street; Chapel Street and Chapel Lane; Sheep Street and the Bancroft; High Street; Ely Street, Rother Street, and Greenhill Street; Wood Street; Henley Street; and Bridge Street. (fn. 95) The same divisions also occur in a rental of 1560. (fn. 96) By 1592 the wards had been reduced to six—High Street; Church and Chapel Street; Sheep Street; Wood Street; Bridge Street; and Henley Street (fn. 97)—which continued until after the Act of 1879. The reorganization seems to have been connected with the appointment of Headboroughs to control the admission of strangers into the town.
The crossing of the Avon, from which Stratford takes its name, has been of importance ever since Roman times. The first mention of a bridge here occurs in 1235, when John son of John de Clifford confirmed a grant made by Alice his mother to William, brother of Richard the Bridge Keeper, of the house on the bridge held by William Askestel. (fn. 98) It is referred to as the Great Bridge in 1269. (fn. 99) In 1363 William de Buntanesdale and William del Cley obtained a grant of pontage for three years for the repair of the bridge, which was broken down. (fn. 100) At the south end of the bridge was a chapel of St. Mary Magdalen, and a hermitage, probably on the site of the present Swan's Nest Hotel. (fn. 101) According to Dugdale, the hermitage was endowed by the Powers of Clifford with land for the repair of the bridge and these grants were confirmed by Thomas Power when he constituted John Rawlyn to be hermit in 1444. (fn. 102)
The original structure, said by Leland to have been 'but a poore Bridge of Timber, and no causey to come to it', 'very smaulle and ille, and at hygh waters very harde to passe by', (fn. 103) made way for the present stone bridge, which was built by Hugh Clopton, a native of Stratford and Lord Mayor of London, early in the reign of Henry VII. It consists of fourteen segmentalpointed arches; on the north-east side the cutwaters have been retained to support the arches of the widening made in 1814, but on the south-west side only slight traces of them are visible. The parapets are modern. There were originally five more arches on the north side which carried the causeway leading into the town. Two arches of the bridge were rebuilt in 1524 (fn. 104) and both ends of it were broken down in the great flood of 1588. (fn. 105) During the Civil War one arch was broken down by the Parliamentary forces and remained derelict until it was rebuilt, by Thomas Sargenson, mason, of Coventry, in 1651. (fn. 106) The broken arch was probably the second from the south end and is still referred to as the 'Broken Bridge' in the 18th century. (fn. 107) On the site of the present toll house a flight of steps formerly led down into the Bancroft, and on the north-east parapet stood a pillar recording the erection of the bridge by Hugh Clopton. (fn. 108) The original parapets, said to have been, in places, no more than 4 or 5 inches high, were raised in 1696. (fn. 109)
The liability for the upkeep of the bridge in the 16th century is somewhat obscure. Hugh Clopton is said to have died before he could carry out his intention of settling property on trustees for the purpose. (fn. 110) In 1547 (fn. 111) and in the preamble to the charter of 1553 the gild is said to have been responsible for maintaining it, and when the gild was dissolved an annual rent of £3 6s. 8d. towards the repair of the bridge was granted out of the gild estates to the corporation. (fn. 112) The records of the Bridge Wardens are extant for 1524–62. Four wardens seem originally to have been chosen each year, though from 1539 onwards two is the invariable number. Part of their income was derived from small grants of property made by various donors, (fn. 113) but the principal source was the annual Bridge Ale. The repair of the bridge in the early 16th century generally involved no great outlay and in many years the greater part of the funds was spent on the various other functions for which the wardens were responsible: the annual pageant of St. George and the Dragon, which, though apparently suppressed after 1547, was temporarily revived during the reign of Mary, (fn. 114) the maintenance of St. George's altar in the church, (fn. 115) and the salary, 10s. a year, paid to the keeper of the clocks at the Gild Chapel and the Market Cross. Payments for the chapel occur frequently in their accounts, including a contribution of £3 towards the recasting of the great bell in 1548. (fn. 116)
By 1616 the corporation had assumed responsibility for the bridge, and two of the aldermen were chosen as bridge wardens. (fn. 117) The 'Bridge Rents', which are first separately classified in the rent roll in 1597, came to 17s. 9½d. (fn. 118) But in 1637 they complained that repairs to the bridge had in one year cost £60. (fn. 119) Hence when the broken arch was rebuilt in 1651 at a cost of £70, £50 was borne, without prejudice, by the county and after a long dispute the remaining £20 seems eventually to have been recovered by a general levy on the inhabitants of Stratford. (fn. 120) By the end of the 18th century the increasing traffic along the turnpike roads made it necessary for the bridge to be widened, and under an Act of 1812 vesting the property of the bridge in a body of commissioners (fn. 121) the bridge was repaired and widened and the toll house built in 1814. (fn. 122) A second Act, conferring on the commissioners rather wider powers, especially in the demolition of property to widen the approaches to the bridge, was passed in 1826 (fn. 123) and in the course of further alterations the present castiron footway, the work of Smith and Hawkes of the Eagle Foundry, Birmingham, was added to the northeast side of the bridge in 1827. (fn. 124) The commissioners continued in existence until 1879, when by the Stratford-upon-Avon Borough Act the corporation resumed its liability for repairing the bridge, the charges being met out of a separate Bridge Trust Fund. (fn. 125)
Below the mill is a concrete foot-bridge erected in 1934; but a stone let into one of the side piers records the existence of a bridge on the site in 1599. In 1615 the corporation undertook to keep the Mill Bridge in repair for the future on account of its frequent use by people coming to the market, (fn. 126) and in 1674 they contracted with William Bradford of the Bear in Bridgetown to rebuild it for £40. (fn. 127) The old bridge was apparently a wooden structure of seven 'arches' resting on stone piers. (fn. 128) It was rebuilt in 1812 and in 1827 the passage was widened by the removal of one pier at the request of the Avon Navigation Company, so as to allow the barges to pass through. (fn. 129) It was again rebuilt in 1867.
High Street. Some of the houses refaced with brick or plaster in the 18th and 19th centuries have since been stripped, revealing the ancient framing, and have been restored, at least in the upper stories, to something approaching their original appearance. In all but two the lowest stories have modern shop-fronts, with beams to indicate the formerly jettied first floors. Some of the refronted buildings, not mentioned individually below, are said to retain their wall-framing and ceiling-beams. Apparently none of the buildings antedates the great fire of 1595.
East side, north to south. The house, now Nos. 17 and 18, is of three stories and attics, the third story being jettied, and has three gables. The front is of close-set studding. The upper ceilings have chamfered beams and exposed ceiling-joists, and the south room on the first floor is lined with late-16th-century panelling. At the back is an original brick chimney-stack with pilastered shafts. The house, now Nos. 19 and 20, is similar but has no gables. The large windows have been restored, but the second story retains the small original lights that flank the main windows. The framing of the walls and ceilings is exposed internally and there are plain stone fire-places. At the back are gabled extensions of square framing and a two-storied wing, of similar framing, containing the kitchen, &c. No. 21 is like the others and has two gables.
West side, north to south. No. 36 has a brick front which was added in 1729 and built up to the existing fronts of the houses adjoining it on the south side. (fn. 130) The side walls inside show close studding and the ceilings have massive wide flat joists. The house is two rooms deep, and at the back of the shop is an original wide stone fire-place with moulded jambs and fourcentred arch, a moulded shelf, and recessed overmantel. The walls were covered with colour decoration, of which one small patch of foliage design is preserved.
No. 30 has been stripped to reveal the original oak framing and has been partly restored. The second story has two modern projecting windows; the framing flanking these is of herring-bone pattern, while below them is a range of close-set vertical studding. The third story is jettied and has two truncated gables. The cambered bressummers to the gables are carved in relief with snaky monsters. The tips of the gables were destroyed and the spaces between them filled in with later framing. The shop and rooms above have wide flat ceiling-joists.
Harvard House, No. 26, bears the date 1596 and the initials TR (for Thomas Rogers, the builder) and AR (Anne, his wife). It is of one bay of about 16 ft. and of three stories, each of the upper stories being jettied, and has a gable-head; the front is of framing in rectangular panels and is the most lavishly carved construction in the town. The foundations are of stone. The lowest story, with an arched doorway and a window of five lights, is nearly all restored, but the side posts are ancient and have carved brackets under the overhang, the northern with a bull's head and a defaced human head, the southern with an upright animal, apparently intended for the bear and ragged staff of Warwick. The bressummer of the second story is stop-moulded and carved with running foliage and flowers. All the timbers are moulded, the plaster panels being sunk, and are carved in low relief with various patterns; those under the window have fleurs-de-lis, and at the intersections are cartouches with the initials and date mentioned. The window of five lights and a transom, largely restored, projects on four enriched brackets of console form. The bressummer of the third story is supported on end brackets carved with lions' masks and foliage. The timbers round the window have raised fleurs-de-lis, with roses at the intersections. The panels in the apex have quadrant braces. The projecting window, also mostly renewed, is supported by five brackets carved with semi-grotesque human masks. The barge-boards have a lozengy pattern. Above the roof are two chimney-shafts of brick with V-shaped pilasters. The interior side-walls show close-set studding, and the ceilings are open-timbered. The original plan appears to have been only two rooms deep divided by a great chimney-stack and staircase. These have been entirely removed on the ground floor to make one large chamber. A later third bay at the back contains a staircase of c. 1630–40 with turned balusters. The front room on the first floor retains its fire-place with a threecentred arch and has a plastered overmantel of three bays with shields bearing a fleur-de-lis, a lion, and a rose respectively. This room is lined with panelling c. 1600, having a fluted frieze. The room above preserves some remains of the original wall-painting, consisting of three tiers of imitation panelling in red lines. The sloping ceilings show straight wind-braces below the purlins. In the house, among other pieces of period furniture is a frame containing quarries of transparent horn painted with columbines, daffodils, primroses, and holly leaves, said to be indigenous.
The Garrick Inn, No. 25, next south, is of about the same date. It has been an inn since early in the 18th century and was originally known as the 'Reindeer'. (fn. 131) The present name first occurs in 1795. (fn. 132) The house is of three stories, the upper two jettied, and of two bays of about 9 ft. with gable-heads. The brickwork facing was removed in 1912, and some original framing formed the basis for a complete restoration of the front. All the framing to the upper stories is a series of square panels with foiled quadrant braces; only the end panels are ancient. Inside, the walls are of close-set original studding and the ceilings are open-timbered.
'The Tudor House', Nos. 23 and 24, at the corner of Ely Street, was also stripped, in 1903, of plaster facing to reveal the original framing. It was the residence of the Woolmer family from the reign of Elizabeth until that of George II. (fn. 133) It is of three stories, the upper two overhanging on moulded bressummers. The lowest story has entirely modern shop-fronts, but at the corner a post carrying the projecting end of the dragon-beam is carved with a quasi-Ionic capital and other ornament and a human mask. The second story has modern windows; below them is close-set studding; between them are square panels containing alternating straight braces to form saltire patterns. The third story had two gables on each front originally, but they were subsequently truncated and the spaces between them filled in; the lower panels have S pieces in them. The interior has exposed beams and framing, but a great central chimney-stack of stone has been closed round and the stack above abolished. Below the northern part is a stone cellar.
Chapel Street, the southern continuation of the High Street, contains several interesting buildings. The Town Hall, built in 1767, stands at the corner of Sheep Street on the site of a house which in 1496 belonged to Hugh Clopton. (fn. 134) In 1626 Thomas Walker sold his house here to the corporation for the erection of a Market House. (fn. 135) The first Market House was begun by John Page of Campden, mason, owner of Westington Quarries, in 1634. (fn. 136) When the Parliamentary forces captured Stratford in 1643 the Market House was wrecked by an explosion. 'At our entry into the Towne', says the contemporary pamphleteer, 'Captaine William Bridges found in the Hall 3 Barrells of powder, which within an houre after blew up the town house, which wounded Captain Hunt, but slew none. No doubt designed to have surprized my Lord [Brooke] and all his chiefs, presuming they would have to be in councill there.' (fn. 137) After this disaster, which may well have been mere accident, the building remained derelict for some years. A subscription to repair the Market House was set on foot in 1653, (fn. 138) and the actual rebuilding was probably completed by 1661, (fn. 139) when 'the room under the market house' was let to Michael Johnsons and John Wolmer, Junior, 'for the 2 next Fayre daies for the sellinge of hopps and Wickyarne': (fn. 140) but the windows were not glazed until 1663 (fn. 141) and the staircase was still unfinished a year later. (fn. 142) In 1713 the use of the Market House was granted to the mayor for the time being (fn. 143) and the only public uses to which the upper room appears to have been put in the early 18th century were corporation dinners and the occasional performances of strolling players.
This Market House was pulled down to make way for the present Town Hall in 1767. A sketch by Saunders, taken no doubt from a contemporary picture, shows it as a two-storied, colonnaded building with five round or segmental arches facing Chapel Street and three facing Sheep Street, and a cupola surmounting the roof. The sixth and southernmost bay on the Chapel Street side is apparently a lock-up; no doubt 'ye roome under ye Market House Stayres' which was ordered to be converted into a jail in 1704. (fn. 144) A cylindrical column, about 10 ft. high, which stands in New Place Gardens, may well have been originally a part of John Page's building.
The present Town Hall was built by Robert New man of Whittington, Gloucestershire, builder and mason, in 1767. (fn. 145) It is of Cotswold stone, in the Classic style. The lower story had open arches, which were filled in and fenestrated in 1863. The upper story has two north windows, between which is a niche with a statue of Shakespeare which was given by Garrick in 1769. The west elevation, to Chapel Street, has five windows, the middle with a curved pediment, and above is a large pediment with the borough arms and the date, 1767. The main lower room is the Court Room and contains a list of the bailiffs from 1553. The fine upper chamber is the Ball Room; in it are painted portraits of Garrick by Gainsborough, Queen Anne by Thomas Murray, Shakespeare in his study by Barry Wilson, and the 3rd Duke of Dorset after Reynolds. At the back is a good 18th-century staircase and other smaller chambers. At the Jubilee in 1769 Garrick dedicated the Hall in memory of Shakespeare and it is frequently referred to as the Shakespeare Hall until about 1830. It was first used for meetings of the corporation in 1843.
The Shakespeare Hotel, next south, consists of two ancient buildings. The northern, about 60 ft. long, was owned by the Reynolds family in Shakespeare's time (fn. 146) and is probably of early-16th-century origin. It seems to have escaped the great fire of 1595, but was probably damaged when the Market Hall was blown up in 1643 and was later refronted with plastered brickwork. This has been removed and the front rebuilt to harmonize with the southern half of the hotel. It is of three stories and has four gables, two of them jettied. The entrance-hall and chamber to the south of it have early-16th-century moulded ceiling beams; the chamber to the north (part of the lounge) has plainer beams but the joists have their soffits unusually treated with linenfold ornament. This chamber has a wide fire-place with oak side-posts and lintel.
The south half of the hotel, known locally as the 'Five Gables', is of five approximately 12-ft. bays and of three stories, the upper two jettied. It dates probably from early in the 17th century. The front is of close-set studding. Only a little of it remains in the lowest story, which has four modern bay-windows. The five large windows of the second story have been altered, but the short windows flanking their heads have original moulded mullions. Much of the framing is exposed internally. The plan appears to have been of half-H shape, with the two lower wings at the back now more or less absorbed in later enlargements. At the junction of the south wing with the main block is an original chimney-stack with wide stone fire-places and a plain square shaft. Another farther behind has three diagonal shafts of the 17th century. The ceiling beams are plain; and there is some early-17th-century panelling.
Nash's House, now the New Place Museum, is commonly attributed to the 15th century, but retains no distinctive detail of that century. It is a timberframed building of two 12½-ft. bays that had been refronted with brickwork, since removed. It is of three stories, the upper jettied, with eaves towards the street, and is gabled at the south end. On the gable are traces where the lower gabled roof of the house on the site of New Place abutted it. The interior has open-timbered ceilings with stop-chamfered beams and plain joists. At the back of the front block is a 16th-century stone chimney-stack with a 7-ft. fire-place of brick with an oak lintel; above the roof it is of lias stone and has two diagonal shafts of brick. Extending behind about 50 ft. and 20 ft. wide is a two-storied wing of square framing of the 17th century. This has a chimney-stack at its west end with a 7½-ft. brick fire-place, back to back with the other but with a passage-way, to the garden doorway, between the two. On the north side of these is a staircase of c. 1630–40 with twisted balusters. A small Tudor fire-place of stone at the east end has probably been introduced from elsewhere: the chimney-stack is modern. Two iron firebacks are dated 1585 and 1618.
On the site of New Place, next south, are some brick foundations and cellar walls with segmental vaulting, and a well in the middle. (fn. 147)
The Falcon Hotel, at the corner of Scholars Lane, is a timber-framed house with nearly 100-ft. frontage to the street and dating perhaps from the end of the 15th century. As the Falcon Inn it was in the occupation of Joseph Phillips in 1662 (fn. 148) and he may have inherited it from his father-in-law John Spires, who is mentioned as an inn-holder in 1646. (fn. 149) The original building was of two stories, the upper overhanging both in front and at the south end, with walls of close vertical timbers; the top story was added about 1645 and is of thin vertical timbers and struts. The whole was coated with plaster until recently; this has now been stripped and the building restored. The entrance in the south half had a moulded frame, but this has been mutilated and reduced to a narrower doorway. The upper story has eight windows on the street front, all altered, but the three in the south half have the original short wing-windows of three lights flanking them, with moulded mullions; those in the north half were apparently similar. The south half has heavy plain timbers in the ceilings, including dragon-beams at the south end. Midway in the length is a great central chimney-stack with a 12-ft. wide fire-place having an oak lintel; above the roof are three diagonal square shafts. The chamber with this fire-place is lined with late-16th-century and later panelling. The southern chamber (the Lounge) has a similar chimneystack of stone and similar panelling, which is said to have come from the former New Place. There is a middle wing at the back, of 17th-century framing and having an old chimney-stack; and extending westwards at the south end, along Scholars Lane, is another long range of two stories, formerly the stables of the 17th century but now converted into the Dining Room, with bedrooms above, showing the roof timbers.
No. 5, farther north, is a brick building with the inscription C / EA 1673. (fn. 150) The front, above the modern shops, is divided into four bays by brick pilasters with moulded capitals, and the roof has a wooden eaves cornice.
The Grammar School, formerly the Gild House, is a two-storied building of L-shaped plan, built in 1473, and was used for meetings of the corporation down to 1842. (fn. 151) The main range, facing the street, is of five 14-ft. bays. The lower story was the Gild Hall and is about 18½ ft. wide: the upper story, the Over Hall of the gild, is about 22ft. wide, being jettied on both east and west sides. This, from the appearance of the roof-trusses, seems to have been originally divided into three chambers, the northernmost of three bays. The range was lengthened northwards in the 19th century to fill up the space between it and the tower of the Chapel. The wing projects eastwards from the south end; it is of two 11-ft. bays and about 16 ft. wide. The lower chamber, now the school 'Armoury', was the Gild Council Chamber. The upper chamber is a class-room. In the angle formed by the two is a modern stair-hall. Adjoining the south side of the wing is another lower wing formerly the Schoolmaster's lodging, (fn. 152) now part of the Almshouses.
The walls of the long range are of close-set studding with curved struts against the south angle-posts. The main posts of the lower story have square pilasters on the outer faces and carry curved brackets below the overhang. The northernmost half-bay forms a modern through-passage to the courtyard, but mortices for the original studs show in the soffits of the entrances. North of this is the modern extension containing the porter's lodge, &c. From the passage is a modern doorway into the lower hall. The lower windows in the west wall are of five lights with diamond-shaped mullions: all are modern. In the east wall four half-bays have ancient windows of the same type but of the full width of the half-bay and of seven or eight lights. The eighth half-bay has the modern entrance from the stairhall, but the lights above the doorway have old mullions. South of it is the doorway into the wing, retaining remains of the original posts and lintel showing the tip of the ogee arch: on the north post is some colour decoration, zigzag lines in red, black, and white and, on the wall plate above, scroll ornament. The south end-wall shows the old timbers and a former window of four lights, blocked when the almshouses were lengthened to cover it. On the plaster between the studs are remains of 15th-century paintings of nimbed saints, some diaper ornament, and the Royal Arms, France quartering England. The ceiling has doublechamfered cross-beams dividing the five bays, supported by curved brackets, and is divided down the middle by a 15th-century moulded beam.
The 'Over Hall' has five west windows, mostly of four lights, all restored, and on the east are three smaller windows. Near the south end is an original doorway into the south-east wing; it has an ogee arch cut into the faces of the lintel. Four roof-trusses divide the bays. The northernmost has a double-chamfered tie-beam with curved braces from the shaped posts, king- and queenposts, collar-beam, and over the last sloping struts; in the second truss the tie-beam is more highly cambered. The third and fourth have plain tie-beams, and squareframing above with grooves for former plaster infilling.
The Armoury in the wing has a chimney-stack on its south side. On the plastered chimney-breast and stone lintel are painted the Stuart Royal Arms. Part of the dado is of 17th-century panelling. The chamber above has a middle roof-truss with a cambered tie-beam and queen-posts. A ceiling was inserted, c. 1500, with moulded transverse and longitudinal ribs or beams, and wall-plates: these are left in place but the boarding has been removed. Over the doorway from the long hall are remains of ancient painted Tudor roses. The walls of the wing are of vertical timbers, less close than those of the long range.
On the east side of the 'Chapel' courtyard, opposite the south-east wing, is the former 'Pedagogue's House', now schoolrooms, built like the wing about 1428 and of similar construction but partly restored. It has a later west stair-wing and east chimney-stack.
Adjoining north of it is the former Priest's House or 'Vicarage', now also schoolrooms, of late-17th-century red brick, with tall windows and a stone string-course at the first-floor level. Behind (east of it) is a later parallel wing.
The Almshouses, south of the grammar school, were probably built c. 1427 but altered and perhaps enlarged in the 16th century and later. The northernmost bay is obviously a later filling-in of the space between the original end-wall and the end of the grammar school (about 15 ft.) and the front is slightly askew with that of the rest of the building. The original structure is of ten 15-ft. bays, and about 16½ ft. wide on the ground floor. The building is of two stories, the upper jettied on the street front, and of close-set studding; the main posts have flat pilasters with caps and bases, carrying the curved brackets to the overhang. The bressummer of the upper story bears traces of moulding. Most of the windows and doorways to the lower story (the men's lodgings) are restored, but there is an original wide doorway to a cross-passage leading to the rear courtyard. It has moulded posts and four-centred head with spandrels carved with foliage and rosettes. The upper windows are also restored: three of them are wide oriels on brackets. The framing of the back wall is square-panelled. Against it is a modern corridor with steps to the upper story, where there are arched doorways to the women's quarters. The lower rooms have open-timbered ceilings; the upper rooms are open to the collar-beams of the roof and show trusses with braced tie-beams and sloping queen-posts.
No. 16, opposite the grammar school, is a threestoried building of c. 1600. It was the residence of the Hunt family, who for five generations held the office of Town Clerk. The pseudo-gothic, ogee-headed windows were inserted by William Hunt in 1768, the date appearing on a rainwater head at the back of the house. A drawing by Wheler, made in 1800, (fn. 153) shows them incongruously set in a pilastered front with a heavy cornice between the second and third stories; the present plastered front and embattled parapet were added early in the 19th century. The gabled north end and parallel gabled wings behind are of plain vertical timber-framing.
Farther south is Mason Croft, (fn. 154) an early-18thcentury house of red brick with rusticated stone angles, a stone doorway, and brick-arched sash windows. The eaves cornice is of wood with modillions.
Ely Street, formerly Swine Street, runs westward from the south end of High Street to Rother Street. It consists mostly of small two-storied houses with 18thcentury and later brick fronts. Several of them have older timber-framing internally and showing on the end gables. One on the north side, no. 50, preserves its 17th-century square framing in the front and has an old chimney-stack. At no. 27, a square-framed house at the corner of Rother Street, lived John Jordan, the local poet and wheelwright, (fn. 155) and no. 29 next also shows framing in front.
Sheep Street runs from Ely Street eastwards to the Waterside. It was a residential quarter in the 16th century, but none of its buildings is earlier than the fire of 1595. On the north side is 'Bancroft House', next west of the Post Officer, a low building of two stories and attics almost completely of 17th-century rectangular framing, but much restored. 'Sidney Court' (nos. 42 and 43), east of the Post Office, is a taller house of two stories and attics, and of two 16-ft. bays with gableheads to the street front. The upper story is jettied and of close-set studding. The two large windows of the first floor are restored, but the smaller wingwindows flanking their heads date from c. 1600. No. 40, farther east, is of two stories, the upper, a lofty one, being jettied on shaped brackets. The lower story is of substantial close-set studding on modern high stone foundations: the upper is of more widely spaced thin vertical timbers, and was rebuilt after the fire of 1614. (fn. 156) Each story has a splayed bay-window, the upper overhanging the other, and both windows preserve parts of the original moulded posts and mullions. The front is of three irregular bays; the eastern bay, of about 11 ft., is a wide gateway which has been heightened for the passage of coaches. A long two-storied wing of framing, described as 'newe built' in 1599, (fn. 157) extends to the rear west of the courtyard; it has chamfered beams and plain roof trusses with straight struts. Where the wing meets the front block is a good contemporary staircase; it has 6½-in. newels with moulded heads, and 4-in. flat silhouette balusters.
At the east end of the north side of the street is a low building adjoining the Wheatsheaf Inn, Waterside; its walls are rough-casted, but a small gabled wing projecting towards the street has close-set studding to the upper story.
On the south side No. 2 (the offices of the Town Clerk) has close studding in the jettied upper story; no. 4 has a brick front with a modern bay of timberframing and has an inscription claiming to date from 1490, restored in 1910. Nos. 10, 11, and 12 is a building about 70 ft. long, of two stories; the easternmost bay of 18 ft. has a jettied and gabled upper story of square framing; in it is a projecting window retaining the 17th-century moulded sill on a shaped bracket, and flanked by original wing-lights: the moulded bargeboards are also ancient.
The White Swan Hotel was known as the King's House or Hall in 1560, when it was owned by Robert Perrott, the brewer, and kept as an inn by his brother, William; it was later called the King's Head. (fn. 158) It is of about mid-15th-century origin and of half-H-shaped plan, with a hall between two gabled cross-wings, all facing south towards the Rother Market. The hall, of two 14-ft. bays, was later remodelled and faced with twin gables on the south front. The wings had their south fronts brought forward about a yard in advance of the original gabled walls, which were partly destroyed. The building was restored in 1927, when it was taken over by Trust Houses Ltd. Both wings originally had overhanging upper stories in the front. In the west wing notches in the ceiling joists, which are very heavy, laid flatwise, indicate the position of the front wall of the lower story. Some of the original framing on stone foundations remains in the side-walls. Mortices in a cross-beam show that it was divided into two chambers. The doorway from the middle hall has moulded posts and a segmental arch in a square head. This wing, which is narrower than the other, was probably the solar. The upper story was a single chamber of two bays divided by an original truss with a highly cambered tie-beam of two hollow-chamfered orders with curved braces below it forming a fourcentred arch from similar posts: above it is a plain king-post. The gable-head of the original front also exists, with close-set studding above a moulded and embattled tie-beam. The wall-plates are also moulded. In the west wall south of the modern fire-place is a small plastered peep-hole, measuring 12½ in. by 9 in., consisting of two tiny lights and quasi-tracery in a square head. The east wing has similar wide heavy joists in the lower ceiling; and the top-rail of its original front wall has mortices for two windows, each of four lights with diamond-shaped mullions. The west partitionwall has the wall-painting discovered in 1927, extending from the old front wall-post nearly to an original doorway, now blocked, at the north end of the wall. On the east side is a Tudor fire-place of stone with a fourcentred arch; about it is an early-17th-century oak chimney-piece, with three carved and inlaid roundheaded panels in the overmantel. The upper rooms have been modernized, but the roof shows the windbraced purlins. There are 16th-century doorways in the inner side walls of the back parts of both wings. The projecting chimney-stack is of brick, with gathered-in sides and a rectangular shaft.
The wall-paintings show three scenes from the Apocryphal book of Tobit. The larger, (fn. 159) 9 ft. 2 in. long and 3 ft. broad from the ceiling to the lower edge, was probably the reredos of a high-backed settle or a buffet. At the top is a 12-in. frieze. Below this it is divided into four bays by fluted classic shafts. The outer bays are filled with rather coarse foliage and flowers. The second bay, which has a kind of raised curtain like a scene at a theatre, shows Tobit and his wife, wearing hats and black mantles, handing a letter or some other object to Tobias, who wears a doublet and striped trunk hose; behind him is a similar figure representing Raphael, half hidden by the drapery. The second scene represents a city with turrets and pinnacles, and the figures of Tobias and Raphael, apparently accompanied by a dog. Much of this scene is destroyed. The frieze above is bordered and divided into long and short panels; the latter contain flowering plants; the longer have scrolls inscribed in black letter describing the scenes. A wall-post divides this part from the next, which is 2 ft. 5 in. wide, and rises from floor to ceiling, crossing a timber-strut: this scene shows the river Tigris with Tobias and Raphael cutting open the fish: in the foreground is a landscape with trees and in the background the gate and buildings of the walled city; part of the scene is destroyed. The scroll above reads: leap [te] a fpsshe that lookid grabe. But raphel bade tobias ... Some of the lines of the paintings appear to have been strengthened in restoration. The wall-post between them, which formerly had a curved brace at the top, is painted with a shaft with capital and base. The post of the original front wall south of the paintings is treated somewhat similarly and that in the opposite wall has a foliage treatment. The decoration evidently was carried all round the chamber and there are said to be some slight remains behind the oak overmantel.
Wood Street, running westward from the north end of High Street to Rother Market, has several buildings with visible remains of 16th- or 17th-century date. On the north side, Nos. 44 and 45, near the east end, is a 16th-century house of two bays and of three stories, the upper two jettied; these, above modern shop-fronts, have close-set studding. The main posts have pilasters with moulded caps carrying curved brackets under the overhang. The shops have heavy chamfered beams and wide flat joists. No. 46, next east, is a lower building of early-17th-century date. It is of two stories and attics, in one bay, with a gable-head. The upper story, originally jettied, is of plain vertical timbers and retains two small original windows with moulded mullions.
No. 47, next east, is an exceptional building for this town. It is a brick house of one bay and of three stories and attics with a curvilinear or 'Dutch' gable of the late-17th-century. The lowest story has a modern shop-front; the upper floors are marked by stringcourses. The exposed upper part of the west side shows some timber-framing.
On the south side, no. 6, with a brick front, is probably part of the house of twelve bays erected by Abraham Sturley after the fire of 1594. (fn. 160) The shop on the ground floor has an ornate plaster ceiling divided into four compartments by enriched cross-beams. They have patterns of hexagons, diamond, and square panels with moulded ribs, and on three sides is a frieze of zigzag ornament and a crown with the initials IR.
No. 28, at the east corner of Rother Street, is a twostoried house of c. 1540, gabled at the west end. The upper story is jettied on both north and west fronts and is of close-set studding. The shops have opentimbered ceilings, including a dragon-beam at the angle. A later central chimney-stack has a disused stone fire-place with an arched oak lintel; on the chimney-breast are faint traces of the painted letters ER or IR. The upper story has small chamfered ceiling-joists but shows a partition roof-truss with a king-post above the tie-beam. No. 31 Rother Street, part of these premises, also has close-set studding to the jettied upper story.
Masons' Court, a small house, now two tenements, on the west side of Rother Street, is a typical small building of the first half of the 15th century, although it is the only example of its kind preserved in Stratford. It had a middle hall of one 14-ft. bay, open from ground to roof, flanked by solar and buttery wings that had the upper stories jettied in front. The south wing (probably the solar), about 12 ft. wide, is intact, showing curved brackets and the ends of the joists carrying the overhang. The north wing has been underbuilt but retains inside the original top beam of the lower story with the mortices for the former studs and holes for the stakes of the infilling. This wing is of two 13½-ft. bays in front, and the internal evidence indicates that the double width was original. In the north half of the wing a chimney-stack was inserted in the 16th century; it has a wide fire-place and two diagonal shafts of thin bricks. The framing of the walls is in rectangular panels; the upper part of the hall sets back from the jettied wings, and curved braces from the sides of the wings support the eaves-plate or beam, which is in one plane from end to end. The eaves of the hall is coved and contains a tiny projecting window. There was also an upper window of four lights, now shuttered inside and unglazed. The lower part has a restored window with a hanging shutter outside hinged to the sill, and a doorway. A through passage, to the courtyard behind, is cut off the north end of the hall. An upper floor had been inserted, but this has been removed except for a kind of gallery at the back and over the through passage. The south wing has a doorway, and a window with a similar hinged drop-shutter, to the lower story. The north wing has been more altered: a former doorway next the hall is now blocked, the present doorway being near the north end. The north and south elevations are gabled and have (or had) curved braces below the tie-beams. Internally both wings have original wide flat joists to the ceilings, and the middle roof-truss of the north wing has curved braces below the tie-beam, and queen-posts to carry the collar-beam. Some of the curved wind-braces to the purlins also survive. The framing of the side walls of the hall is much plainer and may be partly of later alteration. The lower main room of the north wing retains a little of its 16thcentury wall-paintings. Over the fire-place are the Tudor royal arms in a garter and, on a partition enclosing a staircase in the south-west corner of the room, is some ornament, a zigzag and foliage pattern, &c. Behind this part a taller wing was added about 1600 and the lower room is lined with panelling of that period. Also behind the south wing a low long extension was added later in the 17th century, its lower story being mostly of stone, the upper of framing.
Opposite the last, in Greenhill Street, is a mid-16thcentury house, (fn. 161) 'The Tudor Dairy', with close-set studding to the formerly jettied upper story, and ancient beams to the ceilings.
In Windsor Street, running north from Rother Market, is a row of old cottages, converted out of the old corporation tithe barn, part of the 17th-century framing of which still remains. It was used as a theatre in the 1820's. A house on the west side, opposite the end of Henley Street, has been refronted but shows early-17th-century framing in the gabled north end.
Meer Street, a narrow lane running eastwards from Rother Market to Henley Street, has two buildings, nos. 13 and 14, both restored. The western has closeset studding of the 16th century above the modern shop-front, and the other is of 17th-century squareframing on stone foundations.
The Birthplace (fn. 162) was restored in 1858, having previously suffered much damage and change since the 16th century. It is now of the appearance it presented up to the end of the 18th century, the easternmost bay of the front being gabled and the roof west of it having two tall gabled dormers. Similar gables are shown in a sketch of 1788 (fn. 163) and are thought to have been removed about the year 1800. The lower story is of close-set studding, and the upper story of rectangular panels. The gabled part has a modern oriel window to the upper story, based on the same sketch: on either side of it were small wing-windows of two lights similar to those in the Shakespeare Hotel.
The building was originally two houses, the 'east' and the 'middle' house, each with two rooms on each floor; the west house was destroyed by fire in 1594. The 'middle' house is of L-shaped plan, having a wing at the back. A central chimney-stack with wide fireplaces divides the two houses: there is another at the back of the westernmost room, and a third of stonework projecting from the west side of the back wing. The lower floors are stone-flagged and the ceilings opentimbered, mostly restored; the westernmost room retains some original wide flat joists; the main beams are chamfered. The upper rooms are mostly open to part of the roof, the westernmost particularly having a fine cambered tie-beam. The eastern room of the 'middle' house is exhibited as 'the birth-chamber'; this has a later low ceiling which has been preserved because, like the plaster infilling of the walls, it is covered by the signatures of generations of visitors. The roof above the chamber retains no original features; that of the east house is a plain one with chamfered purlins. The back wing, probably a later 16th-century addition, is of rectangular framing and has been much restored.
The house next east, now an office for the Trust, was Hornby's smithy and house in the time of Shakespeare; it is an early-16th-century building refronted with red brick in the 18th century. One room has a wide fire-place in the back wall and the upper story is divided into three bays by original roof-trusses: these have uneven tie-beams with curved braces under them, queen-posts, and collar-beams.
Farther east another house of about the same period but of better finish forms part of the Public Library. The framed front has a jettied upper story and gablehead towards the street, about 18 ft. wide. All the framing is modern except the projecting ends of the joists supporting the overhang and the west angle-post. The lower story has the original open-timbered ceiling. The upper story is divided into two 12-ft. bays by a queen-post roof-truss that has a cambered tie-beam supported by curved braces forming a four-centred arch below it and springing from pilastered storyposts; the back wall has a nearly similar truss.
No. 1, the residence of William Smith, haberdasher, who may have been Shakespeare's godfather, (fn. 164) is modernized and has a rough-cast front with a plastered moulded eaves-cornice. The ceilings are open-timbered.
The large brick-fronted house of three stories and a blind parapet, now nos. 16, 17, and 18, was formerly the White Lion Inn. It is first mentioned in 1603 (fn. 165) and was adjoined on the east by a smaller inn called the 'Swan'. In 1745 the latter was purchased by John Payton, who also acquired the 'Lion' five years later and rebuilt the whole premises on a greatly enlarged scale. (fn. 166) The work was completed by James Collins of Birmingham, builder, in 1753. (fn. 167) Payton 'brought the house into great vogue' (fn. 168) which continued under his son John; and its reputation as one of the best inns on the Holyhead road must have contributed not a little to the prosperity of the town. Garrick stayed at the 'White Lion' during the Jubilee of 1769 (fn. 169) and George IV, as Prince Regent, visited it when he came to Stratford in 1806. (fn. 170) Its great days came to an end after John Payton the younger sold it to Thomas Arkell in 1823.
Old Town is the street leading from the south end of Church Street to the parish church. On the northeast side of it are Hall's Croft and the Dower House (of the Cloptons) with Avon Croft, both of Elizabethan date.
Hall's Croft is of L-shaped plan. The main block faces approximately west towards the street; the northern portion has the upper story jettied on its three fronts, and contains the entrance hall and a larger chamber north of it, with smaller rooms behind both. The lower story of the front is of close-set studding, the upper of square framing, and it has two gable-heads, perhaps later additions. The entrance contains an original door of four panels with nail-studded moulded frame and muntins. Above it is a modern bay window carried on posts to form a kind of porch below. The southern portion of the front is not jettied but stands forward, flush with the upper story of the north part. It contains the Drawing Room and behind it is the main staircase, forming part of the other wing, with the Dining Room (the former kitchen) east of it. The north elevation has close studding to the lower story and a gable-end to the front range of vertical framing with some geometrical panels in the head. Shaped brackets support the overhang. The back (east) of this northern portion has similar close studding; the jettied upper story is of square framing with curved struts and has two gable-heads.
The ceilings have heavy chamfered beams. The central chimney-stack between the entrance-hall and the south drawing-room has two stone fire-places back to back on each floor. All four have moulded jambs and four-centred arches in square heads. The north room also has a four-centred stone fire-place in its back (east) wall: the upper fire-place is modern. These chimney-stacks have cemented diagonal shafts above the roof. The back wing, with staircase and former kitchen, is of square framing. The former kitchen has a south fire-place 9 ft. wide with stone jambs and arched oak lintel. The staircase has 16th-century newels with tall turned square heads and moulded handrail and later turned balusters. Against the south side of the wing were outbuildings, now altered for other uses, and east of them another small framed wing, gabled on its east side, is entered by a 16th-century door of three long panels with moulded muntins.
'The Dower House', with 'Avon Croft', is of irregular plan, mainly L-shaped, presenting a long low front to the west and a fairly symmetrical south front, which sets back from Southern Lane. The walls are of timber-framing, mostly plastered. The south side, the original principal front, has two gables, between which is a projecting porch-wing with a gabled head; behind it is the principal central chimney-stack of stone with a square group of four diagonal shafts of brick. The west wing, about 100 ft. long, has its upper story carried up into the roof space; the south half, with the present chief entrance to the Dower House, has its upper windows altered to dormers. In the north half is the entrance to Avon Croft. All the windows have modern sash-frames. At the south-west angle is a small projecting square wing of two stories, added probably in the 18th century for powder-closets. The gabled north end and the back wall of Avon Croft are of square framing; this part was probably a 17thcentury extension.
The south central chimney-stack divides the Drawing Room and Dining Room of Dower House. The fire-place to the former is of late-18th-century alteration and the room is lined with 18th-century panelling, painted white. The Dining Room has an original arched stone fire-place: above it is a mantel-board carved with scroll ornament and an overmantel of three deep panels with carved mouldings; the room is lined with late-16th-century panelling with fluted friezes. At its east end a narrower extension has been widened in the lower story by a lean-to addition. North of the Dining Room is a wide corridor, from which rises the main staircase. The stair has square newels decorated with rectangular patterns and having tall pointed finials. The 3-in. balusters are symmetrically turned and the handrails moulded. Another plain staircase also rises east of this and is gabled outside. The room above the Drawing Room has a stone fireplace and a dado of late-16th-century panelling.
Running northwards from the extension to the Dining Room is another short wing with an east gable, showing some close-set studding. It also has two gables on the east side of it, and two of the lower windows have ancient chamfered mullions. The southernmost room of the wing has a wide fire-place, and the stone chimney-stack above has two diagonal shafts of brick. At the north end of the wing is a later one-storied kitchen, and there are lean-to additions on its inner (west) face. The north half of the long wing (Avon Croft) is almost completely modernized inside.
Between Hall's Croft and Avon Croft is another timber-framed building, now known as 'Old Town Croft' but probably the former outbuilding of the Dower House. The principal part of it is the long south block, gabled at its ends and with a jettied upper story. The street front has a pair of wide coach-house doors. On the south side is a projecting porch-wing, probably later. Adjoining the north side is a lower parallel wing with an old nail-studded front-door in a moulded frame.
The William and Mary Hotel, opposite Hall's Croft, is said to date from 1690. It is of two stories and attics built of red brick and having a wooden cornice enriched with modillions. The stone entrance doorway has a round head, entablature, and cresting. The windows are tall and narrow, with stone key-blocks in the square heads and with brick aprons.
The Old Croft School farther north is an early-18thcentury house of rough-casted brick with a wooden cornice enriched with brackets. It has an entrance with a portico, and sash windows. This house was occupied during the summer of 1769 by George Garrick, brother of the famous actor, who came down to direct the preparations for the Jubilee. (fn. 171) It was afterwards the residence of the local antiquary, Captain James Saunders. (fn. 172)
In Southern Lane and Waterside are several old buildings, including a 16th-century timber-framed barn, now put to other uses. The Black Swan Inn is an ancient timber-framed house with a modern front. Adjoining it, perhaps part of a larger building originally, is a tall stone-fronted house of c. 1660 of one bay; it is of three stories and is gabled. The outer edges have projecting pilasters reaching to the parapets and having moulded capitals. The first floor has two rectangular windows with moulded architraves. The side walls are of brick.
The Swan's Nest Hotel on the west side of the Banbury Road, near the foot of Clopton Bridge, is a late-17th-century building of red brick with rusticated stone angle-dressings. The rectangular windows are of brick with key-stones in the heads. The east front has a projecting middle feature in which is the stone entrance. The house belonged to the Cloptons and has been in use as an inn at least since 1662, its original name being the 'Bear'. (fn. 173) The old house, of which traces still remain in the timber-framing visible on one of the staircases, was enlarged by Sir John Clopton in 1673, as part of the scheme for developing the navigation of the Avon. (fn. 174) After a period of use as a warehouse it was reopened as 'The Shoulder of Mutton'. (fn. 175) The present name is quite modern.
The Manor House has recently been enlarged. The old part of it is a rectangular building of stone, about 25 yds. by 8 yds., and facing west. The lower part of it is of Arden sandstone ashlar and has a chamfered plinth, stepped up for some reason at the north end. It is possible that this part dates from the 14th century and was a tithe barn or a like building of the period when the manor was held by Evesham Abbey, but there are no windows or doorways of this period. There are (or were) ground- and first-floor windows, of not earlier insertion than 1660, in two equally spaced ranges of ten square-headed rather tall and narrow openings with lintels and key-blocks, all fitted with wooden frames having transoms and middle mullions. Some have been blocked, others in the south half have been replaced by two bay-windows. Between the windows the wall is of good ashlar, but between the heads of the lower and the sills of the upper it is of later lias rubble, obliterating any remains of earlier windows or loop-lights. At the angles are ancient dressings all the way up. In the doorway is an old nailstudded door. The gabled north end has no piercing, but the gable-head is of old close-set studding. The south end, remodelled in the 18th century, has a dormer window in the west front.
The northern two-thirds of the building has a fine hammer-beam roof of four 12-ft. bays, open to the upper story, probably of the 15th century, when the manor was held by the Harewells of Wootton Wawen. (fn. 176) The moulded hammer-beams are supported by wallposts and curved braces. On them are reverse curved struts to the principals, and vertical upper side-posts, with curved braces that do not meet in the middle below the collar-beams. On each side are two purlins supported by curved wind-braces. The roof would be more suitable for a great hall than a tithe barn, and the building was clearly residential in the 16th century, when the central chimney-stack was built and the upper floor inserted. The chimney-stack has wide fire-places with oak bressummers; above the southern is a plastered overmantel, with side pilasters and ribwork forming three shield-shaped panels: the outer panels enclose pendant branches of Tudor roses: the middle panel contains a shield bearing the arms of Harewell. (fn. 177) The chamber with this fire-place is the entrance-hall and has a panelled plaster ceiling, except over the modern stair, contemporary with the overmantel. North of the chimney-stack is the Dining Room, with chamfered beams and lined with panelling of c. 1640. North-east of the house is a square pigeonhouse of rough Wilmcote stone with much mortar. It had vertical strips or pilasters of tile or brick facing, now mostly fallen away; the masonry was faced with roughcast cement. The pyramidal tiled roof has a new lantern.
In the village, to the north of the Manor House, are about ten cottages, all showing remains of timberframing of the 16th or 17th century and all more or less renovated. Six have thatched roofs, the others are tiled.
'Ann Hathaway's Cottage' stands to the west of the main village. (fn. 178) It is of rectangular plan, about 80 ft. by 17 ft., and faces nearly south. The walls, except at the east end, are wholly of timber-framing, and are taller in the two western bays than the remainder. The roofs are thatched. The building is of two or three periods. The lower part dates from the 15th century or earlier and had a hall-place of two 12-ft. bays and a 15-ft. east wing of two stories. Between the two the truss has a pair of curved crucks from ground to roofridge, one of the earliest forms of timber-framing in the country. There is another west of the hall-place, and there were probably others removed for the later chimney-stacks. The side walls of the hall-place are of vertical timbers with irregular horizontal pieces. Those of the wing are of regular square panels. Both these and the east half of the hall-place have long struts, east of the trusses, because the ground slopes to the east. In the 16th century a chimney-stack was built in the east bay of the hall, leaving room for a cross-passage from the front and back entrances, and the upper floor was inserted. The fire-place, about 8 ft. wide, is of stone with a chamfered oak bressummer. The plain chimney-stack above the roof is of brick and was rebuilt in 1697; it has a panel with that date and the initials I H. The ceiling of the lower room is open-timbered, and against the north wall is some reset 17th-century panelling, apparently old pews or the like cut up. The ceiling beam in the wing is also chamfered, and on the east side is another 16th-century fire-place, 11 ft. wide, of stone with an oak bressummer. The east end was extended another 9 ft. later in the 17th century enclosing this projecting chimney-stack, the lower story being of stone rubble. The taller west part was added about 1600, and is also of square-framing, the upper story in the roof lighted by dormers. It is of two 15-ft. bays and has a doorway in the west bay, and in the east bay an oriel window to the lower story. The middle truss has a braced tie-beam cut through by a doorway.
A little to the north-west 'Hathaway Hamlet' has three 17th-century timber-framed buildings divided into tenements; two have thatched roofs. Another of stone rag and brick with a modern-cut date 1648 was probably an inn, as it has a painted sign-board with the arms of Stratford and Shakespeare.
Luddington lies about 2¼ miles west-south-west of Stratford, on the north bank of the Avon. It has a church, rebuilt on a new site in 1871–2, consisting of a chancel, nave, and north porch. In it is preserved the much-damaged octagonal bowl of a font, completely hollow, with an embattled moulding on the hollowchamfered lower edge. It stands on a 15th-century base with a moulded top-member and sides panelled with quatrefoiled circles in squares. In the churchyard are a few loose fragments of 15th-century windows, &c.
Boddington Farm, (fn. 179) the easternmost house in the village, dates from about 1600. It has some original framing in the east and north walls, and an original central chimney with a 9-ft. wide fire-place; the rooms have open-timbered ceilings. East of the house is a 17th-century timber-framed barn.
Sandfield Farm, about ½ mile to the north-west, is a 17th-century L-shaped house, the front block mostly refaced with 18th-century brickwork, but the backwing retaining original framing. Inside is a wide fireplace and chamfered ceiling-beams.
At Bishopton, about 1½ miles north-west of Stratford Church, is a modern church. Manor Farm is a modern house but has a farm building with the lower story of stone and the upper of 17th-century timber-framing; the roof is tiled.
Heath Farm on the Banbury road is a late-18thcentury brick house. Beyond it, about 2 miles southeast of the town, is an ancient derelict cottage with walls of mud and a thatched roof. It has a wide fire-place and open-timbered ceilings.
Clopton House probably dates from the 16th century. The original house was considerably enlarged by Sir John Clopton c. 1665–70, (fn. 180) and was largely remodelled early in the 18th century and subsequently. On the east (fn. 181) front is an original two-storied porchwing of timber-framing; the rest of the house is of brick. The plan is rectangular, ranged around a courtyard, and is doubtless on the early lines. In the middle of the west range, projecting into the courtyard, is a deep bay-window, and near the north end of the east front is a similar but smaller window, both probably features of about 1600, as is a projecting staircase in the south-east angle of the courtyard. The courtyard itself is now cut up by modern out-buildings. A large modern drawing-room with a half-round south end has been added at the east end of the south front.
The south front, containing the present main entrance, is of 18th-century whitened brick with sash windows. The symmetrical west front is divided into three bays; the middle, which projects slightly, has a moulded cornice and pediment, and a doorway with a stone architrave, a lintel with rusticated imitation voussoirs, and a half-round pediment. In the tympanum is carved an achievement of the arms of Clopton. The receding side-bays are much as the south front. The brick chimney-stacks above this range are panelled.
The east front, except the porch, is of brickwork with a chamfered plinth: the bricks here are rather larger than those in the south and west fronts and may be earlier. The end of the north range on this front is gabled, and on the ground floor is a deep five-sided bay-window to the 'old kitchen'. It is of stone, each of the five sides having two lights and a transom. At the angles are fluted tapering pilasters and above is a moulded entablature and a panelled parapet. The porch-wing projects rather to the south of the middle of the front. It is of stone with an overhanging upper story of timber-framing, each exposed side being gabled.
The entrance is round-headed and has a key-stone carved with a lion's mask: the opening is flanked by panelled pilasters, each surmounted by a terminal figure of a man: they stand on pedestals carved with lions' masks. In each side wall is a two-light window with channelled jambs and mullion. The inner doorway, also of stone, is chamfered and square-headed. In the north window are four quarries of pierced lead-work, for ventilation. The framing of the upper story is plain, but the north side is rough-casted. It has windows of two lights and a transom. The middle part of the east range has been converted into a kind of covered court (adjoining the old courtyard) entered by a modern doorway next north of the porch.
The south entrance opens into the main stair-hall. The stairway may be partly of the 17th century: it has turned balusters and panelled newels with tops carved as a kind of pine-apple. The middle room of the west range has the deep bay-window in its east wall: this has ten lights with hollow-chamfered mullions and transoms of stone. The chamber is lined with oak panelling of four tiers, with a frieze and cornice; most of it of late16th-century date. The north fire-place has moulded stone jambs and a three-centred arch: it has an overmantel of about 1600, probably reset. It is in two tiers of five panels: the upper tier projects on carved brackets and the five bays are divided by pilasters carved with human terminal figures of the period: the bays have round-headed panels, the outer having lions' heads or plants of foliage and flowers in high relief carved in them. The ceiling has encased beams dividing it into six compartments.
The staircase in the south-east corner of the original courtyard has walls of 16th- or 17th-century brickwork and the stair is mainly of the same period: it is of the central newel winding type altered at the foot and changing at the top to a straight stair to the second floor, where it has shaped flat balusters.
The principal rooms on the first floor are lined with early-18th-century bolection-moulded panelling, but those over the Dining Room and Ante-Drawing Room have 17th-century enriched plastered friezes against the ceilings, with swags and cartouches of scrolled foliage, and moulded cornices. The chamber over the great chamber in the west range has a north fire-place with oak panelled pilasters and a panel overmantel containing a painting.
The attics on the second floor have sloping ceilings and exposed rather rough side-purlins and principal rafters. That over the Dining Room has the remains of a 17th-century stone fire-place. The chamber over the Ante-Drawing Room, the easternmost in the south range, was probably a junior's bedroom originally and has an interesting series of texts and precepts painted on the plaster walls and sloping ceilings in crude black lettering except one small panel which is probably older than the others and is in red with Roman capital initials I C. One reads: 'Whether you Rise yearlye or goe to bed late Remember Christ Jesus that Died for your sake.' The other three are texts from Proverbs (xxvii, 21; xxv, 24, 25; xxiii, 12, 17, 26), Psalms (cxix, 9), and Jeremiah (xvii, 9) in the wording of the Authorized Version of 1611.
At the north-west corner of the house is a stone post with a ball-finial, probably a gate-post in a former garden wall. There is said to have been formerly a moat about the house. To the south is a pair of stone gate-posts with a round-headed panel and a shellheaded niche in the sides of each, and a moulded capping and ball-finial. An avenue of chestnuts leads up to the house.