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LONDON TO GLOUCESTER AND CHELTENHAM.

selated pavements existing in this country; while the house, though not remarkal handsome, is a large building, and contains some good pictures. Permission to these objects is readily granted to the stranger. Oakley Grove should be seen, ti church should be seen, and, above all, the Roman remains should be seen; and the the attractions of Cirencester will have been pretty nearly exhausted.

The line to Gloucester and Cheltenham leaves the Great Western Railway Swindon. The Table of Stations on the Great Western line has been given in number devoted to BATH. We add here the Stations between Swindon Cheltenham.

LONDON TO GLOUCESTER AND CHELTENHAM.

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STRATFORD-UPON-AVON.

WASHINGTON IRVING, in one of his pleasantest papers in the ‘Sketch Book,' speaking of the tomb of Shakspere, in the chancel of Stratford Church, says, “There are other monuments around, but the mind refuses to dwell on anything that is not connected with Shakspere. This idea pervades the place.” The American essayist could only look upon this fine old church as Shakspere's • mausoleum.' Through the same predominant association, the pleasant town of Stratford, the gentle river, the quiet meadows, the old woods, the pretty villages, which are as interesting in themselves as many a locality which the topographer has delighted to describe, appear to have no value but in connexion with the memory of him who was born here and died here, who had knelt in this church, and conversed with neighbours in these streets, and gazed upon this river, and rambled amidst these meadows and woods, and had been familiar with all the features of these scenes that two centuries and a half of change have not yet obliterated. It is the Stratford of William Shakspere that we are about to present to our reader, and nothing more.

In the custody of the vicar of Stratford is a venerable book-a tall, thick, narrow book, whose leaves are of fine vellum—which contains various records that are interesting to us——to all Englishmen—to universal mankind. It is the · Register of the Baptisms, Marriages, and Burials of the Parish of Stratford.' The record commences in 1558, the first year of Elizabeth, when the regulation for keeping such registers was strictly enforced. Let us pause on the one entry of that book, which most concerns the human race :

“ 1564, April 26.-GULIELMUS FILIUS JOHANNES SHAKSPERE." John Shakspere, the father of William, was thus unquestionably dwelling in Stratford in 1564. He was dwelling there in 1558, for the same register in that year records the baptism of a daughter. His wife was Mary, the daughter of Robert Arden, of Wilmecote (a neighbouring village), who was unmarried in 1556, as we learn from the will of her father. Various have been the stories as to the occupation of John Shakspere.

In 1556, the year that Robert, the father of Mary Arden, died, John Shakspere was admitted at the Court-lect as the purchaser of two copyhold estates in Stratford. In 1570, John Shakspere is holding, as tenant under William Clopton, a meadow of fourteen acres, with its appurtenance, called Ingon, at the annual rent of eight pounds ---equivalent to at least forty pounds of our present money. When John Shakspere married, his wife's estate of Asbies, within a short ride of Stratford, came also into his possession. With these facts before us, scanty as they are, can we reasonably doubt that John Shakspere was living upon his own land, renting the land of others, actively engaged in the business of cultivation, in an age when tillage was becoming rapidly profitable, so much so, that men of wealth very often thought it better to take the profits direct than to share them with the tenant? A yeoman he might call himself, a yeoman he might be called by his neighbours ; but he was in that social position that he readily passed out of the yeoman into the gentleman, and in all registers and records after 1569 he was styled Master John Shakspere.

* Many of the passages in the following paper will be necessarily repeated from the writer's William Shakspere. A. Biography.' The local descriptions of that work were the result of diligent observation. They are here condensed and brought together.

The parish of Stratford, then, was unquestionably the birth-place of William Shakspere. But in what part of Stratford dwelt his parents in the year 1564? It was ten years after this that his father became the purchaser of two freehold houses in Henleystreet-houses which still exist—the houses which the people of England have preserved as a precious relic of their greatest brother. William Shakspere, then, might have been born at either of his father's copyhold houses, in Greenhill-street, or in Henley-street; he might have been born at Ingon; or his father might have occupied one of the two freehold houses in Henley-street at the time of the birth of his eldest son. Tradition says, that William Shakspere was born in one of these houses ; tradition points out the very room in which he was born.

Whether Shakspere were born here, or not, there can be little doubt that this property was the home of his boyhood. It was purchased by John Shakspere, from Edmund Hall and Emma his wife, for forty pounds. In a copy of the chirograph of the fine levied on this occasion (which is now in the possession of Mr. Wheler, of Stratford), the property is described as two messuages, two gardens, and two orchards, with their appurtenances. This document does not define the situation of the property, beyond its being in Stratford-upon-Avon ; but in the deed of sale of another property, in 1591, that property is described as situate between the houses of Robert Johnson and John Shakspere ; and in 1597, John Shakspere himself sells a 'toft or parcel of land,' in Henley-street, to the purchaser of the property in 1591. The properties can be traced, and leave no doubt of this house in Henley-street being the residence of John Shakspere. Stratford, in the middle of the 16th century, was a scattered town, -no doubt with gardens separating the low and irregular tenements, sleeping ditches intersecting the properties, and stagnant pools exhaling in the road. Even in the reigns of Elizabeth and James the town was nearly destroyed by fire; and as late as 1618, the privy council represented to the corporation of Stratford that great and lamentable loss had “happened to that town by casualty of fire, which, of late years, hath been very frequently occasioned by means of thatched cottages, stacks of straw, furzes, and such-like combustible stuff, which are suffered to be erected and made confusedly in most of the principal parts of the town, without restraint.” If such were the case when the family of William Shakspere occupied the best house in Stratford, it is not unreasonable to suppose that, sixty years earlier, the greater number of houses in Stratford must have been mean timber buildings, thatched cottages run up of combustible stuff; and that the house in Henley-street which John Shakspere occupied and purchased, and which his son inherited and bequeathed to his sister for her life, must have been an important house,—a house fit for a man of substance, a house of some space and comfort, compared with those of the majority of the surrounding population. John Shakspere retained the property during his life; and it descended, as his heir-atlaw, to his son William. In the last testament of the poet is this bequest to his “sister Joan:"_“I do will and devise unto her the house, with the appurtenances, in Stratford, wherein she dwelleth, for her natural life, under the yearly rent of twelvepence.” His sister Joan, whose name by marriage was Hart, was residing there in 1639, and she probably continued to reside there till her death in 1646. The one house in which Mrs. Hart resided was doubtless the half of the building which formed the

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