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In this Catalogue, which has been prepared for the use of visitors to the Birthplace, all the books, inanuscripts, works of art, antiquities and relics, which are at present on exhibition, are entered and numbered. Some historical and literary annotations are added where there seemed need of fuller explanation than the bare descriptive entry supplies.
In all cases of acquisition by gift, inention is made of the donor's
The Catalogue is, to a large extent, an inventory of somewhat miscellaneous gifts which have been chiefly made by public-spirited inhabitants of Stratfordupon-Avon, and Shakespearean scholars. Shakespeare's Birthplace has been national property for nearly sixty-three years, and many of the donations date from the early years of that period. The largest benefactions are due to MISS ANNE WHELER, MRS. BEISLY, WILLIAM OAKES HUNT, FREDERICK WILLIAM FAIRHOLT, JAMES ORCHARD HALLIWELL-PHILLIPPS, and THE ROYAL SHAKESPEAREAN CLUB, of Stratford
upon-Avon, which presented the manuscript-collections and drawings of CAPTAIN JAMES SAUNDERS, a resident in the town through the early years of last century. To most of these donors the tribute of a brief biography is paid in the following pages.
The Trustees hope that the present and future generations will emulate the generous example of the past. They count with confidence on the assistance of Shakespeare lovers and students in their efforts to improve their collection, and to increase its interest as a national memorial.
The Catalogue has been compiled by MR. RICHARD SAVAGE, Secretary and Librarian to the Trustees. The numerous illustrations have been reproduced from photographs taken for the purpose by MR. L. C. KEIGHLEY-PEACH, of Mickleton.
25 March, 1910.
THE BIRTHPLACE PROPERTY.
The two houses and garden forming the Birthplace Property were purchased by trustees on behalf of the nation at a public auction in London on 16 September, 1847 (see Nos. 229 and 230).
From the sixteenth century-when the premises were tenanted and owned by John Shakespeare, the dramatist's fatherdown to the early years of the nineteenth century, the ownership continued without interruption in the dramatist's family.
The property passed from his father to the dramatist himself and then successively to his elder daughter, and to his only granddaughter, who bequeathed it on her death in 1670, to her cousin, Thomas Hart, the poet's grandnephew and grandson of his sister, Mrs. Joan Hart. Shakespeare's sister, Mrs. Hart, seems to have lived in the house from her birth in 1569 till her death in 1646. But from the second or third decade of the seventeenth century, she confined her residence to the western half and let out the eastern portion to a tenant who converted his tenement into an inn known at first as 'The Maidenhead' and afterwards as "The Swan and Maidenhead.' A succession of tenants of the eastern portion of the property continued this arrangement for nearly two centuries. Meanwhile the western portion remained in the occupation of the Hart family, and the whole was owned by Thomas Hart's descendants down to 1806. In that year the premises were sold to one Thomas Court, on the death of whose widow they were again offered for sale in 1847, and then becanie public property. For at least 100 years before that date they had been a popular show place.
The Birthplace Trust was incorporated by Act of Parliament in 1891, when it was formally invested with Shakespeare's New Place estate in Stratford-upon-Avon, in addition to the Birthplace property. The New Place estate had been independently purchased by public subscription as a national memorial of Shakespeare in 1862,
In 1892 the Birthplace Trustees acquired by purchase, in accordance with the provisions of the Act of Parliament, Anne Hathaway's cottage, at Shottery.
Two cottages adjoining the Birthplace garden on its eastern boundary, which were, during Shakespeare's lifetime, in the occupation of the
Horneby family, were presented to the Trustees by Mr. Andrew Carnegie, in 1903, and have since been used as the offices of the Trust.