Sunday, June 24, 2007

Arden tour - 24 June 2007

Anne Hathaway's CottageWe spent the night near Alcester, and having found an excellent circular driving tour starting at Alcester we set out to follow the route. According to the BBC weather forecast, we were in the only fine spot in the country.

Mary Arden HouseWe were able to complete the Shakespeare houses during the tour, as we first passed Anne Hathaway’s house; Shakespeare's wife’s family’s home. William and Anne's marriage was an unusual union: she was 26 (well and truly left on the shelf for those days) and William a minor at 18. When they married, she was 3 months pregnant, presumably a local scandal. Mary Arden HouseThe tour of the house was most interesting, the guide a fund of the origins of old sayings, and the “cottage” garden an absolute delight.

Next on the tour was Mary Arden House and Palmer Farm. Mary Arden was Shakespeare's mother. Although she was the youngest of 8 girls, as her father's favourite, she inherited the farm. Welford-on-AvonThis is a fascinating place to wander around, as is Palmer's Farm, next door.

Chained libraryOn with the tour, we visited a number of very picturesque villages, not at their photographic best on such a dull day though. At St Peter's in Wootten Wawen the church still houses a rare chained library.

Edstone AqueductOne interesting side visit was to the longest aqueduct in England. This is made from cast iron plates, and passes over a road, river and 2 train lines.

The final stop of the day was Ragley Hall. This house was built in 1680, and must have been very modern for it's day. Ragley HallThe tour ended in a large hallway, painted by a mural painter over 14 years from 1969 to 1983. It was fascinating to see a new and fresh mural on a grand scale, incorporating family members in an epic depiction based on the Temptation of Christ and the riches of the world.

1 comment:

Craig (mars-hill) said...

Thanks for the recent comment, Murray.

And the map's beginning to look good. Congrats.