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Stratford-upon-Avon is a market town and civil parish in the Stratford-on-Avon District, in the county of Warwickshire in England located on the River Avon. Commonly known as just Stratford, it is situated just 146 kilometers north-west of London. The name is an amalgamation of the Old English word “strǣt” (derived from the Latin stratum), meaning 'street', followed by “ford” that indicates a shallow part of a river or stream able to be crossed by walking or driving, and “avon” which is the Celtic word for river. The 'street' was a Roman road that linked Icknield Street in Alcester to the Fosse Way. The ford, which has been used as a crossing since Roman times, later became the site of Clopton Bridge. The Anglo-Saxons settled in the area after their 7th-century invasion of what would be known as Warwickshire. The land belonged to the church of Worcester. It remained a village before John of Coutances, the lord of the manor, began to develop plans to transform it into a town in 1196. In that same year, Stratford was given a charter from King Richard I to organize a weekly market in the town, which gave it the status of a market town. The end result was that Stratford experienced an upsurge in trade and commerce and eventually faced urban expansion. The two charters, which formed the basis of Stratford's transformation from a village to a town make the town of Stratford over 800 years old. The town is a popular tourist destination due to its status as the birthplace of William Shakespeare, English playwright and poet and plays host to about 2.5 million visitors a year.
Things to do, things to see
Many of the town's oldest and most significant buildings are located beside what is known as Historic Spine of Stratford. This was once the main route from the town center to the parish church. The path through the Historic Spine commences at Shakespeare's Birthplace in Henley Street. It passes through Henley Street to the top end of Bridge Street and straight into High Street where many buildings of the Elizabethan era are located, including the Harvard House. The route moves on through Chapel Street where Nash's House and New Place are to be found. The Historic Spine carries on along Church Street, where you will find Guild buildings that date back to the 15th century, as well as other properties from the 18th and 19th century. The route then finally ends in Old Town, which is home to Hall's Croft and the Holy Trinity Church.
Shakespeare's birthday is celebrated in Stratford as it was his birthplace. The celebration takes place over the course of two days on the weekend nearest to the 26th of April, the day of his christening, and includes dramas and musical performances along with a parade through the town.
Food and drink
The Garrick Inn is apparently the oldest pub in Stratford, with an inn standing on the site since medieval times. From afternoon tea to the best restaurants, Stratford-upon-Avon caters for every taste with an abundance of eateries throughout the town, and no holiday would be complete without visiting one of Stratford-upon-Avon’s delightful tea or coffee shops. If you fancy a light bite, there are many outlets offering snacks and sandwiches around the town to cater for every palate. If you are short on time there is a variety of fast food places to appease your hunger.
Harvard House can be found at what is at present 26 High Street, Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire, England. Once identified as the Ancient House, It was erected in 1596 by Thomas Rogers. He was the grandfather of John Harvard, who was the benefactor of Harvard University. The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, on behalf of Harvard University, has cared for the House since 1990. Thomas Rogers' initials along with those of his second wife, Alice, are engraved on the front of the house, together with the year 1596. These specify it was a separate house, although Rogers also possessed the attached property at what is now 27 and 28 High Street. Rogers was a successful butcher and also a corn and cattle merchant who was about 60 years old when the house was built. He served as Alderman for the Stratford Corporation beside John Shakespeare, William’s father. The house passed through his family and was eventually sold, and then let to a series of tenants until 1871 when the premises became an estate agent's office. In 1909, at the proposal and keen support of the English novelist and Stratford-upon-Avon resident Marie Corelli, the American millionaire Edward Morris of Chicago purchased the house – after being extensively restored, it was given to Harvard University and became known as Harvard House.
The Guild Chapel of the Holy Cross is a chapel of 13th century origins. The chancel is 13th century, with the nave and tower dating from Hugh Clopton's renovations around 1490. It was founded by the Guild of the Holy Cross before 1269 and when the Guild was repressed by Edward VI it passed into the control of the town corporation in 1553. The chapel has historic connections to Shakespeare's family. The chapel was given a series of wall-paintings by a previous owner of New Place called Hugh Clopton and John Shakespeare, Shakespeare's father, undertook their covering up in the later 1500s due to "all signs of superstition and idolatry from places of worship" in accord with Elizabeth I's given command of 1559. The paintings have been uncovered and restored. They portray images showing the Doom, the Allegory of Death, the Life of Adam and morea.
Vacation rentals in Stratford-upon-Avon, England
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