Stratford-upon-Avon Off The Beaten Path

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Most Recent Off The Beaten Path in Stratford-upon-Avon

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    Holy Trinity Church 3: the misericordes

    by leics Updated Oct 29, 2011

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    You'll have to pay to enter the chancel, where Shakespeare is buried.

    But it's worth it just to see the wonderful Medieval misericordes in the chancel choir.

    Misericordes are little ledges at the bottom of seats, provided for weary and/or old monks to rest their buttocks during long masses and services.

    The Holy Trinity ones are the original Medieval misericordes (in many English churches they have disappeared because of rot, woodworm, 'renovations' etc). All 26 are entirely fascinating, and beautifully carved.

    Look for the camel, and the woman beating her husband over the head with a saucepan (whilst hanging onto his beard), and the bat-like creatures, and the horned head.....many pagan symbols there, which is not at all unusual in an English Medieval church.

    It's worth visiting this church just for the misericordes: they were the highlight of my afternoon in Stratford. There is a travelogue about them here:

    http://members.virtualtourist.com/m/tt/a15fb/#TL

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    From a Restaurant to a Bank

    by grandmaR Updated Aug 6, 2011

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    In 1950, we ate lunch at The Shakespeare Gallery Restaurant at No.20 Bridge Street This was originally a town house that was rebuilt after the 1641 fire. It is now opposite a Barclay's Bank

    This is listed in a book by H E Forrest called The Old Houses of Stratford-upon-Avon: London:
    1925-: 52-4; Bearman R: Stratford-upon-Avon: A History of its
    Streets and Buildings: Nelson: 1988-: 17

    The description is:
    Timber-frame with brick rear wing; tile roof. Largely C20 timber-framed facade. 3 storeys; 2-window range; 1st and 2nd floors jettied; 2 gables. Late C20 ground floor recessed behind 2 posts to bressumer (recorded as having 2 caryatids, 1972). 1st floor has paired 18-pane sashes; 2nd floor has late C19 four-light transomed projecting windows. Close-studded framing; moulded barge-boards with finials. Some timber-framing visible to left return, and ogee-headed stair windows to 1st and 2nd floors with small-paned glazing.

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    Broadway Tower

    by ophiro Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    Broadway Tower

    Broadway Tower is the smallest castle i've ever seen , i think it is the smallest castle in the world but i am not sure about it.
    Located on a field of green with great view - not too far from Stratford-Upon-avon it can be a great half day trip.

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    Batsford Arboretum

    by Watsoncomper Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    From the Arboretum to Batsford Hall

    This is a worthwhile visit although it is in a village a number of miles outside Stratford.

    It consists of an Arboretum, A falconry Centre and Garden Centre.

    The Arboretum was created in 1886

    The Arboretum is situated next to the private Batsford Hall. (See photograph)

    With Batsford village nearby.

    There is an entry price of £5 (Adult) to the Arboretum and a price of £5 (Adult) to the Falconry which considering the walks is well worth the money.

    Every season has something to offer. I particularly like the winter walk (see separate travelogue)

    Because it is fairly remote by UK standards even in the summer it can be a quiet haven.

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    Stratford's War Memorial

    by Watsoncomper Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    War Monument

    In Bancroft Gardens is Stratford's war memorial.

    Two local children designed the form of the monument, which was then fabricated by Horton Quarries Ltd

    The monument was to 50 years of peace since the Second World War and was dedicated in 1995

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    Harvard House

    by tvor Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    GArrick Inn and Harvard House

    John Harvard, a London Puritan, emigrated to the New World but died in 1638. He bequeathed his extensive law library and half of his estate towards building a college which later became Harvard College (University). Harvard House in Stratford belonged to John Harvard's mother and is a wonderful example of an elaborately half timbered town house.

    It now houses the museum of British Pewter and contains artifacts back as early as Roman times.

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    Compton Verney

    by yooperprof Written Sep 7, 2009
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    The nearby manor house of Compton Verney makes a good "day out" from Stratford. It's very accessible by car - a ten minute drive. It is not so accessible by public transport, but I did manage to find the right bus that leaves from the high street in town, and which deposited me at the front gates of this grand house just twenty minutes later.

    Compton Verney was designed by the architect Robert Adam, an 18th builder for the well-heeled. He had also been involved in renovations of Kenwood House, which is featured on my London page. However, Compton Verney is best known for being a particularly well preserved example of the landscape engineering of Lancelot "Capability" Brown, who was loved for his seeming ability to improve on nature, that is, to make the landscape fit idealized concept of natural perfection, even if took a lot of work to reach that goal. From the guidebook: "Between 1768 and 1774, Brown removed the baroque setting of the house. . . He transformed the formal gardens, rides and vistas into a naturalistic landscape of shrubberies, parkland with specimen trees and clumps, and belts of woodland planted along the valley sides. Encircling carriage drives and paths were laid out around the pleasure grounds, lake and parkland, from which 'set piece' views to the facades of the house could be enjoyed."

    It's been turned into an art gallery, housing an interestingly eclectic assortment of pieces owned by the "Peter Moores Foundation." The art gallery is very well designed to allow in maximum light, and I think most paintings in look their best in this kind of prosperous but domestic setting. The Foundation specializes in 18th century British portraiture, baroque Neapolitan art, and Chinese bronzes. I told you it was eclectic! The current "special" exhibit was dedicated to the portraits of John Constable, the greatest of English landscape artists - kind of a reminder that British identity is much connected with its lived-in and imagined environment. Which may be why the British are often tuned into environment issues before other people.

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    Rather lovely Victorian building

    by leics Updated Jun 29, 2008

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    You may or may not notice this building, depending on how closely you are looking at/for New Place, the Guild Chapel and/or the Grammar School.

    It is a rather stunning Victorian brick building, now a branch of HSBC bank. There are superb panels above the windows showing all sorts of things (looks like either 'myths and legends' or Biblical tales to me). Wonderfully intricate work.

    You might like to know that the bricks were most probably made with the assistance of child labour. It was common for early Victorian (and pre-Victorian) children to work in English brickfields, often carrying 40+ pounds of clay on their heads, backwards and forwards to the brickmakers.

    You'll find the building almost directly opposite the Guild Chapel, where High Street meets Church Street.

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    Holy Trinity Church 4: the sanctuary knocker.

    by leics Written Jun 29, 2008

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    Sanctuary ring.

    Easy to miss this: it's on the door to the main entrance.

    There is a small door-with-a-door, and on it is the knocker in the photo. It dates from the 13th century (the door itself is from the 15th).

    It's proper name is a 'sanctuary ring'. Anyone running or hiding from the law (or the 'hue and cry') could 'claim sanctuary' (protection) from the church if he/she reached this knocker. This meant he/she could stay safely within the church for up to 37 days.

    I wonder how often it was used. It would certainly have some sad tales to tell, if it could speak.

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    Holy Trinity Church 2: the grave slabs

    by leics Updated Jun 28, 2008

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    Grave slabs under the piano

    The nearer to the altar you were buried, the nearer to God you were.

    And the more expensive your grave.

    Ordinary folk were never buried within churches: for them, the open churchyard was the only option (mostly without any marker, except perhaps a wooden cross).

    For the wealthy, a grave within the church was essential.

    Many of the floor slabs in Holy Trnity have been removed, their brsses taken to the brass rubbing centre nearby (or lost over the centuries).

    But you can still see some of the slate grave slabs. These date from the 1700s, when slate became a fashionable stone for grave-marking. Road surfaces and transportation had developed enough for it to be easily carried from Wales, so it was very much a novelty.

    The slabs in the photo date from the mid-1700s, but there are some from earlier.

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    Holy Trinity Church 1: the angels.

    by leics Written Jun 28, 2008

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    You'll almost certainly go to Holy Trinity Church to see Shakespeare's grave.

    The existing church dates from 1210.

    As you walk down the aisle, look at the angels carved a little way up each pillar (probably from the 15th century, maybe earlier). Mostly Medieval carvings, each one a little bit different, each one expressing the creativity and imagination of the master mason who created it.

    Just ordinary working men (masons were always men), probably illiterate, but gifted with great skill.

    It's worth taking a moment to appreciate their work.

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    Butterfly Farm

    by Nadia7 Written May 15, 2007

    There is a wonderful butterfly farm at Stratford. I spent one whole day in the city, walking and taking pics. Butterfly Farm was my last stop before going back to Oxford. I LOVED the farm, there were many different species of butterflies, some of them would just land on my shoulders...it was a bit hard to take pics at the farm as there was a very high humidity due to the tropical conditions for all the butterflies. I felt like a princess when being surrounded by all the colourful wings...:)

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    Warwick Castle

    by Jenniflower Written May 13, 2007

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    My favourite castle of all in the UK!

    Stratford-upon-Avon and Warwick Castle are both found in the county of Warwickshire.

    Warwick Castle is the finest (in my opinion) example of a medieval castle. It is intact and shows you how the castle dwellers, and their servants, lived in medieval days.

    Madame Tussauds owns Warwick Castle, and there are magnificent wax figures displayed, which makes the ornate rooms come to life that much more!

    We have been here 4 times, at different times of the year. At Christmas it is very cold, but fun for the kids.. with a specially made ice rink and activities aimed at the kids. They have special jousting weekends in summer, and these are fun, but very crowded!

    They have lovely displays in the torture chamber and even a dungeon! They also have a green house, which I have always found disappointing... but the peacock shaped shrubs and live peacocks are lovely to see.

    This is a super day trip for the family :)

    I will be writing a Warwick page soon, with a lot more info re what this castle offers :)

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    The American Fountain

    by Watsoncomper Written Sep 1, 2006

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    The American Fountain

    This unique ornamental drinking fountain and clock tower stands in the market area on Rother Street and is a vocal point for the weekly markets which are held around it.

    This ornate structure was commission by George W. Childs a newspaper editor from Philadelphia. Jethro Cossins designed it in 1887 as a tribute to Shakespeare. Above each of the clock faces is a fairy from Midsummer Nights dream but as the stature was unveiled during Queen Victoria’s jubilee statues of the English lion and the American Eagle share the facades.

    The clock tower is known locally as The American fountain and it did originally have a fountain along side horse troughs which to-day are filled with flowers

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    Hook Norton Brewery.

    by Tdiver Written Jul 23, 2006

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    As it's to the South East of Stratford and about 20 km away most people just don't visit but if you like the British ales then it's a must being so close.
    John Harris started brewing on the site in 1849.
    Tour lasts 2 hours with samples of course!!

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