Monday, 28 September 2015
Mary Arden's Farm
D was on holiday last week and, as we still had Mary Arden's Farm to visit on the Shakespeare 5 House Passes, we decided to go along and take a look. I was surprised at how much there was to see and do and it would be a superb place to take young children. Mary Arden was William Shakespeare's mother (she had married John Shakespeare ~1557) and the Farm was her childhood home. William would have visited many times during his childhood and it is suggested that Mary took him there to escape an outbreak of the plague in Stratford.
Mary Arden's Farm is located in the village of Wilmcote, just a few miles from Stratford on Avon. This area was once part of the vast Forest of Arden although by Shakespeare's time the forest had long since been cleared. Robert Arden, Shakespeare's maternal grandfather owned about 70 acres of land and was a wealthy farmer. Mary Arden's own seal used on a land settlement document shows a horse rearing suggesting that Robert may have bred and reared horses.
Confusingly, for many years from the late 18th century until fairly recently, it was believed that Shakespeare's mother's house was, in fact, the 16th century half-timbered farm building now called "Palmer's Farm". It was only in 2000 when the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust commissioned research in the house's history that it was revealed that Mary Arden's home had been the farm next door to Palmer's Farmhouse. Luckily, the Trust has rescued this house from the threat of demolition in the 1960's and it was already open to the public.
Adam Palmer who lived here in the 16th century was a close friend of both William's parents and grandparents. The farmhouse today looks much as it would have appeared in the 16th century and contains 4 bedchambers, 2 parlours, a hall and a kitchen.
Tudor Herb Garden
We saw several Red Admirals on ivy flowers although didn't manage to get any photos.
As you wander round the property there are many re-enactments taking place during the course of he day.
Bread Oven and Privy
Tudor Vegetable Garden
Mary Arden's Farmhouse
The house today is mainly a Victorian/Edwardian house but within there is plenty of evidence of the original early 16th century home where Mary lived.
Common Carder Bee on Scabious
Nettles gaining a foothold on a stone wall.
The kitchen/dairy area is used for re-enactments.
Planting Plan of the Wise Woman's Garden
We didn't have time to visit the Wildflower Meadow and new Butterfly Bank which would no doubt have been rather lovely in the Summer.
We did, however, watch the Falconry Display which was rather impressive with the Eagle Owl swooping low over people's heads and landing on the back of their benches! Quite an awesome experience!
Finally, Coffee Cake and tea :)
The photos marked *D were taken by D with the Canon HS50 - again the zoom came in very handy.
We've just got back from a short break in Herefordshire so I'll do a few posts on this over the course of the next few days. In the meantime I'll be trying to catch up with all your blogs.