"To see a world in a grain of sand,
And a heaven in a wild flower,
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand
And eternity in an hour."

From "Auguries of Innocence"

by William Blake

Wednesday, 4 November 2015

Shakespeare's Grave and Misericords

D and I were going to an event in Stratford last Friday evening so decided to go early and pay a visit to Holy Trinity Church to see Shakespeare's grave - it was the one place with connections to William Shakespeare that we didn't have time to visit during our day out in Stratford earlier this year.

Unfortunately, things did not go to plan (blame local roadworks and a congested M42 on the journey!) so instead of arriving at the church mid-afternoon we finally pulled up at 4.35 p.m. (25 minutes before the church closed). Fortunately there were car park spaces available right next to the churchyard.

Holy Trinity Church at dusk

There has been a church on the site since AD 713 when a Saxon monastery was built here. The oldest sections of the present church (Tower, transept and nave pillars) date back to around 1210. The North and South Aisles were added in the 1300's and the Chancel constructed in the late 1400's.

The new Font is a Victorian copy of the original font (see photo later).

The Pulpit which dates back to 1900 is made of green marble with alabaster statues around the side.

St Peter's Chapel

William Shakespeare's Grave

Other members of his family are buried nearby.

This is the original Medieval Font in which Shakespeare (on 26th April 1564) and his children were baptised. The damage to the Font occurred when it was removed from the church in 1747 and used as a water cistern! It was returned to the church in 1861.

The Clopton Chapel where members of the powerful Stratford family are buried - the oldest tomb is 15th century.

As it was dark outside it was pointless taking photos of the stained glass windows. The church was very beautiful and I really must return in daylight and when I have more time to spend there (have lost count of how many times I have said this about churches and cathedrals!!).


I've left the Misericord photos until the end of the post as there are rather a lot of them and I appreciate not everyone is as interested as me in them!

There are 26 dating back to the 15th century and they show human, animal and foliate carvings with wide ranging symbolism inspired by Christian literature, ancient tales, heraldry, real and imaginary creatures and scenes from everyday life.

According to the Souvenir Guide you can buy a book giving more details of the misericords from the shop but sadly the shop had just shut as we arrived!

In the evening D and I went along on a Halloween Ghost Walk through the streets of Stratford and including a visit to Hall's Croft - I'll do another post in a day or so with some photos of night-time Stratford.


Simon Douglas Thompson said...

The carvings are beautiful but look bloody uncomfortable to sit on, if indeed they are pews. Some have a very wild character, others more innocent.

Ragged Robin said...

Simon Douglas Thompson - thanks Simon. Glad you liked them :) They were called "mercy seats" and the idea was that clergy etc. could rest on the hinge at the top during long services!

Deb said...

I love the misericords and the church looks very atmospheric at dusk. Interesting to see Shakespeare's grave too.:-)

Ragged Robin said...

Deb- Thanks so much - the misericords were a real surprise as I hadn't realised the church had them :)

David Turner said...

Impressive parish church Caroline and all the Misericords are wonderful. The skills of the wood carvers whom made them is amazing!

Hope you are well :-)

Ragged Robin said...

David Turner - Thanks very much David- totally agree with you about the skills :)

I am fine thanks - hope you are too :)

Countryside Tales said...

Lovely to see it again. It really is one of my favourite places :o)

Ragged Robin said...

Countryside Tales - Thanks CT:) Glad it brought back happy memories.