It is a well preserved 16th cent Tudor farmhouse. The house remained in the Hathaway family until 1846 when financial problems meant they had to sell but the family continued to live in the house as tenants when it was bought by the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust until the last surviving member of the family died in 1910. Being within the family meant that very few alterations had been made to the property. A fire in the late 60s badly damaged part of the cottage which the Trust restored.
Although this bed has gone through various renovations it still has the features of a late 16th cent or early 17th cent bed, This was probably the 'best bed' in the house to be used by guests.
The house looked beautiful in the sunshine with its large vegetable garden. In the extended garden is a small sculpture area. One was a wicker structure where you could sit and listen to Shakespeare's sonnets. Didn't take any photos as I was too busy soaking up the atmosphere.
His father was a tanner and we were shown how his father would have tanned animal skins to make gloves. He was a very skilled man and made a range of gloves from fine kid to rougher workmen's gloves. Urine would have been used in the tanning process and the smell from the tannery would have permeated the house.
The Birthplace Trust has recreated the decor as it would have been during Shakespeare's time.The trust was set up in 1847 to prevent the American showman P.T. Barnum from buying the property and shipping it home 'brick by brick'. The Trust was helped by having the backing of Charles Dickens who helped to raise the £3000 needed to buy the property.
This window was formally in the birthroom. It became traditional for pilgrims to etch their name into the glass as a symbol of their visit. The earliest recorded date is 1806. I think one of the names is that of Dickens but I couldn't find it.
We saw one of Shakespeare's lesser known plays, Cymbeline which was also being filmed that night to be shown live in cinemas throughout the UK. It would never rate as one of my favourite Shakespeare plays but it was a good experience and made the day in Stratford that bit more special.