New Place

A Drawing of New Place as A drawing of New Place in the A photo that I took of the

it was when Shakespeare 1700s, an image I do not own mulberry tree statue lived there, an image I do not own

In 1597, William Shakespeare FINALLY bought a home, called New Place, for his family in Stratford-Upon-Avon. Until then, Anne Hathaway, his wife, and his two daughters, Susannah and Judith(twin Hamnet died@age10/11), had been living in his parents house with his mom and dad. Billy hadn't bothered to move out of his parents' house... he wasn't the best family man. Spending most of his time in London* definitely didn't help. I don't like thinking badly of this genius poet, but supposed facts are supposed facts.

The first color drawing is a rendition of New Place, based on descriptions and the remaining foundation. This is the house Shakespeare bought and it was the biggest house in town. Apparently, he was one of the richest men in Stratford by the end of the 16th century. The garden in the back was a traditional English garden (as you can see from the tiny picture), and Will planted a mulberry tree which would turn out to be very famous.

After Shakespeare's death in 1616, his grown daughter, Susannah, continued to call it home after she married a Dr. John Hall. They had a daughter named Elizabeth whom she raised there. Elizabeth grew up and had no children, ending the Shakespeare bloodline with her death. The house was sold and bought by a man and his son who (when later in the 17th century Shakespeare became more popular) welcomed visitors and tourists coming to see the home of the great playwright. Unfortunately, they sold the house to a not-so-welcoming man who remodeled the building to look like the middle picture. This was the Georgian style and generally only changed the building's facade*. This man was bitter and hated the visitors and tourists who wanted to see "Shakespeare's New Place", so, eventually, he demolished the house.

At some point in this chronology, the mulberry tree in Will's backyard was chopped down and carved into many, many wooden knick-knacks. In fact, this began a trend that many shopkeepers have exploited since then: "Yes, indeed! This little wooden carving was made from the wood of the exact mulberry tree that had been in Shakespeare's backyard!" The third image, of the weird tree that looks like its being blown to one side, is a statue commemorating the mulberry tree.

As a side note, I would like to make you aware, as I had been made aware, that at the time the building was demolished there were no wrecking balls or other mechanical means of destruction. So, if someone wanted to destroy a building, it required commitment and a hammer. You had to REALLY wanted that house gone.

Now, the site where New Place once stood has been unearthed and commemorated with a sonnet garden. The English garden in the backyard has been recreated and a field behind the house boasts beautiful statues depicting many of His great plays.

*unfortunately, we have no real records(except those of what plays were being performed and who wrote them) or where our dear Shakespeare was for most of his life. We have a few dots, some on London, some in Stratford, confirming the existence of a playwright named Shakespeare.

*Many buildings in Stratford-Upon-Avon were remodeled this way, including the Shakespeare Institute.


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