Anne Hathaway's Cottage

Anne Hathaway's Cottage




Anne Hathaway's Cottage is a twelve-roomed farmhouse where Anne Hathaway, the wife of William Shakespeare, lived as a child in the village of Shottery, Warwickshire about 1 mile west of Stratford-upon-Avon. The earliest part of the house was built prior to the 15th century; the higher part is 17th century. The house was known as Hewlands Farm in Shakespeare's day and had more than 90 acres of land attached to it; to call it a cottage is really a misnomer, as it is much larger than the term usually means. As in many houses of the period, it has multiple chimneys to spread the heat evenly throughout the house during winter. The largest chimney was used for cooking. It also has visible timber framing, typical of vernacular Tudor architecture.


Anne's father, Richard Hathaway, was a yeoman farmer. He died in September 1581 and left his daughter the sum of ten marks or £6 13s 4d (six pounds, thirteen shillings and fourpence) to be paid "at the day of her marriage". In her father's will, her name is listed as "Agnes", leading to some scholars believing that she should be referred to as "Agnes Hathaway". In fact spelling was somewhat confused in those days; the Episcopal Register at Worcester records, in Latin, the issuing of a wedding licence to "Wm Shaxpere" and one "Annam Whateley" of Temple Grafton. The following day, Fulk Sandells and John Richardson, friends of the Hathaway family from Stratford, signed a surety of £40 as a financial guarantee for the wedding of "William Shagspere and Anne Hathwey". Presumably there were not three couples with similar names. Hathaway married Shakespeare in November 1582 while pregnant with the couple's first child, to whom she gave birth six months later. Hathaway was 26 years old; Shakespeare was only 18. This age difference, added to Hathaway's antenuptial pregnancy, has been employed by some historians as evidence that it was a "shotgun wedding", forced on a reluctant Shakespeare by the Hathaway family. There is, however, no other evidence for this inference.


Three children were born to Hathaway and her husband: Susanna in 1583 and the twins Hamnet and Judith in 1585. Hamnet died at 11 years old and was buried in Stratford upon Avon on 11 August 1596 during one of the frequent outbreaks of the bubonic plague. In 1607, Hathaway's daughter Susanna married the local doctor, John Hall, giving birth to Hathaway's and Shakespeare's granddaughter, Elizabeth, the following year. Judith married Thomas Quiney, who was a vintner and tavern owner from a good family, in February 1616 when she was 31 and he was 27. Shakespeare may later have disapproved of this choice when it was discovered that Quiney had made another girl pregnant; also Quiney had failed to obtain a special wedding licence needed during Lent, leading to Judith and Thomas being excommunicated on 12 March. Soon afterwards, on 25 March 1616, Shakespeare modified his will for Judith to inherit £300 in her own name, leaving Quiney out of the will and giving most of his property to Susanna and her husband. It has sometimes been inferred that Shakespeare came to dislike his wife, but there is no existing documentation or correspondence to support this supposition. For most of their married life, he lived in London, writing and performing his plays, while she remained in Stratford. However, according to John Aubrey, he returned to Stratford for a period every year. When he retired from the theatre in 1613, he chose to live in Stratford with his wife, rather than in London.


After the death of Hathaway's father, the cottage was owned by her brother Bartholomew, and was passed down the Hathaway family until 1846, when financial problems forced them to sell it. However, it was still occupied by them as tenants when it was acquired in 1892 by the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, which removed later additions and alterations. The visitor reception & shop is reached via a sloping pathway and is accessible for pushchairs, wheelchair users and those with limited mobility. Inside there is a hearing loop; an accessible toilet, visitor toilets and baby-changing facilities can be found to the rear of reception. Unfortunately the cottage is unsuitable for wheelchair users and visitors with impaired mobility due to entrance steps and uneven floors. However there is a 3D virtual tour of the cottage in the visitor reception. Large print guides are available. The grounds are easy to navigate with many wide, sloping pathways and occasional seating. The Woodland Walk offers a 20 minute trail which is possible for assisted wheelchairs and pushchairs in dry weather. A courtesy wheelchair is available. Assistance dogs are welcome. All ticket options are valid for 12 months


Location : 22 Cottage Lane, Shottery, Stratford-upon-Avon CV37 9HH

Transport: Stratford upon Avon (National Rail) 20 minutes or X18 bus. Bus Routes : X18 stops nearby or 1.3 mile pleasant walk from town centre.

Opening Times : Daily 09:00 to 17:00

Tickets : Adults £10.25;  Concessions $9.25;  Children £6.50

Tickets Town, Cottage and Farm Pass: Adults £26.25;  Concessions $24.75;  Children £17.00

Tel: 0370 333 1181