It’s been a while since I visited a ruin, so Witley Court and Gardens was on my list of things to see. I love ruins, I find them romantic and a bit sad, but in a lovely way. Witley Court is now managed by English Heritage.
In the 1890s Witley Court was visited by the fashionable society. One of the frequent visitors was the Prince of Wales, later King Edward VII.
Witley Court started as a medieval manor house and it was transformed into a substantial Jacobean mansion by 1655 when it was bought by Thomas Foley. The family started their business by manufacturing nails. Gradually they abandoned the industrial base and went on concentrating on being landed aristocrats and politicians. The 1st Baron Foley (1673–1733) enlarged the house by adding wings on either sides.
We were planning to go to another pub, close by, but we stopped for lunch at The Queen’s Head Frodsham. It was a lovely day, so we were lucky to have the whole room for us as almost everybody was in the garden. I was delighted to be able to take as many pictures as I wanted without being worried that I will bother others.
The Queen’s Head was built in the 17th century and it’s a Grade II listed pub. It started as a coaching inn in Frodsham and it would have house 23 horses. The stables can be seen at the rear of the pub, but we didn’t go outside, so I missed that. It’s a reason to have another lunch at them.
The pub was called The King’s Head, changing the name to The Queen’s Head when Queen Victoria came to the throne in 1837.
After going to Shakespeare’s Birthplace, my husband and I went to see Shakespeare’s New Place and Shakespeare’s Grave. For the Birthplace, the New Place and Hall’s Croft a special ticket can be bought that will cover all three attractions, at the moment is just shy of £17 for adults.
Shakespeare’s New Place is the house he bought a few years after he got married, in 1597. He bought the house from William Underhill. Underhill was poisoned two months later by his son, who was hanged for the murder. All the property he owned were confiscated by the crown. It’s quite a strange story.
A couple of years after he bought the house, The Globe theatre is built in London. In 1601 his father died and he inherited the house he was born in. Only two years after that, Queen Elizabeth I dies and she is succeeded by King James VI and I. In 1607, Susanna Shakespeare, his eldest child, marries Dr. Hall. Their house is the third property I mentioned at the beginning.
An year later, in 1608, Shakespeare’s mother dies. In 1609 his Sonnets are published. William Shakespeare dies at New Place in 1616, aged 52.
My husband and I went to Stratford upon Avon in our holiday. We’ve been there before, just to see the city, in an evening. So, this time, we went after lunch time, to make sure we have time to see Shakespeare’s Birthplace, Shakespeare’s New place, his grave and Hall’s Croft.
Shakespeare’s Birthplace is one of the 5 attractions in Stratford upon Avon that are part of Shakespeare’s past. For our visit, we’ve started with Shakespeare’s Birthplace. As it’s obvious from its name, this is the house where William Shakespeare was born. He grew up in this house with his parents and siblings. After he got married in 1582, the first 5 years he lived here with his wife Anne Hathaway. In 1583 William had his first child, Susanna and after 2 years they had twins.
His father worked in this house for 50 years. He married Mary Arden in 1557 and they had 8 children. William was the third, born in 1564. In 1568 John, William’s father, became the Mayor and William was in a privileged position, being able to go to the local grammar school for his education. The school was established by King Edward VI. His futher died in 1601 and William inherited the house as the eldest surviving child.
William leased part of the property and it became an inn called the Maidenhead, later being The Swan and Maidenhead. The inn was open until 1847. The house passed to Susanna, William’s daughter and after that to Elizabeth, his granddaughter. As Elizabeth had no children, after her death, the house was inherited by a descendant of one of William’s sisters. They had the house until 1847, when the house went up for sale and was bought by the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust. I think it’s amazing that the house was in Shakespeare’s family until bought by the trust.
Before seeing the house, we passed by a museum with artifacts, a history of the house and clips. One of the artifacts on display is this First Folio. Its full title is Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories & Tragedies and it was the first collected edition of Shakespeare’s work, published in 1623. Without it, a lot of Shakespeare’s plays would have been lost.
There were between 750 and 1000 copies hand-printed. The price for it in 1623 would have been £1 if bound and 15 shillings unbound. A school teacher at that time earned £20 a year. Only 230 First Folios have survived.
According to their website, Nature in Art Museum is the world’s first museum and art gallery dedicated to fine, decorative and applied art inspired by nature. I had to visit this museum as I love nature in art. The museum is small, but filled with wonderful paintings, ceramics and sculptures. We weren’t allowed to take pictures inside the museum, but I took some pictures outside, in the beautiful gardens.
Nature in Art Museum is housed in Wallsworth Hall, an 18th century Georgian mansion. The architecture of the building is beautiful. From the 1740s and until 1987 when it was bought by Nature in Art Trust the building has an interesting history, you can read about it here.
Towneley Hall Art Gallery and Museum was the last place we’ve been to in Burnley. It might be a little too much to have 3 posts about one day trip, but I like to talk more about each place without having to cramp everything in a single post. It’s also an opportunity to look again at the pictures taken and read a bit more about the places we’ve been to. Towneley Hall lies within a beautiful parkland. In the parkland there are 3 or 4 car parks and plenty of fields to walk. I think there is a map at the Hall with different routes.
The hall was the family home of the Towneley’s for nearly five centuries. In 1901 it was sold to Burnley Corporation, and it was opened to the public the following year. There are so many interesting things on display.
Last week we had lunch at The Inn On The Wharf, a lovely pub in Burnley. I mentioned in my previous post that the pub is housed in an old warehouse, just beside the canal. Cotton and other fibers would have been stored here, before being shipped to nearby mills. The warehouse was built in early 1800s. It was used as a building materials shop, until 25 years ago when it was transformed into this beautiful pub. In the same building as the pub it’s a small museum that should be very interesting, but it was closed on the day.
The pub looks beautiful on the outside too. There are a few more pictures at the end of the post. The interior is a mixture of old features along with some memorabilia hanged on walls. It’s very nice. The staff was friendly and another guest told us the history of the pub when we asked, as the staff was not sure about the details. It’s a nice atmosphere.