ANNE HATHAWAYS COTTAGE
What is the history behind Anne Hathaway's Cottage and who have the owners been over the centuries?
ANNE HATHAWAY'S COTTAGE IS A FARMHOUSE WHERE ANNE HATHAWAY, THE WIFE OF WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE, LIVED AS A CHILD IN THE VILLAGE OF SHOTTERY, WARWICKSHIRE, ENGLAND
LOCATION: Shottery, West of Stratford Upon Avon. Warwickshire, England
The First Part of the house was built in 1463 .while other parts of the house were built in the 17th century.
Originally the cottage was under the tenancy of a John Hathaway. John was Anne Hathaway’s Grandfather. He had taken the cottage on in 1543, under the reign of Henry VIII of England. After Anne’s grandfather died, the Cottage then went to Richard Hathaway, Anne’s father. Richard was a Yeoman farmer. In Shakespeare's day, the cottage was known as “Newlands Farm”.
Anne Hathaway was born in the cottage around 1556, around the time of Mary the 1st of England’s reign. When Richard Died, in the September of 1581, the cottage tenancy then went to Anne’s brother Bartholomew. Anne was left 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. At the time when Anne lived at the cottage, there were only two rooms. The oldest parts of the cottage is over Five hundred fifty-four years old, Dating around 1463.
When Anne had met William, she was twenty- six and William was only eighteen. Anne was expected to possibly marry a man who would be a farmer, or have the means to finically support her well. However, William had no job and at that moment in time, had not allot going for him.
Anne was about three months pregnant with their first daughter Susanna when she got married to William. William and Anne had to get a special license to get married and needed to speak to the bishop of Worcester which was probably John Whitgift. At that time, it was not permitted to get married between The November And the February. Anne knew they had to get married quick before her pregnancy started to show, so getting a special license with vital. They had what we would call now a Shot Gun Wedding. Anne and William were married on 27th November 1582.
It would not be till several years into the marriage and after having three children, would their fortunes change. Anne would probably have never dreamed of where her life would have taken her. William, this man whom she married with no prospects, would end up being such a successful play writer, and that they would end up living in a twenty-room mansion.
Anne & William would most likely of never lived at the cottage They would have did their courting here and William would have romanced Anne here, but it the would been at his parent’s house, that they would have lived.
Thirteen generations of the family, have lived at this cottage for over four hundred years, till around 1911. The Hathaway’s owned this cottage until 1838. After reaching financial difficulties, they sold the cottage. Then the Hathaway’s were back to being tenants again. The new landlord decided to divide the cottage into three.
One of the last Hathaway’s, to live in this cottage was a Mrs Mary Baker. Mary Baker was a direct descendant of Bartholomew, who was Anne’s brother. Mary lived in the middle part of the cottage, Pictures of Mrs Bakers can be seen in the parlour at the cottage, and most of the present-day parlour is now, is what it was like when she lived there herself.
In the late 19th century, the “Trust” bought the cottage, and Mrs Baker expressed that it would be not good to evict a Hathaway from Anne Hathaway’s cottage, and asked to stay on rent-free. They agreed to that. Mrs Baker also suggested being a genuine Hathaway, could she not show people who visit around the cottage, and asked for then for a salary for this, which again the trust agreed. Mary would tell visitors stories of how William Shakespeare and Anne would sit in certain spots of the cottage. Then she would point at the place that was Williams and Mary's spot. Mrs Bakers final years did improve financially for her. She died in 1899 after a fall and hurt her leg at the cottage. Mary’s son and family stayed on in the cottage till about 1911. Then after 1911, the cottage went into the full hands of the trust for tourists
STRUCTURE OF THE COTTAGE
The two original rooms of the house are downstairs, as it wasn’t till later that the cottage had the upstairs built on.
Anne’s brother Bartholomew, bought the cottage in 1610. Bartholomew then began making extensions. Including putting floorboards into the cottage and creating an upstairs and bedrooms. Making the two-room cottage into a ten-room farmhouse. Chimneys and the fireplaces were put in. The chimneys that are in the cottage now, were put in towards the end of the 17th century.
The stone flooring in the lower part of the cottage is the original flooring, which was laid by John Hathaway, Anne’s grandfather in the 1540’s. So, when you walk on through lower ground of the cottage, your walking over the same floor Anne Hathaway and William Shakespeare would of walked over.
The furniture downstairs in the cottage is around the early 16th century time frame, but is not Hathaway furniture, apart from two stools which did belong to the Hathaway’s. The beds upstairs are around four hundred years old and belonged to the Baker family.