Excerpt: ...a widow, being still its owner and occupant, Henrietta Maria, queen to Charles the First, who had come to Stratford with a part of the royal army, resided for three days at New Place, which, therefore, must even then have been the most considerable private residence in the town. (The queen arrived at Stratford on July 11 and on July 13 she went to Kineton.) Mrs. Hall, dying in 1649, aged sixty-six, left it to her only child, Elizabeth, then Mrs. Thomas Nashe, who afterward became Lady Barnard, wife to Sir John Barnard, of Abingdon, and in whom the direct line of Shakespeare ended. After her death the estate was purchased by Sir Edward Walker, in 1675, who ultimately left it to his daughter's husband, Sir John Clopton (1638-1719), and so it once more passed into the hands of the family of its founder. A second Sir Hugh Clopton (1671-1751) owned it at the middle of the eighteenth century, and under his direction it was repaired, decorated, and furnished with a new front. That proved the beginning of the end of this old structure, as a relic of Shakespeare; for this owner, dying in 1751, bequeathed it to his son-in-law, Henry Talbot, who in 1753 sold it to the most universally execrated iconoclast of modern times, the Rev. Francis Gastrell, vicar of Frodsham, in Cheshire, by whom it was destroyed. Mr. Gastrell was a man of fortune, and he certainly was one of insensibility. He knew little of Shakespeare; but he knew that the frequent incursion, into his garden, of strangers who came to sit beneath "Shakespeare's mulberry" was a troublesome annoyance. He struck, therefore, at the root of the vexation and cut down the tree. That was in 1756. The wood was purchased by Thomas Sharp, a watchmaker of Stratford, who subsequently made the solemn declaration that he carried it to his home and converted it into toys and kindred memorial relics. The villagers of Stratford, meantime, incensed at the barbarity of Mr. Gastrell, took their revenge by breaking his...
- Paperback | 60 pages
- 189 x 246 x 3mm | 127g
- 13 Sep 2013
- Illustrations, black and white