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Thursday Doors

Anne Hathaway’s Thursday Doors

No, not that Anne Hathaway. This is the wife of William Shakespeare, not the film star. She was born in 1556 in  Shottery village, on the outskirts of Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire, England, into a wealthy family who owned sheep grazing on 90 acres of land. The original house, a two-roomed dwelling, was constructed a century before she was born. Over the years, it was extended by adding ten more rooms and called Newlands Farm.

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Shakespeare courted Anne for several years before they married, he aged 18 and she 26 (already three months pregnant with Judith). Shakespeare moved to London to pursue his career as a playwright, but he returned to Stratford each year to his family. Anne bore twins, Hamnet and Susanna. Hamnet died of the plague as a child.

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This is the back-door of Anne Hathway’s cottage, opening onto the kitchen garden. Shakespeare would have entered the front door when he came a-wooing Anne.

When Shakespeare died, he left his wife his “second-best bed and furniture” in his will. Although some have interpreted this as a snub, his best bed went to one of his daughters, probably Susanna. Beds were important bits of furniture.

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One of the original beds in the cottage. Note the door on the right of the photo.

Here are two internal doors. People were shorter in those days.

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A square wooden plate, or “trencher”, with a depression for salt at the top right. This is the origin of the term “a square meal”.
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The last of Anne Hathaway’s ancestors who lived in the cottage and died before the First World War.

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