About Anne Hathaway’s Cottage
Anne Hathaway’s Cottage in Stratford-upon-Avon is the childhood home of William Shakespeare‘s wife, and the site where they began their early courtship. Today it remains the same wattle-and-daub structure, transporting visitors back in time to Shakespearean England.
Anne Hathaway’s Cottage history
Anne Hathaway’s Cottage was built as a farmhouse in 1463 and initially consisted of just 3 rooms, 2 of which still survive today in the form of the kitchen and parlour. Anne’s grandfather John Hathaway was the first to live there as a tenant sheep farmer, and Anne herself was born there in 1556.
Following her father Richard’s death in 1581, Anne’s brother Bartholomew inherited the farm, expanding it with an upper floor and new chimneys. It is almost certain that the Hathaways knew the Shakespeares and it is likely that the pair spent some time together at the cottage, before in November 1582 Anne and William were married while she was 26 and he 18.
This age difference, alongside the fact that Anne was already pregnant with their child, has caused many to suspect that they had a ‘shotgun wedding’ in order to maintain their honour, however there is little else to suggest this. The pair went on to have 3 children together and following Shakespeare’s retirement in 1613 he moved back to Stratford-upon-Avon to be with Anne.
Anne Hathaway’s Cottage remained in the Hathaway family for 13 generations, until in 1846 financial troubles forced them to sell. In 1892 it was purchased by the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, who run it as a museum today.
Anne Hathaway’s Cottage today
Today Anne Hathaway’s Cottage hosts a range of fascinating items and stories to discover. Highlights include a 17th century chair gifted to the Hathaway family by Anne and Shakespeare’s granddaughter, and the ornate Hathaway Bed made between 1580 and 1650.
Outside, the sculpture garden features works inspired by Shakespeare’s most beloved plays, while the Cottage Gardens consist of acres of pleasant orchards and greenery.
The Cottage is also a 10-minute drive to Shakespeare’s Birthplace, where visitors may continue to explore the great playwright’s life.
Getting to Anne Hathaway’s Cottage
Anne Hathaway’s Cottage is located in Stratford-upon-Avon in Warwickshire, just off the A46. Stratford-upon-Avon train station is a 25-minute walk away, while the 27 bus service and Johnsons Coaches tour bus stop directly outside.