Page images
[ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][graphic][merged small][merged small][ocr errors]

Stratford-upon-Avon :



Dr. Gay Serien


நிலா Gok for Hisitors.


When many villages, and almost all provincial towns have Guides, to point out to travellers whatever may be remarkable in them and in the surrounding country, little or no apology can be necessary for offering to the public, A GUIDE TO STRATFORD-UPONAVON, which may direct the attention of strangers to what is particularly worthy of their notice the house where our immortal Shakespeare was an

“ Infant in his nurse's armas,"

the school in which it is presumed he received his education--the scenes of his youthful imprudences, and of his youthful meditations--the spots familiar to him in early and in mature life-the site of the house where, with an income suited to his wants and wishes, he passed his last years--and the church where all his mortal part was consigned to the grave.

Stratford-upon-Avon is situated on the banks of the Avon, eight miles west from Warwick, and ten from Leamington, and is in the direct road to Cheltenham, distant thirty-four miles. It lies also in the high road from London, distant ninety-four miles, (through Oxford, to Birmingham, Shrewsbury, and Holyhead), and is approached by a stone bridge built over the river Avon, by Sir Hugh Clopton, Knight, Lord Mayor of London, in the reign of Henry VII. The town may be traced to as remote a period as three hundred years before the invasion of William the Conqueror, at which time there was a monastery, supposed to have been founded by the Saxons, which was afterwards dissolved; but the town continued in the possession of the Bishops of Worcester till 1542, when it was made over to the Duke of Northumberland, in exchange for lands in Worcestershire. The Duke being afterwards attainted, the Manor of Stratford fell to the Crown, and Charles II. gave it to Charles, Earl of Dorset. The present Lady of the Manor is the Countess Amherst.

The town received its first regular Charter of Incorporation from Edward VI., which, reciting and confirming former grants of privileges to “ The Bailiff and Burgesses of Stratford-upon-Avon,” was extended by James I., and subsequently by Charles II., in the 16th and 26th years of his reign. Under this last Charter the government was vested in a Mayor, twelve Aldermen, and twelve Burgesses; the Mayor being chosen annually from the whole body. Under

the provisions of the late Municipal Act, the Borough is now governed by a Council, consisting of a Mayor, (elected on the 1st of November in every year, out of the Aldermen or Councillors), four Aldermen, (chosen by the Councillors from their own body, or from the persons qualified to be Councillors), and twelve Councillors elected by the Burgesses at large. Two of the Aldermen go out of office every


year, and onethird of the Councillors go out of office annually, but each person so going out is capable of being re-elected. The officers of the Corporation consist of a High Steward, (the Earl Delawarr), a Town Clerk, a Chamberlain, two Serjeants at Mace, and a Beadle.

Stratford possesses many advantages for trade and commerce, of which its inhabitants are so diligently availing themselves as to afford every prospect of its becoming one of the most considerable towns in the County of Warwick not possessed of manufactures. The river Avon, navigable to the bridge, is the means of keeping up a continual intercourse between Stratford and the important cities of Gloucester and Bristol. It is connected, by a canal opened in 1817, with Birmingham, and the great mining districts of Staffordshire, Worcestershire, and Shropshire. A line of railway is in course of construction to connect Stratford with the Great Western at Hatton, which will considerably facilitate our communication with Birmingham and the north. The Oxford, Worcester and Wolverhampton Railway Company have constructed a Branch from Honeybourne to tbis place,

« PreviousContinue »