Wilmcote, Warwickshire: Shakespeare’s mom’s house, a vegan rant and falling in love with the harp


On Sunday I visited Mary Arden’s house, the mother of William Shakespeare. Had I have known the property was part of a farm I would never have gone as I prefer not to support tourist attractions which exhibit animals for the entertainment of humans. Unfortunately I had not checked the website ahead and had made the assumption it was purely a house and garden with the obligatory cafe and gift shop.

My husband, Franc had Tesco vouchers and as Mary Arden’s house was one of the places they could be used for and only 20 minutes away for us on the train off we went for the afternoon with a picnic. 


Mary Arden (1540 to 1608), was the daughter of a very wealthy man, Robert Arden, yet she chose to marry John Shakespeare, the son of one of her father’s tenant farmers. Mary and John had 8 children though several died in infancy; William was born in 1564 in another Tudor gaff in Stratford upon Avon (where you can pay to visit). Mary inherited this home and the land from her father and lived here to oversee it all later on.



A maid protecting the strawberries from slugs:


The fact that Mary had a form of signature shows she was partially educated, rather unheard of for a woman in those times.


Wilmcote is a village around 4 miles from Stratford upon Avon and gets a mention in Shakepeare’s “The Taming of the Shrew”. A drunken Sly demands a Lord “Ask Marian Hacket the fat ale-wife of Wincot, if she know me not”. Talking of ale, there are two pubs in the village today, the Mason’s Arms (quaint but run down) and The Mary Arden (pretty ordinary but has a big greenish head).

The village sports and social club. By sports they mean snooker and darts.


I didn’t take many animals pictures during the outing but I did like this rasta-sheep roaming in the fields:


This calf was with its mother in a very small enclosure. I have complained to the Shakespeare company in writing and was told the mother is out in the field in the morning but they bring her back in for display every opening time. Apparently the calf will not be in the field until he is “independent”. This beautiful soul can stand up, move about and feed – what more is there to wait for?


This pig was scratching in between the cracks of paving slabs looking for dirt. How wrong is this picture? The company advised me their pigs get rotated so they all get a turn in their preferred natural habitat of mud. Well, that makes it all ok then.


There was a gorgeous creamy small owl who was desperately trying to fly yet was so tightly tethered to his exhibit post he could barely move off it. He was in an area of other majestic birds who look into your eyes with such intensity. The collection is brought in daily by an independent keeper who flies them at his convenience.

Right. Before I get more wound up here is some tranquil Stratford canal water:


On the estate there is also the farmhouse with half size door frames to smack your head on. 

One could easily hop over the wall and get in to the attraction for free as we were not stickered…


This village house has a graveyard for a garden – talk about sha chi (death wish) Feng Shui:


St Thomas’s Church with a holy glow:


I really liked the design on this village wooden post, manmade or otherwise.


Back in Mary’s house, medieval harp music was playing by this expert lady. What a beautiful sound. It was exceptionally calming and went some way to soothe my riled up emotions over the imprisoned animals.


Her tune was from the era sounded a bit like this:


And as I got in to the harp so much I have included this young prodigy, Alice Sadikova. Be amazed!



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