Mary Arden, and the uncertain glory of an April day

28 May

On Shakespeare’s birthday, the houses that form the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust held various activities and special programs.  We took the opportunity of a bright, clean, spring day — with sunshine, no less — to make the hop up to Strafford and one of my favorite places, Mary Arden’s Farm.  When we last visited, the farm was being laid to rest — literally, there were corpses everywhere — and it was cheerful to return to spring lambs and fresh faces.  Like these:

All together now: “Awwwwwwwwwww.”

A large poster was near the entry, where visitors could leave their birthday greetings for the Bard, and grab a photo op.

We explored the spring-cleaned Palmer’s Farm house, one of two farm houses on the Mary Arden Farm complex.

I have severely impractical fantasies about cooking in this kitchen.

Palmer’s Farm central hallway, looking toward the kitchen garden.

The wealthy owner’s private room.

And the beautiful table set in the private room.

One of the upstairs bedrooms (this one above the owner’s room).  Check out that sweet trundle bed.

Love the dolly on the child’s trundle.

On the other side of the house, above the kitchen, sleeping quarters for lesser persons.  Used during the day for other tasks, like spinning wool from the farm’s sheep.

A stroll through some farm buildings and gardens, to the Mary Arden farmhouse, where Shakespeare’s mother was born and lived as a child.  Palmer’s Farm house (in the photos above) is a contemporary neighbor to the Arden Farm, but not where Shakespeare might have lived or visited as a child.   The Birthplace Trust bought Palmer’s farm by accident, thinking it was the Arden home because of some ambiguity in the real estate records — lucky accident!  Now both homes are beautiful, but the Palmer farm house is more accurate to the period.  The red Tudor roses on signposts point out especially interesting sights around the farm complex.

Lounge seating in a downstairs room at Mary Arden’s Farm.  Let’s play pretend, I’ll read sonnets and …

… You dress up, in some of the period garb available for visitors to try on.

Or we could play one of the many games set out.

Not sure what this is — the Tudor equivalent of Candy Land?  I like the photo.

The Apothecary’s corner.  See the rose?  Now you know this is important.

The fletcher at his trade?  I assume the apples are to put on your head, so an archer can shoot at you, William Tell style.  Go ahead, try it.

More impractical fantasies about setting this up in my own home.

Looking out a window.  I wonder how much the shape of this village has changed in the past 500 years?

A last goodbye to one of the lambs.

Although I love the interiors of these Tudor farmhouses, the Farm also has a variety of healthy and very cute animals, all of which are close on hand for viewing, sometimes feeding, or for watching in awe (the birds of prey come to mind).

How lucky are we that we live close enough to visit Strafford several times a year?


8 Responses to “Mary Arden, and the uncertain glory of an April day”

  1. Zazzy May 28, 2012 at 1:52 pm #

    The farm looks much prettier without the corpses! Until I followed your link, I thought the last time you were there was following the slaughter of the lambs. Fake corpses are better than that mental image. I love the herbs and I share your impractical desire to cook in that kitchen.

    • Monique May 28, 2012 at 6:30 pm #

      Oh, I don’t think the slaughter of the lambs would be on my list of child friendly activities, ha ha. It is beautiful all over this whole darned country right now! Are you planting new herbs to make up for your lost ones? The window hanging look is so wonderful.

      • Zazzy May 29, 2012 at 7:37 pm #

        I’m going to give it a little time. I expect to have to replant the basil and parsley. I’m hoping the rest comes back.

  2. Louise May 31, 2012 at 3:58 am #

    “Severely impractical fantasies…” Tee hee! Love that line!

    • Monique June 2, 2012 at 8:21 pm #

      I have severely impractical feelings about a lot of England. And hiya, nice to see you!! 🙂

  3. satnavandcider June 6, 2012 at 3:54 pm #

    I have yet to visit Stratford-upon-Avon. Your photos are very enticing. I’m starting to think that I shouldn’t wait much longer.

    • Monique June 8, 2012 at 9:02 am #

      If the sun ever comes out again, I definitely recommend it!


  1. Snapshot: pigs! | Crumpets in Camelot - November 2, 2013

    […] that adorable Tamworth piglet?  We met him at Mary Arden’s Farm back in the spring.  (Mary Arden’s remains one of my seriously favorite places to visit, ever.)  We checked in […]

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