The Hamlet

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The gardens at Anne Hathaway’s Cottage stun the viewer. Luckily, you can purchase heirloom seeds to plant back home!

People seem to have strong opinions about Stratford-upon-Avon, the birthplace of The Bard, William Shakespeare. Anne Hathaway’s Cottage draws visitors since the structure is original, & its thatching a fine specimen of that type of roofing. Its charm makes you think of fairytales.

There you even learn from whence the goodnight phrase “Sleep tight” originated, as you peer at the roped bed frames that required tightening after a long night’s sleep. The weight and use required it for any kind of firmness. The ticking of the mattresses also make you wonder about how comfortable hay would be if you slept on it?

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An English butterfly appreciated the flowers in the cottage garden.

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More blooms at the garden.

Really, this town, a hamlet at one point before it grew into what it is now, encapsulates so many of the quintessentially English things that Americans tend to love. Tudor-style buildings, thatched-roof cottages, old churches with spires & steeples, wild rambling gardens, statuary, low-lying rivers & their bridges. And the ubiquitous flowers add tremendous color & beauty. England is known for its gardens, of course.

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The reconstructed Shakespeare’s birthplace.

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The gardens at Shakespeare’s birthplace.

The flowers at Shakespeare’s reconstructed birthplace are more manicured and tamed than the rambling landscape found at his wife’s cottage. The contrast between the two is quite striking.

Perhaps that’s why people perceive the former to be more artificial and unauthentic in its rigidity and structure? Yet, that approach does stay true to the Tudor approach to landscaping and gardening. The geometric patterns of Neoclassic thought resonate in the design. Lines were important not only for the gardens but the homes as well.

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A main street Tudor building in Stratford-upon-Avon.

The exterior stripes of wood and stucco & the crosshatched windows of Tudor buildings distract an American eye from remembering this as an ancestor to the Garrison style home found in New England. Where the New England versions were constructed to provide protection from attacks, there lacked a need for decorative exteriors.

The other consideration tied to building materials. Clearly, in New England, trees and wood were plentiful, while in England not so much. Yet the architectural lines act like the features of a grandparent. You can see a resemblance even though at first glance it might not seem so obvious. Who knew? Another tie between the Old World & the New.

An example of the Tudor-inspired Garrison prevalent in the oldest settlements in Massachusetts & Connecticut.

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