Visit Anne Hathaway’s Cottage, the beautiful 500 year old cottage where Shakespeare courted his bride-to-be. See original furniture including the Hathaway bed and uncover five centuries of stories in this picturesque cottage and 13 generations of the family who lived there.
Anne Hathaway’s Cottage was originally a farmhouse. It was built in 1463 of cruck construction, when the building would have comprised just two rooms, the kitchen and hall connected by the cross passageway between. We believe the first Hathaway to live in the house was Anne’s grandfather John Hathaway, who was a tenant farmer. Anne, later Shakespeare’s wife was born here in 1556.
When the site was a farm the house was known as ‘Hewlands’ and the Hathaway family were very successful sheep farmers. The garden would have been a farmyard with some livestock and likely a herb garden.
After the death of Anne’s father in 1581, Anne’s brother Bartholomew inherited the tenancy of the 90-acre farm and later bought it freehold. He went on to make various improvements to Anne Hathaway’s house and the first floor is a conversion completed by Bartholomew before the construction of the two-story section in around 1623.
By the late 18th Century the family’s fortunes were on the wane, some land was sold and Hewland’s ceased to be a farm.
The last Hathaway to own the cottage was Mary Baker, who sold the property to the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust in 1892. Her son William Baker still occupied part of the cottage and was allowed to live there rent free for the rest of his life, assisting with custodian duties until his death in 1911.