After soaking up Shakespearean history in Stratford-upon-Avon, we drove three miles to the village of Wilmcote to the family home of the great bard’s mother. Mary Arden lived with her parents and seven sisters until she married John Shakespeare in 1557 at the age of twenty. Mary Arden’s Farm is a working farm and portrays 16th century life. Costumed workers complete the scene and we really felt we had stepped back in time. The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust bought the farmhouse in 1930 and refurbished it in the Tudor period style.
The funny thing is, in 2000 it was discovered that the house actually belonged to a neighbour, Adam Palmer, and it was renamed Palmer’s Farm. The rooms have been beautifully preserved.
The Arden family house had been acquired by the Trust in 1968 as part of the farm without realising its significance. A more modest dwelling, some of the timber framework has been replaced with Victorian brickwork but the original features date back to 1514.
The outbuildings have been maintained, providing comfortable shelter for animals and vehicles.
The evidence of hard manual labour has been retained,
the outdoor Tudor oven could have been the prototype of today’s pizza ovens?
We wandered past the birds of prey, patiently waiting for their moment in the spotlight.
The boss was in her office making sure things ran smoothly.
Of course, I fell in love with the donkeys.
Michael fell in love with a couple of birds. He learned the way to win a heart was with a nuzzle rather than a stroke. Apparently, birds see the offering of a hand as aggression.
The occasional dead chick works, too.
Into a barn for, not surprisingly, a barn owl experience.
No prizes for guessing who volunteered to don the glove.
No nuzzles this time but the reward was the same.