Details are divine: Stratford-upon-Avon

I love the decorative details on old buildings and can’t resist taking pictures of them. These curious, delightful, often non-functional elements speak eloquently of times and tastes and the skills of craftspeople. Nowadays we get sheets of glass and stone with a sculpture by a named artist in front, if we’re lucky. I guess new buildings work better in terms of energy efficiency and traffic flow, but I love the anonymous artwork carved and wrought by artisans long ago.

I take pictures of these sorts of things everywhere I go. Today I’m sharing some of my favorites from Stratford-upon-Avon, a wonderful place to take pictures, if you get up before the traffic starts!

Shakespeare’s church

That’s the Church of the Holy Trinity, still an active place of worship, welcoming to tourists of all creeds. They don’t even mind if you take pictures, provided you keep that flash turned off. Shakespeare was baptized here and buried here. He saw these evocative details every Sunday when he was growing up.

stratford1 1

Carvings under the misericords, the little flip-down seats monks could rest on at intervals during the daily divine offices.


Detail from another misericord

stone carving

A carving beside the arch of a doorway

stone carving

Another exterior carving. What artistry!


One of the first things you notice after the Reformation: no more gargoyles. Who’s keeping the demons at bay, anymore? This guy looks almost early 20th century to me – Art Deco.


Anne Hathaway’s House

I’ve blogged about this house before and how much I enjoy visiting. I’ve been twice and would gladly go again, especially in the depths of winter, a season I don’t know much about, being a Texan and all. The secret is to arrive at 9:00 when they open. The tour buses don’t show up until 10:00, so you can have the house all to yourself for a whole hour. They let you take flash-free pictures too. The light is soft and delicious. I only have a few exterior details, so I’ll give you some close-ups of furniture too.

thatched roof

carvings on chest

Carving on the side of a chest – what Elizabethans used instead of closets.

narrow door

That carpenter did the best he could with the materials at hand


John Hall’s House

John Hall was a physician and Shakespeare’s son-in-law. He held a B.A. and an M.A. from Cambridge, quite a step up for the Shakespeares. He was the only doctor in town when he married Susanna in 1607. By that time, Shakespeare had made his name as a playwright and quite a bit of money producing plays. John and Susanna’s house is the one I would live in if I could. It’s perfect. I have lots of photos of the interior and the gardens which I’ll share with y’all sometime. Today it’s just a few exterior details.

hall house

Can’t get enough of that plaster & beam construction!

hall house

Tulips galore this trip. Must have been June.

drain spout

An unhappy drain spout



Walking around town

tudor house




decorative trim



TRI, with frills

carved dog

We love our dogs. Note the fancy collar!

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