Know Britain History of Stratford-upon-Avon England





Disaster Strikes

At the time of Shakespeare's birth Stratford-upon-Avon was a prosperous market town with a population of around 2,000. This peaceful and uneventful environment was soon to be disrupted by the Plague that claimed about 250 victims among the Stratford folk. Towards the end of the 16th century the town's economic prosperity declined with the crisis of the wool trade and this was the first of a whole series of adverse circumstances that was to alter the hitherto peaceful existence of the town.

Again, towards the end of the 16th century, and precisely 22 September 1594, a fire destroyed many of the timber-framed houses in High Street, Chapel Street and Henley Street. Many of the houses between Bridge Street and Sheep Street suffered a similar fate the following year. In 1612 a third fire broke out destroying more than 50 other buildings. Yet another fire in 1641 destroyed much of Bridge Street.

Although it is generally thought that the Falcon in Chapel Street dates back to around the year 1500 the similarities between the close-studding of its lower sections and that of other buildings rebuilt after the fires in the last decade of the 16th century tend to indicate a later date.

[The Falcon Chapel St. Thumbnail Image]

The Falcon in Chapel St.
(click the image for a larger size picture)

Another important building dating back to the last years of the 16th century is Harvard House with its richly carved timber-framing. It originally belonged to the Rogers family.

[Harvard House in the High Street Thumbnail Image]

Harvard House, High Street
(click the image for a larger size picture)
Kathrine Rogers married Robert Harvard and their son left England for America. The fortune he left on his death financed the foundation of Harvard University. The restoration of the building was financed by Edward from Chicago.


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latest update: 7/12/04