The Hathaway Bed


Carved bedstead with Hathaway family connections


This impressive oak, four poster bedstead is English and dates from the 16th-17th centuries. It is made up of parts from different periods; the tester (canopy) dates from around 1650 while the headboard, posts and rails date from 1580-1630. It is decorated with intricate carving, including cabled diamonds, foliage and assorted figures.

Traditionally known as the "Hathaway Bed", it was purchased by the Trust in 1892 along with Anne Hathaway's Cottage itself, and is thought to have been in situ there for many years prior to this.

Shakespeare's wife, Anne, lived at the cottage as a child and the house remained in the Hathaway family for several generations. The male line became extinct in 1746 on the death of John Hathaway but the property then passed, through his sister Susanna, to his nephew, John Hathaway Taylor. John's son, William, lived there until his death in 1846. Financial problems had forced him to sell the cottage six years earlier but he had remained in occupation as a tenant, as did his daughter, Mary. She was still living there in 1892.

To find out more about bedsteads, see the Shakespeare's World in 100 Objects blog: http://findingshakespeare.co.uk/shakespeares-world-in-a-100-objects-number-4-bedsteads