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Hathaway Bed

The iconic bed of Anne Hathaway has a fascinating history.

The Hathaway bed has long been an icon of the Anne Hathaway’s cottage, although in this 19th-century illustration it looks more like the 'Great Bed of Ware'!

hathaway bed

The bed is a little too grand to have belonged to the Hathaway family, but the story goes that in the late 17th century it was given to the Hathaway's by Lady Elizabeth Barnard, Shakespeare's granddaughter. This tale was reported in one of the earliest guidebooks to the Stratford area, Picturesque Views on the Warwickshire Avon, by Samuel Ireland, published in 1795. Samuel Ireland - the father of the infamous forger of 'Shakespeare' documents William Henry - discovered this information by chatting to a descendant Joan Hart (Shakespeare's sister).

When Ireland offered to buy it from Elizabeth (a descendant of Anne’s brother Bartholomew) together with other items from the property, he was told very firmly that it wasn’t for sale. She had slept in the bed since girlhood and she wasn’t going to change now!

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