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The must-see collection items displayed at Anne Hathaway's Cottage

Courting chair

Courting Chair

This chair dates from the mid 1600s and was purported by Samuel Ireland (father of infamous Shakespeare forger William Henry Ireland) to be the courting chair of William Shakespeare and Anne Hathaway. He purchased it from the cottage in 1792 and, according to his interview with one of the Hathaway family living there, it had been given to them by Lady Elizabeth Barnard, William Shakespeare's granddaughter.

You can find this item in Bedchamber 1.

To learn more, read about this item in our online catalogue: 2002-49 - Courting Chair


Hathaway Bed

An icon of Anne Hathaway’s Cottage, the Hathaway Bed was made between 1580 and 1650. It was common for wood and parts of furniture to be reused for different purposes, hence the range of dates applied to this particular piece. Samuel Ireland (mentioned above) also tried to purchase the Hathaway Bed but was told very firmly that it wasn’t for sale, even at any price.

You can find this item in Bedchamber 2.

To learn more, read about this item in our online catalogue: 1993-31/648 - Hathaway Bed

Courting Settle

Courting Settle

This bench has become traditionally known as Shakespeare and Anne's 'courting settle', the very place where the pair sat when Shakespeare would come to visit. This story was perpetuated by the last descendants of the Hathaway family, Mary Baker and her granddaughters. Modern day experts have dated the bench to be from 1750-1800, so unfortunately it is not old enough for this story to be true. 

You can find this item in the Parlour.

To learn more, read about this item in our online catalogue: 1993-31/593 - Courting Settle

Tester bed

Tester Bed

This tester bed dates from the late 1500s and is very likely the bed that Anne Hathaway's brother died in. It is a piece of furniture that Anne would have seen in the cottage while she lived there. This example shows a common feature of earlier beds where the mattress is supported by ropes, which would have required regular tightening to keep them taught. 

You can find this item in Bedchamber 3.

To learn more, read about this item in our online catalogue: 1993-31/660  - Tester bed

Wooden Chest

Wooden Chest

Dating from around 1720, this boarded chest would most likely have been used to store valuable items. Chest such as this were a common piece of furniture during Shakespeare’s time, and even poorer households usually had at least one while the inventories of great households can list hundreds.

You can find this item in Bedchamber 4.

To learn more, read about this item in our online catalogue: 1993-31/659 - Wooden Chest

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