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Collections Items on Display

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

A wooden arm chair with carved panels between the legs supporting a leather-covered seat. The back has a highly-carved shaped top, and a carved border frames a panel with a flower-design in a diamond in its centre, and a small Shakespeare shield.

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

A four-poster bed with green hangings and a green coverlet on the bed. There is a solid oak cared headboard. on the bed are a pair of white knee-length socks and a green kirtle. In the background is a wooden chair, and everything stands on a wooden floor.

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

A very rough  small settle, with panel sides down to the floor rather than legs, cut back just above seat level to provide a support for the three-plank back  The seat is covered in scuffed leather The settle would hold two people in close proximity.

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

A four-poster bet with a canopy of yellow wool, extending about 20 centimetres down each of the posts. Yellow wool also covers the back. There are a chair and round  table with a vase of flowers in the background; in the foreground is a wooden chest .

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

A plain oak chest with a lock; on it stands a stoneware jug on a circular rush mat. There are yellow flowers in the jug,  and part of  a bed can be seen in the background.

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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