Hall’s Croft is named after William Shakespeare’s son-in-law John Hall, famous both for his family connections and his work as a physician. Hall married Shakespeare’s eldest daughter Susanna, and they lived in the property until their move to New Place in 1616 upon Shakespeare’s death.
Prior to the Trust purchasing the property in 1949, the house was in private hands, and was the last property that the Trust acquired. It is a fine example of a Jacobean house, with the earliest part sof the building having been built in around 1613. The house has always been a curiosity in the town, is striking character and Tudor features drawing attention from passersby, and we have a number of artistic interpretations of the house over the years that are invaluable to understanding the evolution of the building.
Deeds and plans in our collection show how the property has been extended and changed as well as the restoration work conducted by the Trust before it could be safely opened to the public. Documents and images demonstrate its changing use and habitation, from family home to private school to its current incarnation. Today the house is presented as a luxurious Tudor home, showing examples from our material culture collection that reflect Susanna and John Hall's status and highlighting his role as a prominent physician.
Method in the Madness
Method in the Madness is the current exhibition featured in the dedicated exhibition space at Hall's Croft, and explores medicine and medical practices in the lifetime of the physician, John Hall (1575-1635).
The exhibition explores not only the medicine of the period but the foundations upon which this medicine was based. It looks at the contemporary understanding of mind and body and how this interpretation fed into theories of disease and illness, and the best means to cure them. The exhibition then goes further, taking in advances in anatomy and physiology, including William Harvey’s discovery of the circulation of the blood. All of this culminates in a study of John Hall himself, the man, the medicine, the casebook and finally the Shakespeare connection.