Anne Hathaway’s Cottage was the family home of Shakespeare’s wife. When the Trust bought the property in 1892 a descendant of the family, Mary Baker, was still a tenant and stayed to welcome visitors until her death. Unlike some of the SBT’s other properties, the ownership of the Cottage is fairly straightforward, and documents in our collection chart this as it descended down the Hathaway family line and into the ownership of the Trust over 130 years ago.
Souvenirs, art, diaries and images demonstrate the history of the Cottage as an attraction since it first caught the attention of tourists in the late 1700s. Ever the photographic property, artwork and photographs show how visitors have been drawn to the romantic story of William and Anne’s courtship and continue to be so today. These images also show the changes to the land around the Cottage, how the garden developed and how the interior of the house has looked.
Today the house is presented as a family home, much as it was when Mary Baker lived there, and house contains many original items of Hathaway family furniture, including the Hathaway bed, which passed with the house into the Trust’s ownership. The garden of Anne Hathaway’s Cottage showcases some of our contemporary sculpture collection, and the displays in the house tell the story of the Hathaway family and Anne’s courtship of William Shakespeare.