Is there a Shakespearean connection at All Saints' Church, Billesley?

View of All Saints' Church, Billesley. Photo copyright Sarah McCarthy. Not to be reproduced without permission.Set prettily in a wooded churchyard, deep in what was once the Forest of Arden, is the church of All Saints', Billesley.

The quiet surrounds and demure appearance belie a connection to one of the most famous men that has ever lived - William Shakespeare.

Photo above by Sarah McCarthy. Not to be reproduced without permission.

Barely 4 miles from Stratford and a mile or so down the road from Mary Arden's Farm - Shakespeare's mother’s birthplace - the famous playwrite would undoubtedly have known the area – walked it, observed it and breathed its air.

The origins of this Grade 1 listed church go back as far as the 11th-century when there was once a thriving village here. The church we see today is not the very same church of Shakespeare’s time since it was radically altered at the end of the 17th-century; but vestiges of the building remain and it is a magical place steeped in history.

Find out more about All Saints', Billesley

Picture taken from Shakespeare have married Anne Hathaway at All Saints' Church?

Whether or not Shakespeare married Anne Hathaway at Billesley is unlikely ever to be proved since the evidence has long since perished. Or maybe not. Maybe there are documents yet to be discovered, records to be revealed. In the meantime, we can but surmise, look at the facts before us - and imagine.

Walk in the footsteps of Shakespeare

We have created a guided trail that links the villages of Wilmcote, Aston Cantlow, and Billesley - each claiming its own special connection to William Shakespeare.

View the guided trail

There are two circular routes – a walking route mainly on public footpaths, and a road-based route for cyclists and those with limited mobility (though please be aware the country roads are often narrow and without pavements). Both routes are about 8 miles long, but can be explored in sections.

Read more news about the project and find out more about All Saints' Church

 HLF logoShakespeake Birthplace Trust logo

Donate by text

Last year, we welcomed over two million visitors to our churches. If each person donated just £2, this would enable us to keep our churches open, safe and watertight for you and future generations to enjoy.

Close up of a mosaic at St Peter, Northampton

Text code 'OCCT05' to 70070 to donate now (free from all networks).

Or use the button below to donate online.

Donate online

Using our churches

Many of our churches are ideal venues for events, ranging from farmers markets to flower festivals. If you are looking for a unique venue, why not get in touch?

A farmers' market in Christ Church, Waterloo

Find out more