Is there a link between All Saints Church, Billesley and Shakespeare?!
This year, to coincide with the World Shakespeare Festival, the Churches Conservation Trust, supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund, is embarking on a project to explore the local legend that William Shakespeare married his wife, Anne Hathaway, in All Saints' Church, Billesley.
Amongst a clutch of surrounding churches including Temple Grafton, Luddington and Holy Trinity in Stratford, All Saints', Billesley is regularly cited as being a strong contender for the place where Shakespeare married Anne Hathaway. Sadly no parish registers survive from this time to prove it. There is evidence, however, to confirm that his granddaughter’s wedding did take place at Billesley in 1649.
Much is told of Shakespeare, in particular his relationship with his wife, but little is based on factual evidence. Working with a number of regional partners, including the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, we are producing a touring exhibition that will examine the existing primary sources pertaining to where Shakespeare and Anne were married.
About the project
We will look at everything from the Worcester Episcopal register that records the issuing of a Marriage Licence and Bond to William Shakespeare, to the architecture of the churches themselves. The exhibition aims to explore the theme of historical interpretation and show how fact and fiction, myth and legend feed into our understanding of the world today.
Launched with a high profile event, the exhibition will tour a number of related venues including the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, Holy Trinity Church, Worcester Cathedral and Warwickshire Records Office with each residence accompanied by a programme of associated activities.
By touring a range of venues and offering targeted events and activities, the exhibition will effectively take the story of All Saints to new audiences beyond the site of the church itself.
We will be working with local people who will strongly influence the direction of this element of the project, utilising and developing local skills, knowledge and expertise and strengthening pride in and commitment to All Saints'. Together we seek to build a supporter community who care about the future of this special church.
If you are interested in getting involved in this project, please contact Jo Cross on [email protected] or call 07900 214 199
We will be updating the website with further information about this project and event dates so keep checking in!