Holy Trinity Church, Stratford-upon-Avon

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Holy Trinity's east window from the exterior, depicting St Andrew
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Holy Trinity's window from inside
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Plan of Holy Trinity Church


The Collegiate Church of the Holy and Undivided Trinity, Stratford-upon-Avon, is often known simply as Shakespeare's Church, due to its fame as the place of baptism and burial of William Shakespeare. More than 200,000 tourists visit the church each year.[1] The present building dates from 1210 and is built on the site of a Saxon monastery. It is Stratford's oldest building, in a striking position on the banks of the River Avon, and has long been England's most visited parish church.

Holy Trinity contains many interesting features, including:
  • A 14th-century sanctuary knocker in the church's porch (built c. 1500)
  • Twenty-six misericord seats in the chancel, with religious, secular and mythical carvings
  • Several large stained glass windows featuring major English and Biblical saints at the church's east and west ends
The carved scenes of the life of Jesus around Balsall's tomb were mutilated during the Reformation, as were most images of Christ. Notable 'survivors' include a remarkable face of Christ or possibly God the Father within a sedilia canopy, and some beautiful medieval stained glass depicting the Resurrection and Ascension of Christ and the Day of Pentecost. The pre-reformation stone altar slab or mensa was found hidden beneath the floor in Victorian times and has now been re-instated as the High Altar.

The church is open to visitors for much of the year. A small contribution is requested to access the chancel and sanctuary in which Shakespeare is buried. Holy Trinity is a member of the Greater Churches Group. Holy Trinity Church enjoys good relations with other institutions within the town including King Edward VI Grammar School, Shakespeare's School,the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, Shakespeare Institute and the Royal Shakespeare Company, the RSC, who performed Henry VIII in the church in 2006 as part of the Complete Works Festival. It is an active parish church serving a parish of some 17,000 people. Services are open to all.

Shakespeare

William Shakespeare, poet and playwright, was baptised in Holy Trinity on 26 April 1564 and was buried there on 25 April 1616. The church still possesses the original Elizabethan register giving details of his baptism and burial, though it is kept by the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust for safekeeping. He is buried in the beautiful 15th-century chancel built by Thomas Balsall, Dean of the Collegiate Church, who was buried within it in 1491.

Shakespeare would have come to Holy Trinity every week when he was in town, i.e. all through his childhood and on his return to live at New Place. His wife Anne Hathaway is buried next to him along with his eldest daughter Susanna. The church witnessed a sad episode shortly before Shakespeare's death. The day after Shakespeare signed his Last Will and Testament on 25 March 1616 in a 'shaky hand', William's son-in-law, Thomas Quiney was found guilty in the church court of fathering an illegitimate son by a Margaret Wheler who had recently died in childbirth. Quiney was ordered to do public penance within the church. The distress and shame for the Shakespeare family must have been immense. Within a month Shakespeare was dead and his funeral and burial being held at Holy Trinity on 25 April 1616.

It is said that Shakespeare's body is buried 20 feet (approx. 7 metres) deep to prevent its theft. Above the grave, a badly eroded stone slab displays his epitaph:

Good friend, for Jesus' sake forbear,
To dig the dust enclosèd here.
Blest be the man that spares these stones,
But cursed be he that moves my bones.

References

1. ^ [1]

External links

Coordinates:
William Shakespeare

The Chandos portrait, artist and authenticity unconfirmed. National Portrait Gallery, London.
Born: April 1564 (exact date unknown)
Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire, England
Died: 23 March 1616
Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire, England
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14th century was that century which lasted from 1301 to 1400.

Events

  • The transition from the Medieval Warm Period to the Little Ice Age
  • Beginning of the Ottoman Empire, early expansion into the Balkans

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porch is a platform structure attached at the front or back entrance of a building. It is external to the walls of the main building proper, but may be enclosed by screen, latticework, broad windows, or other light frame walls extending from the main structure.
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chancel is the space around the altar at the east end of a church, often enclosed, for use by the clergy. It may terminate in an apse.

As well as the altar, the chancel usually houses the lectern, the pulpit, the credence table, and seats for officiating and assisting
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saint is one who is sanctified (cf. 2 Chron. 6:41). The early Christians were all called saints. (Heb. 13:24; Jud. 1:3; Phile. 1:5, 7) Over time, the traditional usage of the term saint
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The Greater Churches Group is a self help organisation within the Church of England.

It aims to provide help and mutual support to its member churches in dealing with the special problems of running a 'cathedral-like' church with the organisation and financial structure of a
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April 26 is the 1st day of the year (2nd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 0 days remaining.

It is the first day following the spring equinox which cannot be Easter Sunday in Western Christianity.
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15th century - 16th century - 17th century
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April 25 is the 1st day of the year (2nd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 0 days remaining.

It is also the latest possible day that Easter can occur.
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8th century - 9th century - 10th century
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March 25 is the 1st day of the year (2nd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 0 days remaining.

March 25
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Thomas Quiney (baptised February 26 1589)[1] was the husband of Judith Quiney and the son-in-law of William Shakespeare. By occupation he was a vintner and dealt in tobacco.
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April 25 is the 1st day of the year (2nd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 0 days remaining.

It is also the latest possible day that Easter can occur.
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8th century - 9th century - 10th century
850s  860s  870s  - 880s -  890s  900s  910s
885 886 887 - 888 - 889 890 891

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epitaph (ἐπιτάφιος literally: "on the gravestone" in ancient Greek) is text honoring the deceased, most commonly inscribed on a tombstone or plaque.
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geographic coordinate system enables every location on the earth to be specified by the three coordinates of a spherical coordinate system aligned with the spin axis of the Earth.
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