St James Residents' Association

For The Residents And Workers Of St James

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Thursday, 7 June 2012

Touring Exhibition comes to Northampton


A touring exhibition that explores the mystery of where William Shakespeare married Anne Hathaway is to open at Abington Park Museum in Northampton on 8 June.

Five churches lay claim to the wedding and ‘And thereby hangs a tale’ looks at the evidence for and against each claim.  The churches cited as contenders for the wedding are St Martin’s Church in Worcester, Temple Grafton Church in Warwickshire, All Saints’ Chapel in Luddington, Holy Trinity in Stratford and All Saint’s Church in Billesley - now in the care of the Churches Conservation Trust, the national charity saving historic churches at risk.

The evidence for each claim has been pieced together by the trust, which has organised the exhibition.  Visitors will be invited to sort through historical fact from fiction before drawing their own conclusions.


The exhibition was launched at Anne Hathaway’s Cottage near Stratford last September before beginning a tour of other heritage sites in the region.  Its Abington Park Museum venue in Northampton is a fitting setting for the exhibition as it was once home to Shakespeare’s granddaughter Elizabeth.  In 1649 Elizabeth married John Bernard of Abington at All Saints’ church in the parish of Billesley before moving to the 15th century manor which now houses the museum.  Could it be that Elizabeth chose the Billesley church because her grandparents married there?  Visit the exhibition to find out.

Jo Cross of The Churches Conservation Trust said: "We chose Abington Park Museum because of its connection with Shakespeare.  As the home of his granddaughter Elizabeth Bernard it seems entirely fitting for the tour to end here.”

Costumes from the Royal Shakespeare Company’s 2000 production of Romeo and Juliet, which starred David Tennant, as well as others from productions of A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Anthony and Cleopatra will be showing alongside the exhibition.

‘And thereby hangs a tale’ is at Abington Park Museum from 8 June until 26 August.  Opening times are Thursday to Sunday and bank holiday Mondays 1pm to 5pm.  Admission is free.

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St James End before 1965

St James End before 1965

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