A Visit to the Holy Trinity Church, Shakespeare’s Burial Place in Stratford-upon-Avon :
Shakespeare’s Theatre was closed for renovations during our visit so we walked along to the Holy Trinity Church. Luck was with us this time around. Although it was past closing time, the church doors were open as a service had just ended.
In we went quickly to the Chancel and sanctuary where Shakespeare is buried, just in case someone changes their mind and decides to close the church.
The Holy Trinity Church, often referred to as Shakespeare’s Church, receives more than 200,000 tourists each year who, like us, come to visit Shakespeare’s burial place.
Throughout his childhood and on his return to live at New Place, Shakespeare would probably have come to Holy Trinity every week that he was in town. His wife Anne Hathaway is buried next to him along with his eldest daughter Susanna.
Above the grave, a stone slab displaying Shakespeare’s epitaph reads:
GOOD FREND FOR JESUS SAKE FORBEARE,
TO DIGG THE DVST ENCLOASED HEARE.
BLESTE BE YE MAN YT SPARES THES STONES,
AND CVRST BE HE YT MOVES MY BONES.
It is believed that Shakespeare’s body is buried about 7 metres deep to prevent theft. According to one theory, the epitaph serves to warn against Shakespeare’s body from being moved to Westminster Abbey and the exhumation of his body for examination.
About the Holy Trinity Church
There has been a church on this site of the Holy Trinity Church since at least 713 when a Saxon monastery was built here. The present building dates from 1210 and is Stratford’s oldest building. The oldest sections are the tower, transepts and nave pillars. The north and south aisles were added in the 1300s and the Chancel in the late 1400s.
The Church of the Holy Trinity is open to visitors most of the year. Closing times are 4 pm in winter, 5 pm during spring/autumn and 6 pm in summer, but note that the last admission is 20 minutes before closing.