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Welcome to the Stratford Society
Your Local Civic Society charity registration No. 251182
The Stratford Society aims to protect the  heritage of our historic market town and its residents. Founded in 1966, it  offers non-political, professional expertise on the town's buildings and their  surroundings. It works with councils and other organisations locally and  nationally and promotes high quality design in keeping with the character of  this world famous and much visited town.
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Latest News
Next Members Visit - to Sezincote House September 16th 2015

You are invited to join a private tour of Sezincote House near Moreton in the Marsh on Wednesday September 16th.

Sezincote is a unique 4,500 acre family run estate of rolling countryside. The old Moghul Indian Palace house is in a style which is a combination of Hindu and Muslim architecture. It is credited with influencing the design of the Brighton Pavilion after a visit by Prince Regent in 1807. It is set in a romantic landscape of temples, grottoes, waterfalls and canals, reminiscent of the Taj Mahal. The gardens were designed with the help of Humphrey Repton. This is the last opportunity to visit the property this year as the season closes.

Please meet at the house by 2 pm

minimum tour of 20 people

£11.50 per person

closing date - Monday 7 th September 2015

Please note that the Society does not provide transport in the case of trips and events. Members are required to provide their own transport and to ensure that they have adequate insurance in place.

Click Here to download a booking form

Chairman’s Summer Party Friday 3rd July 2015

On a beautiful summer evening, Society members gathered at Mary Arden’s Farm for the annual Chairman’s Summer Party. The weather was perfect… blue skies and warm sunshine as the intense heat gradually slipped away leaving comfortable warmth for an early evening out door event. The venue provided an ideal situation for the planned event. We were given the opportunity of a private tour of Palmer’s Farm with a welcoming, knowledgeable guide dressed in Tudor costume. As those members who had booked the tour were escorted away, the rest of the party were able to mingle on the lawn and patio in front of the Barn and out buildings where we enjoyed a welcome drink.

Once the entire party had reassembled we were given Society update by our Vice Chairman, John Scampion and addressed by Dr Diana Owen who emphasised the strong link between The Shakespeare Birth Place Trust and our Society.

This is shown in the aims of both to maintain and preserve the historic Spine of Stratford and the properties which stand thereon. She also gave us an update of the plans for New Place.

The Tudor band struck up with musicians dressed for the occasion. Dancing was led by costumed experts and members were encouraged to join in and to their delight found how pleasant this could be once the simple steps were mastered! A more congenial pastime on a beautiful summer evening I cannot imagine!

Our Tudor Buffet was served in the Great Barn and consisted of authentic Tudor dishes. Delicious Spinach and Date Fritters ….a dish of the upper middle classes due to the cost of imported dates. White Fish Chewitts ….a deep fried pasty containing either meat, fish or vegetables which were loved by the Tudors as frying enhanced the flavours and increased the calorie content of a meal. The average Tudor needed around 5000 calories a day due to the manual nature of their work. Brie and Spinach Tart….. this was a show of wealth as thebrie was imported and expensive. Its inclusion in a menu was a mark of good standing for the master of the house . Shakespeare BlendSausages ….farm reared rare breed pork mixed with award winning Tudor spices. Tudor Meatball Skewers …..The Tudors rarely wasted any food because of the cost, so meatballs were a good way to use trimmings and leftovers from carcasses that could not be made into joints. Gingerbread Fingers ….this had been a popular sweetmeat for some time. Spices were very valuable and were kept locked away and used sparingly. Gingerbread makes quite lavish use of spices and would have been an impressive end to a meal.

It was a remarkable blend of history and quintessential English folk lore, with a twist, for an evening event set in modern times. I am sure I speak for all the members who kindly supported this event in thanking our hosts for the evening, The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, who provided the venue and the staff to make a most enjoyable experience.

Rosemary Applin

Old Toll House Restoration Project secures National Lottery and Historic England grants 9th July 2015

Stratford Historic Buildings Trust is celebrating after securing two major grants to help restore and refurbish the Old Toll House on Clopton Bridge, Stratford-upon-Avon.

Historic England has awarded a development grant of £15,570 and the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) a first round Heritage Enterprise grant of £10,500 towards the project.

The two awards will enable SHBT to draw up detailed plans for the project. Provided HLF and Historic England are content with these, SHBT will then be in a position to secure two further grants totalling£370,000 to undertake the physical restoration and refurbishment starting work in 2016.

The Old Toll House, located on Clopton Bridge in Stratford-upon-Avon, was builtjust over 200 years ago in 1814. With its crenelated roofline and gothic windows it is a familiar local landmark and an extremely important Grade I listed building. However, over the last 30 years it has fallen into serious disrepair and has been included on Historic England’s Register of Buildings at Risk.

The restoration project will preserve the historic fabric of the building and provide it with a new use as office space at ground floor and mezzanine level. In addition, the project will include the creation of a free community exhibition about the history of the building in the basement area.

Roger Davis, SHBT trustee said:

‘The Heritage Lottery Fund and Historic England grants are fantastic news and are a huge vote of confidence for the project. Although we still have a way to go, the two awards are really important as they will enable us to meaningfully start work on rescuing the building.’

HLF’s Heritage Enterprise programme is designed to help when the cost of repairing an historic building is so high that restoration simply is not commercially viable. Grants of £100k to £5million bridge the financial gap, funding the vital repairs and conservation work needed to convert derelict, vacant buildings like The Old Toll House, into new, usable commercial spaces that can have a positive impact on local economies.

Reyahn King, Head of HLF West Midlands, said:

‘This project will breathe new life into this distinctive part of Stratford’s heritage. Investment in Heritage Enterprise projects goes well beyond bricks and mortar; it enables financially challenging historic buildings like the Old Toll Houseto become an important part of the economic health of communities by nurturing business and creating jobs. We look forward to seeing the plans develop.’

Sarah Lewis, Principal Adviser, Heritage at Risk Team, Historic England said:

‘Historic England is really pleased to support Stratford Historic Building Trust’s efforts to conserve the Old Toll House and bring it back into beneficial use. This important building is one of our top ten Heritage at Risk priorities in the West Midlands and we are delighted to be part of this project. ’

In addition to the awards from Historic England and the Heritage Lottery Fund, the project has also secured grants from the Architectural Heritage Fund, The Pilgrim Trust and a number of other trusts and charities.


The Programme will be available shortly.

The first meeting of the season is expected to be in September.


The Programme will be available shortly.


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