Classic reference books about the town

Hundreds of books have been published about Shakespeare's life in Stratford, and all the locations associated with him.

The seminal works below dealt with the town and its history without excessive focus on the poet.

The Borough Town of Stratford upon Avon

Levi Fox

Corporation of Stratford, 1953, 168pp

Detailed account of Stratford and its inhabitants from the earliest times, based on the records of the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, by its distinguished long-serving Director.

The Borough of Stratford-upon-Avon

Philip Styles

Oxford University Press, 1946, 72pp

Magisterial account of the town and its history, with many references. Particularly strong on buildings and monuments. Reprinted from the Victoria County History of Warwickshire (VCH, 1945), pp.221-282. Available at British History Online.

The Old Houses of Stratford-upon-Avon

H. Edward Forrest

Methuen & Co, 1925, 180pp

Expert and sympathetic description of all the ancient buildings in the town, with many photographs and etchings.

Shakespeare's Church

J. Harvey Bloom

T. Fisher Unwin, 1902, 292pp

Extensive history of the fabric of Holy Trinity Church and the Guild Chapel, including the monuments, with many insights into their significance. Available online.

Outlines of the Life of Shakespeare

James Orchard Halliwell-Phillipps

Longmans, Green & Co, 1887, 292pp (Seventh edition, two volumes, 416+432pp)

Monumental scholarly study of Shakespeare's life and his links with Stratford, based on collection of all documents and evidence available at the time. Available online.

Stratford-on-Avon Corporation Records


Stratford Herald, 1886, 58pp

Transcription of the Accounts of the medieval Guild of the Holy Cross from 1353 to 1502. Available online.


Sir Sidney L. Lee

Seeley & Co., 1885, 77pp

History of the town from the earliest times to the death of William Shakespeare. Illustrated with forty-five superb woodcuts by Edward Hull. Available online.

Shakespere's Home at New Place, Stratford-on-Avon

J. C. M. Bellew

Virtue Brothers & Co., 1863, 380pp

Wide-ranging account of the development of the house at New Place, with extensive discussion of the Clopton family. Available online.

William Shakspere: A biography

Charles Knight

Knight Publishing, 1843, 544pp

Comprehensive biography of Shakespeare, bringing together all the facts of his life known at the time together with a certain amount of speculation, profusely illustrated with engravings. Available online.

History & Antiquities of Stratford-upon-Avon

Robert Bell Wheler

J. Ward, 1806, 230pp

First complete history of the town by an observant local historian at the beginning of the 19th century. Indispensable for any serious study of the town. Available online.

A Brief Account of Stratford-upon-Avon

Rowland Freeman

E. Walford, 1799, 98pp

First guide to Holy Trinity Church, including a brief history of the town and details of all the inscriptions on monuments in the church. Available online.

The Antiquities of Warwickshire

Sir William Dugdale

Thomas Warren, 1656, 826pp

The antiquities of Warwickshire illustrated : from records, leiger-books, manuscripts, charters, evidences, tombes, and armes : beautified with maps, prospects, and portraictures. By the renowned historian and herald, Section on Stratford pp.514-523  Available online. Second edition 1730 in two volumes, Stratford pp.680-697