The Guild Buildings

The Guild buildings still stand in the heart of Stratford. They include:

The Guild Chapel

This dates back to the 13th century, but the nave and tower you see today were rebuilt in the 1490s. The Chapel is most famous for its superb medieval wall-paintings, especially a vivid scene of the Last Judgement.

The wall paintings were whitewashed in the 1560s because they didn't suit the new Protestant form of worship. John Shakespeare, William's father, oversaw the whitewashing because he was the town's Chamberlain at the time. But the covering of whitewash unintentionally preserved the paintings underneath, and they were revealed when the Chapel was restored in 1804.

The Guildhall

The Guildhall was built in 1418-1420. Its superb half-timbered architecture reflects the wealth and prestige of the Guild in the 15th century. Today it's one of Britain's finest surviving medieval Guildhalls.

The Guildhall was originally the hub of commercial, civic and social life in Stratford. But religion was very important, too. In the Lower Guildhall there was a small chapel for the Guild priests.

The Almshouses

These were probably built in about 1500. The ground floor rooms were 'sheltered housing' for poor, sick and elderly local people. The rooms on the upper floor were rented out.

The house next to the Guildhall was built in 1427. This was the Guild's original schoolhouse. A teacher called a 'grammar priest' taught the sons of Guild members on the ground floor, and lived in a room upstairs. Today it is known as the 'infill house'.

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