Stratford dates back some 800 years and has many historic buildings, particular the birthplace and gravesite of William Shakespeare.
The name is a combination of the Old English strǣt (from Latin stratum), meaning ‘street’, and ford, indicating a shallow part of a river or stream for crossing. Avon is the Celtic word for river. The ‘street’ was a Roman road which connected Icknield Street in Alcester to the Fosse Way. The ford, which has been used as a crossing since Roman times, later became the location of Clopton Bridge.
Many of the town’s earliest and most important buildings are located along what is known as Stratford’s Historic Spine, which was once the main route from the town centre to the parish church. The route of the Historic Spine begins at Shakespeare’s Birthplace in Henley Street. It continues through Henley Street to the top end of Bridge Street and into High Street where many Elizabethan buildings are located, including Harvard House. The route carries on through Chapel Street where Nash’s House and New Place are sited. The Historic Spine continues along Church Street where Guild buildings are located dating back to the 15th century, as well as 18th- and 19th-century properties. The route then finishes in Old Town, which includes Hall’s Croft and the Holy Trinity Church.