About Whitley Elm Cottages
Whitley Elm Cottages are family run self catering cottages converted by my father from the 18th century barns in the grounds of, what was, our family home. Whitley Elm Cottages have been established for over 25 years. Many of our guests come year after year and some have become good friends. I was brought up at Whitley Elm so we are able to help visitors with where to go to get the best out of this lovely area.
Whitley Elm Cottages are a very special place for my husband and I and for the many guests who stay here. The cottages are situated in a beautiful part of the world. The rural tranquillity, heritage and location of this area, in the heart of Shakespeare’s country, have drawn people here from all over the world making it one of England’s most popular tourist locations.
Where we are is quiet and undisturbed by traffic noise but within a short car-ride there are many attractions for visitors, including Warwick Castle, Stratford Upon Avon and Hatton Country World, as well as fascinating National Trust Properties like Packwood House and Baddesley Clinton.
There are very few properties to rent that have such a good position, views and heritage as Whitley Elm Cottages do. We are located in the heart of the Warwickshire countryside, but just a short car journey from the towns of Warwick, Royal Leamington Spa, and Stratford Upon Avon. The National Exhibition Centre is a 20 minute drive away from the cottages.
All properties have free Wi-Fi, so you do not need to feel cut-off if you have to be connected to the rest of the world for business or pleasure.
Background & History
William Shakespeare’s ancestors were gamekeepers in Wroxall, which is the next hamlet across the field from Whitley Elm Cottages. The hamlet is located within the Forest of Arden. Williams’ parents both came from property-owning yeomen farmers. His father John came from the parish of Snitterfield, which is 5 miles away from our cottages towards Stratford-upon-Avon. In Stratford-upon-Avon John was a Glover by trade, also selling skins of reindeer, sheep and goats. John was also a bailiff of Stratford-upon-Avon. His mother, Mary Arden, came from Wilmcote. William Shakespeare was the third child of eight.
William was educated at Stratford Grammar School which he attended for free because of his father’s status in the town. He started school at 6:00 am and was seen to be:
…the whining school boy, with his satchel
And shining morning face, creeping like snail
Unwillingly to school.
The play, ‘As You Like It’, is reputedly to have been written in the porch of Shakespeare Hall. This half timbered hall is just across the fields from Whitley Elm Cottages.
When William was on his way to see his sister Joanne he reputedly stopped at Whitley Elm Farmhouse to drink his ale. Joanne Shakespeare was the abbess at Wroxall Abbey until she was pensioned off by King Henry VIII, upon dissolution of the monasteries.
William went on to buy New Place in 1597, which had been built by Hugh Clopton who also built the still-standing Clopton Bridge. This house is still one of the finest houses in Stratford-upon-Avon. He lived there occasionally at first and then more continuously until he died there in 1616.