Hall’s Croft was the home of Shakespeare’s eldest daughter Susanna and her husband, Dr. John Hall. Dr. John Hall was wealthy and successful and it shows through in their impressive home. The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust purchased Hall’s Croft in 1949 and they restored it to open it up for visitors. Inside the house you get an insight into how a prosperous family lived in Shakespeare’s time.
There are also lots of displays about medicine as it was practised by Dr.John Hall. The doctor was a physician of some renown and his case notes, published after his death in 1657, were a popular textbook for other doctors for many years. Dr Hall was a compassionate and diligent physician, treating both rich and poor, Catholic and Protestant patients alike. While some physicians practised astronomy or blood-letting, John Hall’s preference was for treatments made from plants, herbs, animal extracts, gemstones and rocks. The medical angle gives this house its own interest and keeps the visitor interested.
Whilst the house is interesting, the garden is really delightful. It’s generous for a town house, but obviously not enormous. It’s a very pleasant place to while away a summer’s afternoon and if you are visiting with children there are often activities available in the school holidays. In any case there are some special booklets for children in the shape of a family activity trail and a specialist one about medicine, which are available year round.
There’s a lovely looking cafe on site – the cakes looked fabulous and a gift shop. You can easily walk to the house from within Stratford Upon Avon as it is on the edge of the older part of town. It’s not a whole day visit and I’d suggest you combine it with other Shakespeare properties, taking in a play or river boat trip.