This is definitely the place which surprised me the most, as I didn’t expect much of it at all. Hall’s Croft is the former home of Shakespeare’s daughter Susanna and her husband John Hall, a physician who was renowned for his work. They were a wealthy couple and could afford to have this house built for them in 1613/1614. After Shakespeare’s death in 1616, Susanna, John and their daughter Elizabeth moved into New Place.
^ This is a replica of a dispensary display as John Hall would have used it. He treated over 2,000 patients in their homes, creating medicines from herbs, plants, animal extracts, gemstones and rocks.
There was also an exhibition on the first floor about medicine and how it was viewed at the time. Interestingly, the body and the mind were not separated, though physical health was believed to be constructed of four humours:
“In the time of John Hall, the human body was thought to be controlled by a collection of fluids known as ‘humours’. These were: yellow bile, black bile, blood and phlegm. In each individual, the balance of these humours was slightly different, affecting both their physical and mental characteristics.”
“Mental illness was not always seen as negative. Melancholy in particular was considered a distinguished illness, which was often associated with artistic ability.”
As with all mansions, this one comes with a beautiful garden, too.
Even though it started raining at this point, the garden had a beautifully tranquil atmosphere, and I can only imagine how lovely it must be to sit on one of these benches in the sunshine!
Hall’s Croft is definitely a hidden gem and something you shouldn’t miss. You can find it in Old Town, CV37 6BG.