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Wednesday, 29 November, 2000, 16:01 GMT
Wrong farm for bard's mother
Mary Arden House
Mary Arden House: Millions of visitors since the 30s
A Tudor farmhouse billed as the birthplace of William Shakespeare's mother is changing its name after it was found she never lived there.

Research has shown she was born at Glebe Farm in Wilmcote, near Stratford-upon-Avon, and not at nearby Mary Arden's House.

The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, which owns the house, denied it had misled millions of people who had visited it since the 1930s.

Trust director Roger Pringle said that officials had never claimed the house, which is visited by 100,000 people each year, was the proven home of Shakespeare's mother.

Glebe Farm
Glebe Farm: Property deed from 1587 confirms it as Mary's home
"My excitement at having this proof of the exact location of the Arden house will be shared by many people," he said.

"Now we can point with certainty to Glebe Farm as being the place where Shakespeare's mother grew up."

The trust described as a "complete coincidence" the fact it also owns Glebe Farm.

The new research, commissioned by the trust, found a property deed from 1587 which proved beyond doubt that Mary Arden had lived at the farm.

The new evidence, that her stepmother, Agnes Arden, was a tenant at Glebe Farm, was discovered by Warwickshire historian Dr Nat Alcock among papers at East Sussex Record Office.

Other information held by the Church of England in Bermondsey, London, had confirmed his theory that the wrong farm had been identified.

The trust bought Mary Arden's House - now to be called Palmer's Farm - in the 1930s, and Glebe Farm in 1967.

Wheelwright

Estate manager Nick Walsh said: "It's a wonderful coincidence and thank God the trust decided to buy Glebe Farm. It could easily have become a housing estate or been demolished."

Shakespeare expert Richard Morris said a local wheelwright in the 18th Century, John Jordan, could be responsible for the case of mistaken identity.

"During the second half of the 18th century there was a sudden upsurge in Shakespeare and John Jordan decided to become a tour guide," he explained.

"He used to take people around Stratford, but he wasn't above giving out a certain amount of spurious information."

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