RoundHouseB (1)
York city walls
RoundHouseB (1)
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Troubled Times in Merrie England - Shakespeare and Sedition

Pick-up/Drop-off: railway stations or airports in the Birmingham and Warwickshire-Oxfordshire area, or meeting clients at the designated hotel.

Accommodation: single hotel in the Stratford-upon-Avon area.

A unique experience, combining expert historical knowledge and guiding with classic English countryside and market towns, Tudor manor houses, plots to overthrow the monarchy, and insights into the world's greatest playwright.

Warwickshire occupies an important position in England - close enough to London to feel the pulse of high politics, yet distant enough to maintain  a degree of autonomy and independence of identity. The Catholic gentry of Warwickshire played a critical role in the politics of post-Reformation England and Roundhouse History Tours offers the unique experience of mixing the Warwickshire-based plots against Tudor and Stewart monarchs with a look at the world of Shakespeare and the plays that were written against this tumultuous backdrop. Shakespeare, although immersed in the metropolitan world of London, maintained strong links with Stratford-upon-Avon and his plays from the late 1590s portray many of the concerns and contradictions that characterised late sixteenth century English life.

Elizabethan and early Stewart England are all too frequently looked upon as a golden age - "merrie England" was supposedly finally at peace, the Spanish threat had been banished, plotters foiled and the English and Scottish crowns reconciled without recourse to war. Reality, however, was very different. England was still riven by religious strife, the emergence of a modern, capitalist, market economy caused enormous social tensions, there was war in Ireland and English interference in continental conflict continued. These were the turbulent events that influenced Shakespeare and also strongly coloured the life of the Warwickshire gentry.

Roundhouse History Tours offer the opportunity not only to visit the regular Stratford area sites of Shakespeare pilgrimage, but also to experience the key Warwickshire sites associate with the Elizabethan plots and Gunpowder Plot. Dr Peter Edwards uses his excellent knowledge of rural Warwickshire, Worcestershire and the North Cotswolds to take clients off the beaten track to find out about the realities of late Tudor and early Stewart England and their relationship to some of the world's greatest plays.

These tours can be weighted either towards Shakepeare or Tudor and Stewart plots. At certain times of year, tickets for Royal Shakespeare Company productions in Stratford-upon-Avon can also be arranged.
Baddesley Clinton - the seat of a recusant family, deeply involved in plots against the Crown
The courtyard of Baddesley Clinton - the architecture tells its own social and political story
Packwood House - home to the "new" gentry, playing host to both Royalists and Parliamentarians during the Civil War and being rebuilt by a Birmingham industrialist to represent a Romantic interpretation of a Medieval manor house