Around Blackfriars

   Wardrobe Place

Wardrobe Place, a pleasant little backwater with some trees - the houses on the right side were rebuilt just after the Great Fire. The quadrangle preserves the outline of one of the courts of the palace or houses of the Kings Wardrobe, which formely stood here. (mentioned in Shakespeare's will)

       Wardrobe Place, some trees and houses in the quadrangle

The site of the Kings Store, Blue Plaque

The Playhouse Theatre site, Playhouse Yard

The only remains of the Playhouse Theatre, Playhouse Yard, is the black stone on the side of this building

Ireland Yard, just behind Playhouse Yard, was the only accommodation in London owned by Shakespeare. The deed of purchase, dated 10 March 1613, made between the vendor, Henry Walker, Citizen and Minstrel of London, and William Shakespeare. The following day Shakespeare executed another deed stipulating that £60 of the purchase price was to remain on a mortgage until paid in whole the following September. Whether this sum was ever paid is unknown.

Despite the detailed description in the deed it has proved difficult to locate the exact site of Shakespeare’s property. We know that it abutted on the street leading down to Puddle Wharf which is now St Andrew’s Hill. The Wardrobe which it was near or “right against,” is commemorated in Wardrobe Place.

The present-day passage Ireland Yard, which runs west out of St Andrew’s Hill, undoubtedly derives its name from the Ireland family who owned or occupied property in the Blackfriars area at least as early as 1582. Walker leased the gatehouse to William Ireland, Citizen and Haberdasher of London, for 25 years.

The exact date at which Shakespeare’s property passed out of the hands of his descendants is not known, but in August 1667, Edward Bagley, a kinsman of Shakespeare’s grand-daughter, Elizabeth Barnard, sold the site to Sir Heneage Fetherston. As the Blackfriars area had been razed to the ground by the Great Fire of the previous year, Bagley received only £35 for the land.

London Time

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