Page:Elizabethan People.djvu/73

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47
COUNTRY LIFE AND CHARACTER

flowers. In the immediate neighbourhood are Warwick with its great castle and its associations pertaining to the King-Maker, and the hospital founded by Leicester; Kenilworth is but a step beyond; and Guy's Cliff, one of the most splendid palaces of country England; and Coventry, which played such an important part in the ancient struggle for civic liberty; not to speak of the numerous Shakespeare associations.

Now that the restorations of the Stratford church are complete, it appears much like the church of Shakespeare's day. Before the death of John of Stratford in 1348, the church was a small and incomplete though substantial structure of Norman architecture. John of Stratford provided for the building of several chapels, notably those to the Virgin Mary, and to Saint Thomas à Becket. He remodelled the tower, and probably added the wooden spire that existed in the time of Shakespeare. In 1332, with the permission of the Bishop of Winchester and of Edward III., he formed a chantry out of some of the chapels that he had built, and dedicated it to Saint Thomas the Martyr, and endowed it with some neighbouring lands for its support. There were five priests, one of whom was to be warden. "Among those whose souls his masses were expected to free from purgatory were, besides him-