Page:Elizabethan People.djvu/85

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55
COUNTRY LIFE AND CHARACTER

Street and Chapel Lane. The house became known as New Place, and was bought in 1597 by Shakespeare, who resided there at the time of his death. Clopton built the nave of the Guild-chapel and decorated it with numerous paintings. His chief contribution to the welfare of Stratford, however, was of quite a different kind.

Leland, the antiquary who visited Stratford about 1530, wrote that "Afore the time of Hugh Clopton there was but a poor bridge of timber, and no causeway to come to it, whereby many poor folks either refused to come to Stratford when the river was up, or coming thither stood in jeopardy of life." It was to destroy this evil that Sir Hugh Clopton built a freestone bridge of fourteen arches with a long causeway "well walled on each side at the west." He also left much money to be distributed annually to the deserving poor of the village.

From a structural point of view Stratford was now practically complete, but the organisation of its municipal government had not yet come into existence. At the time of the Dissolution of the Monasteries, Stratford suffered greatly. The College was finally suppressed in 1547, as was also the guild. The latter had exercised civic control, and its suppression left the city without any organisation whatever. At the end of six years, af-