Souvenirs and National Heritage
The most renowned relic was the mulberry tree ostensibly planted by Shakespeare in his garden at New Place. But this was chopped down by the Reverend Francis Gastrell, shortly before he demolished the entire house - much to the dismay of Bardolaters.
A local carpenter bought the mulberry timber.
ALTHOUGH THE BUILDING HAD ALREADY BEEN REBUILT ONCE. I SPENT THE REST OF MY LIFE CARVING SOUVENIR MEMENTOS AND KNICK-KNACKS FROM THE WOOD.
Nevertheless, Shakespeare’s birthplace was still standing. In 1847, the novelist Charles Dickens and the actor William Macready led a campaign to prevent the Amercan circus impresario P.T. Barnum (1810-91) from purchasing the site.
WE SET UP A PUBLIC SUBSCRIPTION AND ACQUIRED IT FOR THE NATION.
Shakespeare’s desk was still being displayed to visitors at the school in the late 19th century. There was even a story of a dog, “spoted like a leper”, supposedly descended from Shakespeare’s coach dog.