Stratford-upon-Avon existed as a settlement from at least the time of the Roman occupation of England. A monastery is recorded in the year 693 and a mill in the Doomsday Book. The oldest surving building is Holy Trinity Church which partly dates from 1210.
The granting of a weekly market in 1196 established Stratford as a place for the buying and selling of stock and produce and as a cente for tradesmen and craftsmen.
A timber bridge was built over the river which had previously been crossed by a road (strat) through the ford - hence the town's name. This bridge was eventually replaced by a stone one in the fifteenth century which is still used to this day.
Stratford was thus a thriving market town on one of the routes north out of London and a good place for a glover to have his business. The glover's son was born in Henley Street in a house you can visit, was educated at the town's grammar school where pupils are still educated to this day, and later became the world's most famous poet and playwright.
Millions of people now visit the town to see where Shakespeare lived and to pay homage at his tomb. The Royal Shakespeare Company, renowned throughout the world is based in the town with three theatres.
However, the town is not all about Shakespeare as thousands of people live and work here and for them it is a normal town.