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HISTORY AND ANTIQUITIES
STRATFORD-UPON-AVON (in north latitude, 52 deg. and west longitude, 1 deg. 40 min.) is pleasantly situated near the south-west border of the county of Warwick, on a gentle ascent from the banks of the river Avon: which derives its source from the village of Naseby, in Northamptonshire; and continuing its meandering course In a south-west direction, passes by Warwick, Barford, and other places, and approaches Stratford in a broad and proudly-swelling stream, not to be equaled in any other part of this beautiful river. "Avona denique fluvius, (says “Leland,) qui et numero quintus ceteris fama non cedit; "oritur Navesbiæ circa limites Avoniæ mediterranea. Ve"rovicum urbem cum antiquam tum nobilem alluit: Chineglissi etiam Castrum, quod. nunc Killingworth, et "Stratofordam; postremo Eovesum, Persoram, ac Theoci"Curiam [Tewksbury], ubi Sabrinæ conjugio se nobilitat. "Sunt et alii passim fluvioli in Britannia Avonæ nomine; "at sufficiat in præsentia quinque maxime memorabilium "meminisse."
The name of Stratford is, undoubtedly, derived from its situation on the great north road, leading from London
to Birmingham: Stræte, or Stret, signifying in the Saxon Janguage, a street or highway; and the word ford, alluding to the passage through the Avon, parallel with the great bridge.
This ancient town may be traced to a period as remote as 300 years before the invasion of England by William the Conqueror, at which æra was a monastery there, in the possession of Æthelard, a Viceroy or subordinate King over the Wiccians: this evidently appears from the words of Saint Egwin, consecrated the third Bishop of Worcester, A. D. 693, and founder of the once magnificent abbey of Evesham; who exchanged with thelard a monastery at Fladbury in Worcestershire, which came to him by inheritance in right of his queen, (named Ostrith,) for that of Stratford: Cum maxime florerem (says St. Egwin) in "diebus ETHELREDI regis MERCIORUM, cepi eum benigne "precari, ut mihi concedere dignaretur antiquum Cœno
bium, quod laudenburch nuncupatur; quod sibi evenit ex "hæreditate suæ uxoris, quæ fuit OSTRITHIS VOCata: satis "ille libenti animo quod poscebam concessit. Hoc Cœnobium postea dedi ETHELARDO Sub-Regulo, qui erat ❝rex illius provinciæ quæ licce dicitur, pro alio Cœnobio «quod Streatford nominatur."-Thus St. Egwin says "he ἐσ was in his utmost prosperity in the time of Ethelred, "the Saxon king of the Mercians," who afterwards be came a monk, and resigned his crown to his nephew Kenred in the year 704. However as the venerable Egwin, who had possession of Stratford, died, according to Bishop Godwin, in the year 716,* consequently, from that period only, to this present year 1806, Stratford must have continued 1090 years. The charter by which St. Egwin made his exchange of Fladbury for Stratford, is preserved in Heming's Chartulary, and runs thus:
* Other writers affirm that he died in 717.