LANEHAM’S Letter, which describes the magnificent pageants enjoyed by Queen Elizabeth I during her visit to Kenilworth Castle almost 450 years ago, will feature in a Shakespeare Birthplace Trust pop-up exhibition as part of Heritage Open Days this weekend.
The free to enter exhibition titled ‘Seven Faces of Woman’, exploring the varied lives of women over six centuries, from Shakespeare’s time to the modern era, takes place at the Shakespeare Centre in Stratford, on Saturday and Sunday (September 8 and 9).
Among the items on display, from the trust’s collection, will be the 114-page Laneham’s Letter, written by Robert Laneham, a mercer and keeper of the privy council chamber, which describes the lavish entertainment that took place in the summer of 1575 when Elizabeth I stayed for two weeks at the then home of her friend, Robert Dudley, 1st Earl of Leicester.
Other items on display will include information about early midwifery and how forceps were kept a ‘trade secret’ by one family for decades before coming into general use; police charge and descriptions books relating to female offenders, and a Tudor medicine chest, alongside herbal remedies from the era.
Visitors can also have a go at craft activities, including making lavender and rosemary sachets to take away, or try their hand at writing with a quill.
Madeleine Cox, reader services co-ordinator at the trust, said: “Heritage Open Days are a once-a-year chance to explore the hidden treasures of the town’s heritage for free, and get a real sense of the beautiful collections and wonderful history available on your doorstep.
“This year we’re looking forward to showcasing pieces which explore the varied lives of women as leaders, artists, mothers, entrepreneurs and much more.”
The Henley Street exhibition will open from 10am to 4pm both days. Visit www.shakespeare.org.uk/events for further details.