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As well as celebrating Stratford-upon-Avon's 800th Anniversary, 1996 sees the 500th commemoration of the death of Sir Hugh Clopton who died on 15 September 1496.
Hugh, a bachelor all his life, made his fortune as a London mercer and gave generously of his property both here in Stratford, and in London (where he was Lord Mayor in 1492), Aylesbury and elsewhere.


In particular:  

  • He replaced the rickety and hazardous wooden bridge across the River Avon with the stone "Great Bridge" comprising "14 great archis of stone and long cawsey" which still bears his name.  
  • He enlarged and restored Holy Trinity Church and the Guild Chapel  
  • Paved local roads (so very necessary to sustain the trading heart of the town) 
  • Initiated welfare schemes for local apprentices and girls  


Hugh Clopton also built New Place at Stratford-upon-Avon - which in the fullness of time was bought by one William Shakespeare as a retirement home. His fine and modest memorial in the Guild Chapel is well worth studying.