The Stratford Herald reports that a vandal has applied copious amounts of brown paint to the front of Shakespeare’s Birthplace on Thursday night. The trust has carefully removed this primitive graffiti, but says that some traces will probably remain. The culprit probably pulled up and left in a car.
Stanley Wells, chairman of the Birthplace Trust, commented: “It’s most regrettable that anyone should feel an urge to deface an important historical landmark.” It is not the first time a Shakespeare house has been vandalized – in 1759 the owner of New Place was so angry at the constant stream of visitors that he attacked a mulberry tree that Shakespeare was supposed to have planted in the garden. Neighbours took revenge by destroying his windows, and Gastrell then razed the entire house to the ground.
It need not have been an inhabitant of Stratford fed up with this summer’s tourists, of course. Some internet forums speculate that the deed was committed by schoolchildren who were disgruntled at having to read Macbeth.