Our recent trip to Stratford was made even more interesting by our accommodation for the night, Wroxton Abbey, just outside Banbury.
The Abbey, with its eighteenth century garden, is one of the perhaps less well known stately homes but its history is an interesting one. Originally built in the Jacobean era, on the site of a monastery torn down on the instructions of Henry VIII, the house became to home of the Norths, one of whom went on to become Prime Minister.
Lord North, for it was he, is probably most famous for, let us put it tactfully, misplacing the American colonies, but his family appear to have been quite forgiving about it, as one of the family guests was none other than Theodore 'Teddy' Roosevelt, who came to Wroxton to shoot. He slept in what is now known as the Presidential Suite, our billet for the night, and almost certainly the biggest room I've ever slept in.
And, irony of ironies, when the house became a burden too great for any descendent to bear, it was sold... to an American university, Fairleigh Dickinson which, nearly fifty years later, maintains the estate as a study abroad program base, with students from across the country coming to take advantage of the facilities and setting.
I'm sure that Lord North would have seen the funny side of it though...