I was sent this today by Richard Morris:
About 40 years ago I joined a group of field archaeologists lead by a well known local archaeologist Della Hooke. I spent a long time walking over the Welcombe hills mapping the ridge and furrow, the medieval field system, in an effort to see if we could find the exact location of the long lost village of Welcombe. Sadly we couldn’t find it but think it was probably buried under what is now the Hotel.
Archaeologists usually refer to these lost medieval villages as DMV’s (deserted medieval villages). The normal cause of the loss was plague and Stratford had some terrible plague years including 1564 the year of William Shakespeare’s birth, which was one of the worst.
But the demise of village of Welcombe (the name means Spring Valley) was different. One of the biggest land owners of the area were the notorious Combe family. In 1602 Shakespeare paid £320 for four yardlands (about 120 acres) of arable on Welcombe fields from William Combe who was a wealthy lawyer and Mayor of Warwick. However a later relative, another William Combe was involved in the enclosure of the land around the village. This greatly concerned the town council and particularly the town clerk Mr. Greene,who in his memorandum went to find his “cousin” Shakespeare in London.
Later that year Greene noted in his diary that Shakespeare told him”he was not able to bear the enclosing of Welcombe”.