Shakespeare’s Yard is named after the butcher who owned the shop by the entrance to the Yard in the late 19th Century, who claimed he was a descendant of the Bard himself.
Shakespeare’s Yard is named after the butcher who owned the shop by the entrance to the Yard in the late 19th Century. He was an accomplished musician and poet, and claimed that he had inherited his abilities because he was a descendant of the Bard. There was a slaughter house behind the shop and its surface drain can still be seen in the yard. After the cattle market was moved from the Market Place in the late 19th Century, cattle were herded down this lane to the slaughter house. It was probably not a good yard to walk down in those days as you would have to avoid both the slaughter house waste in the lower part of the yard and cattle in the upper yard.
A number of “yards” survive in Ashbourne. They were an important part of the close knit community in the Town centre. In 1851, there were about 25 yards housing about 750 people, about one quarter of the Town’s population. These close knit communities maintained a lively working-class social life in the Town, probably helped by the presence of a nearby public house; in this case the nearby Old Vaults Pub, once called the Anatomical Horse with a skeleton of a horse as its pub sign.