Not that I'm an angler, of course, I just love the cottage, its interior, its herb garden and lavender hedges, all beautifully maintained by Stafford Council. Izaak (or Isaac) Walton was born at St Mary's, Stafford on 9th August 1593 and little is known of his early life. His father, an ale house keeper, died when Izaak was four years old. He was apprenticed in London, some biographers say to an ironmonger, others say to a linen draper, either way he set up his own business and his friendship with the Vicar of his then Parish, who was the poet John Donne, led him into a literary world where he was acquainted with writers like Ben Johnson and Henry Wotton, whose memoir became Walton's first published work. He was at first noted for writing biographies. His first wife and all their seven children had died by 1640. His second marriage produced a son and daughter who made it to adulthood.
Walton, who was a devout Anglican and Royalist sympathiser, bought the cottage in 1655, no doubt as a retreat from life in London under Cromwell. During his long life he held quite a few public offices and worked also as a tax collector and as a steward to Bishop George Morley of Worcester, later Bishop of Winchester. When he died in 1683 he was buried in Winchester Cathedral. The ground floor of the cottage is set out as it would have been in the 17th century.......
whilst upstairs in an angling museum.
The note below the 34lb pike, caught by Charles John Morris in 1890, reads:- 'The pike pictured here has survived two cottage fires..... so in case of a third......like the black box.....grab the pike and run'. Izaak Walton also has connections with Dove Dale in Derbyshire where he also loved to fish with his friend Charles Cotton. His name still lives on in the name of the hotel there. Here is a link to their page on his life history.
and you can wander round to your hearts content amongst the plants and flowers...
...and across the lawns, there is an orchard and a paddock at the side where you can sit at picnic tables if you so wish. I was fascinated with the gorgeous lavender hedge.
The gardens around the side and front of the cottage are also full of lovely plants and flowers and there was a point of sale for cuttings of herbs from the garden.
The nearby Meece Brook runs its course from Mill Meece towards Stafford and the River Sow. The water looks clear and is surely still just as Walton would remember it.