Archaeologists working on excavations of the former home of famed British playwright William Shakespeare have offered a new insight into his personal life after revealing the findings of the Bard's kitchen and brewhouse. Shakespeare lived in New Place in Staffordshire from 1597 for the final 19 years of his life, when he was at the peak of his wealth, along with his wife Anne Hathaway and their three children.

Among their findings, with archaeologists from Staffordshire University taking the lead, were a pit "fridge", a fire hearth oven and a watering well as part of their "highly significant" discoveries.

Dr Paul Edmondson, head of research and knowledge at the Shakespeare Birthplace
Trust, said: "Finding Shakespeare's kitchen proved to be a vital piece of evidence in our understanding of New Place. Once we had uncovered the family's oven we were able to understand how the rest of the house fitted around it. The discovery of the cooking areas, brew house, pantry and cold storage pit, combined with the scale of the house, all point to New Place as a working home as well as a house of high social status.

"A much richer picture of Shakespeare has emerged through the course of our excavations. At New Place we can catch glimpses of Shakespeare the playwright and country town gentleman. His main task was to write and a house as impressive as New Place would have played an important part in the rhythm of his working life."

The home would have been a hot property during its heyday and the experts add that there would have been at least 20 rooms with at least 10 different fireplaces. The team now say the kitchen artefacts have now been reburied in a bid to preserve them and the workers at the Shakespeare's New Place have redesigned the construction plans to rebuild the home in its glory.

Julie Crawshaw, project manager of Shakespeare's New Place, added: "The trust knows just how powerful this site is. Not just because of what will be seen above the ground but because of the history which lies underneath, layers of earth and foundations which have been untouched for hundreds of years.

"We have unearthed some significant archaeology which is all part of the story of New Place and its history. This will be shared in our exciting retelling of New Place where visitors will be able to discover Shakespeare on the very ground where his family home stood."