William Shakespeare's "cursed" tombstone in Stratford-upon-Avon is to undergo a major restoration.

The Bard's grave, which lies at Holy Trinity Church, bears a curse warning against moving his bones. But now the tombstone, which is beginning to flake away, is to be restored as part of extensive repair works at the church.

Renovators say the stone will not be moved during the works, which will see a transparent grouting material used to hold the surface together.

Shakespeare was baptised at the church on April 26 1564, and buried there on April 25 1616. He is believed to have personally penned the warning words inscribed on the tombstone:
"Good friend for Jisus sake forbeare,
To digg the dust inclosed here,
Blest be the man that spares these stones,
Curst be he that moves my bones."

Josephine Walker, of the Friends of Shakespeare's Church, said the planned restoration was just part of the current restoration of the church.
"Part of the reason these stones need work is that, while the public do not walk on them, the clergy do while giving communion.

"We are planning to move the altar rail forward a bit so that we don't have to walk on them anymore."

Mrs Walker said the work would be carried out in situ to minimise disruption.