Protecting, conserving and enhancing Lydiard House and Park

The Friends of Lydiard Park are an independent charity supporting and promoting interest, engagement and research into this important Palladian House, its beautiful grounds, the ancient church of St. Mary and the lives of people who have lived, worked and played here across the centuries.


The Viscount who fought as a Tommy
Published on: 29th September 2023

View all news

80th Anniversary Celebration

2023 marks the 80th anniversary of Swindon Corporation’s visionary purchase of Lydiard Park for the people of Swindon in 1943. The Friends of Lydiard Park have been collating your photographs and stories to commemorate this landmark year.

Read more

80th Anniversary Celebration

See other projects


Events in 2024

There is plenty to look forward to in 2024.

View all events

Tales of Lydiard

Step into the story of Lydiard House and Park and explore the interesting, quirky and sometimes scandalous tales from its fascinating past and ongoing history.

Tracing the final resting place for Lydiard Park POWs
Published on: 29th September 2023
Looking at Lydiard Park's beautiful grounds and playing fields in 2023 it is hard to imagine they were once occupied by a...
The Elliot Woolford diaries - 1900
Published on: 21st September 2023
The turning of the year and the beginning of a new century appear to have made little impact on the establishment at Hook...
Satire and the St.John Family
Published on: 28th August 2023
The Lydiard Archives contain a number of satirical cartoons referring to members of the St John family. Satire uses humour,...

View all Tales of Lydiard articles

The Lydiard Archives

Visit the Lydiard Archives, our unique on-line collection of objects, portraits, records, manuscripts, photographs, memories, and ephemera related to Lydiard Park.

The People's Park - 80 years in public ownership

2023 marks the 80th anniversary of Swindon Corporation’s visionary purchase of Lydiard Park for the people of Swindon in November 1943. Read more

Visit the Archive

Explore Lydiard Park

Discover this beautiful mansion and parkland through all the seasons. Enjoy our year-round Nature Watch, and fun family indoor and outdoor trails, and explore its historic features, landscape, and architecture.

Nature Watch

Each season at the park brings its own delights. In the winter it may seem as though the park is sleeping but there is still...

Fungi in the Lydiard Woodlands

This is the time of year when fungi rules the Lydiard Woods. The word “fungi” is a group of organisms that include yeast...

Family Discovery Trails

Family Discovery Trails Put on your family detective hats and follow our three cartoon trails to explore Lydiard Park,...

Historic Landscape

Lydiard Park is listed as Grade II in Historic England’s register of the most important gardens and historic landscapes in...

Explore more

Do you have a story/photo of Lydiard?

We’d love to hear your memories of Lydiard. The house, park and church have all featured in the lives of many local people, from the residents of the 1950’s Lydiard Park Estate to those who have grown up with the park as their playground and backdrop to memorable events. Do you have a story or photograph you’d like to share?

Submit a story/photo
Meet a Friend

Held in great affection by all who know her, Gill Carne has been part of our Friends community for over fifty years.

Lydiard Park and the St.John Family

Lydiard House and Park are all that remain of a once great estate which belonged to the St,John family, Viscounts Bolingbroke, for over 500 years. You can see their portraits, from Elizabethan times onwards, in the elegant State Rooms of Lydiard House and monuments to them adorn the adjacent Church of St. Mary’s.

The St. John’s story is inseparable from the great events of British history, affected by their kinship to the Tudor monarchy and played out in their tragic involvement in the bloody Civil War. Political fame in the 18th century was followed by years of financial decline triggered by the 2nd Vsct. Bolingbroke’s penchant for gambling and lavish expenditure. As the St. John’s fortunes declined Lydiard House fell into increasing neglect, eventually leading to its sale to Swindon Corporation in 1943.

The St. John’s departure was by no means the end of the story. Swindon Corporation’s purchase and restoration of Lydiard House and Park, is a remarkable tale of vision and determination, shared and remembered by many thousands of people to this day.

Abundant further resources and information about Lydiard Park, the St.John family and their history can be found at The Lydiard Archives, the digital resource library created by The Friends of Lydiard Park. Members of the Friends of Lydiard Park also enjoy unlimited access to the online St.John Family Tree, with over five thousand people and fifteen hundred places related to the St.John Family dating back to the 8th Century.

Join Us

Membership & Support

Being a member of The Friends of Lydiard Park is a fab way of being informed of everything about Lydiard, past, present and future, with ample opportunities to take an active part in its upkeep and history.

Billy Beaumont

By joining the Friends of Lydiard Park you will be part of a large sociable group helping to ensure that this important part of our local and national heritage is more widely recognised, enjoyed and preserved for future generations.

  • Free entry to Lydiard House and walled garden
  • Reduced price entry to programme of talks & events
  • Invitations to social events in May and at Christmas
  • Summer outing to historic house/garden destinations
  • Private members access to St. John & related families database
  • Opportunities to get involved in special projects