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.

News

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Lydiard’s Last Lord and English Naturalist

Vernon Henry St.John was the last lord to live at Lydiard Park. Join us as we attempt to draw together the story of this retiring and reflective man, whose life and quiet achievements have so often been eclipsed by the scandal of his birth.

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Lydiard’s Last Lord and English Naturalist

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Events

The Viscount who fought as a Tommy – World War I story of Vernon Henry St.John

Date: Tuesday, 16th April 2024

Time: Doors open 7.00pm. Talk will start at 7.30pm

Venue: Lydiard Park Hotel & Conference Centre, SN3 9PA

Guest speaker, the military historian and author Christopher Jary joins Lydiard Friends’ Chair, Sarah Finch-Crisp, to reveal Vernon St.John’s wartime story; fighting with the 6th Dorsets at Passchendaele through the grim autumn of 1917 and facing the German spring offensive on the Somme in 1918.

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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.

“Here is a good old mansion house…”
Published on: 28th March 2024
By the mid 19th century the Palladian mansion house at Lydiard Tregoze was a little the worse for wear. Generations of St...
The Forest of Braydon and Lydiard Park’s Veteran Trees
Published on: 28th February 2024
Map of Lydiard circa 1700 The great Forest of Braydon originally extended across North Wiltshire, covering much of the...
Why did the St.John family choose Bolingbroke?
Published on: 15th January 2024
When many people think of the name Henry Bolingbroke, the first character that comes to mind is John of Gaunt’s son Henry,...

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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.

Wills - Lydiard Tregoze

Wills can be both fascinating and frustrating, for what they say, what or who they miss out and what they may be hinting at! A collection of wills for a single community like Lydiard Tregoze provides information which is useful to local, family and social historians. Read more

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Explore Lydiard

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.

Bluebells and Garlic!

If you go down to the woods today – or to wooded parts of Lydiard Park – there are two wild flowers you may well find....

The Yellow Month

March is the month when Spring arrives and nature starts to emerge from its winter sleep. Yellow is the signature colour of...

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...

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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?

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Meet a Friend

In this third and final reflection, Gill Carne recalls meetings with Lydiard’s last lord, Vernon St.John Viscount Bolingbroke; a decidedly canine mansion; and a subterranean discovery in the church crypt. Gill accompanied her husband Brian on many of his expeditions to research the St.John family and Lydiard Tregoze, including visits to Lord Bolingbroke in Hampshire

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.

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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