Conservation Architect Michael Gray explores the radical remodelling of Lydiard House in the 18th Century, the family tensions that accompanied it and how the old medieval manor house can still be traced within the Palladian mansion we know today.
Henry 1st Vsct. Bolingbroke passed Lydiard House to his half-brother Jack St.John ‘that he might restore the family seat’. His verdict on Jack’s success is laced with sarcasm, made clear in a letter to his sister Henrietta, Lady Luxborough in 1744:
‘I am glad to hear that My Lord St John has done so much at Lydiard. I abandoned it to him that he might restore the family seat, and that by living there decently and hospitably he might restore the family interest too much and too long neglected. He seems pleased with what he has done, and vanity and ostentation may get, in some degree, the better part of another person’s advance, tho’ it be as exorbitant as I have ever heard…’