Living History

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.

Tales of Lydiard

The historical Reports of the Friends of Lydiard Tregoze and other research contained in the Friends of Lydiard Park archive include dozens of interesting, quirky and sometimes scandalous stories from the house and park’s ongoing history.

We are digitising and gradually adding the reports to the members area of the website, but couldn’t resist sharing some of these fascinating stories with you here.

Good Gentlewoman

The history of Lydiard House is woven through with the stories of remarkable women. Explore Frances Bevan’s Good Gentlewoman articles and learn about the diverse and determined women of the St John family.

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Castles and Mansions Collection

The Lydiard Archives is currently featuring a special collection about the castles, mansions, gardens and country estates with a connection to the St.John family and to Lydiard Park.

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Miniature Portraits in the Lydiard Archives

March 24th marks the birthday of Lady Diana Spencer who married Frederick St’John, 2nd Viscount Bolingbroke, in 1757. The Lydiard Archives collection holds two beautiful miniatures of the couple.

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Love at Lydiard Part 2

Local historian Frances Bevan in her Good Gentlewoman blog once sagely observed that the St John men did not make good husbands, which means that when one is looking for Lydiard love stories to celebrate the Valentine season, they can be somewhat thin on the ground.

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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?

Submit a story/photo

As a Friend of Lydiard Park, you become part of its ongoing story. With your help, we can conserve and enhance this wonderful place and its many tales for the future.