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.

Vernon St John, the “Lord of the Butterflies.”

Vernon Henry St John, 6th Viscount Bolingbroke is remembered more for his passion and knowledge of natural history than...

Learn More
The Forest of Braydon and Lydiard Park’s veteran trees

The great Forest of Braydon originally extended across North Wiltshire, covering much of the ground that is now occupied by Swindon...

Learn More
A Victorian Country Wedding

Wedding arrangements in the rural parish of Lydiard Tregoze were dictated by the agricultural calendar avoiding the busy harvest season. At Wick Farm in 1841 Jane and Sarah Pinell prepared for their double wedding...

Learn More
View All

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.