About the Charity

The Friends of Lydiard Park is an independent charity dedicated to supporting the conservation and continued enhancement of Lydiard House and Park.

Copyright Jane Gifford 2007

Mission & History

Our mission is to ensure Lydiard is preserved for future generations to enjoy and to increase appreciation and understanding of this important national asset and local treasure.

To do this we carry out a wide range of activities which include promoting and carrying out research into the Lydiard estate, the St. John family who owned it for 500 years, related families and the wider parish of Lydiard Tregoze.

Where possible we fund conservation and assist Swindon Borough Council in the acquisition of works of art and other items for display in Lydiard House as well as providing opportunities for the council to attract grant funding for restoration of historic buildings and structures within the parkland that is not otherwise open to them.

Members of the Friends bring their expertise and experience to assist both Swindon Council and St. Mary’s Church through heritage advice. We also provide information to many people enquiring about family history.

The 21st Century has brought new challenges including unwanted Planning Applications which threaten the rural setting of Lydiard Park. The Friends have a successful track record in campaigning to prevent and push back intrusive housing development.

Our History

What We’ve Achieved

Over the years the Friends have contributed funds and expertise to a wide range of projects, fostering local interest and bringing Lydiard to the attention of both national and international audiences, including the milestones below:

Forty Years of Published Research 1964- 2004

The historical Reports of the Friends of Lydiard Tregoze, edited by the organisations founder and former rector of St. Mary’s Church, the late Canon Brian Carne has provided a unique and permanent resource that continues to assist in research and project development today.

Restoration of Lydiard Park 2004-7

The Friends were instrumental in helping Swindon Borough Council secure £5.3 million to restore Lydiard’s lost lakes, its stable buildings and walled garden. The project also involved laying miles of paths, planting new avenues and woodland and creating the children’s playground.

Campaign to keep Lydiard as a public asset 2015-17

When Lydiard’s future was at risk from a commercial take-over the Friends led the campaign to keep Lydiard out of private control; our petition gained over 10,000 signatures and a packed public meeting attracted an unprecedented number of local residents.

Find out more

Meet a Friend

Florence St.John Heller

On 2nd May, 2024, Lydiard Friend Florence St.John Heller turns 100. We'd like to join all Florence's friends and family in wishing her a very happy birthday.

Based in North London Florence has a keen interest in her family history, raising awareness of the important influence of Ambrose St. John on his great friend John Henry Newman, one of the 19th century’s most famous clergymen.

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Our Members

Our members are diverse and join for many different reasons, including family and local connections, an interest in the house, park and church and a desire to join a community. Social events mean we can meet up for various occasions throughout the year.

Many members are local to Swindon and its surrounding districts or have historic links to the Parish of Lydiard Tregoze. Others are related to the St. John family or connected to the family’s former properties in Battersea and elsewhere in the country. A growing number of members are from the USA and our American based International Ambassador, Elizabeth St. John, champions and supports their involvement.

Our Trustees

The Friends Trustees uphold the charity’s aims and objectives, working together and with partner organisations to support the protection and enhancement of Lydiard House and Park. Trustees, all of whom are volunteers, have a wide range of heritage, business, planning and project management experience.

Board members:

Frances Bevan
Mike Bowden
Sarah Finch-Crisp (Chair)
Michael Gray
Julie Holland (Secretary & Treasurer)
Bob Hook
Per Axel Warensjo


Elizabeth St. John (International Ambassador)

By joining the Friends of Lydiard Park you’ll be supporting an important part of our heritage and a hugely popular community resource. You’ll also be part of a friendly and diverse group that enjoy regular meetings and events.

Our Supporters

We are immensely grateful for all the support we receive from private donors, partners and other organisations. Without the help of our supporters we could not couldn’t continue our work for this special and historic place.