Lydiard Park

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Lydiard Park collage
Horses in field next to Lydiard Park

Lydiard Park is a 260-acre (1.1 km2) country park at Lydiard Tregoze, which was its formal name,[1] about 4 mi (6.4 km) west of central Swindon, Wiltshire, England, near Junction 16 of the M4 .

History[edit]

Lydiard Tregoze is mentioned in the Domesday Book and was owned by the Tregoze family from about 1189. In 1259 Henry III gave Robert Tregoze a royal licence to create a deer park in nearby woodland.[1] From 1300 until 1348 Lydiard was owned by the Grandison family, then by the Beauchamps. In 1420 the estate came by marriage to the St John family (based at Battersea, London), and they owned it until the Second World War. From 1942 the park was used as a military hospital by the American Forces, and then between about 1943 and about March 1946 it was a Prisoner of War hospital for German soldiers as POW camp No.160

The dereliction of the hall and the declining fortunes of the St John family formed the backdrop of the 1967 novel The Heir of Starvelings by American writer Evelyn Berckman.

Formal gardens and a canal were created as part of changes made to the medieval house in the 17th century. Sir John St John also laid out a series of formal avenues. In 1742-3, under the second Viscount St John, the south and east fronts of the house were remodelled in the Palladian style. The formal elements of the park had been removed by 1766).[1]

Large parts of the park had been sold off in the 1920s and 30s. Swindon Corporation bought the house and park in 1943 and after restoration opened it to the public in 1955. It remains open all year round.

In 2005, the park received £3m from the Heritage Lottery Fund towards a restoration project. The park hosted Radio 1's Big Weekend in 2009.

References[edit]

External links[edit]

  • Lydiard Park — Swindon Council's guide to Lydiard House & Park and the Lydiard Park restoration project.

Coordinates: 51°33′38″N 01°51′06″W / 51.56056°N 1.85167°W / 51.56056; -1.85167