Friends of Lydiard Park launch unique digital archive

By Jessica Durston - 10 September 2021

Community

The independent charity group have announced the opening of the virtual doors to 'The Lydiard Archives.'

  • Portrait of Holles St John

    Portrait of Holles St John

The Lydiard Archives are a unique on-line collection of objects, portraits, records, manuscripts, photographs, memories, and ephemera, compiling a thousand years of history of Lydiard Park and the people and Parish of Lydiard Tregoze.

Working with local residents, archives and authorities, as well as global institutions, the Friends have created a digitised collection of Lydiard Park’s precious legacy.

From early medieval prosperity to its sacrifices and losses during World Wars, and from dereliction in the forties, to its rescue and dedication to the people of Swindon, The Lydiard Archives tell of a rare heritage built on survival and tenacity.

Treasures included in the archives include the portrait of Holles St. John, the younger brother of John 2nd Viscount. St. John of Lydiard Park and step brother to the famous politician and political philosopher Henry St John, 1st Viscount Bolingbroke. A portrait of him as a young child hangs in the Drawing Room of Lydiard House alongside another childhood portrait of his sister Henrietta.

Sarah Finch-Crisp, Chair of the Trustees and a former Keeper of Lydiard House, spotted the portrait presented for sale in a London gallery. The Trustees for Friends enlisted the help of 18th Century portrait specialist Anthony Mould and the vendor, Miles Barton of the Miles Barton Gallery, to acquire the portrait for the Lydiard collection.

Also featured in the online archive is Lady Johanna St John’s Recipe Book, a 17th century collection of culinary, cosmetic, and medicinal recipes.

Some of these recipes will be re-created by the Friends as part of the Heritage Open Days Edible England festival at Lydiard Walled Garden on 11 September.

Whether for education, social history, genealogy, research or simply local interest, The Lydiard Archives aim to be a unique living testament to the wide range of primary source materials and objects associated with the House, Park, St. Mary’s Church and surrounding parish of Lydiard Tregoze.

The archives are open for free access online at www.TheLydiardArchives.org.uk

Visitors can browse art and architecture, research family history, read articles and news clippings, and see memories of people connected with Lydiard Park through the centuries.

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