Members of the Friends of Lydiard Park made the short journey to Cirencester Park, home of the Earl and Countess Bathurst, for the annual summer outing.
Fans of Elizabeth St John’s books, the Lydiard Chronicles will be aware of the close connection between the Bathurst and St John families.
Lucy St John was the youngest of six surviving daughters of Sir John St John and Lucy Hungerford and appears on the family portrait enclosed within the multi panelled St John Polyptych in St Mary’s Church, Lydiard Park.
Lucy was born at Lydiard Park in 1589 and became the third wife of Sir Allen Apsley whom she married in October 1615. Sir Allen was some twenty years older than Lucy, a courtier, Surveyor of Marine Victuals of the Royal Navy and Lieutenant of the Tower of London. The couple had five surviving children, Allen, James, Lucy, Barbara and William.
Eldest son Allen Apsley married Frances Petre in c1644 and it was their daughter Frances who married Sir Benjamin Bathurst. But the family connection doesn’t end there!
Sir Benjamin Bathurst (1639-1704) was a statesman, politician, courtier and Governor of the East India Company. He was Treasurer and Receiver General to the Duke of York (later James II) and Treasurer to Princess Anne of Denmark and later Cofferer to Queen Anne.
Sir Benjamin and Frances had four surviving children and acquired the estate now known as Cirencester Park for their eldest son Allen, 1st Earl Bathurst.
In July 1704 Allen married Catherine Apsley, his first cousin once removed. Both traced their ancestry to Sir Allen Apsley via his two wives. Catherine was descended from his first wife Anne Carew and Allen from Lucy St John, which all goes to prove the close connection between the family at Cirencester Park and the one at Lydiard Park.
Today Allen Bathurst, 9th Earl Bathurst and his wife Sara run the Cirencester Park Estate. The park is open to the public but the Grade II* listed house itself is still very much a private family home.
The Friends would like to thank Countess Bathurst for her hospitality and for a fascinating tour of Cirencester Park.
Elizabeth St John is currently writing the third volume in the Lydiard Chronicles series, but if you can’t wait that long she has just published Counterpoint: Barbara, Lady Villiers, Kindle edition.