Ice House

 

Temperatures are expected to plummet by the weekend with the chance that both the medieval lake and the restored 18th century one at Lydiard Park are likely to freeze over. When this happens it is easy to see just how the ice house on the Lydiard estate was used.

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Ice houses were introduced to Britain in the early 17th century, as the fashion for fancy flavoured ice cream developed. James I had one built in Greenwich Park in 1619 and another at Hampton Court in 1625/6. The one at Lydiard probably dates from about 1743 when Sir John, 2nd Viscount St John spent his wealthy wife’s dowry on remodelling the mansion house and landscaping the grounds.

The Lydiard ice house is of the Cup and Dome variety, the most popular 18th century model and apparently the most expensive. Cited away from the house in the shade of trees the Lydiard ice house follows text book plans with a brick lined underground pit and domed roof to control the circulation of air. The better the brickwork the more successful and efficient the ice house operated.

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Ice would be gathered from the frozen estate lake and stored in the subterranean building,  sealed by layers of straw or reeds.  During the exceptionally cold winters of the period the ice could be expected to last up to eighteen months.

The building was also used as a larder, preserving meat that would otherwise have to be salted.

There are an estimated 2,500 ice houses in England alone but detection of lost houses is difficult due to the nature of their construction. The one at Lydiard Park has fared well though, enjoying a makeover as part of the 2005 £5 million Lydiard Park Project.

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The Favourite

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Have you seen The Favourite, the story of Queen Anne, her long-time favourite Sarah, Duchess of Marlborough and the contender for that position, Abigail Hill? The story is layered with pathos and humour and even the laugh out loud moments are incredibly sad.

The film stars Rachel Weisz as Sarah, Emma Stone as Abigail and Olivia Colman as Queen Anne. The winner of a Golden Globe and nominated for a BAFTA, what next for Colman, an Oscar?

The film ends … well, I won’t tell you how it ends, but would you like to know what happened next, and of course, what is that all important St John link?

After a volatile confrontation (with sexual overtones) in the woods, Abigail marries the dashing young Samuel Masham, but who was he?

Samuel Masham, first Baron Masham of Otes, was the son of Sir Francis Masham, 3rd Baronet, and his wife Damaris Cudworth. As the film reveals, Samuel was at the centre of life at Queen Anne’s duplicitous court. He served as first a page, then equerry and groom of the bedchamber to Anne’s husband, Prince George of Denmark. He entered parliament as a Tory MP for Ilchester in 1710 and Windsor in 1711 and was one of twelve Tory peers created in 1712.

Masham married Abigail in 1707 and the couple had at least five children, three sons and two daughters, the elder of whom was named Anne, after Abigail’s best friend forever, the Queen.

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Born in 1708, Anne was only 18 when she married banker Henry Hoare II on April 11, 1726. Henry Hoare II became known as Henry ‘the Magnificent’ in recognition of the work he accomplished on the family estate at Stourhead, furnishing the palatial Palladian mansion with works of art and landscaping the grounds. Sadly, Anne never lived to enjoy the fruits of his labours as she died on March 4, 1727 shortly after the birth of her daughter. The young couple had been married less than a year and Anne was just 19 years old.

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The baby born on February 28 1727, a daughter, was named Anne after her mother. Little Anne died on January 30, 1735 just before her eighth birthday. Mother and daughter are buried in Stourton churchyard, the parish church just a short walk from the home where they both lived and died.

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Now brace yourself for the St John connections as there are several. The Hon Anne Masham, the young first wife of Henry Hoare II, daughter of Samuel and royal favourite Abigail, traces her ancestry back four generations to her great-great-grandmother Lady Elizabeth Barrington. In 1611 Lady Elizabeth married William Masham, 1st Baronet, but this was not her first marriage. She had previously been married to Sir James Altham, by whom she had a daughter Johanna.

In 1630 Johanna married Sir Oliver St John, Chief Justice of the Common Pleas, at St Mary’s Church Harrow. The couple had four children, two sons and two daughters. One daughter, Johanna, married Sir Walter St John of Lydiard Tregoze, the other Catherine married his brother Henry.

This makes young Anne Hoare nee Masham and the brilliant but attainted politician Henry St John, Viscount Bolingbroke, Secretary at War in Queen Anne’s government in 1704, third cousins.

But the St John connection doesn’t end there.

Hoare’s bank was founded in the 1670s by Richard Hoare. In 1697. Henry St John (Johanna and Walter’s reprobate son and the father of Viscount Bolingbroke) opened an account with Hoare’s bank in Fleet Street, the first of three generations of St Johns to do so. In 1704 Walter, Henry’s father, opened an account.

In 1735 John (Jack) St John, Viscount Bolingbroke’s half-brother, also entrusted his finances to Hoare’s bank. In fact, by 1735 Jack was about to inherit his wife’s not inconsiderable fortune and was thinking about remodelling the Tudor mansion house at Lydiard Park. Jack nipped down to Warminster to see what Henry was doing at Stourhead. Jack might have had a grand design but the grounds at Lydiard Park didn’t extend to 2,600 acres, which was fortunate as his bank account wasn’t up to the challenge either.

All things considered Jack made a very nice job of Lydiard House and Park, which is still enjoyed by thousands of visitors every year.

Some views of Stourhead and Lydiard Park

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This post also appears on Good Gentlewoman a blog dedicated to the St John ladies and the people whose lives they touched.

St Mary’s Church Lydiard Tregoze Conservation Project started!

 

thumbnail_St Marys Lydiard Tregoze removal of royal coat of arms James I (date 1611)Stage 1 of the conservation project started on 5 November with conservators working in the St John Chapel and South Porch with completion on 14 December 2018.The Royal Coat of Arms has been removed as part of the conservation work for some tender love and care and will return next year.

The conservator team are on target to complete stage 1 of the work by 14 December 2018.The south porch will be re-plastered and the wall painting “Christ the Crown of Thorns will be virtually conserved ready for Christmas

Furthermore this month, we have been awarded grants from William & Jane Morris Fund and Idlewild Trust, reducing the shortfall in match funding to £12,000.

St. Mary’s Church Lydiard Tregoze, a vibrant working church with a dedicated vicar and regular Sunday services in the heart of the community of West Swindon & Lydiard Tregoze where continuous Christian worship has taken place for over 1100 years has received a Round 2 delivery phase grant award from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) to conserve its gorgeous interiors. The project aims include conserving the buildings extensive & nationally significant medieval wall paintings, 17th Century monuments, ancient carved woodwork and star spangled ceiling.

The grant of £615,000 towards the £901,605 delivery phase will enable the church to carry out the conservation work, environmental improvements and access improvements to St Mary’s Church as well as the delivery of a specialist training programme & associated learning, volunteering and community engagement activities .

The project will restore St. Mary’s historic interiors and make it more accessible to the public with access improvements by re-opening the hidden south and creating a welcoming interpretation and activity area. The church plans a wide range of educational activities and events as well as offering training and volunteer opportunities for local people, families, school children, children’s theatre and higher education students. These will include hands on conservation workshops and skills training. Imaginative interpretation & a national symposium for professionals in the heritage and conservation sector.

The main focus of the project is the conservation of the nationally important &extensive medieval wall paintings, which have been identified by the Church of England as one of the 100 artworks currently most in need of conservation in their 100 Church Treasures Appeal The internationally acclaimed conservator Jane Rutherfoord and her team have been appointed to undertake the conservation work to the medieval wall paintings &monuments.

Project Champion, Rt. Reverend Dr Lee Rayfield, Bishop of Swindon: The National Lottery receives many deserving applications so it is particularly heartening that Swindon has once again been supported by the award of a major grant. St.Mary’s remains a national treasure and enabling us to preserve and restore its unique features continues to benefit local people as well as enriching our country’s heritage.’

Vicar St Mary’s Lydiard Tregoze Reverend Captain Clive Deverell (Area Dean) “I am delighted that we have been awarded this National Lottery grant, it will ensure families from across West Swindon will

be able to share in its worship and special history for generations to come. Also we will play our part in training a great number of future conservators of medieval Wall paintings. ”

Project Chair Paul Gardner’ It is wonderful news and we are immensely grateful to the National Lottery and very excited about taking our plans forward, especially working with the many organizations from across the town – The Friends of Lydiard Park, schools ,Swindon Art College, The Arts Society , Swindon Festival of Literature, Prime Theatre and many more – that have enthusiastically supported the project and pledged their support and involvement.’

‘We have virtually raised the match funded of £286,600 needed for this stage of the project following receipt of substantial individual donations as well as grants from a range of charities and other organisations including The Friends of Lydiard Park, Garfield Weston Foundation, West Swindon & Lydiard Tregoze Church Partnership, All Churches Trust, The Pilgrim Trust, St Andrews Conservation Trust, The Leche Trust , Wiltshire Historic Churches Trust ,The Alan Evans Memorial Trust, William & Jane Morris Fund, Idlewild Trust and continued public fund raising .I wish to thank the National Lottery whole heartedly for making this crucial award. There is now only £12000 to be raised.

Alastair Stevenson, Chair Friends of Lydiard Park:” I am immensely pleased that the National Lottery has chosen to make this substantial investment in the conservation of St. Mary’s Lydiard Tregoze. The Friends have been passionate supporters of this project, committing over £100,000 towards it thanks to the generosity of a private legacy. We look forward to seeing the conservation work begin in earnest and all the training, education and volunteering opportunities that it involves. Congratulations to St. Mary’s and grateful thanks to the National Lottery!”

Nerys Watts, Head of HLF South West, said: “Thanks to National Lottery players, people of all ages will have the chance to get involved in creating a secure and exciting future for St Mary’s Church and its incredible heritage. We are delighted to support this project.”

Over the last 5 years the church has successfully raised funds to restore the buildings structure and make it weather tight and in June 2016 year we celebrated the restoration of the 18th century Reredos . Conserving the Reredos, along with associated building works, was a £40,000 project. The work was carried out by the internationally acclaimed conservator Jane Rutherfoord.

If you wish to make a direct payment donation to support the conservation of St Marys church the BACS details are follows –

Account Name: Building Fund,

Bank: CAF Bank,

Sort Code: 40-52-40,

Account Number: 00017800,

And complete & return the attached donation form indicating that you have made a direct payment.

For further information, images, interviews and private visits please contact Paul Gardner at gp.gardner@btinternet.com or 07831868429.

30th November 2018

St. Mary’s Church Lydiard Tregoze wins confirmed National Lottery support

St. Mary’s Church Lydiard Tregoze, which lies on the western edge of Swindon in historic Lydiard Park, has received a confirmed National Lottery grant award from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) to conserve its gorgeous interiors. The project aims include conserving the buildings extensive and nationally significant medieval wall paintings, 17th Century monuments, ancient carved woodwork and star spangled ceiling.

Made possible by National Lottery players, the grant of £615,000 towards the £901,605 delivery phase will enable the church to carry out the conservation work, environmental improvements and access improvements to St Mary’s Church as well as the delivery of a specialist training programme and associated learning, volunteering and community engagement activities .

The project aims to rescue the church from deteriorating further and improve public access by re-opening the hidden south porch and creating a welcoming interpretation and activity area. The church plans a wide range of educational activities and events as well as offering training and volunteer opportunities for local people, families, schoolchildren and higher education students. These will include hands on conservation workshops and skills training.

St. Mary’s stands behind the gracious mansion of Lydiard House and is famous for the richness of its monuments to the St. John family who lived at Lydiard for over 500 years. The church currently attracts over 8,100 visitors a year from both this country and abroad and is well used by local schools researching heritage on their doorstep and visitors to the adjacent house and park.

Project Champion, Rt. Reverend Dr Lee Rayfield, Bishop of Swindon:

‘The National Lottery receives many deserving applications so it is particularly heartening that Swindon has once again been supported by the award of a major grant. St.Mary’s remains a national treasure and enabling us to preserve and restore its unique features continues to benefit local people as well as enriching our country’s heritage.’

Vicar St Mary’s Lydiard Tregoze Reverend Captain Clive Deverell (Area Dean )

“I am delighted that we have been awarded this National Lottery grant, it will ensure families from across West Swindon will be able to share in its worship and special history for generations to come. Also we will play our part in training a great number of future conservators of medieval Wall paintings. ”

Project Chair Paul Gardner

‘It is wonderful news and we are immensely grateful to the National Lottery and very excited about taking our plans forward, especially working with the many organizations from across the town – The Friends of Lydiard Park, schools ,Swindon Art College, The Arts Society , Swindon Festival of Literature, Prime Theatre and many more – that have enthusiastically supported the project and pledged their support and involvement.’

‘We have virtually raised the match funded of £286,600 needed for this stage of the project following receipt of substantial individual donations as well as grants from a range of charities and other organisations including The Friends of Lydiard Park, Garfield Weston Foundation, West Swindon & Lydiard Tregoze Church Partnership, All Churches Trust, The Pilgrim Trust, St Andrews Conservation Trust, The Leche Trust , Wiltshire Historic Churches Trust, The Alan Evans Memorial Trust and continued public fund raising.

I wish to thank the National Lottery whole heartedly for making this crucial award.

Alastair Stevenson, Chair Friends of Lydiard Park

I am immensely pleased that the National Lottery has chosen to make this substantial investment in the conservation of St. Mary’s Lydiard Tregoze. The Friends have been passionate supporters of this project, committing over £100,000 towards it thanks to the generosity of a private legacy. We look forward to seeing the conservation work begin in earnest and all the training, education and volunteering opportunities that it involves. Congratulations to St. Mary’s and grateful thanks to the National Lottery!

Nerys Watts, Head of HLF South West, said: “Thanks to National Lottery players, people of all ages will have the chance to get involved in creating a secure and exciting future for St Mary’s Church and its incredible heritage. We are delighted to support this project.”

St. Mary’s Church belongs to the Church of England. It is a vibrant working church with a dedicated vicar and regular Sunday services in the heart of the community of West Swindon & Lydiard Tregoze where continuous Christian worship has taken place for over 1100 years.

Lydiard Park’s 18th Century landscape was restored in 2004-7 in a £5.3 million project which was also supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund.

About the Heritage Lottery Fund

Thanks to National Lottery players, we invest money to help people across the UK explore, enjoy and protect the heritage they care about – from the archaeology under our feet to the historic parks and buildings we love, from precious memories and collections to rare wildlife. http://www.hlf.org.uk. Follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and use #NationalLottery

For further information, images and interviews please contact Paul Gardner at gp.gardner@btinternet.com or 07831 868429

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Michaelmas Day

Michaelmas Day (September 29) is the feast of Michael and All Angels and marks the closing in of the long, dark nights as the days grow colder and summer begins to wane.

One of the four quarter days, Michaelmas was the day on which rents were due, leases begun and servants hired, a busy time in the estate office at Lydiard House.

But today, in a glorious blaze of colour, summer enjoyed a last hurrah in the Walled Garden at Lydiard Park.

Created during Jack St John’s 18th century makeover of the parkland and restored during the Lydiard Park Project 2001-2007, the Walled Garden is a place of peaceful contemplation in any season.

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The North Aisle

St Mary’s Church is jam-packed full of fascinating features. Once you have viewed the fantastic 15th century wall paintings and marvelled at the magnificent St John memorials, have a look at the North Aisle. Dating back to the 14th century the North Aisle is possibly one of the oldest surviving elements in the church.

In 1968 Rev Bryan Carne, the Rector at St Mary’s Church, edited the first of 40 editions of the Friends of Lydiard Tregoz Reports. This first 24 page bulletin was published on July 6 and among the articles was an undated diagram of the seating arrangements in St Mary’s.

Church seating can be dated back to the Anglo Saxon period when it consisted of a basic three legged stool. By the 15th century benches or stalls along the church walls became more common although in the early 17th century stools were still a common form of seating.

Pew renting grew in popularity following the first of the Church Building Acts in 1818 when it was recognised as a legitimate church fund raiser.  Pew letting was largely abolished by the end of the 19th century although the practice continued in some areas into the 1950 and 60s. The system came to an end because it was complicated to administer and became increasingly unprofitable. It is not currently known if the tenants of the farms listed in the diagram paid for their pews or whether their position was a traditional one.

The boxed pews in St Mary’s date from c1839 when Rev Giles Daubeney re-ordered the church seating. Rev Daubeney served at St Mary’s for a total of 46 years, first as curate for eight years from 1831 and then as Rector for 38 years until his death in 1877.

During the mid Victorian period the north aisle was known as the Clarendon Aisle, a reference to the land owning Earls of Clarendon. The  pew beneath the window was reserved for the tenants at Midgehall Farm and dates from 1680. The boxed pews that run along the wall are something of a cut and pace job, the backs dating from the 17th century and the plain fronts from the 18th.

The name Midgehall means ‘a corner or nook of land infested by midges.’ Although not a description an estate agent would use today, Midgehall has always been a desirable residence.  Once a grange or manor belonging to Stanley Abbey Lawrence Hyde, second son of Edward 1st Earl of Clarendon, bought the Midgehall estate in about 1685. It remained in the Clarendon family until 1866 when it was sold to the Trustees of Sir Henry Meux.

The Bradford family were tenants at Midgehall throughout most of the 18th century and at the time of the 1851 census Cornelius Bradford farmed the 360 acres, employing twelve labourers, and served as Mayor of Wootton Bassett as well. His son Richard took over the tenancy after the death of Cornelius in 1852.

Across the other side of the Clarendon Aisle is the Windmill Leaze pew. Known today as Park Farm, Windmill Leaze was the Lydiard estate home farm, supplying the St John family with produce to support their homes in both Battersea and Lydiard.

In 1851 the farm was worked by William Kinchin, his widowed stepmother Martha (described on the census returns as his mother in law) and a cousin also named William Kinchin. The farm comprised 280 acres and William employed nine labourers and a Dairy Maid (Maryann Mills) who lived in the farmhouse. Sixteen year old farm servant Thomas Strang and a visitor, Martha Withers, were at the farm on census night. The Kinchin family were tenants at Windmill Leaze for more than 60 years. By 1911 John Rumming had taken over the tenancy. The Rumming family eventually bought the farm, which they continue to own to this day.

The pews in the main body of the church are entered by doors opening onto the nave aisle. However the pew numbered 4 on the diagram also has a door at the Clarendon Aisle to allow for an overflow of occupants from the Can Court pew.

On the other side of the nave aisle, behind the Clerk’s seat and a pew occupied by the tenant at Brook Farm, Thomas Plummer, and the subsequent owner, Joses Badock, are the pews occupied by Mannington and Toothill Farm tenants.

Mannington, Toothill and Whitehill Farms were acquired by Thomas Sutton in the 17th century to support his foundation, a hospital and school for forty ‘poor’ scholars known as Charterhouse. The farms remained the property of Charterhouse until 1919 when they were sold to the Wiltshire County Council to provide small holdings for soldiers returning from the First World War battlefields.

The windows of the North (Clarendon) Aisle contain fragments of  medieval painted glass of various workmen and bear the mark of some 19th century workmen. Edwin Edmonds and Norman Hitchcock etched their names while on the easternmost window of the north aisle wall E.T. Morse Glazier & painter added the admonition in 1805 – ‘He Hiss A fool Likewise A Nave That Rites hiss Name A/pon Glass.

The Rev Carne returned to the subject of the Clarendon Aisle in the Friends of Lydiard Tregoz Report No 38 published in 2005 in which he writes:

“The fact that the north aisle is called the ‘Clarendon Aisle’ and also that it was minimally altered in the 1850s raise the possibility that the aisle was added in the fourteenth century by the lessees of the manor of Midgehall to accommodate those who lived on that manor and that the manor maintained a prescriptive right to the whole of the north aisle.’

Notes on the Fabric and Fittings of St Mary’s Church and Related Matters.

Produced between 1968 – 2007 copies of the Friends of Lydiard Tregoz Reports are held in the British Library, the Bodleian Library and the Society of Antiquaries of London. They are also available somewhat closer to home in Local Studies, Swindon Central Library, Regent Circus.

 

Sources:

The English Anglican Practice of Pew-Renting 1800-1960 by John Charles Bennett

Friends of Lydiard Tregoz Reports No 1, 11, 23 and 38.

 

 

 

 

Heritage Open Days

The figures are in for the first weekend of the Heritage Open Days event where more than 250 people visited St Mary’s Church, Lydiard Park. Church stewards welcomed visitors from Belgium, Valencia and Transylvania as well as those from a little closer to home.

The magnificent St John polyptych was on display. The multipaneled genealogical masterpiece with a family portrait at its centre is only open on a handful of occasions during the year, among them the Heritage Open Days in September.

Paul Gardner, Chair of St Mary’s Lydiard Tregoze Conservation Project, updated visitors on plans to conserve the 15th century wall paintings and the eagerly awaited decision on the next phase of HLF funding due later this month.

Church steward Mathew Koelz represented St Mary’s in the Wiltshire Historic Churches Trust Annual Ride and Stride fundraising event. Mat completed a 40 mile sponsored cycle ride during which he visited 40 churches.

One of the themes of the 2018 Heritage Open Days is that of Extraordinary Women. Local historian Frances Bevan celebrated the centenary of some women gaining the vote and spoke to visitors about Edith New, a Swindon schoolteacher, who played a prominent role in the Votes for Women campaign.

St Mary’s Church will be open from September 14-16 for the second Heritage Open Days event. Volunteers from the Arts Society will be on hand to give visitors a guided tour of the church from 11 am Friday with members of the congregation available over the weekend.