and occasionally rides a bike.
A word of warning. The walk descriptions are not detailed enough to guide you - please take a map. The batteries never run out, and you always have a signal. Oh, And don't take left or right as gospel!

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Lyveden New Bield - the building and gardens

When I first visited Lyveden New Bield there was nothing except the house, and perhaps an info board and an honesty box. It felt bleak, unloved and hardly worth the effort.  It's all different these days, although you do have to pay an entrance fee. It's owned and looked after by the National Trust. They're doing a great job with their audio tour explanation of the building's construction, use and religious significance. Like other places in Northamptonshire there are links to the Gunpowder plot - Francis Tresham was involved, as was his cousin Robert Catesby.
Thomas Tresham, who built the house as a summer lodge was a wealthy Catholic landowner, but had to pay huge fines because he would not deny his faith.  He spent 15 years in and out of prison, but still managed to father 11 children, and find time to design and build this house and its garden, as well as the Triangular Lodge at Rushton.  

The house was designed using the numbers 3 (the Trinity) , 5 (the wounds of Christ when crucified) and 7 (significant in religion - because of the seven days to create the world, seven deadly sins and cardinal virtues, among other things).

An unfinished building, rather than a ruin
The building was left unfinished when Thomas Tresham died in 1605.  His son Francis was involved in the failed Gunpowder plot, and died later in 1605. A younger brother Lewis inherited the estate with its debt worth over £1 500 000 in today's money.   Lewis was not good with money and eventually the family estates and fortunes were lost.

looking up from the basement to the upper floors

Servants entrance into the basement where kitchens etc were - This is lower than 5'6" now

servants' entrance - hidden from the view of guests by the raised banks
The New Bield was the destination of a walk from the Old Bield, seen at the end of the orchard in the photgraph below. 
The orchard has been planted with old varieties of fruit - as described by Thomas Tresham
The walk went through the orchard, via the mounds and moated orchard, and on to the spiral mound and the New Bield itself.  The National Trust is restoring the gardens, using evidence including a wartime photo by the Luftwaffe.

A lone duckling - it later followed its mother and siblings to the other part of the moat.

The reflection would be perfect if only the wind dropped

Food for fish and ducks? Tadpoles galore!
We must have spent a good hour and a half walking around - the great weather helped of course.


Roy Norris said...

I visited there some years ago Alison.
Looks the kind of place that would feature in Dan Brown's next Book. Perhaps Tom Hanks will visit it as Robert Langdon{:))

aliqot said...

I hope they make a better film out of it if they do! ;-)