An 1855 tinted lithograph of the House from "Burke's Visitation of Seats"
Built / Designed For: Sir Piers Legh VII
House & Family History: The Leghs won the land on which Lyme stands on the battlefields of France during the Hundred Years War (Sir Peter Legh II fought at Agincourt and his great grandson at Flodden). Lyme Park became the family's principal seat in the mid-16th century, when Sir Piers Legh VII (1514-89) built the core of the current house. The Leghs were strong supporters of the Stuart cause (James II was entertained at Lyme in 1676), were involved in plots to restore the Stuart monarchy, and consequently suffered arrest because of their beliefs and actions. Thomas Legh (1792-1857) was one of the most remarkable members of the family; among his many expeditions, he followed the Nile into parts of Nubia unknown to Europeans. His nephew and successor, William John Legh, was created 1st Baron Newton in 1892. The daughter of the second Lord Newton, Phyllis Sandeman, wrote of the pleasures of growing up at Lyme in her book "Treasure on Earth." The 3rd Lord Newton found that the family could no longer support the upkeep of Lyme Park and gave it to the National Trust in 1946. Initially the House, though owned by the Trust, was operated by the Stockport Council; at one point it was a school. The National Trust took over management of the House in 1994. The Cage Tower was opened to the public in 1999 for the first time. There have been many suggestions that Aston Webb's 1912-13 refronting of Buckingham Palace was based on Giacomo Leoni's South Range at Lyme.
Collections: The art collection includes Mortlake tapestries and a fine collection of English clocks. Most of the original furntiure from Abney Hall was moved to Lyme Hall and Bramall Hall when Abney was converted to offices.
Garden & Outbuildings: The grounds include a 1,400 acre park that contains red deer. The Conservatory was designed by Wyatt.
John Bernard (J.B.) Burke, published under the title of A Visitation of the Seats and Arms of the Noblemen and Gentlemen of Great Britain and Ireland, among other titles: 2.S. Vol. I, p. 34, 1854.
John Preston (J.P.) Neale, published under the title of Views of the Seats of Noblemen and Gentlemen in England, Wales, Scotland, and Ireland, among other titles: 2.S. Vol. I, 1824.
Country Life: XVIII, 234, 1905. XCVI, 684, 1944. C, 210, 1946. CLVI, 1724, 1858, 1930, 1998, 1974.
House Listed: Grade I
Park Listed: Grade II
Past Seat / Home of: William John Legh, 1st Baron Newton, 19th century; Legh family here from 1398 until 1946.
Current Ownership Type: The National Trust
Primary Current Ownership Use: Visitor Attraction