Houses of Interest: Cheshire

The County of my birth, and just a few miles away from Château KeepYourPowderDry, so why has it taken so long to get around to writing an entry?

Lyme Hall has already been briefly mentioned in the first part Rupert's March North. A National Trust property (so expect lots of Colin Firth memorabilia, travel blankets and expensive boiled sweets for sale in the shop). Let's get Colin Firth out of the way first: yes, Lyme was the location for that lake scene in the BBC Pride and Prejudice. Surprised there isn't a statue of Colin emerging from the lake...

The Legh's were staunch Royalists, although didn't really have much to do with the soldiering due to a series of unfortunate events. Peter Legh XI inherited the property from his father just before the outbreak of war. He was elected MP for Newton in 1640, but died from his injuries sustained in a duel in 1642. His son, Frances inherited the Hall but died without issue in 1643. Frances's nephew inherited the hall. Richard was a minor during the Civil war but was elected as an MP during the Commonwealth. His support of the Royalists led him to become Lord Lieutenant of Cheshire during the Restoration.
Thomas Legh, Richard's brother

What's there now?
Lyme really is spectacular on a sunny day, the National Trust and it's army of volunteers do a magnificent job at keeping the estate in pristine condition.

Arty picture, well, just because

Whilst untouched during the fighting, there are a number of portraits and artefacts pertinent to the wars.

The Stag Room houses a number of portraits of Charles I and Charles II. The Charles I chairs are also on display here.

Two of the Charles chairs

Interestingly, the story of the Charles chair(s) appears to have changed. One of the set of four chairs used to be displayed so you could see the black cloth underneath the seat - this was described as being part of the cloak worn by Charles on the day of his execution. It was used underneath the chair as, for obvious reasons, it couldn't be on open display. Nowadays the story presented is very different: the seats of all four chairs were upholstered with the lining of Charles's cloak. Which is true?

Charles I

James Stuart, Duke of Richmond and part of the stag frieze

One of two Charles II portraits on display in the Stag Room
There are a number of interesting portraits on display other than those in the Stag Room.

The Earl of Strafford, known as 'Black Tom Tyrant' for his treatment of the Irish

Sir Henry Gage, breaker of the siege of Basing House, briefly Governor of Oxford

Lyme is home to the 'Lyme Missal' deemed the most important book in the NT's collection. It is also home to some of Grinling Gibbons's finest work, although the room that they are in has a multimedia display about the Missal in it which distracts, somewhat, from the stunning carvings.

Please note Lyme can be incredibly busy on sunny weekends and school holidays, check the NT website for the Park and Ride options.

Not exactly a 'house of interest', but outside Duckinfield Town Hall (which was part of Cheshire during the Civil Wars, now a Metropolitan Borough of Manchester), there is a statue of Lieutenant Colonel Robert Duckinfield. Robert  defended Stockport from Prince Rupert, besieged Wythenshawe, and captured the Isle of Man.  He also put down Booth's rebellion against Richard Cromwell.

Tabley House in Knutsford was built in the 1760s and now is run as a nursing home. So why does it feature in the ECW Travelogue? Tabley House houses the the Tabley House Collection, amongst the art treasures on display is William Dobson's portrait of Lord Byron, which features the wound he received  on New Years Day 1643 at Burford, when he was struck on his left cheek by a halberd.

Postcodes for SatNavs
Lyme Park SK12 2NR
Duckinfield Town Hall SK16 4LA
Tabley House, Knutsford WA16 0HB

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  1. Very interesting - some great portraits there.

    1. Really think I need to seek out some Parliamentarian supporting households to maintain 'balance'.


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