The Story So Far
Lyveden was the dream of Sir Thomas Tresham, but was never to be completed following his death in 1605.
The history of Lyveden dates back far beyond the reign of Queen Elizabeth I and the Tresham ancestry. Roman and medieval settlements occupied the valley of Lyveden for many hundreds of years, benefiting from the rich mineral deposits and dense hunting grounds of the Rockingham Forest.
But it is the influence of the Tresham family that remains evident in the landscape today. From the late 15th century to the death of Sir Thomas Tresham in 1605, land was bought and developed as sheep pasture and, in the centre of the estate a garden, competing with the finest in the county, was being planned.
From 1605 to the present day, Lyveden remains virtually as it was left four centuries ago. A building with no roof, no windows and no floors. A garden with moats on three of four intended sides, no plants, no statues or paths. Surrounded in folklore and mystery, Lyveden has escaped the influence of time, fashion and conflict.
Donated to the National Trust in 1922, Lyveden became protected from the modern influences of the 20th century. However, it was not until the 1990s that the Trust began the gradual process to uncover the neglect and abandonment of the hidden garden.
Today, the scale, form and beauty of Tresham’s work can again be appreciated and acknowledged as one of the rarest survivals of Elizabethan garden design.