A house with six centuries of history
The doors are closed and the dust sheets and covers are back on the furniture, ensuring we protect the collection when closed. When normality resumes, if you haven't visited the house before, or its been a while, we would love to welcome you back, tell you centuries old stories and share with you the beautiful house at Lyme.
Like many great houses, Lyme was built and rebuilt, embellished and enlarged throughout its ownership by the Leghs, with each generation making its mark and creating the house we see today.
The Drawing Room
Of all the rooms at Lyme, this is the best preserved of the older Elizabethan house, dating from around 1580. Medieval stained glass sits in the window, while the heavy overmantel which bear’s Elizabeth I’s coat of arms reaches almost up to the ceiling. Dark oak panels rise from the floor making a very contrasting space to the classical proportions of the Entrance Hall it overlooks.
The Stag Parlour
The Stag Parlour is a small room that played a big part in Legh family history. Whilst updated throughout the years, some original details remain, including parts of the overmantel. There are four 19th-century chairs that bear the monogram – ‘CR’ – of Charles I, said to be upholstered with fabric taken from the cloak worn by Charles I on the scaffold. When James II was ousted from the throne in 1688, Peter Legh XII persistently refused to pledge his allegiance to the new monarchs, William and Mary. He and other local land owners formed the Cheshire Club to discuss re-instating the Stuart king. Its first meeting was held in this room.
The Knight’s Bedroom
Family tradition has it that Mary Queen of Scots slept here, and that a secret passageway led from the cupboard, through the house and under the hill to the Cage. During one of the mansion’s many renovations, a skeleton was discovered lying in a cavity beneath the floorboards; the room was subsequently said to be haunted.
The Long Gallery
This space is another Elizabethan survivor, created for gentle exercise and for a display of wealth. Here at Lyme, the Long Gallery was also a domestic space. Records show that Sir Piers VII sat in one of the bays when paying his staff, and by the 17th century a billiard table stood at the top end. Later, the 2nd Lady Newton turned the room into a theatre, where the family staged performances, whilst also distributing Christmas presents to the children of the estate workers. During the Second World War, it became a nursery for evacuees.
Often a favourite for visitors, the Library today is a re-creation of how the room was decorated in the Victorian era. As restoration work to the room began in 2010, we discovered beneath the modern wallpaper a shadow impression on the plaster of the original 19th-century paper as well as fragments of the crimson and gold flock were also found behind the bookcases, which enabled us to create a historically accurate replacement, made by a specialist French company, Atelier d’Offard.
Unlike many rooms, The Library is rope-free, a room where visitors are encouraged to take a seat and enjoy the room, rather than simply look at it. Inspired by this black and white photograph of 2nd Lord Newton stood by the fireplace, with a friend whose muddy feet hang over the end of the couch, showed the Library was a lived in space rather than a showroom.
The Legh family
Lyme is remarkable for having been owned by the same family, the Leghs, for just under 600 years. Find out why good deeds in battle led to them owning the land, and come face to face with Legh ancestry in the house.
Lyme has a large collection ranging from treasured Mortlake tapestries to collars belonging to the family’s beloved mastiff dogs. The house is home to the finest clock collection in the National Trust as well as one of the most important printed book in the Trust’s vast collection, The Lyme Sarum Missal.
We welcome photography at Lyme as we hope you can take away treasured memories from your visit. We just ask that flashes are not used in the house.
The Dressing Room
THE DRESSING ROOM IS CURRENTLY CLOSED AS PRECAUTION DUE TO CURRENT HEALTH CONCERNS.
Have you ever imagined yourself as Lord or Lady of the Regency, channelling your own Elizabeth Bennet in an empire line dress? Visit Lyme’s Wardrobe Department during your visit and then take the air around the courtyard and garden, or enjoy a Regency afternoon tea in the Salting Room and Wyatt Garden. With costumes for visitors of all ages, the whole family can join in.
Our dressing up room is volunteer-run and open certain days - if you would like to volunteer with them, please do see our page here.
Exploring for Families
For little ones coming to see the house, we have front-carrying baby slings or hip-carrying infant seats available to borrow (please ask at the ticket office), with secure buggy storage in the courtyard for a £1 refundable deposit, as well as free lockers to store all those essential items! There are babychanging facilities at the house and Timber Yard, and high chairs available at our food and drink outlets.
If you would like to bring a group to visit the house at Lyme, please find more information here or contact the estate office on 01663 762023 or firstname.lastname@example.org.