History of Lyveden Manor

Peeking at Lyveden Manor through the trees

Sir Thomas Tresham planned ‘Lyveden House’ to be the starting place for Elizabethan visitors to experience the pleasure grounds and his garden lodge.

The house is grade one listed and was owned by the Tresham family until 1649 when it was sequestered during the Civil War because of continued Catholic links. In 1660 Charles II granted Lyveden to the Earl of Sandwich and from then the house passed through various family members including the Earls of Ossory and Robert Vernon Smith, 1st Lord Lyveden who acquired the house in 1841.

Sometimes referred to as ‘Lyveden Old Bield’ the house is in fact newer than the ‘New Bield’. This refers to the garden lodge at the top of the hill. It is believed that the manor house is built on the footprint of an older Elizabethan house, possibly built by Sir Thomas’ great grandfather around 1570.

The manor itself was built by Lewis Tresham, Sir Thomas' second son, and completed around 1615. It has changed a lot since this date, including the removal of an extensive wing to the north of the current building, the modernisation of the historic interiors and the addition of modern extensions to house the kitchen and additional guest suites.

Looking down to the manor
View of Lyveden manor from the gardens
Looking down to the manor

A decorative stone archway, which may have formed the entrance to the garden, was moved to Fermyn Woods Hall (2 miles north of Lyveden) around 1890.

The staircase at Lyveden manor is an impressive replica of the original
Replica staircase at Lyveden
The staircase at Lyveden manor is an impressive replica of the original

The original oak staircase was removed from Lyveden House around 1920. It's believed this was in payment of a gambling debt to the Ford motor family. Henry Ford’s son Edsel Ford, built his country house around the staircase which still stands and can be seen in the Edsel & Eleanor Ford House in Michigan, USA.  An exact replica of the original was re-built within the house at Lyveden in 2000.

In 2013 the National Trust was successful in acquiring Lyveden House and 27 acres of grounds.  The Lyveden Reconnected project is going to offer visitors the opportunity to experience the Elizabethan garden as Tresham once envisaged; beginning at the manor and journeying through his symbolic garden to the lodge at the top of the hill.

The Lyveden Reconnected project is currently underway to reorientate the site, putting in more visitor facilities, and an indoor space for visitors to find out more about the story behind the property.