Lilford Hall

Lilford Hall

Discussion
Ask a question about 'Lilford Hall'
Start a new discussion about 'Lilford Hall'
Answer questions from other users
Full Discussion Forum
 
Encyclopedia
Lilford Hall is a Grade 1 listed stately 100-room home having a Jacobean exterior and Georgian interior with a 55000 sq ft (5,109.7 m²) floor area, located in the eastern part of the County of Northamptonshire
Northamptonshire
Northamptonshire is a landlocked county in the English East Midlands, with a population of 629,676 as at the 2001 census. It has boundaries with the ceremonial counties of Warwickshire to the west, Leicestershire and Rutland to the north, Cambridgeshire to the east, Bedfordshire to the south-east,...

 in the United Kingdom, south of Oundle
Oundle
Oundle is an ancient market town on the River Nene in Northamptonshire, England, with a population of 5,345 or 5,674 . It lies some north of London and south-west of Peterborough...

 and north of Thrapston
Thrapston
Thrapston is a small town in Northamptonshire, England. It is the headquarters of the East Northamptonshire district, and in 2001 had a population of 4,855. By 2006, this was estimated to be over 5,700....

. A Grade 1 listed building is considered by the UK government as of outstanding architectural and historic interest. The Hall was the home of the Elmes family from 1635 to 1711, and then the Powys family (Baron Lilford
Baron Lilford
Baron Lilford, of Lilford in the County of Northampton, is a title in the Peerage of Great Britain. It was created in 1797 for Thomas Powys, who had previously represented Northamptonshire in the House of Commons. His grandson, the third Baron, served as a Lord-in-Waiting from 1837 to 1841 in the...

) from 1711 to 1990. Lilford Hall is now the seat of the Micklewright family, only the third family in nearly 400 years to live permanently at the Hall. Lilford Hall and the associated parkland of 350 acres (1.4 km²) is specifically located along the River Nene for around a mile, and north-west of the village of Lilford, part of the parish of Lilford-cum-Wigsthorpe and Thorpe Achurch
Lilford-cum-Wigsthorpe and Thorpe Achurch
Lilford-cum-Wigsthorpe and Thorpe Achurch is the name of a civil parish in the English county of Northamptonshire.Forming part of the district of East Northamptonshire its main settlements are Achurch, Thorpe Waterville and Wigsthorpe. The parish includes Lilford Hall.-External links:*...

. The land which was turned into the parkland was mentioned in the Domesday Book
Domesday Book
Domesday Book , now held at The National Archives, Kew, Richmond upon Thames in South West London, is the record of the great survey of much of England and parts of Wales completed in 1086...

, and owned by King David I of Scotland
David I of Scotland
David I or Dabíd mac Maíl Choluim was a 12th-century ruler who was Prince of the Cumbrians and later King of the Scots...

 at that time.

The Manor of Lilford was acquired in 1473 by William Browne, an extremely wealthy wool merchant and landowner, and Lilford Hall was built around 1635 for the Elmes family by William Elmes descended from Sir John Elmes who married the only child of Willam Browne. The theologian Robert Browne (1550–1633) who lived on the Lilford Estate for the majority of his adult life was the first seceder from the Church of England
Church of England
The Church of England is the officially established Christian church in England and the Mother Church of the worldwide Anglican Communion. The church considers itself within the tradition of Western Christianity and dates its formal establishment principally to the mission to England by St...

, and the first to form a Church of his own separate from the Church of England, and in particular the founder of the non-denominational church movement. The non-denominational church movement are Protestant Christian churches in which each congregation independently and autonomously runs its own affairs separate of either the Government or a Bishop. As a result, the majority of churches in the US are non-denominational, and all descend from a theory of union published by Robert Browne in 1582. Indeed, the core of the group that would come to be known as the Pilgrims (also known as the Pilgrim Fathers) were part of the Brownist movement led by Robert Browne. In consequence, the beliefs of Robert Browne ultimately led to the Pilgrims travelling to America, and it has been said that Robert Browne was thus "The Father of the Pilgrims" and "Father of Congregationalism".

The Hall was thereafter acquired for the Powys family in 1711 by Sir Thomas Powys who was Attorney General to King James II, and the chief prosecutor at the famous Trial of the Seven Bishops
Seven Bishops
thumb|200px|A portrait of the Seven Bishops.The Seven Bishops of the Church of England were those imprisoned and tried for seditious libel over their opposition to the second Declaration of Indulgence issued by James II in 1688...

. Alterations were then made in the 18th Century by the prominent architect Henry Flitcroft
Henry Flitcroft
Henry Flitcroft was a major English architect in the second generation of Palladianism. He came from a simple background: his father was a labourer in the gardens at Hampton Court and he began as a joiner by trade. Working as a carpenter at Burlington House, he fell from a scaffold and broke his leg...

 for his grandson Thomas Powys. His son Thomas Powys was thereafter created the first Baron Lilford
Baron Lilford
Baron Lilford, of Lilford in the County of Northampton, is a title in the Peerage of Great Britain. It was created in 1797 for Thomas Powys, who had previously represented Northamptonshire in the House of Commons. His grandson, the third Baron, served as a Lord-in-Waiting from 1837 to 1841 in the...

 (Lord Lilford) by the Prime Minister, William Pitt the Younger.

Lilford Hall is a Jacobean-style gentry house of the 1630s, related closely with Thorpe masons through its parallels with other neighbouring houses such as Kirby Hall
Kirby Hall
Kirby Hall is an Elizabethan country house, located near Gretton, Northamptonshire, England. . Construction on the building began in 1570 based on the designs in French architectural pattern books and expanded in the classical style over the course of the decades. The house is now in a semi-ruined...

 and Apethorpe Hall
Apethorpe Hall
Apethorpe Hall in Apethorpe, Northamptonshire, England is a Grade I listed country house, dating back to the 15th century.The house is built around three courtyards lying on an east-west axis and is approximately by in area...

. Its plan is traditional and arranged around a 'U-shaped' court with the hall entered by a screens passage, the Great Chamber placed over the hall, leading to the principal apartment that terminated with the Great Bed-chamber.


Its development by successive generations of the Powys family, who acquired the property in 1711, respected the old house, but each stage has a clarity that is clearly legible and contributes to the whole. Apart from the construction of the pair of balancing stable wings by Henry Flitcroft and the successive addition of small-scale extensions in the form of additional storeys to the east end of the two wings, works were confined to alterations within the house and remodelling.

The Jacobean house is considered as of considerable significance, and Henry Flitcroft's Georgian alterations in the 1740s are of a similar status. The outstanding contribution is that of Henry Flitcroft in the c 1740s with his insertion of a comprehensive set of 18C interiors that not only transformed the principal rooms into a sequence of Palladian spaces, but brought light into the heart of the building. The play of the sequence of 18C rooms within the structure of the Jacobean house is one of the most notable features of the house.

The play between these 18th Century interiors and the Jacobean exterior is a major feature of Lilford Hall. The alterations of the early 19th Century are of some significance as are William Gilbee Habershon's work in the 1840s. However, the latter was primarily concerned with the exterior and the integration of the garden with the house. Of more significance is the extension of the house in 1909 by William Dunn and Robert Watson of Dunn & Watson whose proposals extended the north and south ranges in an imaginative way reminiscent of other Scottish architects such as Sir Robert Stodart Lorimer.

The significance of the house is enhanced by its association with firstly Thomas Powys who was created 1st Baron Lilford by William Pitt in acknowledgement of his role as a politician between 1774 and 1794, secondly the 3rd Baron Lilford who was a Lord of the Bedchamber to King William IV from 1831 to 1837 and then Lord-in-Waiting (government whip in the House of Lords) in the Whig administration of the 2nd Viscount Melbourne from 1837 to 1841, and finally through the association of the parkland with ornithological pursuits, particularly those of the 4th Baron Lilford.

The relationship of the Hall to its setting is also notable, particularly because of the integration of the house with the pleasure grounds and deer park. Lilford Park was formalized between 1747 and 1776 by Henry Flitcroft by removing all of the existing village (12 houses and the vicarage) as well as St. Peter’s Church, which buildings were all located close south of the Hall. The remains of the church were then used to build a folly near the Achurch end of the Park.

The Park also still contains several aviaries built for Thomas Littleton Powys, 4th Baron Lilford, a prominent ornithologist. The 7th Baron Lilford restocked the aviaries around 1970, containing more than 350 birds of 110 species, and opened the Park to the public.

In the autumn of 1990 Lilford Park was closed to the public, and the Hall and Park is now owned by the Micklewright family and used by them as a private residence.


Thomas Powys, 4th Baron Lilford, was a founder of the British Ornithologists' Union in 1858 and its president from 1867 until his death. He was also the first president of the Northamptonshire Natural History Society. Lilford travelled widely, especially in the Mediterranean Region and his extensive collection of birds was maintained in the grounds of Lilford Hall. His aviaries featured birds from around the globe, including Rheas, Kiwis, Pink-headed Ducks and even a pair of free-flying Lammergeiers. He was responsible for the introduction of the Little Owl into England in the 1880s.

Lilford Hall also served as nurses' quarters for USAAF 303rd Station Hospital situated in the park during World War II. After the war, the former hospital buildings in the park were used for a Polish school called Lilford Technical School from 1949 and 1954. The Lilford family presently own Bank Hall
Bank Hall
Bank Hall is a Jacobean mansion south of the village of Bretherton in Lancashire, England. It is a Grade II* Listed Building. The hall was built on the site of a previous building in 1608 during the reign of James I by the Banastre family who were Lords of the Manor. It was extended during the 18th...

 in Lancashire
Lancashire
Lancashire is a non-metropolitan county of historic origin in the North West of England. It takes its name from the city of Lancaster, and is sometimes known as the County of Lancaster. Although Lancaster is still considered to be the county town, Lancashire County Council is based in Preston...

, which featured on the first series of the BBC
BBC
The British Broadcasting Corporation is a British public service broadcaster. Its headquarters is at Broadcasting House in the City of Westminster, London. It is the largest broadcaster in the world, with about 23,000 staff...

's Restoration series in 2003.

Lilford Hall and Park was the subject of the 27 January 1900 issue of Country Life
Country Life (magazine)
Country Life is a British weekly magazine, based in London at 110 Southwark Street, and owned by IPC Media, a Time Warner subsidiary.- Topics :The magazine covers the pleasures and joys of rural life, as well as the concerns of rural people...

Illustrated, and also a location for the BBC television series By the Sword Divided
By the Sword Divided
By the Sword Divided is a British television series produced by the BBC between 1983 and 1985.The series was a historical drama set during the mid 17th century, dealing with the impact of the English Civil War on the fictional Lacey family, made up of both Royalist and Parliamentarian supporters.It...

made in the 1980s.