Remember, remember the 5th of November……..

Lyveden New Bield

Lyveden New Bield, Northamptonshire.

What does an uncompleted building project in the heart of Northamptonshire have to do with the attempted destruction of the Houses of Parliament in 1605? Well, the fact that it was never completed had everything to do with the capture of the perpetrators of that plot. The Tresham family were notable Catholic recusants, and Sir Thomas had spent several years in prison and had been fined outrageous sums of money for his refusal to give up his faith in Elizabethan England. But he was still able

With moat

to administer the building of the Garden Lodge (New Bield) and the design of an extraordinary garden.

Just as Stowe Gardens were an important political statement, Lyveden New Bield was an extraordinary statement of religious commitment, but the signs and symbols were only evident for those in the know. The New Bield was designed on a clever system of religious numerology: 7 (from the seven last utterances of Jesus on the cross), 5 (from the wounds sustained by Jesus) and 3 (the Trinity), and dimensions of rooms and window bays were multiples of these numbers. Around the walls there is an abundance of Christian symbols, but many of them had a hidden Catholic significance that would only have been appreciated by fellow Catholics. When Tresham died in 1605, rapidly followed by the execution of his son and heir, Francis (one of the gunpowder plotters), the workers, realising they were not going to be paid from thereon, downed tools and disappeared. From that moment onwards, nothing was done to either complete the projects or to undo them. So for 4 centuries, both the New Bield and the gardens remained exactly as they were in 1605, which has provided modern-day archaeologists with a remarkable site to excavate and study. The gardens are being restored to their original design, including a moated orchard and spiral snail mounts, and the stonework of the house is as pristinely clean as the day it was built.


About Frank Burns

Looking for the extraordinary in the commonplace………taking the road less travelled……..striving for the ‘faculty of making happy chance discoveries’ in unremarkable circumstances. Click on the Personal Link below to visit my webpages.

Posted on August 3, 2011, in Aspects of Britain and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Hola Frank

    Estoy preparando el albun del camino y el diario, ya e visto que tu llevas los deberes al día.

    Un saludo y un abrazo y sigue disfrutando de la bicicleta.

    Das envidia SANA al ver tu pagina, enhorabuena

    ¡A! un comentario, el partido con el que estuvimos en Gernica, fue el PNV, y no es el partido pólitico de ETA ni nunca lo ha sido, el brazo pólitico de ETA empezo sindo ERRIBATASUNA, paso despues por varios nombres y en la actualidad es BILDU. Lo que si es el PNV es un partido nacionalista que pretenden la mayor autonomia para el país vasco, pero de una forma democrática.

    • Enrique,
      que buenas noticias que vas a escribir de tus recuerdos del Camino. Y gracias por las clarificaciones sobre lo del partido en Guernica. A pesar de su política, disfrutamos mucho de las tapas y las copas!

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