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© Mr Graham R. Heasman

IoE Number: 406869
Location: LYME PARK,
Photographer: Mr Graham R. Heasman
Date Photographed: 27 March 2007
Date listed: 17 November 1983
Date of last amendment: 17 November 1983
Grade I

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SJ 98 SE LYME HANDLEY C.P. LYME PARK 4/53 Lyme Park. GV I Mansion: The house of c.1570, for whom the designer is unknown, was L-shaped in plan with east and north ranges. By the end of C17, there were external additions to the east range and probably a kitchen range added to the south. Giacomo Leoni and the Platt family of masons complete the courtyard plan from c.1725 and Lewis Wyatt makes alterations from 1814. Pre-1700 fabric coursed, squared buff sandstone rubble with sandstone dressings; later work ashlar sandstone, all with Welsh -slate roof. North range: Central gatehouse c.1570 for Sir Piers Legh VII, scrolled pediment added early C18 and statue of 1731. Body of range altered in mid to late C17 for Sir Richard Legh with end pavilions remodelled c.1710 probably by John Platt Snr., of Lyme for Peter Legh X. 3-storey, symmetrical 15-bay front (3:4:1:4:3). Gateway projects slightly with semi-circular headed opening framed by fluted columns and architrave. Above are 3 pairs of 6-pane windows in formerly mullioned and transomed surrounds framed by classical details. It is topped by a shell pediment with a scrolled pediment and a lead statue of Minerva above. The 4 bays to either side have 12-pane flush sashes in ground and 2nd storeys, 15-pane between, all in cyma-moulded reveals. The end pavilions project slightly on a rusticated ground storey with semi-circular headed windows. Giant Corinthian pilasters divide the bays in the upper storeys. There are fine, dated lead rainheads of 1676 and a letter mentioning the very early use of sashes in that year. West range: Perhaps started c.1710 by John Platt and finished by Leoni (see Cornforth) but on documentary evidence constructed at the same time as the south front. 3-storey, symmetrical 9-bay front, 2-bay end pavilions project 1 bay forward. Rusticated ground storey with windows below flat hoods on consoles. Rusticated semi-circular headed doorcase. Leoni's hand cannot be proved on this facade. South range: c.1725 by Giacomo Leoni for Peter Legh X with top hamper 1816 by Lewis Wyatt for Sir Thomas Legh. 3-storey, symmetrical, 15-bay front (3:3:3:3:3). Rusticated ground storey with semi-circular headed openings supports detached tetrastyle Ionic portico in antis. Triangular pediment above has 3 lead statues (probably by A Carpentier of London) and partially hides the square hamper. The other bays are divided by plain Ionic pilasters and the end pavilions break forward slightly. A projecting cornice supports a blocking course. For a garden front it is magnificent but more Baroque than Palladian. East range: Core Elizabethan but projecting rooms and surface detail all remodelled by Wyatt from 1814. 3-storey, 9-bay front on plinth with elliptical lights. The end bays have compass windows with 15-pane sashes on ground and 2nd floors and 18-pane between. A moulded cornice has a blocking course with partial balustrading. These elements re-occur in the centre of the range and in the projecting rooms. Courtyard: c.1725 remodelling by Leoni hides the irregularities of earlier rebuilds most successfully. The 1st floor galleries have triangular pediments on consoles over sashes in bays divided by Doric pilasters, and are supported on a rusticated arcade. Entrance to the hall between storeys approached by symmetrical pairs of stairs with iron balusters of 1734 by J Gordon of Edensbridge. Heavy Doric doorcase over semi-circular headed entrance. 2 Elizabethan doorcases and a window survive in north range. Interior: Rooms from all the major building phases survive but alterations, particularly to the floor levels in the east range by Leoni and Wyatt, make a reconstruction of the layout of earlier periods difficult. Detailed descriptions of the furnishings and history of each room can be found in Cornforth's articles and the National Trust Guide. The following is a list by period of the major rooms and the craftsmen associated with them. Elizabethan: Long Gallery (extended into bays later C17, ceiling replaced 1926). Drawing Room (includes medieval stained glass moved from the original Lyme Hall to Disley Church (q.v.) and returned 1835). Knight's Bedrooms. Jacobean: Stag Parlour (re-erected at terrace level by Wyatt). Later C17: Parts of the Chapel (family pew and chancel). The Morning Room and the Yellow Bedroom. c.1710: The remainder of the Chapel (but Moore recorded carving there 1731). c.1725-1740: The Hall (by Leoni). By John Moore of Lyme, the Saloon (with resited carvings attributed to Grinling Gibbons and ceiling of mid C18), the Grand Staircase (a Baroque ceiling by F Conseiglio and J Palfreyman) and the Bright Gallery. 1816-1820: By Lewis Wyatt, the Dining Room ("interesting as a rare example of so early a use of the Wrenaissance", Pevsner and Hubbard), the Library (to contain some Greek stelai). Many minor alterations to other rooms and remodelling of servant's rooms. 1903: By Philippe and Amadee Joubert. Remodelling and decoration of the Hall, Dining Room, and Saloon, all now fortunately undone. See: J Cornforth "Lyme Park, Cheshire parts I-IV", Country Life, Dec. 1974; M Waterson, Lyme Park, National Trust Guide 1981; for more general history, Lady Newton The House of Lyme", London 1917; and for the Platt family, H M Colvin, Biographical. Dictionary of British Architects, John Murray 1978.

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