© Mr Graham R. Heasman
LYME HANDLEY, MACCLESFIELD, CHESHIRE
Mr Graham R. Heasman
27 March 2007
17 November 1983
Date of last amendment:
17 November 1983
The Images of England website consists of images of listed buildings based on the statutory list as it was in 2001 and does not incorporate subsequent amendments to the list. For the statutory list and information on the current listed status of individual buildings please go to The National Heritage List for England.
SJ 98 SE LYME HANDLEY C.P. LYME PARK
4/53 Lyme Park.
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
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
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.