Eighteen people took the opportunity to visit Apethorpe Palace and Lyveden New Bield on Monday 9th July. Apethorpe is only open on a few days a year and we were, in fact, the only party being taken round at the time. Security was tight as a tragedy had occurred a couple of weeks earlier, when a friend of the owner, Baron von Pfetten, died after a fall from his horse, and we were asked not to take photographs as the paparazzi had been prowling round the grounds. Apart from this, we had an extensive tour around the house, inside and out, and were able to make comparisons with our ideas and knowledge of old Campden House.
Apethorpe (which should be pronounced Apthorpe) Hall was owned by Henry VIII who bequeathed it to Queen Elizabeth, and James I and Charles I often visited – James so loved Apethorpe, where he could indulge his passion for hunting, that it was extended to make it more suitable for his ‘princely recreation’ and ‘commodious entertainment’. The resulting series of state rooms, including the King’s Bedchamber and the impressive Long Gallery, is one of the most complete to survive from the Jacobean period. It is uncertain whether he was accompanied by his Queen, Anne, but the bedroom which adjoins the King’s was actually used by his favourite, the Duke of Buckingham. Both the exterior and interior are magnificent examples of Jacobean architecture, with splendid plasterwork ceilings and huge, elaborate fireplaces.
Lyveden New Bield
Lyveden New Bield is completely different from Apethorpe – an intriguing Elizabethan lodge and moated garden and a remarkable survivor of the Elizabethan age. It was built by Sir Thomas Tresham, a noted Roman Catholic recusant, and remains incomplete and virtually unaltered since work stopped on his death in 1605. As we have come to expect from National Trust properties, it is very well presented and a great deal of work has obviously been carried out to restore and maintain the extensive gardens, although perhaps with more emphasis on encouraging wildlife and maintaining biodiversity than Sir Thomas would have approved of! There is a moat, four viewing mounds, terraces, a grass labyrinth and a re-created Elizabethan orchard, as well as the lodge with its religious symbols.