Tuesday, 28 February 2017

Snowdrops on the Lawns

The Lawns was once the site of the family manor house belonging to the Goddard family, the abridged information below my photos is courtesy of Wikipedia. From 1563 until 1927, the Goddard family were lords of the manor in Swindon, and had other interests elsewhere in the area.
I went there last Wednesday to look at the magnificent snowdrops with two friends who had come to visit.
 The day was a bit dull, but the snowdrops as you can see from the photos were at their peak despite the windy weather.

 There were beautiful carpets of them at the edge of the wooded walkways.

The Lawns estate in Swindon

The estate included the area known today as the Lawns, and was bounded by the High Street and the site of Christchurch. The Manor house was rebuilt around 1770; it is probable that this was on the site of a mediaeval building. The Manor building was known as Swindon House until 1850, and is now known as the Lawn.
The family home was a double-cube fronted building of brick with stone dressings and a baluster parapet. To the east of this was a five bedroom dining block that looked out onto the gardens.[1]
When last occupied by the family, the Lawn had an outer and inner hall on the ground floor (giving access to a lobby and drawing room), a dining room with adjoining study, billiard room, library and gun room.
There were two staircases leading to the various bedrooms, some with adjoining dressing rooms and also the nursery and servants' quarters.
The grounds included an arboretum, lawns, artificial lakes and ornamental gardens and was used for entertaining, garden parties and fĂȘtes. During cold periods the frozen lakes were used by the family and local residents for ice skating.
The Lawn Manor House c.1900
The Lawn Manor House c.1925
The Lawn garden c.1920

Aerial view The Lawn Manor House c.1930
Holy Rood Church

The last of the male line, Major Fitzroy Pleydell Goddard, a diplomat, died in 1927. His widow, Eugenia Kathleen, left Swindon in 1931. Subsequent to this, the house remained empty until it was 

occupied by British and American forces during World War II. Damaged by the military, it was bought from The Crown by Swindon Corporation in 1947 for £16,000. The sale included 53 acres (210,000 m2) of land, the Manor house and the adjacent Holy Rood Church.[1]
The house itself was derelict by 1952 and demolished. The Manor grounds were opened as parkland and remain so. Today; the wood, lake, sunken garden, elements of the walls and the gateposts at the entrance to Lawns are all open to the public. The site of the former stables was the Planks auction house, now it has been converted into residential accommodation.

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