I went there last Wednesday to look at the magnificent snowdrops with two friends who had come to visit.
The Lawns estate in SwindonThe 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.
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 fêtes. During cold periods the frozen lakes were used by the family and local residents for ice skating.
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.
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.