Swindon Literature Festival celebrated Lydiard Park this year with a series of events beginning on May 1st with a Freedom run, led by festival organiser and Heritage Trust advisor Matt Holland, and a Health Walk, led by Lydiard Park Heritage Trustee Kevin Fisher who gave about 45 people a gentle stroll around the park, stopping a few times to provide some historical references.
Afterwards fellow Trustee Sarah Finch-Crisp gave a whistle stop tour through Lydiard’s history from medieval deer park, its fashionable 18th Century make-over to Swindon Corporations visionary decision to purchase the dilapidated property during World War II. With a packed audience of 170 people, public support for Lydiard Park was in no doubt and it was a great opportunity to reassure people of the Trust’s commitment to Lydiard and the spirit of co-operation and goodwill which has developed between the Trust and Swindon Borough Council.
On the 5th May we were in for a special treat. Crossing the Atlantic to star in the Literature Festival, author Elizabeth St. John and descendent of the St. John family which owned Lydiard Park for over 500 years talked about her bestselling historical novel, The Lady of the Tower, tracing the fortunes of Lucy St. John of Lydiard Park – one of the sisters whose full size portrait can be seen on the famous Triptych in St. Mary’s Church. Once again it was standing room only and Elizabeth told an enthralling tale as well as providing a fascinating insight into how she constructed the novel. As a bestseller, copies of ‘The Lady of the Tower’ are available from many sources, including Waterstones and Amazon. Elizabeth, a member of the Friends of Lydiard Park for many years has recently been appointed as their American Ambassador and is doing a fabulous job of spreading enthusiasm and interest for Lydiard Park internationally.