Lyme Park, in all of its rugged beauty, captured my attention from the moment I set eyes on it. Course grassland and rocky crags hide interesting architecture from a time gone by, giving way to a house designed to impress and impose.
Home to its 600 year old red deer herd, the park rises up from the house nestled within, onto the aptly named Park Moor and the edge of the Peak District National Park.
After several rather fleeting visits to Lyme, last weekend I managed to find the time to go inside the house. I’ve a love of stately homes, and Lyme didn’t fail to impress. I can’t help but try to imagine what it would have been like to live here, in a time before the red ropes.
Did they collect artifacts from around the world and bring them back to exhibit in their homes? Which of the many hundreds of books in the library did they read whilst they sat around a crackling fire in the drawing room after dinner? What really went on below stairs, and who played that organ?
Long corridors seem to ask more questions than they answer…
And finally one of my favourite rooms in the house – the dining room. A room that fascinates me in any stately home. How many conversations have taken places around this table? Good news shared, worse news contemplated, business discussed and children chastised for poor manners. It’s a room of entertaining and extravagance, yet there’s something so ordinary about sitting down to a meal with family that it brings it all down to earth slightly. And all the while ancestors look down from walls of ornate wood carvings, warmed by a fire in a marble hearth.
Of course, we don’t all set the table with candelabras.