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14 June 2018Overnight visit to Lamport Hall and Boughton House

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Overnight visit to Lamport Hall and Boughton House
Thursday 14 June 2018

A Tudor founder, blind book collector, wayward 17th century grand tourist, eccentric Victorian, Hollywood actor, commanding wives and dedicated daughters – Lamport Hall is full of characters. As home to the Isham family for over four centuries, the fortunes, interests and trials of each generation have left their mark.

Nestled in the Northamptonshire countryside, and yet only a short drive from the motorway network, Lamport has a story worth telling. Developed from a Tudor manor house, architecturally the hall has been worked on by John Webb, Smith of Warwick and William Burn but is best known for its classical frontage.

The Hall’s fine rooms, including the High Room of 1655 and 18th century library, are filled with a wealth of outstanding furniture, books, china and paintings collected by the Isham family. Most were bought during the third Baronet’s Grand Tour of Europe, in the 1670s. The first floor has undergone lengthy restoration, allowing further paintings and furniture to be displayed.

The ravages of two world wars and economic depression meant that the twentieth century was not kind to Britain’s country houses. At different times during the last century Lamport Hall has been a family home, divided into flats, a hunting box, a country club, a home for the Northamptonshire Records Office, a British and Czech army base and an Italian prisoner of war camp. Years of poor maintenance resulted in an outbreak of dry rot which, during the 1970s saw large sections of the house gutted. The Isham family lived at Lamport for over 400 years, until Sir Gyles Isham, the 12th Baronet, died in 1976. In his will he bequeathed the Hall, with its contents and Estate, to the Lamport Hall Preservation Trust which he set up to carry on the lengthy restoration programme of the hall, environs and estate, ensuring Lamport’s survival for the enjoyment of visitors and as a centre of culture and education.

The Lamport Hall Preservation Trust is a charitable organisation, established for the public benefit and controlled by a governing body of Trustees.

Boughton House is one of Britain’s grandest and best-preserved stately homes. As well as the splendours of the House, you can also enjoy the 18th-century landscaped gardens, woodlands and a grand country park. It is open every Easter and August for guided tours and at other times of the year for special events. Groups can visit year round by appointment.

At Boughton you can also see one of Britain’s most outstanding collections of fine art, furniture, tapestries, porcelain and carpets. Visitors can view a magnificent range of paintings by great artists, including The Adoration of the Shepherds by El Greco, Gainsborough’s portrait of Mary Montagu, grisailles and portraits by Van Dyck, and Breaking Cover by John Wootton.

Boughton also has some of the best-preserved baroque State Rooms in the British Isles. Here you can walk through grand apartments of contrasting character decorated in extravagant yet elegant taste with the finest artworks of the House’s golden era.

Once you’ve had your tour of the House, you can step out into the surrounding country park. Its tranquil delights have been carefully restored over the last decade, and now there are wide sculptured lawns t