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The garden lodge

The garden lodge, or New Bield as it became affectionately known, was intended to be a fully habitable house, albeit on a relatively small scale. Complete with kitchens, buttery, parlour, great hall and bedchambers the lodge was to provide the ideal retreat for Tresham to indulge in his Catholic faith. But when Sir Thomas Tresham died in September 1605 work on the lodge was abandoned, leaving the cruciform building with no roof, and windows only scored for their intended glazing. Tablets of stone remain blank without inscriptions and the walls were bare without render, panelling or tapestries. However, the survival of Lyveden for over four centuries in this isolated and suspended state is remarkable in itself.

Lyveden was built to symbolise the Passion of Christ and decorated with religious devices and complex numerology. Like the Triangular Lodge at Rushton, the building contains layer after layer of religious meaning, which, as Tresham describes, was intended to "delight and edify the beholder".

Five sides to each bay, each measuring five feet, was the number attributed to both Christ and Mary. Three basement windows divided by three shields, represents the Trinity of Christ, with the perimeter of each wing measuring 81 feet - that is three times three times three times three!

The stone mullions and ashlar work are as clear and as clean cut as the day the masons put down their chisels. Exploring the building today demonstrates the building methods of the great Elizabethan era. Fire places, internal drainage, bread ovens and elaborate stone masonry, all demonstrate the prosperity of the period and Tresham's desire to build to impress.

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