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Sir Thomas Tresham
Sir Thomas was clever and well educated and moved in the highest social circles. He was acquainted with William Cecil - Secretary of State to Queen Elizabeth, and Sir Christopher Hatton, Lord Chancellor who secured valuable positions at Court for members of the Tresham family. Tresham was knighted at the Queen's progress at Kenilworth in 1575 at the same time as Robert Cecil, future Earl of Salisbury and builder of Hatfield.
In 1566, Tresham married into the Throckmorton family, a wealthy and respected Catholic family
from Coughton Court in Warwickshire. The couple had nine children - three sons and six daughters of
which four were married at generous expense to peers or future peers.
Furthermore, for twenty-five years Tresham lived as a hostage, seized by the government whenever the machinations of Catholics abroad sought to menace the safety of the realm. For a landowner who sort personally to direct all matters of estate management, this was a grave disability.
His elder son Francis inherited the estate as well as the debt, and then became embroiled in the Gunpowder Plot later that year along with his cousins Catesby and Wintour. Imprisoned for his actions he met an early death in December 1605.
While the estate now passed to Francis's younger brother Lewis, Lady Tresham shouldered the debt. For ten years she devoted the profits of Sir Thomas's property and even her own goods and chattels to repay the burden. Just before her death in 1615, she acknowledged debts of only £1000 and for the payment of which she conveyed to Sir Thomas Brudenell of Deene her 1,092 sheep and the corn and hay on her Lyveden grounds.
Lewis was as reckless as his older brother, and despite becoming a baronet in 1611, his rise in rank was combined with rapid financial descent as his debts grew larger and larger.
All that survives of his work at Lyveden is the remaining portion of the Old Bield, which was probably built by Lewis as an addition to the older manor. Lewis's son William who died childless in 1643 was the last of the main line of the Treshams. Lyveden may have been inherited by a junior line, but had been sold by 1668.
Looking back it is remarkable that anything was built at Lyveden at all, yet even more amazing that it remains today.