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Lyddington

Lyddington is situated on the north-west slopes of the Welland valley. It is a mile long, most of the houses being on the main street, except for two new developments in the 1960s, and is known as 'long-low lying-lazy' Lyddington. Many of the buildings are made of local red sandstone quarried about two miles away at Stoke Dry quarries.

The church of St Andrew is one of great beauty. It has a very unusual altar table completely surrounded by communion rails which are dated 1653. Music was provided up to 1875 by a church orchestra made up of two violins, a cello, bugle, double bass, and a trombone. A barrel organ was installed in 1876, but was quickly replaced by a hand-pumped manual organ in 1879.

There is a large building to the north of the church, the Bede House. The present building is one of the finest examples of 15th century domestic architecture in the country. It has been said that Henry VIII and Katherine Howard stayed here while travelling from Lincoln to London. It was last occupied in the early 1930s, and since then has been restored to its former glory. This has been a long process taken over many years and it is now in the custody of English Heritage. In the Park Field, east of the Bede House, there are a series of fish ponds which once supplied the kitchen with fresh fish.

There were five public houses in use, the Lord Roberts (now 4 Main Street), the Pied Calf (13 Main Street), the Swan coaching inn (36 Main Street), The Olde White Hart and the Marquis of Exeter. The latter two still exist. The Swan Inn was very popular before the turnpike road between Uppingham and Caldecott was constructed, because the then main road passed through Lyddington. Stoke Road, off the green, was known as Pig Lane, here pigs were penned prior to being sold on the village green.

There were five laundries, which did the laundry for Uppingham School, eleven working farms (there are now two), seven shoemakers and stonemasons, three tailors, carpenters and grocers, four bakers, two blacksmiths, cattle dealers and shepherds, and three shops. The village now has none of these, except for a small shop and post office.

There used to be a village cross on the green which was removed by drunken navvies who were building the new road from Uppingham to Caldecott. It was deposited in a local builder's yard for many years, before being reinstated with great celebration in 1930, with several artefacts of the time being buried underneath.

The Gleaning Bell was sounded at 8 am and 5 pm during harvest time for the locals to go into the fields to 'glean' the 'left over' corn. The Passing Bell was rung until the late 1950s.

The very active village school closed in the late 1960s, and the village is now very much a 'commuter village'.

(The above extract from 'The Leicestershire & Rutland Village Book', compiled by the Leicestershire & Rutland Federation of Women's Institutes, is reproduced by kind permission of the publishers, Countryside Books, Newbury, Berkshire)


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(Updated 9 July 1997 - Maurice Kellner)