The Isham family lived at Lamport for over 400 years from 1560, when John Isham, the fourth son of Euseby Isham of Pytchley acquired the manor there, until the death of Sir Gyles Isham, the twelfth baronet, in 1976. Sir Gyles bequeathed the Hall and its contents to a charitable trust, the 'Lamport Hall Trust', which now administers the estate.
John Isham, a successful wool merchant and man of learning, built a new manor house in 1568, and assisted by his son Thomas, accumulated a fine library of Elizabethan literature.
In 1608, Thomas's only son, John, was knighted by James I, subsequently became the first baronet during the reign of Charles I in 1627, and was responsible for extending the house between 1610 and 1611. All that remains of that house is a section of the present stable wing.
Sir Justinian, the son of John, commissioned John Webb, the son-in-law and pupil of Inigo Jones, to design the 17th century part of the house, which was five bays wide and two storeys high, and constitutes the nucleus of the present building at the centre of the south-west wing.
The next major additions to be commissioned by the Ishams were extensions to the south-west front, designed by the Smiths of Warwick. The north extension was built in 1732 by Francis Smith, with the south extension being completed in 1741 by William Smith, following the death of his father, Francis.
During the early 19th century, Mary Close, wife of the eighth baronet, began an extensive programme of demolition and reconstruction, when the stable block was removed, and the Jacobean manor house replaced by a neo-Tudor building. In 1842 she was responsible for the rebuilding of the south-east front overlooking the garden.
Sir Charles Isham, the tenth baronet, commissioned the building of a new facade with porch to the north-west front, which became the main entrance to the Hall. He will also be remembered for the introduction of the garden gnome to England, when he imported them from Germany in the mid-19th century.
The stable quadrangle was enlarged to its present size in 1907 by Lord Ludlow, who rented Lamport between 1907 and 1914.
By the middle of the 20th century the Hall had deteriorated considerably, and Sir Gyles, the twelfth baronet, was responsible for the extensive restoration work which allowed the ground floor rooms to be opened to the public in 1974.
Free parking, toilets, picnic area, agricultural museum, home-made teas, gift shop, and access to the gardens and ground floor of the house, are available to visitors. Exhibitions, craft and antique fairs, and concerts, are held at Lamport throughout the year.
On the A508 Northampton to Market Harborough road.
Further Information and Opening Times
Visit the Lamport Hall web site.
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