The Village Scene
The name Lyndon first appears in the Pipe Rolls of 1167.
The place name is Anglo-Saxon in origin, deriving from the words lind,
meaning lime tree, and dun, meaning hill, combining to mean Lime Tree
Victoria County History records that Lyndon is a
parish of 911 acres. The highest point is on the northern boundary towards
Manton at 400 feet above sea level, and along this boundary there are fine
views over Rutland Water. The level falls to 200 feet on the southern boundary
along the River Chater. "The subsoil", so runs the account, "is upper lias and
inferior oolite: the surface soil varies. In digging a trench in 1780 to lay a
drain, talc was found in the stiff blue clay, and there are ancient stone
In medieval times the village would have been in the
middle of the Royal Forest of Rutland, which stretched from Caldecott and
Withcote in the west to Stamford in the east. The Forest would have provided
not only sport but venison for the king and his courtiers - today there are
many pheasants and only the occasional muntjac! Within the Royal Forest there
were hunting parks at, for example, Barnsdale, Oakham, Ridlington and
Lyddington (where the Bishop of Lincoln was fortunate to have had a deer leap
in the park bank to allow the deer in but not out).
There are also signs of village earthworks in a paddock to
the north of the cross roads and of fish ponds below Top Hall.
The most significant houses in the village are Lyndon Hall
and Top Hall. Abel and Thomas Barker of Hambleton bought the Lyndon estate in
1662 for £9400. They then pulled down the old Manor House and to the west
built the present Lyndon Hall. It took ten years to build and was completed in
1677. Additions made later on the west side were mostly demolished in 1950,
suffering from dry rot, but some of the additions made by E Browning of
Stamford in 1867 (two years after the major restoration of the church) still
remain. It seems that Abel Barker was his own architect - he took advice from
the well known architect-surveyor of the time John Sturges (who had connections
with Chatsworth House, Belton House and Milton Park) but according to the
records only paid him 30 shillings: even in 1672, an unlikely sum for the whole
project! The influence of Thorpe Hall, not far away near Peterborough and built
20 years earlier, is apparent and, according to Abel Barker's notes on the
architectural books he read in the winter of 1667-68, Palladio may well have
been another influence. According to Victoria County History it is "an
excellent example of the transition between the Jacobean and the more pure
classic style of architecture" then coming into fashion.
The field to the west of the Hall, called Home Close (see
the 1663 and 1794 maps), provided the income for Barker's Charity , which is
mentioned on the plaque in the church.
The construction near Lyndon Pond is not, as many people
imagine, an ice house, but a roofed water tank which is fed by the adjacent
spring and formerly served the whole village (as mentioned in the records of
the Revd T K B Nevinson).
Top Hall, which is of similar design to Lyndon Hall, was
built at about the same time by the Barker brothers, Abel and Thomas. It is
simpler and plainer than Lyndon Hall. Part of the older seventeenth century
house with the gabled roof still stands in the north-west corner .
The estate boasts some interesting trees, including a very
fine swamp cypress in the Hall gardens, a semi-evergreen Luscombe oak, and a
good collection of other oaks.
Reputedly the oldest house in Lyndon is the old Post
Office. It appears on the 1663 map of Lyndon (which is more pictorial than
precise, making definite identification very difficult), along with No 4 Church
Road, Periwinkle Cottage (on Shellaker's Close), and a building on the site of
Bay Tree. There is of course no certainty that the present buildings are those
that appear on the map. The 1794 map is very much clearer. Here we can see Bay
Tree (with its outbuildings), Home Farm, No 4 Church Road, Periwinkle Cottage,
the Old Rectory by the Church, No 7 Post Office Lane, The Old Post Office, Park
Cottage, Rose Cottage, (smaller now than on the map), and the Rectory, before
the south-facing wing was added.
Another interesting house is Beech House, formerly the
Blue Boar Inn. This was opened in the 1840s for the workers on the railway. It
was later closed by the squire because the employees of the railway became so
drunk that they impeded the villagers on their way to church.
The roads in and out of the village have changed over the
years. The maps of 1663 and 1794 need to be compared with an up-to-date
Ordnance Survey to see some of the changes. It is clear that the road which
continued from what is now called Post Office Lane to the south of the Hall and
on to Manton has disappeared; likewise the road running south from the Hall to
Pilton and Wing no longer exists.
Up to 1940 the roads to Edith Weston and North Luffenham
were gated. Between these two roads lay Weston Barn. The remains of the farm
buildings, which are still visible from both roads, stand above the little
stream. Behind it was the village bakehouse. On the Luffenham road there was a
lime kiln, which closed in 1880. In the village itself there appear to have
been three wells: one at the cross roads where according to the 1663 map there
was a market cross, one opposite No 4 Church Road, and the third beside the
east doorway to the churchyard.
The Village Hall was erected in 1922. A paragraph in the
Grantham Journal runs: "The village has lately been enriched by a most
generous gift, a fine Village Hall, built by Mrs Conant in memory of her
husband, the late Mr E W Conant, JP". The building was used for the first time
when the vicar, the Rev E Vere Hodge, who was leaving the village, gave a
farewell party to the villagers.
The population of Lyndon has remained remarkably stable
over the last hundred years. In 1891 it was 112, it was 103 in 1921, and fell
to its lowest level of 85 in 1991. Recent estimates (1995) put it at 116.
Whilst the figures are fairly stable, the nature of the population has changed
from being largely agricultural in 1891 to a village mostly composed of
newcomers and commuters in 1998.