Lamport Hall Home of the Isham Family


Lamport Hall Northamptonshire

Lamport Hall is a mid 17th century Italianate villa designed by John Webb for the Isham family, on the site of an earlier Tudor manor house. The house was one in the first of the Italianate style to be built in 17th century England. The house was later enlarged by Francis Smith of Warwick, and again in the 1860s, but it still retains its very Italian flavour. Within the house are collections of period furniture, paintings, porcelain, and antique books. Many of the most interesting items were purchased by the 3rd Baronet’s ‘Grand Tour’ of the continent, during the 1670s. Among the more famous artists on display are Lely and Van Dyck. The High Room features a richly decorated plaster ceiling executed by William Smith. Lamport Hall has a somewhat unusual claim to fame; it is the home of some of the earliest garden gnomes to appear in England. The gardens were originally laid out in 1655 but little remains of the 17th century plan. There is an Italian garden near the house, and an alpine rockery further afield, where, in the mid-19th century, Sir Charles Isham placed miniature garden gnomes among the rocks. The rockery is the first known in England, and rises on a mound 24 feet high.

Norman Murray Crawford Isham 14th Baronet, is a descended from the 7th Baronet, the 12th Baronet Gyles Isham a well known Actor the son of Sir Vere Isham 11th Baronet having died childless. On the death of Gyles Lamport Hall became a charitable trust.

Sir Gyles Isham, a baronet and Shakespearean actor who appeared with Greta Garbo in the film “Anna Karena,” died in a nursing home here today. He was 72 years old.Sir Gyles succeeded his father, Sir Vere Isham, as the 12th heir to the baronetcy created in 1627. He graduated from Magdalen College at Oxford, where he was editor of Isis and president of the Oxford Union.He made 12 films.

He began his stage career in 1926 with the Oxford Repertory Theater and was a member of the first company to play at the Shakespeare Memorial Theater in Stratford upon Avon. Sir Gyles, who served with Field Marshal Lord Montgomery in the African campaign, during World War II, reached the rank of lieutenant colonel.

History of the baronetcy

The Isham baronetcy was created on 30 May 1627 for John Isham, High Sheriff of Northamptonshire. He was succeeded by his son Justinian, the second Baronet, who fought as a Royalist in the Civil War and sat as Member of Parliament for Northamptonshire after the Restoration. Justinian II, the fourth Baronet represented Northampton and Northamptonshire in the House of Commons while Justinian III and Edmund, the fifth and sixth Baronets, both represented Northamptonshire. 

Sir Gyles Isham, the twelfth Baronet, in 1958 was High Sheriff of Northamptonshire.

The heir apparent to the baronetcy is the 14th Baronet’s eldest son, Richard Leonard Vere Isham (born 1958). His heir apparent is his eldest son, Angus David Vere Isham (born 1992)