Lyddington Bede House is a historic house in Rutland, England, owned and opened to the public by English Heritage. The existing Grade I listed building is a part of a former palace of the Bishops of Lincoln, situated next to the church in the village of Lyddington. The watch tower or gazebo is separately listed as Grade I and the boundary walls are Grade II. The site is a scheduled ancient monument. Set beside the church of the picturesque ironstone village of Lyddington, Lyddington Bede House originated as the medieval wing of a palace belonging to the Bishops of Lincoln. By 1600 it had passed to Sir Thomas Cecil, son of Queen Elizabeth’s chief minister, who converted it into an almshouse for 12 poor ‘bedesmen’ over 30 years old and two women (over 45), all free of lunacy, leprosy or the French pox. Visitors can wander through the bedesmen’s rooms, with their tiny windows and fireplaces, and view the former bishops’ Great Chamber on the first floor, with its beautifully carved ceiling cornice.
The medieval Diocese of Lincoln was the largest bishopric in England, extending from the River Thames to the Humber Estuary. Lyddington lay on a north-south road and the estate here was a convenient place for the bishop's entourage to stop when traversing the diocese. After the Reformation, ownership passed to the Cecil family who made it their private house. By 1600 it had passed to Thomas Cecil, 1st Earl of Exeter, son of Lord Burghley, who converted it into an almshouse for twelve poor bedesmen and it continued in this use until 1930. A Bedesman, or beadsman (Medieval English 'bede', prayer, from Old English 'biddan', to pray; literally "a man of prayer"; and from Anglo Saxon "bed") was generally a pensioner or almsman whose duty it was to pray for his benefactor.The remains of the fishponds of the bishop's palace are nearby.
Disabled access is limited to the ground floor and grounds only - there are no ramps or lift. The Grounds are accessible on compacted gravel paths and smooth grass; gazebo area is bumpy. Shop and exhibition has wheelchair access via small step – assistance recommended. Disabled visitors can access the site via Blue Coat Lane, but must be set down and the car taken back to the street. Please call in advance. The staircases have handrails. There is a small herb garden and the orchard contains a few fruit trees (apple and very hard pears). The garden attracts many garden birds (recently they had wrens nesting in the orchard). There are no toilet favilities for the disabled on site. Assistance dogs are welcome and there is a watering bowl near the front door.
Location : Bluecoat Lane, Lyddington, Leicester LE15 9LZ
Transport: Oakham (National Rail) then bus (RF1). Bus Routes : RF1 stops outside.
Opening Times : April 1st through October - times to be announced
Tickets : Adults £5.60; Concessions £5.00; Children (5 - 15) £3.40
Tel: 0370 3331181