A long-lost love poem has been found at Lyme Hall, the ‘Pride and Prejudice’ home

The poem.

The poem. - Credit: not Archant

A 100-year-old love poem has been discovered at the Cheshire home where Pride and Prejudice was filmed.

The romantic verse had been stored at Lyme Hall near Disley, by aristocrat Helen Meysey-Thompson, who spent time there during the site’s Edwardian ‘golden era’.

It was written by her suitor, Captain Richard Legh, in November 1912 and is thought to reveal his fears about the impending outbreak of the First World War. The love poem had been tucked away in the back of a scrapbook and was discovered by House and Collections Manager Amy Carney as she was conserving the book.

Captain Legh’s written words are now part of ‘Lyme, the End of a Golden Era - a new way for visitors to experience Lyme during its last hoorah before the First World War.

Caroline Heap, Acting Visitor Experience Manager at the 16th century home, said the poem made her cry when she first read it.

‘It shows a very intimate and emotional part of their relationship,’ she said.

‘Romance and tenderness aren’t the kind of things that we associate with Edwardian aristocracy. It’s a private moment and it’s quite beautiful. The poem has a sense of loss as they might not see each other again.’

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Helen and Captain Legh married on January 29, 1914, just months before the start of the Great War.

He had joined the Lancashire Hussars (Yeomanry) in 1910 and went on to serve throughout the conflict. The first verse of his poem reads: ‘When you meet me, please forget, Gently sigh a little sigh – Lightly kiss me on the cheek, And as lightly say goodbye.’

Their story is just the latest romantic tale linked to Lyme Park, which was also the setting for the BBC’s Pride and Prejudice when Mr Darcy – played by Colin Firth – famously emerged from the lake.

Captain Legh and Helen had taken over Lyme Park in 1920, but in 1946 the property was handed over to the National Trust.

‘The couple enjoyed Lyme’s golden era of wonderful celebrations and hunting parties, yet had to make the almost impossible decision of handing Lyme over to the Trust,’ said Caroline.

‘It’s this contrast of extreme happiness and sadness that really makes it an emotive and engaging story.’

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