Last year, over the 2021 season, we began exploring the Pride of Parham – Our Lions. There are 96 lions at Parham, all in different places, and collectively they tell unique and fascinating stories.
The Long Gallery is home to one of our favourites. The Shell Lion dates from the 17th century and, as his name suggests, he is made from small shells intricately pieced together. The Lion sits facing the window and has been purposefully placed next to a seat for visitors, so those who rest here can admire his beaming smile.
The next Lion can be found in a piece of embroidery which was stitched by Lady Ethel Brabourne, Lady Emma’s great-great Grandmother, in 1917. This beautiful piece depicts the Pearson family before they acquired Parham House, and also features a Lion which has been pierced by arrows, a poignant contemporary reference to the First World War.
Our next Lion can be found within the coat-of-arms of Queen Elizabeth I hanging high on the west wall of the Great Hall. The English Royal Lion stands on the left, and the Welsh Dragon on the right, showing that Elizabeth was the Queen of both England and Wales.
Legend has it that Queen Elizabeth I dined at Parham in 1593, as commemorated by the date above the coat-of-arms.
Another representation of a lion can be found in the Great Chamber in the 1930s plasterwork overmantel, which also shows the initials of Clive and Alicia Pearson. Amongst the emblems which surround the view of the House are crests and various charges from the Pearsons’ coat-of-arms.
This Lion can be found in a mid 17th century embroidered picture of spot motifs and can be seen in the Long Gallery. This piece shows a variety of motifs, some of which are of relevance to the Parham estate, including a deer and pear tree. The name “Parham” is thought to have derived from the old English ‘perham’, a compound word meaning “pear enclosure”.
To look back to our previous Pride of Parham article, please click here.
Image Credit for Lion 2, 3 & 5: Nick McCann
Image Credit for Lion 4: Jonathan James Wilson