Saluting the Lord Lieutenant
Catherine Parr’s brother was made the country’s first Lord Lieutenant in Northamptonshire in 1549. The present incumbent, David Laing, has been in post for about 18 months and only moved to the county in 2002. Her Majesty’s representative, his role is to represent, host and report to the Sovereign and, in the absence of the previous requirement to raise militia, he views the ‘health and well-being of the county in all its forms’ as crucial.
A recently launched campaign, Northamptonshire: Britain’s Best Surprise, has been created by James Lowther. A Deputy Lieutenant,
owner of Holdenby House, once the palace and prison of Charles I, he has used his experience as former Saatchi creative director and chairman to highlight the county’s strengths in terms of culture, food and drink, businesses and places to visit, with, among many other things, a poster campaign at Euston station and a new website (www.northamptonshiresurprise.com).
Mr Laing’s footwear subtly demonstrates his commitment to the county: when we meet, he’s wearing suede Cheaney loafers; Sanders & Sanders in Rushden makes the Lord Lieutenant’s boots.
An architect by training, he’s from the Laing family, which gave its name to many
great construction projects, including the M1, and enjoys racing vintage cars. He’s proud of the county’s diversity.
‘We make all the engines for Mercedes at Brixworth and Silverstone hosts the Grand Prix, but, recently, I visited somewhere completely different. The vineyard at Stoney Field, near Blisworth, is making sparkling wine grown on the brash dug out of the Grand Union Canal.’
He feels privileged to live near the Duke of Buccleuch’s Boughton House with its open access.
‘Houses and villages sit comfortably in the landscape. Some make a statement, but they don’t shout at you.’