Salut­ing the Lord Lieu­tenant

Country Life Every Week - - Market Towns -

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.’

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