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Lacock Abbey and Village

Location

Wiltshire Map

OS Ref: ST 917 683

Last Visited: 2009

Lacock Abbey

The Cloisters

The Cloisters

Lacock Abbey was founded by Ela Countess of Salisbury in 1229, who became a nun in 1238 and, eventually its Abbess in 1240.

It was converted into a house in 1539 after it was sold to Sir William Sharrington following the Dissolution of the Monasteries.

'Converted' being the operative word, as the house was built round the abbey cloisters, and much of the original ground floor still survives largely intact.

The abbey passed to the Talbot family and was extended in the Gothick style in the 1750s by John Ivory Talbot.

Its most famous resident was William Henry Fox Talbot the inventor of the negative/positive photographic process that was the basis of all photography prior to the digital age. Many of his early photographs of Lacock and its surroundings survive, including a small photograph of the oriel window in the south gallery of the Abbey made in 1835, the earliest known surviving example of a photographic negative.

For details of opening times, admission prices, etc., please see the National Trustʼs official web site, detailed below

The Village

The Sign of the Angel, Church Street

The Sign of the Angel, Church Street

In the middle ages, Lacock was a market town with a thriving wool trade. Now it is a large preserved village, in the care of the National Trust, and very pretty it is too.

However, it is not difficult to imagine it as a small bustling town in the days before railways and industrialisation, and that, no doubt, contributes to its popularity as a film set, most notably for the BBCʼs Cranford series, and the last two Harry Potter films.