Visit Lacock Village and discover its wonders
The village Lacock was first recorded in history in 1086 when its population had less than 200 citizens and consisted only of two small mills and a vineyard. The main tourist attraction of this lovely village is its Christian abbey.
The Lacock Abbey has 800 years of history in its stone walls, starting out as an Augustinian abbey, hosted a Tudor, became a Gothic ruin, is the birthplace of the world’s first photographic negative, and is a popular filming location for movies and television series.
The abbey was founded in 1232 by the Countess of Salisbury, Ela, who was one of the most powerful women of the age. Having served as the Sheriff of Wiltshire and owning a copy of the 1225 Magna Carta which was kept at Lacock, until it was moved to the British Museum in 1946. She was Lacock’s first abbess and held the role for 17 years, having died in 1261.
King Henry VIII ordered the Dissolution of Monasteries in 1536 which started the closure of monasteries, convents and abbeys. Lacock made it through the first few waves of closure, but eventually closed in 1539.
Sir William Sharington purchased the abbey in 1540 and converted to a country house, for his personal use. The church and lady chapel had been demolished, and its place he had an octagonal tower built on the abbey’s corner. Fortunately, he had chosen not to destroy the stone cloister that still stands today, and dates back to the 1400s.
Queen Elizabeth visited and stayed in the abbey in September of 1574, knighting Sir Henry Sharington. His daughter, Olive and her husband Joseph Talbot inherited the abbey upon Sir Henry Sharington’s death, which started a long line of Talbots at the abbey; curiously enough, John Talbot was a descendant of the original founder of the abbey, Ela.
John Ivory Talbot inherited the abbey in 1714, and altered the architecture to suit the Gothic trends of the time, removing the windows in the eastern rooms of the cloister and creating a ruin of sorts. He lived there for 58 years. The next Talbot of note was William Henry Fox Talbot, who became the owner in 1800 at the tender age of 5 months old, finally moving in at 1827 due to the abbey’s debt. Fox Talbot was a scientist and mathematician, who played an important role in making analog photography possible the way it is known today. He lived until 1877 in the abbey, where he died, and is buried in the village churchyard.
William Henry Fox Talbot began experimenting with photography after his honeymoon to Italy in 1833 where he wished to be able reproduce the views he saw in a more instantaneous format than the pencil drawings he made to capture his trip. In August of 1835 he captured the world’s first photographic negative, developing a new process of photography. Before his discovery it was not possible to capture a photograph on paper.
If you are fond of medieval architecure than visit Lacock and explore its secrets with one of our relaxing tours!
Full-day tour from Chippenham to Avebury, Stonehenge, Salisbury Cathedral and Lacock
Visit Avebury, one of the greatest marvels of prehistoric Britain, the largest stone circle in Europe
Visit the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Stonehenge
Tour the Salisbury Cathedral, holder of multiple records and stunning architecture
Sight-see in Lacock.
Explore Bath, a city so beautiful and special that it has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Explore Cotswold untouched
villages like Lacock and Castle Combe.
• Full-day tour from Chippenham, Stonehenge, Castle Combe and Lacock
• Visit the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Stonehenge
• Explore Cotswold untouched villages like Lacock and Castle Combe
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