In 1232 Ela the Countess of Salisbury built the Abbey at Lacock as a tribute to her husband William Longspee- an illegitimate son of Henry II. Thus becoming its first Abbess, as well as the first female sheriff of Wiltshire!
In 1540 when Henry VIII ordered the dissolution of the monasteries, Lacock Abbey was sold to William Sharington and he subsequently turned it into a country house, its church destroyed and some of the stone sold as a building material.
Sir Henry Sharington inherited the Abbey. In the 1750s his youngest daughter married Sir John Talbot of Worcestershire, linking the Talbot family the building
Lacock Abbey is a wonderful building to wander through. Simple and manageable in size, one can really get the feel of life here throughout all it’s different incarnations; from the nunnery to WWII garrison. The grounds offer unspoiled views and images of the English countryside that resound in the mind.
At Abbey’s entry, you find the Fox Talbot Museum, dedicated to William Henry Fox Talbot– the father of modern photography, who invented the positive-negative film process and one of the last owners of the Abbey. His granddaughter Matilda Talbot presented the Abbey and Lacock village to the National Trust in 1944 during WWII when it served as a home for refugees.
Pass through the Gothic archway into the Victorian woodland garden with its lovely spring flowers, regional trees and lots of wild garlic!
Tip: If you plan on visiting 3 or more monuments, historic houses, gardens and National Parks in England consider becoming a member of the National Trust. The cost is about the same as three admissions and you become a member of a wonderful organization!
On a fun note, Lacock Abbey was used as a set for the Harry Potter movies, as well as The Other Boleyn Girl.
Lacock Abbey & The Fox Talbot Museum
(44) (0) 124 973 0227
(44) (0) 124 973 0459
High St, Lacock, Chippenham, SN15 2LG Wiltshire, England
Email or call for information