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Lacock Abbey

  • House & Family History: Founded in 1232 by Ela, Countess of Salisbury, as a nunnery of the Augustinian order, the abbey was converted into a country house circa 1540, after the Dissolution of the Monasteries. During the conversion to a house, the abbey's church was destroyed; however, the chapter house, cloisters, and sacristy were incorporated into the new house. Sir Henry Sharington received Queen Elizabeth I here and was knighted by her at Lacock in 1574. William Henry Fox Talbot was one of the greatest figures of the 19th century. He was a mathematician, physicist, classicist, and transcriber of Syrian cuneiform texts. In 1835 Talbot made the earliest known surviving example of a photographic negative, a photogenic print of the oriel window in the south gallery of the abbey (see "Images" section), thus inventing the positive/negative process. Talbot is known today as "The Father of Modern Photography." The Lacock Estate was donated to the National Trust in 1944 by Matilda Gilchrist-Clark.

  • Garden & Outbuildings: Lacock Village, which is also owned by the National Trust, features, among other buildings, a photography museum dedicated to William Henry Fox Talbot.

  • Architect: Harold Brakspear

    Date: Circa 1900-10
    Designed: Alterations for Charles Henry Fox Talbot

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    Architect: Sanderson Miller

    Date: 1754-56
    Designed: Great Hall for John Ivory-Talbot

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  • John Preston (J.P.) Neale, published under the title of Views of the Seats of Noblemen and Gentlemen in England, Wales, Scotland, and Ireland, among other titles: 2.S. Vol. III, 1826.

    Country Life: LIII, 280 plan, 314, 352, 1923.

  • House Listed: Grade I

    Park Listed: Grade II

  • "The Grass Is Greener" (1960). "The Secret of My Success" (1965). "Pride and Prejudice" (1995 - BBC TV mini series, as some of Pemberley's interiors). "Henry VIII" (1997 - documentary series). "A History of Britain" (2000 - TV documentary series). "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone" (2001 - as Hogwarts). "Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets" (2002 - as Hogwarts). "The Other Boleyn Girl" (2008). "Wolf Hall" (2015 - BBC TV mini series, as Wolf Hall, home of the Seymour family). "Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald" (2018 - as Hogwarts School). "The King" (2019). "The Pursuit of Love" (2021 - TV mini series).
  • Past Seat / Home of: Sir William Sharington, until 1553. Sir John Talbot, until 1714; John Ivory-Talbot, until 1772; William Henry Fox Talbot, until 1877; Charles Henry Fox Talbot, until 1916. Matilda Gilchrist-Clark, 1916-44.

    Current Ownership Type: The National Trust

    Primary Current Ownership Use: Visitor Attraction

  • House Open to Public: Yes

    Phone: 01249-730-459

    Fax: 01249-730-501

    Email: [email protected]

    Website: https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk

    Historic Houses Member: No