The house entrance
The earliest known (1835) surviving example of a photographic negative, a photogenic print of the oriel window in the south gallery of the 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.
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
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