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Lacock Village Tourist Information and Travel Guide

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In the County of Wiltshire Southern Cotswolds 14 miles north-east of Bath Access via M4
junction 17 or 18
Lacock Village in Wiltshire

Lacock Tourist Information Guide

Lacock village is near the town of Chippenham (3 miles) in North Wiltshire.

The village, which dates from the 13th century and has many limewashed half-timbered and stone houses, was used as a location in the TV and film productions of Pride and Prejudice, Moll Flanders and Emma. The Abbey also featured in the recent Harry Potter films.

Lacock AbbeyLacock Abbey

Founded in 1232 and converted into a country house c.1540, the fine medieval cloisters, sacristy, chapter house and monastic rooms of the Abbey have survived largely intact. The handsome 16th-century stable courtyard has half-timbered gables, a clockhouse, brewery and bakehouse. The Victorian woodland garden boasts a fine display of spring flowers, magnificent trees, an 18th-century summer house, Victorian rose garden, newly restored botanic garden and ha-ha.

Lacock VillageFox Talbot Museum

The Museum of Photography commemorates the achievements of a former resident of the Abbey, William Henry Fox Talbot (1800-77), inventor of the negative/positive photographic process and whose descendants gave the Abbey and village to the Trust in 1944.

 

THE LACOCK VILLAGE AND ABBEY STORY

A visit to the village is akin to taking a step back in time, owned and managed by the National Trust, it has been beautifully preserved and unchanged since it was a thriving township that traded in wool.

Church of St Cyriack at LacockLacock village has been the venue for many film makers, the popular TV programme, The Cranford Chronicles, was filmed here as was some of the shots in the Harry Potter movie, Larkrise to Candleford and Lost in Austen were amongst the many of the other films requiring an authentic background. The village church of St.Cyriack featuring in most.

A major feature in Lacock is the Abbey that was founded in 1229 by Ela Countess Dowager of Salisbury (she inherited her title and lands upon the death of her father in 1196) and followed the death of her husband William Longespee the illegitimate son of Henry II. William was the first to be buried in the then new Salisbury Cathedral and his tomb stands in the nave.

She was left with eight children, four boys and four girls.
William her eldest son was killed on a crusade and was buried at Salisbury Cathedral, her youngest son Nicholas was to become Bishop of Salisbury and served there for five years 1292 to 1297. Upon his death his heart was buried at Lacock and his body at Salisbury (see also heart and horse burial of Sir Giles De Berkeley).

Ela was a remarkable woman and of strong determined character. When she founded the Abbey at Lacock , she also founded a religious order for men at Hinton and laid the foundation stones for each on the same day, the 16th April 1232 there being a distance of 16 miles between the two places.

When her husband died she became Sheriff of the County of Wiltshire.
It was in 1238 that she joined the abbey as a nun and 5 years later she became its first abbess. After 15 years as abbess she died at the age of 75 and was buried in the choir of the abbey church in 1261 in front of the high altar.

The abbey prospered until the dissolution of the monasteries and its demolition, at that time her tombstone was moved to the centre of the cloister court, following this it was moved again in 1895 to the cloister walk and remains there today.

However, there is still much to see in what remains of the abbey, medieval cloisters, chapter house, sacristy and monastic rooms mainly survived and provide the visitor much to see.

In the 1800s William Henry Fox Talbot became the owner of the abbey, he was a very learned man and one of much influence. He studied the arts and sciences, he became interested in the early stages of the technical side of photography in 1834 and carried out many experiments and in 1835 made the first known photographic negative using a camera.

His techniques were the basis of present day photography.

Also to be seen are the recently restored Botanical Gardens which contain the plant collection of Fox Talbot. He died in 1877.

At Lacock visitors can see an exhibition of his work and experiments in the Fox Talbot museum.

Each year at the end of March a “Scarecrow” festival is held and creates a great deal of interest and fun.

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Lacock Tourist Information Guide
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