A queenly visit

In September 1574, Queen Elizabeth I visited Lacock and stayed in the abbey. In thanks, she knighted the then resident Sir Henry Sharington (brother of William Sharington, who bought Lacock in 1540 and died in 1553). On his death, Sir Henry left Lacock Abbey to his daughter Olive and her husband John Talbot of Salwarp, starting a long tradition of Talbots at Lacock. Interestingly, John Talbot was actually a descendant of Ela, who founded the abbey in 1232.


Lacock's Gothick phase

In 1714, Lacock was inherited by Georgian gentleman, John Ivory Talbot. He lived at Lacock for 58 years and dramatically altered the architecture of the building to fit with the fashionable 'Gothick'. He added the classically proportioned Dining Room, the dramatic Grand Hall, the Gothick Arch in the grounds, and even removed the windows from the eastern rooms of the cloister to create a fashionable ruin.

Portrait of Georgian gentleman, John Ivory Talbot, of Lacock Abbey, Wiltshire


The Fox Talbot family

William Henry Fox Talbot inherited Lacock form his father in 1800 when he was just five months old. The estate was in debt and was let out until Fox Talbot moved in with his mother and stepmother in 1827. A pioneering scientist and keen mathematician, Fox Talbot is one of Lacock's most famous residents. He lived in the abbey until his death in 1877 and is buried in the village churchyard.