The Hollow Crown at Lacock

Cast of The Hollow Crown: The War of the Roses in costume

Lacock Abbey stars in 'The Hollow Crown: The Wars of the Roses' alongside Benedict Cumberbatch and Dame Judi Dench.

In November 2014, BBC Two returned to Lacock for the filming of the concluding part of their series 'The Hollow Crown', based on Shakespeare's history plays. This final season comprises Henry VI Part I and II and Richard III.

This was actually the second time 'The Hollow Crown' had visited Lacock. In January 2012, scenes from the first series (which told the stories of Richard II, Henry IV and Henry V) were also filmed at the abbey.

" One of the joys of the job was an extraordinary heritage tour of Great Britain. It was a real honour for all of us to have access to these incredible parts of our history."
- Benedict Cumberbatch (Richard III) on filming Hollow Crown on location

Many of the scenes filmed at Lacock feature the abbey’s iconic medieval cloister, which dates back to around 1450, including a tennis match scene in the cloister garth.

‘It’s the first time the garth has been used as a location in its own right’, said Sonia Jones, House and Collections Manager at Lacock, ‘We were all on tenterhooks when the tennis ball was flying around because it’s such a fragile space, but of course the production team are so used to working in historic environments that there was no need to worry.’
The cloister garth at Lacock Abbey
The cloister garth at Lacock Abbey, Wiltshire
The cloister garth at Lacock Abbey

Lacock is certainly no stranger to the screen, in the past both the abbey and village (also cared for by the National Trust) have appeared in a range of TV and film productions including, Harry Potter, Pride and Prejudice, Downton Abbey, Cranford and Wolf Hall - to name a few.

" It’s always amazing to see the abbey and village transformed during filming. There are so many different costumes and props and the attention to detail is incredible."
- Sonia Shomalzadeh, Assistant House Steward at Lacock

Two years later, in the summer of 2016 an exhibition of Hollow Crown costumes was held in the Great Hall of Lacock Abbey, including those worn by stars Benedict Cumberbatch, Keeley Hawes and Sophie Okonedo.

The costumes were created by Sands Films, based in London, whose many credits include 'Les Miserables', ' Poldark', 'Marie Antoinette', 'Sweeney Todd' and 'Anna Karenina'.

The detail of the costumes, created by Sands Films, is often missed on screen. This dress was worn by Mariah Gale who played Lady Bona, sister-in-law of Louis XI of France.
A close up of an embroidered dress, worn in the BBC Two production of 'The Hollow Crown: The Wars of the Roses'
The detail of the costumes, created by Sands Films, is often missed on screen. This dress was worn by Mariah Gale who played Lady Bona, sister-in-law of Louis XI of France.

Among the costumes on display in 2016 was one worn by Samuel West as the Bishop of Winchester during scenes filmed in the abbey cloister in 2014.

" It was really interesting to see a 'bishop' walking the abbey cloister, quite possibly for the first time since the dissolution of the monasteries 500 years ago."
- Sonia Jones, House and Collections Manager at Lacock
The cauldron in the Warming Room at Lacock Abbey in Wiltshire

Lacock on screen

Lacock is a famous filming location and its appearances include Harry Potter, Wolf Hall and Pride and Prejudice. Look out for the Abbey in Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald.