Lacock a National Trust Village in Wiltshire

Lacock, the National Trust village in Wiltshire, was first mentioned in the Domesday book in 1086 with a population of less than 200.

In 1232 Lacock Abbey was founded by Ela, Countess of Salisbury. The village was granted a market and developed a thriving wool industry during the Middle Ages. Reybridge, and a pack horse ford, remained the only crossing points of the River Avon until the 17th century.[

Following the Dissolution of the Monasteries, Henry VIII sold the abbey to Sir William Sharington, who converted it into a house starting in 1539, and demolishing the abbey church. Few other alterations were made to the monastic buildings themselves. The cloisters can still be seen today, along with the main architecture.
Around 1550 Sir William added an octagonal tower containing two small chambers, one above the other; the lower one, reached through the main rooms, was used for storing and viewing his treasures; the upper one, used for banqueting, was only accessible by a walk across the lead roof. In each is a central octagonal stone table carved with up-to-date Renaissance ornament.
A mid-16th-century stone conduit house stands over the spring from which water was conducted to the house. Further additions were made over the centuries, and the house now has various grand reception rooms.

In the 16th and early 17th centuries, bedchambers were often named for those who used them when staying at the house. At Lacock the best chamber was "the duke's chamber", probably signifying John Dudley, 1st Duke of Northumberland, whom Sharington had served; while "Lady Thynne's chamber" was thought to be the wife of Sir John Thynne of Longleat.

Most of the surviving houses in the village are 18th-century or earlier in construction, and people still live there today. There is a 14th-century tithe barn, a medieval church, an inn dating from the 15th century and an 18th-century lock-up and village school which is still used today.

Lacock Abbey later passed to the Talbot family

who built a full upstairs extension and turned it into an early-19th-century-style manor, whilst leaving the original cloisters and many of the abbey rooms intact. Lacock estate was home to photography pioneer Henry Fox Talbot from 1800 to 1877.
A school was provided on a central site in Lacock village by Henry Fox Talbot in 1824, with accommodation for 100 pupils.

In 1932, to celebrate the 700th anniversary of the foundation of the abbey a pageant was held where villagers dressed up in medieval style clothes and held a medieval fayre. If you visit Lacock Abbey there is video footage of the event in the library room.

During World War II many evacuees came to Lacock and lived on the estate till the latter stages of the war.
The estate, 284 acres, the Abbey and the village, was given to the National Trust in 1944 by Matilda Talbot.

Lacock has three public houses and a number of shops in its High Street including a grocery store, a bakery, gift shops and a National Trust shop. There are four Grade II* listed structures: The Sign of the Angel (late 15th-century house, now an inn); a village cross (late medieval, re-erected outside the school in the late 19th century); a pair of bridges carrying the Bowden Hill road over the Avon (late medieval, 17th and 19th century); and a 16th-century conduit house, part of the abbey's water supply, opposite Bowden Hill church. Next to the tithe barn is a small lock-up from the late 18th century.

Lackham House, in the north of the parish overlooking the Avon, was built in 1791–6 for James Montagu, naval officer. It is a three-storey country house in Palladian style. Since 1946 there has been an agricultural college at the Lackham estate.

In recent times, Lacock has appeared in several films for its historic and unspoilt appearance and the abbey in particular appeared in several of the Harry Potter films. It is one of England's most visited historic villages. An absolute must visit for Coachmans Cottage guests.Lacock a National Trust Village in Wiltshire


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