Visit Lacock and the surrounding villages and stay in bed & breakfast accommodation:
Lacock, Wiltshire. The village with its twisted streets, gabled roofs and timber buildings is one of the prettiest in England. The houses span the centuries, dating from medieval times to the 18th century, but none is later than about 1800. There is a l4th century barn opposite the Red Lion Hotel, an old village cross much restored and the magnificent Church of St Cyriac. Especially fine is the Perpendicular roof of the nave and the chapel north of the chancel. Fan-vaulted and beautifully decorated, here lies the tomb of Sir William Sharington. Also noteworthy are the l6th century brass to the Talbots in the south transept, and the strange grotesques both inside and outside the church, including one in the north clerestory showing a man smoking a pipe.
Lacock Abbey was originally founded by Ela, Countess of Salisbury in 1229, after the death of her husband, a son of Henry II. She was a remarkable woman. Not only was she abbess for 17 years, but she became the only woman Sheriff of Wiltshire. This accounts for the fact that Lacock formerly housed one of the original copies of the Magna Carta, though today it has only a photostat copy.
In 1539, long after Ela's death, Lacock was the last religious house in England to be suppressed — perhaps because no fault could be found with its management. It was bought by Sir William Sharington, a profiteer of those days, but one with great taste. Though the abbey church was destroyed, he kept much of the original building, including the cloister, sacristy, chapter house and warming room, and he adapted them into a house for everyday living. His additions include the large courtyard, with its timber-framed building, and the large octagonal tower.
In the 17th century the abbey passed to the Talbots under romantic circumstances. Olive, locked up by her father for recalcitrance, leapt from the abbey into her lover's arms, thereby nearly killing him. She was fortunately saved by her petticoats billowing to break her fall, and as a result of her courage, permission to marry a Talbot was granted.
Later, in the 18th century, John Ivory Talbot had the great hall built in Gothic style by Sanderson Miller. But the whole building at Lacock is a jumble of styles which blend into a delightful whole. Inside there is much to see, including the Mechlin Pot, dated 1500, a great cauldron said to be the nuns' cooking vessel. There is also a photograph by Henry Fox Talbot, the pioneer of photography. Dating back to 1835, the negative is now in the Science Museum in London. Fox Talbot also planted some interesting rare trees in the garden, including black walnuts.
Lacock Abbey and Lacock village were both given to the National Trust in 1944 by Miss Matilda Talbot, and the abbey is open to the public. For a magnificent view of Lacock nestling below, go to Bowden Hill nearby, an area from which the abbey originally drew its water. Bewley Common, on either side of Bowden Hill, belongs to the National Trust, and there are parking facilities.
Nearby cities: Bath
Nearby towns: Bradford-on-Avon, Calne, Chippenham, Corsham, Devizes, Melksham
Nearby villages: Allington, Atworth, Box, Bremhill, Broughton Gifford, Bulkington, Castle Combe, Chittoe, Christian Malford, Clack, Colerne, Foxham, Grittleton, Hardenhuish, Hawthorn, Hilmarton, Hilperton, Holt, Keevil, Kington St Michael, Lyneham, Marston, Neston, Nettleton, North Wraxall, Potterne, Roundway, Rowde, Rudloe, Seagry, Seend, Semington, Shaw, Slaughterford, South Wraxall, Stanley, Stanton St Quintin, Steeple Ashton, Stert, Studley, Sutton Benger, Trowbridge, Tytherton Lucas, West Kington, Westwood, Whitley, Wingfield, Worton, Yatton Keynell
Have you decided to visit Lacock or the surrounding villages? Please look above for somewhere to stay in:
- a Lacock bed and breakfast (a Lacock B&B or Lacock b and b)
- a Lacock guesthouse
- a Lacock hotel (or motel)
- a Lacock self-catering establishment, or
- other Lacock accommodation