Tuesday, 18 March 2014

785-year-old Lacock Abbey in Wiltshire, England

Set in the historic village of Lacock, the Abbey was founded in 1229, some 785 years ago.  It began first as a nunnery, founded by Lady Ela the Countess of Salisbury whose husband was the illegitimate child of King Henry II.  When Henry VIII disbanded all monasteries in England in 1536, the Abbey was sold for £783 to Sir William Sharington, who then converted it into his private home.  By 18th century the Talbot family came into ownership, where 3 generations later the famous William Henry Fox Talbot lived - the same Talbot who invented photographic negative in 1839.  His first photograph is now on displayed at the Fox Talbot museum next to the Lacock Abbey/House.

The impressive Abbey stands in the heart of an expansive woodland ground.  Some of the interior still retain blocks of the original limestone.  The cloister is airy and well lit, though not exceptionally big.  In one of the rooms the original floor tiles are preserved.  Several aspects of the outer wall and tower resonate with the Italian Renaissance, no doubt a reflection of Sir William Sharington's extensive travels.  At the front entrance is a Gothic entrance hall that would certainly not have belonged to the original Abbey - it was the work of the last owner, John Ivory Talbot in the 18th century.  Two of the Harry Potter movies were shot inside the Abbey!

The Abbey is a stunning construction set in the idyllic English countryside where one would least expect. While it is a pastiche of various architectural style seemingly joint together without much coherence, each piece represents and preserves a part of the history of this delightful building.

Less than 2 hours' drive from London or 40 minutes from Bristol, the Abbey and the village made for a perfect way to spend an afternoon.  

About the village - http://ernestso.blogspot.co.uk/2014/03/lacock-historical-village-in-heart-of.html

On National Trust - https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/lacock/

Surrounding garden and woodlands

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