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Earlier this week, I visited Lacock Abbey in Wiltshire with A., a friend from way back when.

Lacock Abbey

Lacock Abbey

Lacock’s main attraction is a tasteful, but fairly nondescript window, which is a place of pilgrimage for photography enthusiasts from all over the world – these are people who use real cameras, with actual film.

Lacock Abbey - photographic window

World’s most important window

The point about the window is that a former owner of Lacock, one Henry Fox Talbot – one of those late Georgian gentleman scholars – took a picture of it back in 1835, which turned out to be probably the most important photographs in history. It wasn’t the first photograph, but it was the one that gave rise to the photographic negative, the key that unlocked the potential of photography until the age of digital.

Lacock Abbey - abbey remains

Abbey cloisters

An earlier resident was a lady called Ela, a wealthy, well-connected widow who established the original Abbey in 1232. It’s a measure of just how well-connected she was that she had her own personal copy of Magna Carta. Although parts of the Abbey, particularly the chapel, were demolished at the Dissolution (Ela’s body was removed and reburied in the cloisters) and others were hidden by the Tudor house, significant areas remain and it’s well worth visiting to see these.

Lacock Abbey - sleeping cat

A cat

Other highlights included the photographic museum, the small garden and a sleeping, possibly dead, cat. Also lots of nice sheep.The village of Lacock belongs to the National Trust – think film set with real houses – and definitely calls for another visit.

We took the scenic route home.


Lots of photos.

Photos of abbey and medieval bits
Photos of house and grounds
All National Trust photos