For our second day trip from Bath, we ventured up the road a short ways to the villages of Lacock and Castle Combe located in the southern Cotswolds.
Lacock dates from the 13th century and the four streets of the central grid are lined with traditional lime washed half-timbered and stone cottages. You feel like you have stepped back 200 years (if you take away the cars and recycling bins).
Lacock village is a favourite for film and TV producers, most notably for its picturesque streets and historic cottages, untouched by modern alterations.
St Cyriac’s Church sits on the site of a Norman church built in the 11th century. The Norman church was rebuilt in the 15th century by local merchants made wealthy by the wool and cloth trade and has had various renovations in the 16th – 18th centuries.
The Lacock Abbey was founded by Ela, Countess of Salisbury in 1232. The convent closed in 1539 and the abbey was bought by William Sharington in 1540 for £730. He transformed the abbey buildings from a convent to a country house, demolished the church and lady chapel, and built the curious octagonal tower on the corner of the abbey. Thankfully, he chose not to demolish the stone cloister, which dates from the 1400s and still exists today.
In September 1574, Queen Elizabeth I visited Lacock and stayed at the abbey. The abbey was passed down through the family who altered the abbey to suit their tastes. William Henry Fox Talbot inherited Lacock from his father in 1800 when he was just five months old. Fox Talbot is one of Lacock’s most famous residents.
In August 1935, Fox Talbot created the very first photographic negative of a latticed window. This tiny image, hardly bigger than a postage stamp, is probably the most important artefact in photographic history. Fox Talbot became known as the Father of Photography.
Fox Talbot lived in the abbey until his death in 1877 and is buried in the village churchyard.
Matilda Talbot inherited the Abbey in 1916 and redecorated parts of the interior to her own tastes.
We very much enjoyed our visit to the village of Lacock and the Abbey. It is definitely worth a few hours if you are in the area.
Castle Combe is a quintessentially English village often named as the ‘prettiest village in England.’ The village has a rich history and the houses are made up of the honey coloured Cotswold stone, typical for a village of this area.
St. Andrew’s Church dates from the 13th century.
Castle Combe is a lovely little village and a short stroll is quite enjoyable!
Bev & Harvey