A volunteer's experience

on Thursday, 07 May 2015.

Jackie Butler, a volunteer for the Lacock Unlocked project, describes her experience of listing one of the 120 boxes that needed to be catalogued for the project. She started volunteering in October 2013 and listed the box, mostly containing late 19th century letters, and then moved on to do some research for the project's website.

The box was a mixed box of items covering the whole of the 19th century - private letters between members of the Fox Talbot family, business letters, letters of community interest, architectural interest letters, photographic processes discussed and enquired about, bills, receipts, pamphlets and booklets and various advertising leaflets about medicinal items.

Lacock High Street

Charter of Lacock Abbey

on Monday, 23 March 2015.

Charter of Lacock Abbey

Exercising Lacock style!

on Thursday, 07 May 2015.

Casually sifting through a box of varied documents, mostly belonging to Matilda Talbot, I was intrigued and amused to discover these four pages of handwritten exercises. The exercises were created and drawn by the International Association of Margaret Morris Movement.

Margaret Morris Movement still exists today and specialises in creative dance movement, particularly breathing techniques. Although the exercises are unfortunately undated, it can be assumed that they were written around the 1930s. They contain breathing and movement exercises, and, wonderfully, also contain diagrams of how the exercise should be done.


Illegitimacy and inheritance

on Thursday, 07 May 2015.

The Lacock archive has thrown up some really interesting documents and stories including about illegitimacy. We have been able to find out information gained from wills and other legal documents about the identity of illegitimate children of John Talbot (1717-1778), one of the owners of the Lacock estate.

John Talbot

Lacock Abbey's Great Hall Commemoration

on Thursday, 07 May 2015.

We have found some documents in the Lacock archive concerning the 200th anniversary of the commemoration of the Great Hall in Lacock, which was rebuilt in the 1750s by John Ivory Talbot, the estate's owner at the time. The bundle of documents has the following reference: 2664/3/4B/24.

Talbot and the architect Sanderson Miller designed the Great Hall in a Gothic style and anyone who has visited Lacock will remember the prowess of the room, with its great high ceilings, coats of arms decorating the ceiling, and breathtaking sculptures adorning the walls. Outside, Talbot built some grand Gothic steps. 

Lacock Great Hall

Mutton Recipe

on Tuesday, 09 June 2015.

Written in c.1745 this recipe for a mutton leg is an example of one of the many recipes that are held in the Lacock archives. The recipe includes nutmeg, leeks, garlic and bacon.  Would you be willing to try to cook a recipe over 200 years old?

2664 Box 8 - recipe c1745

Matthew Goodwin

Transforming Archives Trainee

Naval Punishment Book

on Monday, 23 March 2015.

This punishment book is a wonderful little document. It is dated around 1806 and is connected with an unknown ship, but formed part of the naval papers of Charles Feilding, the stepfather of William Henry Fox Talbot.

2664 - naval punishment book 1

The document reference is 2664/3/3F/17.

Some intriguing bills

on Thursday, 07 May 2015.

On the face of it bills are rather boring, but in the Lacock archive there are hundreds of examples of bills showing people going about their business on the estate, making trips to purchase goods and undertaking repairs to buildings, the Malthouse and Red Lion seem to appear quite regularly. Local history, family history, economic history, even costume history can be discovered here. Trips to Bath conjure up images of Jane Austen, while wages being paid three years late leave you pondering how people managed to feed themselves and their families.

Medical bills

The Sharington Pardon

on Monday, 23 March 2015.

The Sharington Pardon is one of the most spectacular and elaborate documents in the Lacock archive.  Its lavish illustrations and exquisite lettering announced the royal pardon of William Sharington.

Sharington Pardon

William Sharington had previously been found to have defrauded the Bristol Mint which he had been commissioned to run.  He had also been connected with a plot to kidnap the boy king, Edward VI with Thomas, Lord Seymour, however the plot was discovered before it could be enacted.  His lands, including Lacock were confiscated by the crown.  Fortunately, William Sharington was pardoned, which this document proclaimed, due to the assistance of friends such as Francis Talbot, 5th Earl of Shrewsbury and his own personal confession.

The Talbot Dog

on Friday, 24 July 2015.

The Lacock Archives are full of surprises and none more so than the discovery of this wonderful drawing or "doodle" of a Talbot dog. The Talbot dog was a white hunting dog which is now extinct, assumedly due to its lack of purpose, need for constant care and the arrival of more popular breeds, such as the Bloodhound.

Talbot dog