The Talbot Dog

on Friday, 24 July 2015. 1

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

It is unclear as to the origins of the Talbot breed with theories ranging from William the Conqueror bringing the breed with him from Normandy. There is the obvious connection between the Talbot dynasty, the Earl’s of Shrewsbury, whose name they share with this dog breed. The Earl’s of Shrewsbury even used the dog in their heraldic emblems.

Earl of Shrewsbury's Coat of Arms

The marriage between Olive Sharington and John Talbot of Salwarp created the connection between Lacock and the Talbot name. This drawing was found amid a collection of household bills and letters from Worfield, the Davenport estate in Shropshire between 1774 and 1775. For example, a receipted bill from John Lookley, vet, for treatment or a letter to Mrs Davenport from Elizabeth Austin who was “busy patching rags to make me a bed”.  This drawing of the Talbot dog shows the wonderful and unexpected treasures that can be fund within the large Lacock archive collection.

Bills and documents

Ally McConnell, Archivist