William Davenport Talbot was born on the 4th August 1763, in Bredon, Worcestershire. He died in London in August 1800 and was buried at Lacock on 8th August 1800. His parents were the Reverend Dr. William and Martha Davenport who was the sister of John Talbot. As John had no legitimate heir his nephew William inherited Lacock Abbey on condition that he took the surname Talbot, Martha also had a lifetime interest in Lacock Abbey. Martha and her nephew Thomas Mansel Talbot, the owner of Margam Castle and Penrice in Wales, were appointed as guardians of William until he came of age in 1784. William Davenport Talbot did not live at Lacock Abbey, as it was let on a long term lease to Lady Shrewsbury as Martha was already heavily in debt and the rental income was necessary to maintain the estate.
William embarked on his army career as an Ensign with the Worcester Militia on 20th September 1781 after leaving Christ Church College, Oxford. William’s commission had to be approved by King George III and this permission was granted in a letter received by the 6th Earl of Coventry, who was the Lord Lieutenant of Worcestershire, in a letter from Lord Stormont on the 19th September 1781 saying: "Having received & laid before the King your Lordship’s Letter of the 15th Instant recommending Mr. William Davenport Talbot to be an Ensign in the Worcestershire Militia, I have the satisfaction to Acquaint your Lordship that his Majesty does not disapprove of that Gentleman". (Worcester Archive). It is possible that the King may have revised his opinion at a later date when William became a friend of his son, Prince Edward.
2664/3/1F/6 William’s Militia appointment certificate