A Dispute Concerning Trees on Bewley Common

on Monday, 13 April 2015. Posted in Lackham

In the autumn of 1706, James Montagu of Lackham sent his workmen to cut down some trees on Bewley Common, an area of land that abutted both Lackham and Lacock Manors. This commonplace country activity elicited a furious reaction from his neighbour, Sir John Talbot, the Lord of Lacock. Talbot disputed Montagu's right to fell the timber and retaliated by ordering his men to cut down all the remaining trees and remove the timber for his own use. Both parties insisted that they alone had the rights to the timber in accordance with established practice and ancient agreements, and the dispute rapidly escalated over the ensuing months.

IMG 7015

Lackham's WW2 Hardened Field Defences

on Wednesday, 07 October 2015. Posted in Lackham

Or, Lackham's "pillboxes"

In northern Wiltshire there are a number of pill boxes to be found, possibly the best known being the defensive line stretching between All Cannings and Devizes. Lackham is unusual in still having 6 of its original 7 pill boxes in existence. These were put in place during the Second World War possibly to defend the River Avon line or to defend the estate when it was home to General Patton, prior to D-Day. The owner of the estate, Major Holt, was paid 10 shillings a year extra compensation for the ground that the pill boxes stood on, as most of these were outside the area requisitioned by the War Department and also, presumably, because it is was unlikely they would be removed once hostilities ceased, as proved to be the case.

Pillboxes map

The manor houses of Lackham 1050-1949 (part 1)

on Wednesday, 28 October 2015. Posted in Lackham

Introduction and illustrations

In 2003 I made a much briefer, and wholly inadequate, attempt to detail the development of the main buildings and drives at Lackham. By 2009 the first edition of this version was made possible because  much more information has come to light. Some of this had been published in various places but it seemed a good idea to publish a new version - to tell the story of the Lackham Houses in much more detail than has previously been possible. It was hoped then that even more maps, photographs and pictures would be discovered and this has been the case. This second edition includes even more new information, particularly from the period of HB Caldwell and George Llewellyn Palmer, and even more illustrations.

(Tony Pratt, Lackham historian, 2011)


There are records for the manor of Lackham that go back to Saxon times, when it was part of Aelfstan’s lands (1). One of the richest of the Wiltshire thegns, Aelfstan of Boscombe, held over 200 hides in eight shires, of which nearly 80 lay in Wiltshire. Aelfstan enjoyed the King’s favour [Edward the Confessor] from the beginning of the reign (2).

After the Norman Conquest Aelfstan’s lands were given to William d’Eu (3) who entertained King William I and “A large gathering of the leading magnates at his Manor of Lackham” (4).

The old manor house has been described as:

"deserv[ing] a passing mention. It exhibited specimens of various periods from the Norman downwards, and presented an appearance of rude grandeur rather than the beauty of regular architectural proportion. It stood completely embosomed in woods. The great hall was hung with armour" (5). 

The manor houses of Lackham 1050-1949 (part 2)

on Thursday, 12 November 2015. Posted in Lackham

The maps (32)

The earliest map so far found is that produced for Mr Talbot, of Lacock Abbey, in 1764.

This map gives wonderfully detailed information on the Lacock estate, the areas of the land holdings, who rented them and so on but only the vaguest outline of Lackham; it clearly shows the main drive and the outline position of the house, but the fine detail evident in the rest of the map is singularly lacking for Lackham.

The abundant woodland, for which we have documentary evidence, is only shown by three small, token, and undefined, areas of woodland. This map's value will become apparent, however, when discussing the various entrance ways into the estate (see below).


Fig.8 Extract from the map made for Mr Talbot, 1764 (33)

The Manor Houses of Lackham 1050-1949 (part 3)

on Monday, 25 January 2016. Posted in Lackham

There is a photograph which shows the ha-ha still in position, the line of old dry stone walling just visible in the bottom right of the picture. Thus the photograph must be later than 1899, although probably not much later.


Fig.41 Lackham House c1900 from the south west (72)

The manor of Lackham

on Friday, 08 May 2015. Posted in Lackham

The estate of Lackham is situated adjacent to the Lacock estate, on the bank of the river Avon.

At the time of Domesday the manor was held by William d'Eu, the son of the Count d'Eu. He vanished from records towards the end of the 11th century when it appears he rebelled for a second time.

1764 map close up of Lackham House

Wiltshire College and its precursors

on Wednesday, 07 October 2015. Posted in Lackham

Wiltshire College started life in 2000 with the amalgamation of three separate colleges: the Technical Colleges at Chippenham and Trowbridge and the Agricultural College at Lackham. In January 2008 Salisbury College merged with Wiltshire College to form the Wiltshire College of today. Each of these Colleges had their own history.