Founded in the early 13th Century by the Countess of Salisbury, the historical site of Lacock Abbey is known for its beautiful buildings as well as the fact that it was the site where William Henry Fox Talbot created the very first photographic negative in 1835. It was also here that he discovered the negative/positive process which formed the basis of modern photography as we know it today.
A Haven of Monastic Life
During the 12th to the 15th Centuries, Lacock Abbey was the home of many nuns who would spend their days on cold stone benches reading and praying in the Cloisters. The only room that the nuns were allowed to use to warm up by a fireplace at the end of each day was known as the Warming Room. Although it was a venue of relaxation for them, they were not allowed to talk to one another here. In 1540, the Great Hall was built for the nuns to use. This room was later dismantled and rebuilt by John Ivory Talbot in the 18th Century. The Chaplain’s Room has many wall paintings which date back to 1270. Although these are now badly faded, they were once very vivid and colourful.
A Popular Filming Venue
Not only does Lacock Abbey have a rich history, but it is also a highly popular recording venue for films. Scenes from Pride and Prejudice, Wolfman, Cranford and The Other Boleyn Girl were recorded right here at Lacock Abbey. Younger film fans who visit the Abbey will recognise various scenes from Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone as being filmed here. One of the Abbey Rooms was used as a classroom for Professor Snapes and the famous Quidditch matches were filmed in the Cloisters of the Abbey. Many other scenes from this movie were filmed here as well. Children and adults who are Harry Potter fans will thoroughly enjoy visiting Lacock Abbey and seeing the various scenes come to life.
Home of the Fox Talbot Museum
Visitors to the Abbey will also be able to tour the Fox Talbot Museum which is situated in the grounds. Here they will be able to learn about the history of photography. The level of information supplied by the displays in the museum is suited for children and adults and various photography workshops are also held in one of the medieval barns on the grounds. After touring the museum and buildings, visitors can enjoy a quiet stroll through the Abbey grounds and enjoy the tranquil garden setting along with the beautiful countryside views.
Those who visit Lacock Abbey will feel as though they have literally stepped back in time. The Cloisters, Museum and grounds are open year-round with the exception of Christmas Day. Abbey rooms are open each day with the exception of Tuesdays from February through to October and only on weekends between November and January. It is best to contact the property before visiting to confirm times as they may be subject to change at certain times of the year.