In 1870-72, John Marius Wilson's Imperial Gazetteer of England and Wales described Lacock like this:
LAYCOCK, or LACOCK, a village and a parish in Chippenham district, Wilts. The village stands on the river Avon, near the Wilts and Berks canal, and near the Wilts, Somerset, and Weymouth railway, 2½ miles S by E of Corsham r. station, and 3¼ S by W of Chippenham; was once a market town; and has still fairs on 7 July and 21 December.The parish comprises 3, 639 acres. ...
Post town, Chippenham. Real property, £9, 622. Pop. in 1851, 1, 653; in 1861, 1, 499. Houses, 325. The decrease of pop. was caused by the removal of the inmates of a workhouse to Chippenham. The manor belonged to the Longspecs; became the site of an Augustinian nunnery; went, at the Reformation, to Sir William Sherrington; and passed to the Talbots. The nunnery was founded, in 1232, by Ela, Countess of Salisbury, in memory of her husband, William Longspec, the natural son of Henry II.; had the Countess herself, first as a nun, afterwards as abbess; formed two quadrangular conrts; was altered, by Sir William Sherrington, into a private mansion; underwent siege and capture, in 1645, by a parliamentarian force; exists now as the seat of W. H. Fox Talbot, Esq., the inventor of Talbotype; and retains the cloister, the dormitory, the ambulatory, the sacristy, the chapter house, and the refectory of the original buildings. Bowden House, Notton House, Notton Lodge, and Lackham House also are chief residences. A spot on a neighbouring hill, at the gatehouse of Spy Park, commands a very extensive view. The living is a vicarage in the diocese of Gloucester and Bristol. Value, £244.* Patron, W. H. F. Talbot, Esq. The church is ancient; has a tower and spire; and contains monuments of the Baynards, the Montagues, and others. The p. curacy of Bowden Hill is a separate benefice, under the patronage of Trustees. There are chapels for Independents and Wesleyans; and the Wesleyan one was built in 1863. There are also national schools. Mann, an ambassador to Spain in the time of Elizabeth, was a native.
GB Historical GIS / University of Portsmouth, History of Lacock in North Wiltshire | Map and description, A Vision of Britain through Time.
Date accessed: 30th March 2017
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