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Sep 2007 Lacock Abbey Trevor Bale

Sep 2007 - Lacock Abbey

On Sept 6th Trevor Bale gave a very interesting and informative talk on Lacock Abbey. Trevor is an active member of the National Trust, a Trustee of Arts Together, and has been a Volunteer Guide for the National Trust at Lacock Abbey for 12 years. Prior to retirement he had an active and varied life in the R.A.S.C. and the Metropolitan Police Force before taking up a teaching post at Mill Hill School.

Trevor presented the history of Lacock Abbey in a manner which made many of our members, who had visited Lacock previously want to go again to see the architecture, views, pictures, furniture etc., or the bits they had missed. His enthusiastic attachment to Lacock, where he now lives, came through in his descriptions and photographs which showed the beauty of the setting and the magnificent stone work, floors and ceilings.

Lacock Abbey was founded in 1232 by Ela Countess of Salisbury as a nunnery for 22 Augustinian canonesses who lived frugally and probably cold for most of the year. Prior to the present age there were only two fireplaces in the whole abbey.

The cloisters with their magnificent vaulting, stone carvings, bosses and windows highlight the magnificent craftsmanship of medieval masons and woodworkers. Relative to other religious establishments the abbey suffered minor damage during the civil war and after the Dissolution by Henry V111 the abbey was sold to William Sharington who in1539 began the conversion into a family home.

Further significant extensions were started  in 1755 and in the mid-19th Century considerable alterations and additions were made by William Fox Talbot who is known not only for his pioneering work in photography but as  an inventor, scientist and botanist but as an outstanding gardener who created  marvelous gardens around the abbey.

Lacock Abbey has in more recent years become famous as one of the locations for the filming of the Harry Potter books and for many of the Hardy and other Classics and Trevor showed many pictures of the temporary additions, structures and equipment used in the filming of epic novels.

Many of the houses and buildings in the village of Lacock were shown and Fox Talbot would have been satisfied to see how his pioneer work in photography had enabled the presentation of the beauty and the magnificence of the abbey and its surroundings.