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Lacock, Wiltshire

Historical Description

Laycock or Lacock, a village and a parish in Wilts. The village stands on the river Avon, near the Wilts and Berks Canal, 3 miles from Melksham station on the G.W.R., and 3f S by W of Chippenham. It was once a market-town, and has a post, money order, and telegraph office under Chippenham. Acreage of the civil parish, 3695; population, 1179; of the ecclesiastical, 909. The manor belonged to the Longspecs, became the site of an Augustinian nunnery, went at the Beformation 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. It formed two quadrangular courts, was altered by Sir William Sherrington into a private mansion, and underwent siege and capture in 1645 by a Parliamentarian force. It is now the seat of the Talbot family. It retains the cloister, the dormitory, the ambulatory, the sacristy, the chapter-house, and the refectory of the original buildings. Notion 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; gross value, £370 with residence. The church is ancient, has a tower and spire, and contains monuments of the Baynards, the Montagues, and others. The vicarage of Bowden Hill is a separate benefice. There are Congregational and Wesleyan chapels- the Wesleyan one was built in 1863. Mann, an ambassador to Spain in the time of Elizabeth, was a native. A handsome hall was erected in 1889 by the local Oddfellows, and will hold 300 persons.

Transcribed from The Comprehensive Gazetteer of England & Wales, 1894-5

Church Records

The register dates from the year 1560.

Findmypast, in association with the Wiltshire Record Office, have the following parish records online for Lacock:



Church of England

St. Cyriac (parish church)

The church of St. Cyriac is an ancient building of stone, in the Gothic style, consisting of chancel, nave of three bays, aisle, transepts, west porch and an embattled western tower, with spire and pinnacles, containing a clock and six bells: in the church are numerous monuments to the families of Baynard and Montague, for many years the owners of Lackham; and in the Talbot chapel are others to Sir W. Sherington and Sir John Talbot: the church has 436 sittings.


Congregational Chapel

The Congregational chapel, founded in 1783, has seating for 150 persons.


Wesleyan Chapel

Civil Registration

For general information about Civil Registration (births, marriages and deaths) see the Civil Registration page.


Online maps of Lacock are available from a number of sites:

Newspapers and Periodicals

The British Newspaper Archive have fully searchable digitised copies of the following Wiltshire papers online:

RegionSouth West
Postal districtSN15
Post TownChippenham