Lacock Archives in the UK

Wiltshire and Swindon History Centre is not the only residence where archives from Lacock can be found.  Other repositories also hold various documents or transcriptions concerning Lacock.  The Lacock Cartularies and Magna Carta 1225 belong to The British Library while De Montfort University has transcribed thousands of letters either written or received by Henry Fox Talbot.


A page from the Lacock Cartularies

Lacock Cartularies

The Lacock Abbey Cartularies are now located with the British Library since 2011 and have been fully digitised to be viewed freely by members of the public which can be found here.

Cartularies are a collection of Medieval charters, title-deeds and various other documents relating to institutions, often religious in nature.  They served a functional purpose in recording day-to-day business and provide a useful insight into understanding the administration of the land, property and finances of a Medieval religious institution.  The British Library possesses around five hundred cartularies with the earliest dating from the first half of the 11th century from Worcester Cathedral.

The British Library possesses two cartularies from Lacock Abbey.  The oldest cartulary contains copies of some of the earliest charters relating to the foundation of the Abbey in the 13th century and its founder Ela, countess of Salisbury.  The charters are generally arranged in a chronological order and were primarily written between the mid-13th and 14th centuries.  These charters and documents were written in various scribal hands.  The second cartulary occurs later and was written in the same scribal hand and organized topographically.  This offers a useful insight into the geographical extent of the Abbey’s holdings which extended from Calne to Winterborne and Chippenham to Sherrington.

The British Library also holds the Annals and Book of Lacock.  Unfortunately the original was badly damaged during a fire, though a copy, made in the 16th century still exists and is held by the British Library.


Lacock Magna CartaLacock Magna Carta

The British Library also holds the Lacock 1225 Magna Carta which can be found here.  This charter was signed by King Henry III and its clauses are included in Statute Book of the United Kingdom today.  The Lacock copy of the charter was donated by Matilda Talbot in 1945 to The British Museum before it eventually entered the collections of the British Library.  During World War Two the Magna Carta was buried in the grounds of Lacock Abbey due to the threat of German invasion with only a select few aware of its hidden location.


Henry Fox Talbot Letters

De Montfort University has transcribed the correspondence of Henry Fox Talbot which accounts for nearly 10,000 letters to and from the man in question.  These transcriptions can be searched for using the online database the University has created which can be found here.