The Lacock archive consists of around 120 boxes of material, most of which were deposited with the Wiltshire and Swindon History Centre when the building was situated in Trowbridge in 1992. Another deposit was made in 2009, and the owner then decided to sell the archive. The History Centre decided to apply for a Heritage Lottery Fund grant to purchase and catalogue the archive.
The archive was catalogued over the course of 18 months by the project archivist and a team of up to 25 volunteers. The volunteers worked on listing documents and inputting those lists onto the database. Because of the large number of volunteers, we were able to list almost everything in the archive, which is not usual for a collection. This has meant that people interested in family history are more likely to know if particular people are in the archive. We have listed bills, correspondence, wills, bonds, deeds and countless other documents.
** UPDATE: You can search the catalogue using our Wiltshire and Swindon History Centre online catalogue (link below). If you want to narrow the search to the Lacock archive, type 2664 into the reference number. Enjoy browsing! **
The collection mostly relates to the Talbot family and Lacock Abbey and village, but includes records of the Davenport family, who married into the Talbot family, and their estates in Shropshire. Included in these documents are a large amount of material, mostly accounts and correspondence, relating to the East India Company, kept by Henry Davenport (died 1731). There are also some records of the Feilding family from the early 19th century, mostly account books and some earlier naval records.
The collection is divided into three sections: estate (1), household (2) and family (3).
The estate section is divided into four series: general (1), Wiltshire (2), Shropshire (3) and other (4). These are then each divided into: deeds and legal (A), manorial (B), rentals (C), surveys (D), maps and plans (E), accounts (F), correspondence (G) and other (H).
The household section is divided into five series: general (1), Lacock Abbey (2), Lacock village (3), Davenport House (4) and other (5). These are then each divided into: inventories (A), accounts (B), correspondence (C), staff records (D), farms and gardens (E), photographs, prints and drawings (F), history of buildings (G), building reports and surveys (H) and legal (J).
The family section is divided into four series: Talbot (1), Davenport (2), Feilding (3) and other (4). These are then each divided into: pedigrees (A), correspondence (B), diaries and journals (C), accounts (D), legal (E), politics and public office (F), patronage and societies (G), research notes (H), photographs, prints, sketch books and music books (J), recipe books (K), newspaper and magazine cuttings (L) and miscellaneous (M).
Items can be viewed at the History Centre by filling in document request slips.
Some documents are in the process of being transcribed by volunteers and when these are complete they will be uploaded onto the Lacock website.