John Ivory Talbot
John Ivory (later John Ivory Talbot) was the eldest son of Anne Talbot and Sir John Ivory of Wexford. Because his grandfather Sir John Talbot did not have any surviving sons from either of his marriages, John inherited his estates through his mother. He assumed the name Talbot as a condition of his inheritance.
He married Mary Mansel, daughter of Sir Thomas Mansel of Margam, in 1716. They had four children: John Talbot the younger, who inherited Lacock; Thomas, who inherited Margam and Penrice through the will of his uncle Christopher Mansel; Martha, who married William Davenport, her cousin (the son of her aunt Barbara Ivory, who married Henry Davenport); and Ann, who died aged 29.
John Ivory Talbot is said to have been driven to drink by his wife, who was said to be mad. There are various references to this in the Lacock archive including many letters from Mary Mansel to John’s brother-in-law Henry Davenport, as well as John’s own letters to Henry. John is very discrete in his letters, but his wife appears to have been suffering either from a mental condition or a physical condition that was causing her so much pain and anxiety that she appeared to be mad.
John Ivory Talbot decided to alter much of Lacock during his time there and made extensive changes to the house and the grounds. He commissioned grand gardens, possibly from Lancelot “Capability” Brown, and made many changes to the house itself, the most prominent being the Great Hall which was probably designed by Sanderson Miller, a prominent architect of the time, and built by local masons.
He was also a political figure, serving as MP for Ludgershall in 1714 and MP for Wiltshire from 1727-1741. In 1721, his name was sent to the Pretender as a probably supporter in the event of an uprising.
He died at Bath in 1772 suffering from kidney stones, and Lacock passed to his eldest son John.