William Davenport Talbot
William Davenport Talbot was the third son of Reverend Dr William and Martha Davenport. He inherited the Lacock estate on the wish of his uncle John Talbot, who had no legitimate children. He assumed the name Talbot as a condition of the inheritance and became known as William Davenport Talbot. However he never lived there: the Abbey was leased to the Countess of Shrewsbury until several years after his death.
He went into the army after his education at Oxford and became a Captain in the Dragoons, during which time he became close friends with Prince Edward, the fifth child of George III and Queen Victoria’s father. However his time in the army was cut short by illness and he only spent a few years serving. His “illness” was never known – it could have been physical or mental, or both. It is possible, though, that he suffered from epilepsy like his brothers (if indeed they did).
William was known to be extravagant from his time at Oxford and caused many financial (and other) anxieties to his mother and his friends including Prince Edward. When he died, he left Lacock and other estates in a large amount of debt.
He married Lady Elisabeth Theresa Fox-Strangways in 1796, against the wishes of her father, and their only son William Henry Fox Talbot was born in 1800. Only a few months after the birth of his son, William died. Lady Elisabeth remarried four years later, to Captain Charles Feilding, and they were able to settle some of the affairs at Lacock and resolve some of the financial difficulties.