Founded in 1232 by Ela, Countess of Salisbury, as a nunnery for Augustinian canonesses, Lacock was converted into a private house after the Dissolution of the Monasteries by William Sharington. Sharington retained most of the ground floor of the cloistral court and built upon the upper storeys. A Gothick great hall and gateway were added in 1754-4 by Sanderson Miller for John Ivory Talbot. Further alterations to the south front were made in c.1828-30 by William Fox Talbot, a pioneer of photography. Inside, there is an octagonal Tudor turret room with important Renaissance carvings by John Chapman, mason in the King’s works, a Gothick hall with terracotta statues in niches below ogee canopies and vaulted medieval cloisters with decorated bosses.
Lacock Abbey also houses the Fox Talbot Museum devoted to the important contributions made to the founding of photography by this former resident of Lacock.