Charles Henry Talbot

Owner 1877 - 1916

B 1842

D 1916

Charles was the eldest of the four children of William Henry Fox Talbot and his wife Constance.

He inherited Lacock Abbey and it's estates on his father's death in 1877. He never married and although he had always harboured a desire to be an architect, his continual poor health didn't allow it. Instead he indulged his interest in buildings and history, by exploring the origins of the Abbey and the village. He wrote many published articles in his distinctive and sometimes untidy longhand.

Charles preferred to spend what money he had on the estate and as a consequence was not really interested in his appearance. He was apparently a poor sleeper and was both early to bed and a late riser, with the staff (two elderly sisters) used to seeing him appear for breakfast around 11.30am. According to his niece, Matilda who came with her Aunt Rosamond to live at the Abbey in the late 1800's, he was 'tall and thin and he walked rather slowly with a slight stoop'.

Although this all sounds rather unflattering, we have a lot to thank Charles for. Because of his architectural and historical interests, he was able to undo much of the alterations of his predecessor, Ivory Talbot's work in the mid 18th century that caused later structural problems. He commissioned Sir Harold Brakspear to restore the medieval parts of the Abbey, particularly the East of the property, where all the windows on the ground floor had been removed. He also spent a lot of time making sure that the village buildings were repaired using the correct traditional methods and that any new work was sympathetic to the old.

As his already poor health began to fail, his sister Rosamond came to look after him. He eventually died in 1916, leaving the Lacock estate to his niece Matilda.

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charles talbot

Charles Henry Talbot