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Matilda Theresa Talbot

Owner 1916-1944

born 15th July 1871, Dumfries, Scotland

died 25th March 1958, Lacock Abbey, Wiltshire


Born: Matilda Theresa Gilchrist-Clark

Assumed the name Talbot in 1917

The conventional view of Matilda Talbot is that she was a slightly stuffy spinster, but that overlooks all the evidence to the contrary

  • There were her travels to work in a French field hospital during the First World War, which was not without some danger, being close to the front lines in the Alsace region

  • Then there was the fact that she changed her name to Talbot, from her given name of Gilchrist-Clark, to honour her uncle Charles Talbot, who had left the Lacock estate to her in his will

  • The cooking school that she ran at the Abbey and holding regional food events in the Great Hall

  • Organising the 1932 Lacock Pagent to celebrate the 700th anniversary of the founding of Lacock Abbey and attended by over 10,000 people

  • Looking after Lacock’s Archive, which included amongst other things

    • What was thought at the time to be the one remaining legible copy of the 1225 definitive issue of Magna Carta (The picture at the top is of the facsimile that the British Museum had made for Matilda in 1947 in the red leather bound case that Fox Talbot had made to house the original)
    • The substantial collection of Fox Talbot’s photograph’s

Those are the headlines, the easy bit. Now what I intend to do is to give a slightly more personal and hopefully rounded view of Matilda.

21st September, 2015