Lacock Abbey Brewhouse

Lacock Abbey Brewhouse
Figure 1. Lacock Abbey Brewery. Reproduced by kind permission of the National Trust

Lacock Abbey brewhouse is brought to life in this extensive study of its history and capabilities. Very few historic breweries have survived the ravages of time, so we are lucky to have what appears to be a 16 th century brewery at Lacock Abbey that can enlighten us on pre-industrial practices. The original Abbey building dates from 1229 but the nunnery was dissolved in 1539 and the property sold to Sir William Sharington, who converted it into a family residence. The courtyard, and brewhouse building, date from this time. Whether the present brewery was constructed at this time is not known, but the furnace, flue and support for the copper are constructed in brick, a material which was not originally used in the rest of the abbey or courtyard, that being stone. Indeed, the wall in the bakehouse through which the furnace is accessed appears to have been opened up for construction of the brick copper housing. Considering the similarity of the brickwork to that at Charlecote, it may be reasonable to infer that Lacock, as it stands, was upgraded in the 18 th century, as was Charlecote. It may be a coincidence, but extant records begin in the 1720s.

Local Brewing

It is commonly a blanket statement that “they didn’t drink the water” because it was contaminated. Inhabitants in the country (as opposed to the town, especially London) usually had a clean water supply, however there are indications that alcoholic beverages were often preferred to water. Whatever the water supply, ale and beer were a necessary part of the diet and given the small domestic nature of most rural brewing, sufficient production was spread between brewsters, alehouses, the country house (for itself) and small private breweries, the latter of which may simply have been the house kitchen. Lacock is no exception, records existing of local domestic brewing into the 20th century. A few records exist for historic enterprises, although that does not preclude the existence of many more undocumented brewhouses. The following list of brewhouses and malthouses were extracted from the Lacock Estate records.


Malting and Brewing in Lacock
Figure 2. 1764 map. Reproduced by kind permission of Wiltshire & Swindon History Centre. Numbered sites correspond to entries below.

1. Abbey Brewhouse

2. Counterpart lease for 19 years for Webb’s House with a new malthouse. 18 th October 1719.
Location numbered 461 and 465 on the 1764 map, on the south side of the Old Marketplace one door down from St. Cyriac’s church. (“late thereon was a malthouse”)

3. Location 493 on the 1764 map – “In West Street, A Tenement, Bake House and Malt House”.

4. Location 497 on the 1764 map – “At the Market Place, a Tenement Malt House, and its Appurtenances”. At the corner of West Street and what is now the High Street.

5. The Red Lion Inn. An inventory of 1778[2] on the death of John Talbot in 1772 contained, among other items, a brewhouse equipped with two coolers and stands, one copper furnace and grates, one mash tub and stand.

6. Invoice for glazing at malthouse at Mr Hunt’s farm 1746-47

7. A receipted undated bill to John [Ivory] Talbot Junior who inherited in 1714 and died in 1772. Between these dates Ambrose Hayward built a brewhouse for farmer John Bullock of Corsham Field Farm.

8. Two entries point to the same property in Church Street. A tenement and brewhouse with garden in Church Street, leased for 99 years on 5 th October 1744 reappears forty two years later as decayed cottage with brewhouse adjoining and garden in Church Street on 13 th October 1786.

9. In the southwest corner of the High Street as part of a building called the Ring, a tenement and malthouse with stables, outhouses, gardens and waters was granted a counterpart lease of 99 years on 27 th January 1769. What appears to be the same property reappears on 11 th November 1785 – 13 th December 1787 with a lease in reversion for 21 years.

10. Correspondence between Matilda Talbot, the last family owner of Lacock, and the estate manager, Mr Foley, discusses a request for boards instead of felt in case a tile should fall through the roof of Mr Guley’s brewhouse in 1919.

11. An undated plan, (which is kept in a bundle from 1860s) for a brewhouse for John Millnor, mason demonstrates the archaic nature of country domestic brewing in a time when common brewers in London were brewing for the country and the world. This plan is open to interpretation but there appear to be two sources of heat, under the water cistern and mash tun. The large 6 ft 2/4 vessel may double as a hot liquor tank and mash tun, the wort draining into the underback, after the mash tun was emptied wort and was pumped back for the boil. This only allows for one wort, however at the other side of the room are two coolers linked individually to two gyle fats (vats). Pipes carry liquid between the water cistern, mash tun and underback while a pump operates back into the mash tun. This begs the question; how did the liquid get to the coolers? It could only have been by chutes or pails (buckets). This plan demonstrates the difficulty of interpreting historic plans and descriptions where some of the vital data are assumed as a given, and indeed the Lacock Abbey brewhouse throws up so many questions. Further research reveals that this plan was meant for the Apley estate in Shropshire, close to the Davenport’s house in Worfield. The Talbot family was closely related by marriage to the Davenport family of Shropshire.

Millnor's Brewhouse
Figure 3. John Millnor’s Brewhouse. Reproduced by kind permission of Wiltshire & Swindon History Centre

Domestic brewing eventually gave way to cheaper, more convenient common brewed beer. From the 1840s Richard Barton of Bewley Lane, Lacock appears to have started a commercial Lacock Brewery and Maltings in Bewley Lane. The brewery operated until 1922 and was sold to a Melksham builder in 1924 for £200.

Lacock Abbey Water Supply

The original water supply to the abbey dates from a charter of 1257 – 70 in which William Bluet (landowner) grants Beatrice (abbess) that she may freely make and mend the aqueduct and watercourse which ran from the spring line at Bowden hill. It is thought that the watercourse was above ground at this time. A conduit is referred to in a charter from 1280 – 88 of another grant from William Bluet and it is thought that this supply was piped. The existing conduit was built by Sharington between 1540 and 1553, replacing the original medieval structure. The hill is very steep, the water falling 91 meters through lead pipes to complete the 1.85 (as the crow flies) metres to the abbey under the river Avon and the now disused Wilts & Berks Canal which operated from 1810 to 1914. An entry in Charles Henry Talbot’s pocketbook reports that on August 25th, 1893, the water supply failed and the following day was informed that this was traced to a broken pipe caused by steam dredging of the canal in the previous week. It was also of some concern that the spring was very low, which begs the question, what did they do when the supply failed? The water from the conduit filled a tank at the abbey so the availability of water did not cease immediately. There were a number of wells on site which probably were never used for brewing. A letter from Elisabeth Theresa Feilding to Charles Henry Fox Talbot dated 20th September 1827 indicates that the pipes from the conduit were in need of replacing. Professional advice considered that it would be better to increase the size of the present well and install a pump; this would save £300 on new pipes and get a good return on the sale of the old lead pipes. There was some doubt that the well water was soft [1] and therefore suitable for washing and brewing, (well and spring water percolate through the ground and are likely to be hard). Elizabeth is a little dubious that there would be any suitable water on site for she says, “It is a little staggering only that our ancestors (particularly if done in time of the nuns) shd have taken all that trouble if they could have got good water nearer.” The question of using well water still existed 63 years later as attested by an entry in Charles Henry Talbot’s pocketbook; “Aug 16 1890 How would it be to have wind wheels always pumping water from wells to the upper levels – one must perhaps filter water by means of an air pump, worked by a wind wheel.”

In Victorian Britain, poor sanitation, especially in towns was increasingly recognised as a source of disease. Wells were a prime suspect of ill-health as effluent could drain into them. In 1884, an outbreak of diphtheria in Lacock village was considered by Dr Blaxall in a report to the Local Government Board, due to “poor sanitary conditions, in particular privies and well water”. Charles Henry Talbot gave permission for the supply from Bowden Hill to be carted from the Abbey tank and expressed his intention to supply the village in future. Further discussions on extending the supply to more properties ensued in 1945.

A pathological examination by Salisbury General Infirmary in 1942 pronounced the supply to be free from harmful bacteria, but as far as is known did not comment on any lead content. The supply continued to be used until 2002 when the last resident to risk the lead pipes passed away at the age of 72. The cause of death was not from the lead piped water, which he preferred to the modern sanitised supply.

[1] It was thought that water for brewing had to be soft to dissolve the extract from the mash.

The House Purchases Beer

Brewing must have commenced in Sharington’s time, yet written records of production begin on 15 th October 1721 when John Ivory Talbot writes to Henry Davenport that he “will begin brewing this week”;” This is significant because I believe the brewery to have been extensively upgraded immediately before this date as part of ongoing improvements to the estate which commenced around 1719, if not before. A receipted bill to Lady Ivory from Jane Wright for her father Walter Wright, brewer, itemizes 25 kilderkins of beer delivered from 14 th September 1719 to 31 st March 1720 at a price of 5/- each, with four kilderkins previously delivered and part paid for on 30 th June 1719. If the brewery was functioning why would the lady of the house buy in a regular supply of beer from a commercial brewer? [2] The Abbey brewhouse was not functioning! This one invoice is a window onto a period when many more kilderkins must have been purchased. Work on upgrading the brewhouse must have started from before summer 1719 and concluded around October 1721. Commercial beer was taxed at 5/- strong and 1/4d for small with strong defined as beer priced at more than 6/- per barrel and small priced at up to 6/- per barrel. As the barrel price on this bill is 10/-, the beer must have been taxed as strong at 50% of the selling price, demonstrating the cheapness of country beer compared to that in London, which was selling at over 20/- the barrel at this time. If this was the only source of beer while the brewhouse was being renovated, beer consumption was low compared to the end of the century (see below); 18 gallons purchased in most weeks and December only two kilderkins for the whole month. Either the occupancy was low or they were drinking their excellent water. Alternatively, Lady Ivory may have been economising at a time of large outgoings on the abbey improvements.

[2] It is significant that this is a household bill to Lady Ivory. All other known bills regarding estate brewing at this time are addressed to her husband John Ivory.

Lacock Brewhouse Accounts

Invoices to John Ivory Talbot

On the estate, in the 1700s when brewing took place as and when required, there appears to be no officially designated “brewer” as such, the person brewing doing so as one job in a variety of responsibilities. Four long invoices to John Ivory Talbot from John Bankes and David West portray the activities of a brewer/cooper mid-18 th century.

John Bankes appears to be the sole brewer from April 1743 to January 1756. His first invoice begins with washing bottles followed by brewing small beer on 12 th April. April 25 th to 27 th were occupied in washing and boiling bottles which were apparently used for bottling wine on 3 rd May. Very little brewing took place until November apart from two brews of small beer on 3 rd June and 3 rd August. Summer was a dangerous time to brew but small beer was the most consumed and would not keep as well as strong beer, which was mostly made in the cold months and kept for the rest of the year. Summer brewing was out of necessity rather than choice. Summer into Autumn saw the work as mostly general coopering maintaining casks and vessels around the estate. Various tasks included “A new tubb to hold flowers”, “A new bucket for the coachman”, “A new pail for the Dairy Maid” and lots of hooping.

November 17 th and 18 th were spent heading, chiming [3] and repairing 7 strong beer hogsheads, an activity which continued through the intensive brewing season. Between November 21 st and 5 th December, six days were spent brewing. The first was for strong beer, the others just “Brewing”, however the cask repairs were for strong beer hogsheads, two ale hogsheads and two long pipes [4] for small beer. There were also an upstand pipe [5] and a hogshead for small beer. There was intensive brewing on 21 st, 23 rd, 25 th, and 29 th November and 1 st and 5 th December with mainly two days between brews. This would give just enough time of one day for the yeast to start fermenting in the gyle tun and be racked into casks for cleansing and maturing in the cellar. As far as I know there are no records of anyone helping the brewer but the workload would be impossible for one man. The furnace is behind the wall and could not be maintained by the brewer alone. Racking from the gyle tun, moving casks and cleaning are labour intensive activities which must have required extra help. Cask repairs continued through to January with a brewing on 28 th December followed by possibly contract brews on January 17 th and March 21 st when Bankes made Ale and Strong Beer respectively using “Mr Pritchet Malt”. The invoice ends on April 19 th 1744 with 2 hoops and half a dozen new bungs.

A new invoice from May 2 nd 1744 starts the summer with bottling small beer on 8 th May and brewing 8 hogsheads of small beer on 21 st June. This invoice is unusual in that quantities of beer and malt are defined. 10 bushels were brewed on October 3 rd and from 26 th November to 18 th February seven brews of 24 bushels were made, the last one from “Prichart moult”. Cask repairs continued throughout, the pipes needing hoops and heading, as was done the year before. The invoice ends with bottles being washed and strong and small beer bottled, the last entry being “a new spugel [6] for the garner [gardener]”.

Bankes’ final invoice begins in April 1745 with the usual repairs, cleans bottles on 18 th June and bottles small beer out of the pipe on 25 th June. There was a brewing on 13 th June. Brewing was concentrated in December with four brewings from 9 th to 20 th, although there was one brewing of Prichart malt for Ale on September 26 th. The usual hoops and heading continued throughout with the last entry on January 7 th 1745/46  [7] making a new hogshead.

Over two years later David West takes the place of John Bankes. Casks were high maintenance, hoops and heads needing constant attention. On no less than 11 occasions heads were taken out and put back in. In November 1748 fifteen heads were taken out and put back, in December fourteen etc; no reason is given for this operation but it is probably for cleaning. Another activity was putting heads and bottoms further in. West’s activities are varied in a way that would relieve the monotony of a sustained area of work. On four occasions beer was taken the 22 miles to Shrewton preceded with bottling a hogshead of beer and packing and a “Journey to Shrewton with your Honourable Beer”; addressed to John Ivory. Further interesting activities include work at Nethermore, Naish Hill, “2 days Haymaking in Hormead”, “Wheeling out the stones of the Tunns to the Gravel walk” and “helping the Shrewton when to brew”.

Brewing follows the pattern of mostly in the colder months but less intensive than in Bankes’ day. In November and December 1748 there were 8 brewings and one in April 1749. Types of beer were not identified but the brewing in June was probably small beer. In November there were four brewings and two in February 1849/50. Again one brewing in July 1750 and four in November. Brewing a sack of malt for Miss in February 1750/51, two brewings in March and one on July 29 th completed the recorded brewings for West.

Small beer, strong beer and ale were not the only alcoholic beverages made at Lacock. West records setting hoops on barrels to hold cowslip wine, raisin wine and vinegar.

Records as invoices become sparse and shorter after West. Brewing may have become more casual or workers may not have wanted to stay for long in the employ of one who was known to have hit the bottle and his wife was said to be mad.

Henry Miles supplied malt and hops and brewed three times in April and three times in the harvest of 1751.

Thomas Cripps supplied malt and hops and brewed on December 5 th 1751.
On July 22 nd 1752 he supplied malt and hops and brewed for three days. On October 21 st he supplied malt and hops and brewed one day.

Two years later Cripps presents an invoice from September 26 th 1754 which gives some indication of the recipe that was brewed:

September 26 th 8 bushels malt, 3lb hops, for brewing.
November 14 th 9 bushels malt, 3.5lb hops, for brewing.
December 12 th 8 bushels malt, 3lb hops, for brewing.
1755 January 13 th 8 bushels malt, 3lb hops, for brewing.

John Newbery in an undated invoice but entered in the archive as 1752 – 1760 brews, empties coals and wood and cleans the court, house and garden.

That concludes the extant invoices to John Ivory Talbot who died in 1772.

Invoices to Reverend Doctor Davenport and Lady Davenport

Samuell Grist invoices the Reverend Doctor [William] Davenport on March 29 th 1779 for 12 days brewing and cleaning casks “when I eate my own vittels”, and on October 5 th 1779 for 16 more days brewing and cleaning the vessels. March and October were the preferred times of the year for brewing.

Charles Hudd invoices the Reverend Doctor Davenport on August 26 th 1780 for 18 days brewing and Lady Davenport for 11 days brewing on October 3 rd 1781. The Reverend Doctor died in 1781.

William Davenport Talbot, son of the Reverend Doctor married Elizabeth Theresa Fox Strangeways in 1796 and died soon after fathering William Henry Fox Talbot in 1800. Lady Elizabeth remarried to Captain Charles Feilding in 1804.

Account Book to Captain Feilding

Philip Phelps (estate manager?) recorded his account with Captain Feilding in a book dated 1827 – 1830. The style of reporting diverges from previous invoices in that work supporting the main task of brewing is costed.

The account book opens with:

Beer for the men.
Beer for the men brewing twice.
For assistance in brewing twice.

November 24 th 1827, Brewing and cleansing cellar.
January 21 st 1828, Men for preparing the brewing 2 days.
January 24 th and 25 th saw a man drawing off two butts of beer, Bringing beer from Mr Paley’s and helping the cooper cradle the casks, 2 days. (Were they buying beer from Mr Paley?)
March 13 th, Brewer putting brewing things in order, brewing one day, cleaning and putting away Mr. Paley’s things including victuals and beer.
May 26 th and June 16 th, Brewer brewing 1 day, assistance before and after.

Clearly brewing was recorded and priced as a more communal operation than previously. Brewing may have been considered an expensive and labour-intensive operation ripe for rationalization for in 1833 it appears that much of the coopering and raw material procurement was outsourced to Haynes Maltsters of Paddington. The alternative explanation is that small scale local malting and coopering was dying out.

Captain Feilding was invoiced in 1831 for:

2×63 gallon casks.
1×45 gallon cask.
1×36 gallon cask.
29 bushels malt.
29 lbs hops.
Bungs (corks and pegs).
Use of brewing utensils.

On August 22 nd 1833 Haynes invoiced for Unheading and Cleaning casks and October 15 th for 23 bushels of malt, 25lb of hops, mending 6 casks and the use of brewing utensils.

Invoices to Lady Elizabeth Feilding

Captain Feilding died in 1837, for the last recorded bill from Haynes was to Lady Elizabeth Feilding for October 21 st and 23 rd 1839 for 22 bushels malt, 22lbs hops, heading and hoops and the use of brewery utensils.

The last evidence of brewing is an invoice from the local E&R Barton to Lady Elizabeth in October 1842 for 38 bushels of malt and 39 lbs of hops. The receipt is dated Dec 31st and signed by Richard Barton. Edward and Richard Barton were brothers who were maltsters and hop merchants in Bewley Lane, just across the river and canal.

Scant Evidence of Recipes

John Bankes brewed strong and small beer from brews of 24 bushels and one of 10 bushels. Unfortunately there is no mention of the hop rate.

Thomas Cripps makes three brews of 8 bushels of malt and 3lb of hops. The one brew of 9 bushels used 3.5lbs hops. The hop rate is standardised at approximately 3lb to one quarter of malt.

The Feildings’ transactions demonstrate an increase in the hop rate to 1lb to 1 bushel, or 8lbs per quarter.

[3]L Chiming – make a bevel on either end of the cask and groove for the head (Kenneth Kilby, The Cooper and his Trade 1971, 28)

[4] The pipe, for wine, was synonymous with the butt – half a tun or in the case of a pipe, 126 wine gallons.

[5] A pipe with a flat bottom which stood upright. William Ellis, The London and Country Brewer, 7th Edition, on the Butt – “being generally set upright, whereby it maintains a large Cover of Yeast, that greatly contributes to the keeping in the Spirits of the Beer,” (Ellis 1736 – 1759, 21)

[6] Spudgel – A small bowl or bucket with a long handle used for scooping water – OED

[7] January 1 st was not celebrated as the new Year until 1752 when the Gregorian calendar was adopted in England. Until this date New Year was 25 th March.

Cellar Inventories

An inventory of 1782 reveals that the brewery was making strong beer, ale and small beer. The cellar held 7 Hogsheads of Strong Beer, 1 Hogshead of Fresh Ale. On tap (broached for serving) were 1 Large Hogshead of Strong Beer, 1 Hogshead of Ale and 1 Hogshead of Small Beer.

The cooler months of the year were the safest for brewing and the cellar(s) [8] would be stocked up to supply the house with strong ale and beer for most of the year. The cellar inventory from October 1782 to October 1783 details 21 Hogsheads of strong beer brewed and in the cellar. What follows gives the year’s consumption of alcoholic beverages.

“Now remaining 8 hogsheads Drank within the year 13 Hogsheads of Strong Beer – 28 Hogsheads and ½ of small beer, 5 more remaining. 24 Hogsheads drank. 22 dozen and 2 Bottles of old Port Wine drank”

Consumed within the year:

Strong Beer 13 hogsheads (702 ale gallons), average consumed per week 13.5 gallons or 108 pints.
Small Beer 24 hogsheads (1296 ale gallons), average consumed per week 24.9 gallons or 199.2 pints.
Port Wine 266 bottles, average consumed per week 5 bottles.

Unfortunately the number of persons consuming the above are not known. It is likely that everyone drank the small beer (which approaches twice the volume of strong beer) and the higher status occupants consumed the strong beer and port. Despite enjoying a good fresh water supply, it may not have been popular to drink neat, most people at the time seeming to prefer alcoholic beverages.

[8]L An inventory of 1788 includes an ale cellar and small beer cellar as well as a wine cellar. An inventory of 1801 adds an inner small beer cellar. Cellars were all at ground surface level.

Malt house

Prior to alterations in 1723 a malthouse appears on plans of the old house. This small room, not now existing, adjoins a pastry room and the kitchen and appears to have been a storage room for malt. There are no records of malting on site and no existing evidence of a malthouse, but there must have been another malthouse after the alterations, as an estimate of repairs to the brewhouse and malthouse from Robert Pritty and Mr Hollins dates from 1731-34. In 1751 to 1753 Gabriel Golledge itemises four visits for work at the malthouse. Peter Cott in 1758 spent a day at the malthouse and George White worked at the malthouse yard for 6 days in 1825. This is the only reference to a malthouse yard, implying a stand-alone building of some size. Whatever the existence and use of a malthouse, malt was also bought in. Almost 70 bills for malt exist between the 1720s and 1842. Clearly, the malt house was not a maltings, its only use being a storehouse for bought in malt. Other malthouses existed on the estate which supplied the abbey. In the 1750s Ambrose Hunt invoiced for malt and hops and Betty Hunt invoiced for malt in 1753. An invoice for supplies from November 1758 to December 1759 details hops, malt, bran and fine gurgings [9]. Gurgings and bran may just be horse fodder but it was common to float coarse grains on the water in the copper to keep in the heat and “spirit”. The Hunts’ malthouse was an estate building as evinced by an invoice from Peter Cott in 1746 to mend the cistern in Mr Hunt’s malthouse. It must have been a large repair because he appears to have used 3.5lb of solder!

In 1719 a house called “Webbs House” (sic) [10] was leased with a new malthouse from which George Franklin supplied malt in 1726 – 27.

The estate records refer to other sites where domestic malting took place, although they are not referred to as supplying the abbey. In 1769 and 1785 leases were prepared for a tenement and malthouse as part of a building called “The Ring” at the southwest corner of the high street. The property must have been extensive because it sported stables, outhouses, gardens and waters. A bill from George Banks itemises building work taking down “late Joyce’s house, pulling down the malt kiln” in 1823 – 24.

[9]L Gurgins – Gurgeons are coarse meal.

[10]Location 461 and 465 on the 1764 map.

Malthouse
Figure 4. Malthouse. Reproduced by kind permission of Wiltshire & Swindon History Centre.

Hop Yard?

 The house alterations of the 1720s were part of an extensive improvement scheme which included the grounds. In 1719 John Ivory Talbot, (who inherited in 1714), wrote to Henry Davenport:

“My inclinations are still more fixed for this place than ever, & it will be with the greatest reluctancy if I am drawn up to parliament this year. I am about so handsome a work (which I must own my brother Ivory forced me upon) that you yourself will say when finished will be as surprising & agreeable as any gardens in England, & in some particulars almost as large, tho’ not expensive largeness, for I include in my bounds of the garden my meadows, cow grounds, & hop yard which I will begin upon before I’m a year older – I am very busy in turfing the slopes & walks of each side of my canal, & digging the borders for the walks in the wilderness.”

It is unlikely that the hop yard was ever begun for there is no evidence of it, written or physical; the existence of numerous bills for hops, usually with malt, demonstrate that hops were bought in after 1720 until 1842.

Lacock Brewery Ceases Production

The brewhouse was still in use mid-19 th century because in October 1842 Lady Elizabeth Feilding bought 38 bushels of malt and 39 lbs hops from E & R Barton. The receipt is dated Dec 31st and signed by Richard Barton. Edward and Richard Barton were brothers who were maltsters and hop merchants in Bewley Lane, just across the river and canal. The old malthouse, which dates from early 19 th century, still exists as does the Lacock Brewery building close by. This is the last available record of the purchase of malt and hops. This does not prove the imminent closure of the brewery, but the house occupants were already in the habit of purchasing beer from outside sources; in 1842 ale was purchased from Melksham brewery. Numerous records exist of money or beer or purchase of beer as wages or part of expenses but as a rule beer was not purchased directly for the family.

Did the brewhouse cease production from this time? Lady Feilding, Henry Fox Talbot’s mother, died in 1844 and I surmise that her son had no interest in brewing. An invoice from Bath City Wine Vaults to William Henry Fox Talbot dated November 11th, 1868, details:  

August 12 pints Ale 4 shillings.
September 12 pints Ale 4 shillings.
October 12 pints Ale 4 shillings.

This is pure speculation but why, if the brewery was producing large amounts of beer/ale, was a (albeit small) regular supply of bottled ale purchased from a wholesaler over a three month period? Lamb and Tylee were retailing the Burton beer of Bass and Allsop (IPA). This beer was all the rage so the inventor of the calotype photographic process had either closed his own brewhouse and was drinking less than his ancestors, or just wanted something special. At some point after 1842 the brewhouse ceased production, and I believe some equipment was taken out and the crumbling structure consolidated and made safe. More of this later.

The house and village became the property of the National Trust in 1944 by gift of the artist, Matilda Theresa Talbot, who continued to live there until her death in 1958.


Old Malthouse Lacock
Figure 5. The Old Malthouse with adjoining Coach House, Bewley Lane circa early 1800s
Lacock Brewery in Bewley Lane
Figure 6. Lacock Brewery, Bewley Lane circa 1840 – 1850