link to Talbot Project home page link to De Montfort University home page link to Glasgow University home page
Project Director: Professor Larry J Schaaf

Back to the letter search >

Document number: 02424
Date: 27 Sep 1832
Recipient: FEILDING Elisabeth Theresa, née Fox Strangways
Author: TALBOT William Henry Fox
Collection: British Library, London, Manuscripts - Fox Talbot Collection
Collection number historic: LA(H)32-6
Last updated: 27th August 2012

Alton Abbey
27th September 1832

My Dear Mother,

I have written so many letters to Lacock lately that you must be ruined in postage.

This is one of the finest places in England for besides its magnificence it is situated in a charming romantic country – The splendour of the house and gardens is worthy of royalty itself, it would take a fortnight minutely to examine all the pictures statues vases armour cabinets & furniture of all sorts that everywhere meet the eye & almost bewilder it. The conservatory forms the communication between the drawing room and the circular statue room. The plants are mixed with very pretty statues and cages containing rare birds. This may not sound well in description, but I think it is very pleasant. Half the house is yet to build so that it will be immense. On entering the Hall door you pass straight on through the armoury & picture gallery, which must be together 200 feet, then enter the circular statue room (copied from the Chapter House at Wells) then you turn to the right thro’ the conservatory to the drawing room which has the form of a T. the two parts of it being divided by a large arch; across which a curtain can be drawn, when they act plays. The house is built of a sparkling grit or sandstone, quarried at the distance of a few hundred yards – no architect employed, Lord S. <1> having found by experience that they do no good. Sir Robert and Lady Peel <2> were here of all birds in the air.

Of course politics were a forbidden subject Sir Robert smiled, made civil speeches, and talked about pictures. Lady Peel looked beautiful and ornamental, so all went off very well & host & guest seemed mutually pleased.

Direct to me at the postoffice Bangor – I am going to Penrhyn Castle for 3 or 4 days, & afterwards I think into Cardiganshire.

Lady E. Feilding
Lacock Abbey


1. John Talbot, 16th Earl Shrewsbury (1791–1852); he was the owner of Alton Towers.

2. Sir Robert Peel (1788–1850), Prime Minister, and his wife Julia Peel.