Cranford producers realized that Knutsford, the Chesire market town in which Elizabeth Gaskell’s novel is set, has become too modern to serve as a realistic background for a movie based upon the novel. Lacock to the rescue!
Pride and Prejudice 1995 required a picturesque village. The crew went to Lacock and renamed it Meryton! (Third image below)
Emma 1996 required a piano to be hoisted to the second floor of an old and narrow apartment. A house in Lacock fit the bill!
With streets that have remained essentially unchanged for centuries and with the absence of arial wires and satellite dishes, Lacock in Wiltshire has become a hot location for period films. Movies that have been filmed there and that you may recognize are: Pride and Prejudice 1995, Emma 1996, Moll Flanders, Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, Harry Potter, The Other Boleyn Girl, The Wolf Man, Lark Rise to Candleford, and Cranford. The pictures in this Lacock link were taken in April 2007, prior to a Cranford shoot. The jail in the middle of the road which held young Harry’s father is made of fiberglass.
One can imagine how disruptive these frequent location shoots can be for Lacock’s residents, even though they are compensated. Locals were given £100 if their houses were affected during filming, and they could make extra cash by serving as extras. Aceshowbiz (See photos above and below.)
Town residents stand to make more off Harry Potter 6, but the inconveniences will be greater. High Street and Church Street will close during filming, and the bus stop outside the George Inn will be relocated. Businesses that break closure rules will risk a fine of £1,000. (Swindon Advertiser). For the “privilege” of hosting the Harry Potter crew again, Warner Brothers will pay the village £30,000, which will be split between the Abbey owners National Trust and Lacock Parish Council. The movie-making teams will be allowed to return for four days in October to shoot scenes between 5 PM and 5 AM with Daniel Radcliffe.
When town resident Mary Little, 55, learned that part two of Cranford would be filmed in Lacock, she said: “It would be lovely to work with the cast and crew again – it was brilliant the first time around.
“Everyone in the village quite enjoys the buzz of having stars coming here and us appearing in films and the TV.”
The Talbot family is the main reason why this picturesque village, which dates back to Saxon times, stayed so quaint and old-fashioned. Laycock’s landlords since the mid-19th century, the family refused to let the railway in! Their most famous son is Fox Talbot, a pioneer in photography.
Lacock’s history is a long and proud one. The medieval abbey dates back to 1232, and during the Middle Ages the small village became a prosperous and thriving community through its wool industry. Situated on the ‘cloth road’ from London and the River Avon, it had access to the sea at Avonmouth near Bristol. The village was also located on a direct route between London and Bath, and it became a popular stop for travelers. To this day, Lacock remains a small village:
Gaining residence in one of the 89 houses, which date back to the 16th century, is no mean feat. The National Trust has a written letting policy, favouring people with family connections in the village. Having children is also an advantage. Graham Heard, National Trust property manager for Lacock, said: “We have to be selective. People who apply to live here should contribute to community life, so commuters are far from ideal.
Despite having a population of only about 350, Lacock still boasts five pubs, a village hall, a church, a primary school and a local store complete with post office.” (This is Wiltshire)
For Cranford, the village’s Red Lion pub in the High Street was turned into Johnson’s Store. Its ground floor frontage was given a face-lift with a coat of dark gray paint and dry goods were placed in the windows. (Radio Times)
To read more information about Lacock, and to see more images, click on the links below:
Hay in Art: Fox Talbot’s photograph
Walker’s Web Lacock to Bowden Hill, 5.5 miles