About Me

I was educated at St Paul's School in London and Keble College, Oxford and went on to train as an archivist in the world-famous Bodleian Library.  I spent 37 years as a professional archivist, and was Chairman of the National Council on Archives from 2001 to 2005, and Head of Archives Sector Development and Secretary of the Historical Manuscripts Commission at the National Archives from 2005 until I retired in May 2015.

Alongside my professional career I have also been an architectural historian of the country house. This is a passion nurtured at Oxford, where I was President of the University Architectural Society. Between 1989 and 2001 my three volume study of The country houses of Gloucestershire was published, and my distinctive contribution has been to put together the evidence for the history of country houses and landed estates that can be gleaned from family archives and genealogy with the evidence from the buildings themselves, to tell a richer narrative than any of these sources alone can provide. I am now embarked on this ambitious blog, which aims to tell the story of every landed family in the British Isles and their country houses. If I continue working hard until I am a centenarian I might just finish the job!

Since one big project is never enough, I am also involved as a Trustee and volunteer with the Victoria County History of England, which aims to tell the story of every English village and town, and I do some advisory work for the National Trust, which looks after so many of the country houses I care passionately about.

I have been married for 39 years to my precious and special wife Mary, who mercifully tolerates my obsessions and collections, and even my cooking.


  1. I am researching/writing the family story of Elizabeth Holland Smith Stinson. I am sure that she descends from this family. Since NO ONE in my family cares about family history I have been uploading my family history stories to internet archive. You have so much information that applies to Elizabeth's line that I don't know how to edit it into my own words and it will certainly fall into copyright issues. Right now I'd like to use mostly just the first paragraph of each man. Birth, marriage, death. Not naming the children. It would turn into Gone With The Wind if I included more. Could I get permission to do that? I'm willing to forward a copy of my work when I get that far and you can decide whether I've gone overboard. toniwalker1946@gmail.com

    1. You are welcome to use material from my site but please include an acknowledgement of the source and (if possible) a link to the relevant page(s).

  2. I am interested in more information about Storrs Hall. You mention in a post dated 2016 your intention of writing a future post about Storrs Hall in connection with a Pearson family. If so, is it available on your site? I am a descendant of Samuel Storrs (son of Thomas and Mary Storrs of Sutton-cum-Lound, Nottinghamshire) who was the progenitor of the Storrs family in America. Family members have indeed confused the Storrs Hall on Lake Windemere with the one I believe you refer to in your blog post. It's never too late to set the record straight! Many thanks in advance for any insight you might offer to this bit of family history.
    Donna Lilly

    1. Dear Donna,
      I am working alphabetically through the landed families and I fear it will be many years before I get to the letter P. The 'Index to Houses Described' page, to which a link is provided above, lists all the houses I have covered so far.
      Nick Kingsley


Please leave a comment if you have any additional information or corrections to offer, or if you are able to help with additional images of the people or buildings in this post.