The Gentry is a history of England told through its families. This website contains family trees, a few maps and many images illustrating some of the background to the twelve families who carry the story of England in the book.

Read a sample chapter about Sir John Oglander, the 17th-century squire of Nunwell in the Isle of Wight, his life and family, his dreams and ambitions and the tragedies that struck him....

The English Gentleman

The Emglish Gentleman

Richard Brathwait (1587/8–1673) was a Cumbrian gent, and a prolific poet, journalist, satirist, travel writer and moralist. The English Gentleman (1630) and The English Gentlewoman, published a year later, were reprinted many times throughout his life. The idea of the books was to tell people who were not quite sure what it was to be a gentle-man or –woman how to behave, dress, speak, play, stand and talk.  The rather cocky lad who graces the title page has his hope in the heavens, but his feet on his lands, while on his right, two young men meet in a gallery and assure each other that ‘My love is true.’ These are the ingredients of gentry wellbeing: godliness, landed possessions and a network of like-minded friends.

Back to the Gentry over time