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....

1950s–2010s The Cliffords, Gloucestershire

The Cliffords

Few families in England can claim to have been living in the same place for a thousand years. The Cliffords of Frampton on Severn are approaching that anniversary. Over the last 300 years, they have sustained and beautified the place with a series of solutions that have kept the Clifford and Frampton show on the road. In the eighteenth century, with large amounts of money from marrying a Bristol customs official, at a time when Bristol was one of the great slave and sugar entrepôts of the world; in the 19th century, mortgaging the whole estate almost to the hilt; in the 20th, selling off part of the estate to clear those mortgages, then embarking on large-scale gravel extraction; more recently using one of those gravel pits as a landfill site, combined with intensive horticulture; now, in part, the tourist business. Every one of these solutions has been steered towards maintaining a profoundly traditional view of the gentry’s relationship to the community, looking after the village, not spending today what will be needed tomorrow.