To know the Verneys is to know the seventeenth century, writes Adrian Tinniswood in his brilliant new book and thanks to the chance survival in an attic of tens of thousands of their letters, we know the Verneys very well indeed. By drawing on their letters, he reveals the world of this family of Buckinghamshire gentry in extraordinary detail and intimacy. ere is Edmund Verney, Charles I s standard bearer at Edgehill. He died there; all they found of him was his hand, still clutching the King s standard. Edmund left ten children, the oldest of whom, Ralph, struggled to hold the family together during the Civil War. He lost the respect of his brothers and sisters because he alone of the Verneys supported the Parliamentarian cause. Then Parliament, suspicious of royalist connections, hounded him into exile. alph s brother Mun was a professional soldier who survived Cromwell s attack on Drogheda in 1649, only to be stabbed to death two days later. Their sister Mall fell pregnant out of wedlock. Bess ran off with a clergyman. Henry was obsessed with horse-racing. Cary gambled away a fortune. Tom was a devout Christian and a petty crook- packed off abroad, he kept returning to s
Adrian Tinniswood is a historian and educationalist. He lectures regularly in Britain and the US, and was for many years consultant to the National Trust on heritage education. He is the author of eleven books of social and architectural history including His Invention So Fertile, his acclaimed biography of Sir Christopher Wren. His most recent book was By Permission of Heaven- The Story of the Great Fire of London.