Consultant on the history of British buildings

Jean Manco is a building historian of uncertain age. She was probably born in the Elizabethan period and revived in the Victorian. She explains away periodic lapses into Anglo-Saxon as 'folk-memories'.

She researches buildings for anyone who asks nicely, cheque-book in hand. (But if your building is an expensive distance from her base in Bristol, you could save on travel and accommodation costs by using someone nearer to you. For example Nick Barrett and Jonathan Foyle are based in London.) Clients have come from a wide range of bodies: English Heritage, local government, archaeological units, architectural and building firms, and non-profit organisations. Her studies are often published in scholarly format, but she also writes popular material for display or magazines, which sometimes leads to chats on local radio.

She does the odd (sometimes very odd) lecture. Those at Plymouth University mean a delightful journey down the Great Western line from her home in Bristol, with the ocean in various moods flashing past the window.

She was born on the other side of the country at Boston. So she claims a deprived childhood, with a serious absense of hills and building stone, but the truth is that family connections took her regularly to the glorious Peak District. As an adult she lived in London, Manchester, Brighton and Bath before settling in Bristol. Most of her professional work has been done in the West Country.

Along the way she has acquired skills in palaeography and medieval Latin, fabric analysis and deciphering settlement pattern. When it comes to buildings, she refuses to specialise. She likes fine architecture of all periods and has written on everything from castles to cottages and Saxon to modern. Still she will confess to a particular predeliction for medieval hospitals.

Some of the detritus of her life can be found at Jean Manco: flotsam and jetsam, and her explorations into European prehistory and early history at Ancestral Journeys.

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