I was brought up and educated at Maidenhead in Berkshire, a town to the west of London and situated on the River Thames. From here, I went to University College, Cardiff, where I gained a Bachelor of Arts honours degree in Archaeology. It is easy to get hooked by field archaeology, and I spent all of my Cardiff vacations on digs, mainly at the Roman town of Usk in south Wales. After graduating, I went to work as a field archaeologist at Milton Keynes, where a huge amount of excavation and field survey was being done in advance of building a new town. This is where I met Lesley, and we next moved to south London and worked together on the major excavation of a prehistoric settlement and Roman villa site at Beddington near Croydon.
By now we were employed as field archaeologists by the Museum of London, but changes were afoot. We therefore decided to take a huge risk and set up as freelance archaeological consultants in Somerset, undertaking archaeological assessments by documentary research and excavation, as well as providing expert evidence on archaeological matters for public inquiries. We also became involved in the editing, copy-editing and indexing of archaeology and history books, as well as writing our own books. We already had two books published and were working on a third when we moved to Somerset. Although we took on all sorts of archaeological work and were constantly busy doing up a derelict house, we kept on writing books at the same time, because that aspect of our work gave the most satisfaction.
We also enjoyed taking groups on archaeological and historical tours within the UK, and became increasingly interested in photography – and now run our own picture library.
The New Millennium brought more changes, because we moved to Devon and began to write more-or-less full-time. Some things haven’t altered, as we’re still involved in doing up yet another decaying house, but this time with a much larger garden of several acres. Our latest book to be published is Eavesdropping on Jane Austen’s England (Jane Austen’s England in the US). Our previous book was Jack Tar: Life in Nelson’s Navy, which was published in paperback as Jack Tar: The extraordinary lives of ordinary seamen in Nelson’s navy.
We are both Fellows of the Society of Antiquaries of London (a society that was founded in 1707 and received its Royal Charter from King George II in 1751). We are also Fellows of the Royal Historical Society, as well as Members of the Chartered Institute for Archaeologists and Members of the Society of Authors.