The Spectator

Christmas Books II

Hugh Massingberd

‘It is difficult’, writes A. N. Wilson in The Victorians (Hutchinson, £25), ‘for me to conceive of a more agreeable life than that of a Victorian country parson.’ Reading his brilliantly panoramic, constantly stimulating and humanely wise portrait of an age and the characters who created it left me longing to have been one of the Reverend Wilson’s parishioners – well, all right, the squire. Country-house owners ignorant of architectural history (one Irish ch

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