Hilary Sunman

A Lotois family in peace and war: lives in letters

IreneeAn introduction: In the summer of 2014 the Chateau des Albenquats burned down. I could see the plume of black smoke from my garden; thought it was a big bonfire, although they are not allowed in the dry summer months. But when I took my regular evening stroll, a kilometre along a quiet lane in the valley of the Lissourges river, I realised that it was the chateau; the smell of smoke and floccons of ash falling gently.  Read more

About Hilary Sunman

I am a writer of history, an economist, a traveller and a restorer of furniture – and write to reflect on the past and the people who lived there. Read more

Published Writing

DartmouthHow Dartmouth shops have changed since the 1960s In the mid 1960s, Dartmouth was a small self contained town, based on fishing and maritime trade with a few tourist boats and the Britannia Royal Naval College. Fifty years later, the fishing has all but gone, the number of tourist boats has exploded and there is still the college. There are also two supermarkets, sixteen art galleries, and only one butcher and one green grocer. Read more

New Writing

Monkey puzzle: South Wales is a region of mountains, rolling valleys, craggy hills and mists. It is also a wonderful place for walking on Drovers' ways and ancient paths. The ways used to carry all the traffic of people and animals to market and beyond. Cattle trains half a mile long would comprise hundreds of animals, minded by men on horseback, chased and controlled by small sharp collies. The ways are punctuated by Scot's pines – three planted together signalled a hostelry; and by prehistoric standing stones that seem to be endowed with a certain mystic quality. Who placed them there? When, and why? Read more


'Hilary Sunman has written a fascinating account of how a naive young man - her father - was dispatched to run a chunk of the empire towards the end of Britain's colonial stewardship of Kenya. It is an invaluable reminder that - far from the excesses of Mau Mau and White Mischief - hundreds of men like Owen quietly set out from these shores each year to try to do the decent thing in the far flung patches of the map coloured pink'. Evening Standard Read more comments on Hilary's work