Claire Martin grew up at the far end of Cornwall in a sympathetic family who were happy to accommodate a slightly eccentric twelve year old who thought holidays should be spent exploring medieval cathedrals and castles. There she attended the little known Helston Community College, which, despite the odds, propelled her to Oxford University to read History. On graduating she spent a number of years experimenting with a range of careers which included everything from bathroom design to building maintenance and selling herbs (not that kind). Eventually, a very enjoyable period as a tour guide at Blenheim Palace brought her back to her first love, history.
She was lucky enough to study for an MA and PhD at Royal Holloway, University of London, under the acknowledged doyenne of the history of London, Prof. Caroline Barron, where she developed a love for medieval England’s capital city. She has a passion for the lives of ordinary people, the nuts and bolts of daily existence and human relationships but also for the stories that emerge when critical historical events meet the individual. Academically, she has written or spoken at a variety of conferences on subjects such as road and river transport in medieval London, the treatment and care of orphans and frequently overlooked groups of citizens, such as carters or girdlers.
When not immersed in fifteenth-century society, she has a keen interest in canine behaviour, which she is studying in her spare time. She lives in a secret green oasis called Ham, near Richmond, with two geriatric cats and three naughty dogs who provide a constant source of ‘interesting’ behaviour.