Sir Nicholas and Lady Mander

Sir Nicholas and Lady Mander
Sir Nicholas and Lady Mander

Nicholas and Karin Mander have made their home at Owlpen Manor since 1974, running the estate and developing its enterprises. Since then they have restored the Tudor manor house, garden and outbuildings, and revived and extended the estate, giving it new life for the conditions of today. The estate includes a cluster of nine award-winning holiday cottages and a restaurant, as well as traditional farming and forestry businesses focused on amenity and conservation.

Nicholas Mander was born in Wolverhampton in 1950 and grew up in rural Shropshire and the Cotswolds. He was educated at Downside and Trinity College, Cambridge, where he was top scholar of his year. He was co-founder of Mander Portman Woodward, today one of the country's best-known independent sixth-form college groups based in London. He has been a director of a number of property development and investment companies in London and Spain, and was a founding director of Sutton Publishing, a book publishing and production company based in Gloucestershire.

Nicholas is an author who has lectured and published widely, mainly on historical and art-historical subjects. In 2004 he published the first volume of a family history, Varnished Leaves: a biography of the Mander Family of Wolverhampton, 1750–1950 (Owlpen Press: ISBN 0954605608). In 2008 Country Houses of the Cotswolds from the archives of Country Life was published (Aurum Press: ISBN 1845133315). It was followed by the US edtion in March 2009, published as The Cotswold House: stone houses and interiors from the English Countryside (Rizzoli, ISBN 0847831809). In 2011 he published Borromean Rings: The Genealogy of the Mander Family (Owlpen Press) and The Queen of Seven Swords: readings of vanished lives followed in 2013. He has also written a short history of Owlpen Manor (80pp; latest edition 2006), brief lives of Norman Jewson (1987) and Sir Geoffrey Mander (Journal of Liberal History), and an extended essay on painted cloths (Textile History, vol. 28, no. 2, 1997).

Nicholas is involved in many national and local charities and voluntary organisations. He has been a trustee of the Woodchester Mansion Trust, the Orders of St John Care Trust and the Chambers Taylor Children's Trust, founder chairman of the Gloucestershire Care Partnership operating 19 care homes for the elderly in Gloucestershire, founder chairman of the Gloucestershire County History Trust, Patron of the appeal for St Peter's Church in Wolverhampton and a council member of St John Ambulance for Gloucestershire. He is a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of London, a liveryman of the Fishmongers' Company, a knight of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta and a knight of the Sacred Military Constantinian Order of Saint George. He succeeded as the fourth baronet of The Mount in 2006. He is the 28th recorded Lord of the Manor of Owlpen as well as (reputedly) Lord of the Manor of Aston Cantlow in Worcestershire.

Karin Mander was born in Stockholm. She runs the restaurant at Owlpen, where she has featured her native Scandinavian cuisine on TV programmes and in magazines in England, Sweden and the United States.

Nicholas and Karin have five children –– Sarra, Marcus, Benedict, Hugo and Fabian –– said to be the first to have been born and raised in the manor house since the early eighteenth century. And ten grandchildren: Thea, Saskia, Alice, Alfie, Cicely, Ivan, Oscar, Laurence, Sebastian and Cassian. They are all of them to be seen at Owlpen.

The Mander Family

Marcus, Hugo, Nicholas, Fabian, Karin, Sarra and Benedict on the steps of Owlpen
Marcus, Hugo, Nicholas, Fabian, Karin, Sarra and Benedict 
on the steps of Owlpen

For over 250 years the Mander family has held a prominent position in the Midlands, both in the family business and public life. Mander Brothers was a major employer in the town of Wolverhampton and became the Number One manufacturers of varnish, paint and later printing ink in the British Empire. From Georgian times, members of the family were involved in civic and county affairs in Staffordshire. The family was also distinguished for its public services, art patronage and philanthropy, and Charles Tertius Mander was given a baronetcy in the Coronation honours of George V.

The following article is divided into eight sections. The first section is a brief outilne history of the family; section two contains excerpts from Varnished Leaves, Nicholas Mander's new book; section three is a reference point for Mander family genealogy; section four links to the Wolverhampton History and Heritage website for an article on Mander Brothers; section five is an article on the life of Sir Geoffrey Mander, the Liberal MP who gave Wightwick Manor to the National Trust in 1937, adapted from an article which appeared in the journal, Liberal History; section six gives a brief life of Sir Charles Tertius Mander, with photographs of his funeral in 1929; the seventh section describes the collecting habits of the family, with reference to Owlpen; the final section eight is an appreciation of the life of Sir Charles Marcus Mander, who died in August 2006, by Bev Parker, with some obituaries.

Varnished Leaves

From the Wolverhampton History and Heritage Society website:

Nicholas's new book is a 'must' for anyone that's interested in the Mander family or Wolverhampton's past. The book is structured to treat the six generations from 1750 to 1950.

There are sideways glances at the history of the business, the property (particularly the Mander Centre and Perton Estate), the houses and art collections, philanthropic initiatives, the wives and occasionally children. There are chapters on the cadet line of the Manders of Wightwick Manor and Amy Mander, the Irish nationalist. There are 400 pages, making available a lot of original documents, and about 65 illustrations.

Country Houses of the Cotswolds

From the Archives of Country Life
Nicholas Mander

The Cotswolds, the ridge of limestone hills that runs for fifty miles, from Chipping Campden in the north to Bath in the south, are England's largest designated area of outstanding natural beauty. The region's lovely, unspoilt countryside, together with its unrivalled heritage of vernacular architecture, based on its versatile honey-coloured limestone, and the proximity of Bath, Oxford and Stratford-upon-Avon make it England's most important tourist destination outside London.

For over a hundred years, Country Life magazine has published a weekly article devoted to a country house, including scores of examples from the Cotswolds. Superbly illustrated with specially commissioned photographs, they form an unrivalled archive - a unique repository of architectural history. Drawing on this remarkable resource, Nicholas Mander has selected 200 photographs to illustrate his fascinating survey of the Cotswold house through the ages.

Over thirty houses, grouped by period and style, reveal the historical and architectural importance of the Cotswolds. Divided into three main sections, the book looks first at the sublime castles, such as Sudeley and Berkeley Castles, steeped in national history spanning a thousand years, and magnificent examples of early manor houses, such as Owlpen Manor, Daneway House and Snowshill Manor, as well as important Jacobean houses, such as Stanway and Chastleton House.

The second part focuses on the great Classical country houses and noblemen's palaces of the eighteenth century, like Badminton House, Cirencester House and Dyrham Park.

Finally, the third part surveys the twentieth century and beyond, documenting the work of leading practitioners of the Arts and Crafts movement, including Ernest Barnsley's Rodmarton Manor and William Morris's Kelmscott - superb embodiments of the Arts and Crafts ideal. A concluding chapter deals with recent developments, most notably in gardens such as Barnsley House, Hidcote and the Prince of Wales's Highgrove.

Mander Family Links

Mander Family in Wikipedia:
Mander Family 
Mander Baronets 
Sir Charles Tertius Mander, 1st Baronet 
Sir Charles Arthur Mander, 2nd Baronet 
Sir Charles Marcus Mander, 3rd Baronet 
Sir Nicholas Mander, 4th Baronet 
Mander Brothers 
Sir Geoffrey Mander 
Miles Mander 
Jane Mander, novelist

Sir Charles Tertius Mander, 1st Baronet:
Pictures at Staffordshire Yeomanry summer camp 1910
Wolverhampton City and local people
Tettenhall People

Jane Mander (1877-1949), New Zealand novelist:
Encyclopedia of New Zealand 
Oxford Companion to New Zealand Literature

Mander Portman Woodward
Tutorial colleges

Mander Family Genealogy Forum 
Miles Mander: film actor and novelist
Oscar Rejlander, family photos of the 1850s
Mander Organs


The Mount, Tettenhall Wood, Staffordshire 
Wightwick Manor: National Trust site 
Wightwick Manor: Wikipedia entry
Wolverhampton and the Mander Centre