The Armourer's House

by Rosemary Sutcliff

Gift Books Children's & YA Fiction Lifestyle, Hobbies and Leisure

LoveReading Expert Review of The Armourer's House

An imaginative girl finds thrilling adventures close to home in this glorious new edition of a Tudor-set classic

What a treat it is for a Rosemary Sutcliff treasure to be newly presented to the world, and in a beautiful package that befits the story’s historic charms and thrills, with charming chapter heading illustrations by Isabel Greenberg, and an introduction by Lara Maiklem, the acclaimed author of Mudlarking. This Manderley Press edition of The Armourer’s House will make a glorious gift for fans of historic fiction who relish intrigue and atmosphere, and comes highly recommended for readers who love Eva Ibbotson’s writing, and contemporary writers like Celia Rees and Katherine Rundell.

First published in 1951, The Armourer’s House is set in London during the reign of Henry VIII, and rich in the engaging period detail Sutcliff is renowned for. When her grandmother dies, Tamsyn leaves her Devonshire seaside town and ship merchant Uncle Martin to live with Uncle Gideon in his armourer’s house on the Thames. Having a wife and large family, Gideon is deemed a more suitable guardian, but Tamsyn “did not want to be brought up properly, she only wanted to be happy”. She also longs to “have adventure and sail the seas of the world” — how on earth will she manage so far from the sea?

Though something of a fish out of water in London’s chaos, Tamsyn’s imagination and heart are captured by the river traffic that passes Dolphin House, with her new excitement engagingly evoked alongside details of life in Tudor London — the Royal Dockyard, Billingsgate fish market, the autumnal “pink-flushed sky” behind Westminster, King Henry VIII himself travelling in the Royal Barge with Queen Anne Boleyn. Tellingly, Tamsyn “liked the Queen best, observing how her eyes were “terribly unhappy”.

Then, on magic-charged Midsummer’s Eve, a Wise Woman presages that Tamsyn will find her “heart’s desire”, enhancing the novel’s aura of enchantment, and leading to a delightful denouement. Heartily satisfying for 9+ year-olds who love historic fiction, this also comes recommended as wonderful book to read together — no one is too old for the joys of reading aloud and being read to, and this ideal for exactly that.

Joanne Owen

The Armourer's House Synopsis

If only she'd been born a boy, Tamsyn would never have been sent away to Uncle Gideon's - the armourer's - house when her grandmother died. She could have stayed by the wild sea that she loved with her Uncle Martin, the ship merchant.

But instead, she is bound for busy, bustling Tudor London, and the armourer's house, far from the coast and far from her beloved ships. Homesick and lonely in the loud family of cousins, it isn't until she meets the strange old Wise Woman that Tamsyn is finally promised her "heart's desire".

Rosemary Sutcliff wrote books for those aged 9 to 90, and is perhaps most well-known for her meticulously researched historical novels for children, offering generations of readers a “magic carpet into the past”.

In this book, Tamsyn, nearly nine, leaves her sleepy Devon town by the sea for a new life in sixteenth-century London. She arrives at her uncle’s home on the River Thames, and is immediately enchanted by the brightly painted carved blue dolphins that adorn it.

The ships and river traffic passing Dolphin House – including the royal barge carrying King Henry VIII and his new Queen Anne Boleyn – feed Tamsyn’s imagination and her dreams of going to sea for a life of voyage and discovery. But as she soon finds out, adventure and excitement can also be found closer to home in Tudor London.


The Armourer's House is published by Manderley Press, a specialist publisher that finds forgotten or out-of-print books that were deeply inspired by a building, city or landmark, and brings those lost titles back to life for a contemporary audience. Each Manderley Press title is exquisitely produced as a small hardback edition, quarter-bound in real cloth with head and tail bands, and printed on high quality paper.

Publisher Rebeka Russell shared her Industry Insights with LoveReading; find out more about her journey to launch Manderley Press and her passion for art, design and beautiful books.


This is a brand new edition of the classic children’s book by Rosemary Sutcliff. First published in 1951 and now re-issued by Manderley Press, with an introduction by Lara Maiklem and a specially commissioned front cover and illustrations by Isabel Greenberg.

“History can be brought to life through the tiniest of objects and the smallest of details, and Rosemary Sutcliff was an expert in this.” Lara Maiklem, author of the Sunday Times best-seller Mudlarking

About This Edition

ISBN: 9781919642116
Publication date: 15th January 2022
Author: Rosemary Sutcliff
Publisher: Manderley Press Ltd
Format: Hardback
Pagination: 296 pages
Primary Genre Gift Books
Other Genres:

What To Read After The Armourer's House

The Gloriumptious Worlds of Roald Dahl
Mama A World of Mothers and Motherhood
The Mother of All Jobs How to Have Children and a Career and Stay Sane(ish)
A Place Called Home

Other editions of this book

ISBN: 9781919642116
Publication date: 15/01/2022
Format: Hardback

ISBN: 9780099354017
Publication date: 17/03/1994
Format: Paperback

View All Editions

About Rosemary Sutcliff

Rosemary Sutcliff was born in Surrey, the daughter of a naval officer. At the age of two she contracted the progressively wasting Still's disease, and hence spent most of her life in a wheelchair. Although an avid reader, Rosemary made little progress with formal studies.She left school at the age of fourteen to attend art school in Bideford, where she specialized in miniature painting. Her first children's book was published in 1950, and from then on she devoted her time and talents to the writing of children's historical novels, which have placed her name high in the field of contemporary ...

More About Rosemary Sutcliff

More Books By Rosemary Sutcliff

The Armourer's House
The Armourer's House
The Armourer's House
View All Books By Rosemary Sutcliff

Share this book