As a result of a decade of research on the life of Walter Rye, this new book is written by one of our members, Christopher Kitching, CBE.

A London solicitor by profession, Walter Rye had three spare-time passions: physical exercise, record-searching, and a devotion to his ancestral county of Norfolk. He was a competitive cyclist and archer, a keen tricyclist, and an enthusiastic sailor on Norfolk’s rivers and Broads. In later life he liked to describe himself as a ‘topographer’. His pioneering searches in records and archives showed a whole generation how to apply them to the study of genealogy and local history. Many of his 80 books are in print today and can still be read with enjoyment, although as this study shows they should now also be read with caution, in the light of advances in scholarship and editorial methods since his time.

Please see a photograph of Walter Rye, and a review of the book by the Eastern Daily Press in Norwich.

The book can be ordered through The National Archives’ bookshop with the usual 20 per cent discount for members, or please click here for more details.


Christopher Kitching is a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of London and of the Royal Historical Society. After a career in archives at the Public Record Office and the Royal Commission on Historical Manuscripts he was appointed CBE in 2004. A chance encounter with Walter Rye as a pioneer among the records led to a decade of research on his life.