Born into a family with connections to the gentry, but without the means to maintain their position, Trollope’s childhood was one of unhappiness and uncertainty.

Anthony Trollope was born in Keppel Street London on 24 April 1815, the year of the Battle of Waterloo. He was the fourth surviving child of Thomas Anthony Trollope, a barrister, and Frances, the gregarious and social daughter of a not very well off parson, Frances Milton. Thomas Trollope was a clever, well educated man, a fellow of New College, Oxford, well connected and industrious. He was also bad tempered and querulous, not a popular or well liked man. His bad temper led to failure at the bar, and his ventures in farming were unprofitable. His bad luck was exacerbated when he lost an inheritance on which he was counting when an elderly uncle married and started a family.

Thomas Trollope came from a genteel background, with connections to the gentry. He was first cousin to Sir John Trollope, Baronet, whose family seat was at Casewick Hall in Uffington, Lincolnshire. He wanted his sons to be educated as gentlemen, at Oxford or Cambridge. The conflict between the family’s social  background and Thomas Trollope’s impecuniosity caused misery for Anthony as a boy, attending major public schools but without any money.