The Kent Wellwoods:
- Olive Wellwood, wife of Humphrey, mother of Tom, and many other children, a writer of children's books, mostly fairy stories. Born in very humble circumstances, her income supports the family in their large house named Todefright. She is an expert in British Fairy Lore.
- Violet Grimwith, Olive's sister,keeps house for the Wellwood family, and calls herself the children's "real" mother.
- Humphry Wellwood, works for the Bank of England, is suspicious of quick-profit schemes, likes women a lot, and is married to Olive. They are both active in the Fabian Society.
- Tom Wellwood, eldest son of Olive and Humphrey, he loves being in nature.
- Dorothy Wellwood, eldest daughter, she decides to be a doctor.
- Phyllis Wellwood, another daughter, she likes keeping house.
- Hedda Wellwood, a future suffragette,
- Florian Wellwood, Phyllis' brother
- Robin Wellwood, always one of the youngest children
- Harry Wellwood, the last baby born to Olive.
- Rosy, a recently departed baby.
- Peter Wellwood, their first baby, who died very young.
The London Wellwoods:
- Basil Wellwood, Humphrey's brother, does well at banking.
- Katharina Wildvogel Wellwood, the boss's daughter, Basil's wife, born in Germany.
- Charles/Karl Wellwood, their son who becomes an Anarchist.
- Griselda Wellwood, their daughter,very pretty and a scholar.
At the Victoria and Albert Museum:
- Major Prosper Cain, Special Keeper of Precious Metals at the South Kensington Museum the future Victoria and Albert Museum.
- Julian Cain, son of Major Prosper Cain and a student at Eton and Cambridge
- Florence Cain, his daughter, who ends up in Italy and becomes close with Gabriel Goldwasser.
At Purchase House in Dungeness:
- Benedict Fludd, an eccentric artist and master potter whose work is collected.
- Seraphita (Sarah-Jane) Fludd, his wife who does embroidery and little else.
- Geraint Fludd, their son, who is interested in business.
- Imogen Fludd, their daughter, who is rescued by Prosper Cain.
- Pomona Fludd, their daughter, who sleepwalks.
- Philip Warren, a runaway from the factories who becomes an apprentice to Benedict Fludd. He is first seen sketching the Gloucester candlestick.
- Elsie Warren, who finds Phillip after their mother dies and then keeps house for the Fludds.
- Ann, Elsie's daughter
Neighbors in Kent: "Their guests were socialist, anarchists, Quakers, Fabians, artists, editors, freethinkers, and writers who lived, either all time, or at weekends and on holidays in converted cottages and old farmhouses, Arts and Crafts homes and workingmen's terraces, in the villages, woods and meadows around the Kentish Weald and the North and South Downs."
- Vasily Tartarinov, a Russian anarchist and refugee.
- Elena, his wife. Andrei and Dmitri, their sons.
- Leslie and Etta Skinner, Fabians and scholars.
- Arthur Dobbin, not a good apprentice to Benedict Fludd, but perhaps better as a promoter of the arts.
- Frank Mallet, local pastor
- Augustus Steyning, a theater director and sometime playwright
- Patty Dace, on many committees, helpful to women in need.
- Herbert Methley, a man who lectures about the "sex problem," seduces women, and write books that are banned
- Phoebe Methley, not really Herbert's wife.
- Marion Oakeshott, a "widow", local school teacher, and close friend of Humphrey Wellwood.
- Robin Oakeshott, Marion's son, who looks very much like Robin Wellwood.
- Anselm Stern, a master of puppetry and marionettes, who once knew Olive Wellwood long ago in Munich.
- Angela Stern, his wife.
- Wolfgang Stern, their oldest son, expert at stagecraft.
- Leon Stern, the quieter younger son.
- Toby Youlgreave, an old friend of both Humphrey and Olive, he teaches the older boys, preparing to enter school.
- Joachim Susskind, a young German who tutors Tom and Charles/Karl.