Robert Francis Kilvert was born at Hardenhuish, or Harnish, near Chippenham in Wiltshire, on the 3rd December, 1840. He was the second child of the rector of the parish, the Rev. Robert Kilvert, and of Thermuthis, daughter of Walter Coleman of Langley Fitzurse and Thermuthis Ashe of Langley Burrell. The Kilverts, originally a Shropshire family, had migrated to Bath in the eighteenth century; the Colemans and Ashes had been long settled in Wiltshire. Francis Kilvert spent his early years at Hardenhuish, was educated privately, went in due course to Wadham College, Oxford, and entered the Church.