Toni Talks

I'm an experienced speaker with many topics to interest your group ...

...from a 20 minute chat to a 20 week course...

Medieval Housewives

This is my most popular talk, with anecdotes, recipes and shopping, we look at the lives of ordinary folk in the middle ages, including the instructions given by an elderly husband to his new young wife, plus child care, food and fashion.

Based on my first non-fiction book The Medieval Housewife and Women of the Middle Ages.

February 2019

Many thanks Toni for your talk on Wednesday. I found it absolutely fascinating... I know that the other members I have spoken to also enjoyed your talk

Faversham U3A

December 2018

Thank you so much for coming to our meeting yesterday. You certainly has us all enthralled.... especially at the notes written by a [medieval] husband for his wife!!

Other talks based on my books include:

When the Roman legions withdrew from the province of Britannia in 410 AD, leaving the people of this land to look to their own defences, what did they leave behind? To them Britannia was as much their home as it was to the Celtic people who had lived here since before the Romans came. This is the story of how London developed in the next 1000 years ...

When Bristol born Elizabeth Blackwell decided she wanted to be a doctor the Universities in her adopted USA didn't want to know and in England Elizabeth Garrett faced a similar struggle. Despite endless rejection they went on to pioneer women's careers in the medical profession.

As well as medicines derived from plants, medieval doctors also included animal-based remedies in their pharmacopeia. Some of these would horrify us today, such as a treatment for gout that required boiling newborn puppies! But others are far less grim, such as snail slime, used in medieval times to treat minor burns and scalds and currently making a comeback

  • Medieval Gravesend - despite what you think the name dates from before the Doomsday book, look back to Anglo-saxon Greivsham and the surrounding parishes
  • Mrs Beeton’s Victorian Christmas


  • Mrs Beeton’s Summer Picnics You may have an image of Mrs Beeton as a little frumpy old lady, dressed like Queen Victoria but that was not quite the case

Based on my current my work-in-progress:

  • 17th century Men of Science the rivalry between Isaac Newton and Robert Hooke (for a longer talk I can include Boyle & Halley too)
  • The Birth of Modern Science a longer version of the above looking in detail at the lives and careers of Robert Hooke and Edmund Halley

Other subjects:

  • Adventure in Writing - my "author talk" about my writing journey to becoming a successful writer of fiction and the creation of my Seb Foxley medieval murder mystery series.

Sebastian Foxley

  • The Apothecary’s Garden - the history of natural remedies up to modern times
  • The Apothecary’s Tale - what was in the medieval chemist's' shop?
  • Christmas in the Middle-ages - Christmas without turkey, roast potatoes, crackers, cards and Father Christmas

Review: Firstly, I must thank you for the great talk that you gave our group last week. The Tour Manager reported that it went down very well and we have already had some appreciative comments from our travellers

  • Medieval Merchants & Men of Trade - some well known names from the middle ages
  • Medieval Food - what did people eat before potatoes, tomatoes and chillies

October 2018

The talk was so enjoyable, giving an insight as to how our Christmas customs have been passed down the ages from Medieval times. You tell it in such an entertaining way. A splendid talk.

Tudor and Elizabethan Subjects

  • Henry VIII - Hero or Villain? Henry had more reasons than lust to divorce and behead, could he have been a hero, or was he just a villain?
  • The English Reformation - a religious revolution

This fascinating talk examines the Reformation of the Church in England, beginning during the reign of King Henry VIII in the 1520s and continuing to influence events well into the seventeenth century. The differing attitudes to religion were one of the main causes of the English Civil War of the 1640s and even, indirectly, the Troubles in Ireland of the 1970s.

Victorian Britain

  • Murder Most Foul the gruesome tales of crime, punishment and Policing in Victorian Britain
  • Votes for Women It seems incredible but less than 100 years ago British women still could not vote. 2018 marks the 100th anniversary of the Representation of the Peoples Act, when property owning women aged over 30 got the vote. In the General Election of that year only 58% of adult men were eligible to vote as they too had to be property owning and 'educated'
  • Charles Darwin - his life, voyages and his 'Origins of Species'

20th Century Topics

  • Edith Cavell WW1 Spy? Executed in Belgium in 1915 was she a spy or a patriot? This moving tale of bravery and commitment is an inspiration to us all?
  • Ration-book Britain - how we lived in the 40s & 50s and how the modern housewife was taught to look after her husband!
  • A Guided Tour of Historic Rochester (either on foot, including refreshments if you wish, or fully illustrated)
  • Restoration London 1660-1785
  • Restoration Rochester (including the Dutch raids on the Medway)
  • The History of Colours (including colours in nature, art and history)


Here I am speaking to the Dartford Historical Society recently about Tudor & Stuart Food (it takes a couple of minutes to get going)

All my talks come with a fully illustrated presentation, but can be given without illustrations if preferred. They are based on many years of my personal research; I bring all my own equipment and have personal liability insurance.

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Many of the talks can be presented in period dress to - to see me in costume visit my 'Living History Gallery' here

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Dec 2017: NW Kent Family History Society

The talk was so enjoyable giving an insight as to how our Christmas customs have been passed down the ages from Medieval times. You tell it in such an entertaining way ... A splendid talk.

Sept 2017: Horsmonden Historical Society

Your talk went down an absolute treat! Every one of our members thought it was one of the best talks we have had for a very long time.

Thank you very much.

May 2017: On behalf of the Rosewood Ladies Club I would like to thank you for a fascinating talk tonight about the life of a medieval housewife.

Thank you for a very thought provoking evening.

May 2017: Richard III Society Gloucester Branch Thanks for providing such a wonderful day full of information and interest. Feed back from attendees has been excellent and everyone spent a superb day enjoying the wealth of information you packed into the occasion.... an absolute “treat” - thanks for making our Study Day so special.

March 2017: NWKent Family History Society.... we would like to thank you for a very enjoyable and entertaining talk. It was interesting to be reminded of the rations we were allowed during the 2WW and after, it made us appreciate how well families coped. Some members told me of how much they enjoy reading your books, thank you for bringing them with you.