Dianne Mannering

Location: Alton, Hampshire
About Dianne Mannering, creator of this website...

I was an Insurance Broker – in fact, my business is still operating though I retired many years ago because I wanted to write a book and I realised that if I didn’t get on with it, it just wouldn’t happen.  My first history book The Staffordshire Millennium Embroideries was published in 1999 ready for the Millennium and my second one A Crown for Staffordshire in 2005 and my original talks were based round  the royal and noble characters in these two books. My talk Born To Rule was supposed to be based on a new book – but the book never happened though the talk has been very successful!


About my talks...

My talks are all Power Point presentations and I use approx 100 illustrations in each talk, often using my own cartoon sketches when I can’t find suitable graphics. I supply my own laptop and projector though I am happy to use in-house equipment when it is available.  All of my equipment is PAT compliant.

I am used to giving talks at all types of venues and for all types of events including after-dinner engagements, charity evenings, WI Group events, National Trust, schools and colleges, U3A, Rotary, PROBUS, TWG, Lunch Clubs and History Groups etc. Usually my talks last between 50 and 60 minutes and I also have a longer version for organisations who like a break during the presentation.



My Fee is £120 plus modest travelling expenses when more than 10 miles from my home in Alton, Hampshire.  However, if your venue is  around Teddington in Middlesex or Falmouth in Cornwall, I can use the excuse of  ‘getting a grandchild fix’  to make the journey….. in which case you don’t pay anything towards my travel.

I moved to Alton in Hampshire in February 2017 and I am very keen to get established in the area, so if you are interested in my talks, but don’t like my fees – then give me a ring and lets talk about it.


My Contact Details:

01420 84226


John Dudley and the Nine Days Queen

Talk by Public Speaker Dianne Mannering - John Dudley and the Nine Days Queen

Was John Dudley Duke of Northumberland, sometime owner of Syon House and Dudley Castle the acquisitive tactician that historians have made him out to be?  In my book A Crown for Staffordshire I’ve given a chapter to the man who put the unfortunate, tragic and undoubtedly unwilling sixteen year old Lady Jane Grey on the throne of England for nine days back in the 16th century. It all ended in tears…. and lost heads, but in my opinion John Dudley wasn’t the power crazy, grasping schemer that historians would have us believe. I honestly reckon that the poor fellow’s had an undeservedly bad press for the last 500 years and I’m doing my best to shed a little new light onto what happened back then. John Dudley played out his role against the glittering Tudor back-drop, hobnobbing with King Henry VIII and attending several of his marriage ceremonies and the christening of his son Prince Edward to whom he became a surrogate father when the boy inherited the throne. He made a dangerous enemy of King Henry’s eldest daughter Princess Mary, (later to become Queen Mary – better known as Bloody Mary) on account of a clash of religion and at the end of the day, Mary was his downfall. However, I’m pretty certain that John Dudley had no intention of creating the Royal House of Dudley – not until the end – not until young King Edward VI became terminally ill and then he found his back to the wall and his enemies braying for his blood…..!
People enjoy this talk because the background of Henry VIII and his six wives is familiar ground to them and so they can place John Dudley in situ. Although the fact that sixteen year old Jane (and John as well, for that matter) lost her head over the whole frantic and ill-conceived debacle doesn’t mean that this talk is heavy or grim. Indeed, there are plenty of laughs along the way and it doesn’t get grizzly till the last five minutes by which time everybody is prepared for what’s coming. I love giving this talk…. it is my favourite
19.2.14 Dear Dianne,  On behalf of the History Society at Codsall and Bilbrook I would wish to thank you for all your efforts and extremely good presentation yesterday evening.It was clear that the large audience was impressed and and enjoyed themselves. In the future we will ask you to return and give the talk ‘Send us some women’-now that should be really good!
Best regards and good luck.  Clifford Bennett.

20.11.15 Hi Dianne First may i extend a very sincere ‘well done’ in keeping ‘John Dudley and the Nine Day Queen’ saga alive. Lets face it, in today’s world where fanciful intrigue reigns supreme, generally held views concerning certain aspects of English history need be kept ‘in check’ before all truth is lost. May you Dianne go a long way toward righting the wrongs done to those via a single-minded, persistent doggedness that has pervaded our history books for the last 500 years. As Horace Walpole’s opening lines to ‘Richard III’ implies: “So incompetent has the generality of historians been for the province they have undertaken, that it is almost a question, whether, if the dead of past ages could revive, they would be able to reconnoitre the events of their own times as transmitted by ignorance and misrepresentation”. Alan Roy Dudley

Born to Rule

Talk by Public Speaker Dianne Mannering - Born to Rule

I promised the Kings Bromley History Society that I’d create this talk after I mentioned to them that there had been about 42 Kings and Queens since William the Conqueror (how many depends on who you include) but only about a dozen of these rulers were actually ‘born to rule’ ie born the first son of the ruling monarch or his heir, such as Prince Charles (King George VI had no sons so when his eldest daughter, the then Princess Elizabeth who was his heir, gave birth to Prince Charles he was ‘born to rule’). So, looking at the statistics, less than a quarter of our monarchs were actually born to do the job! ….. how did that happen?

I’ll be delighted to tell you in my fast moving light hearted tour through ten centuries of Kings and Queens, the good, the bad, the ineffectual, the murderous and the down right reluctant – its a fun talk and imparts a lot of gossipy tit-bits.

I love it when, after this talk, people approach me with a big smile and make remarks such as ‘Now I know where the Stuarts came from’ and ‘I have always wandered how we ended up with the Hanovarians’

Talk by Public Speaker Dianne Mannering - Born to Rule
Talk by Public Speaker Dianne Mannering - Born to Rule.

When I was a little girl, my big brother Jim knew everything and he imparted his fund of knowledge to me, wholesale and gratuitously. I soaked up all sorts of wondrous information –  such as the fact that William the Conqueror didn’t get to rule England because he beat King Harold at the Battle of Hastings, it was because he was best at conkers.

My mother who was a school teacher, happened to mention to me one day when I was about six that King John was a very careless king because he lost his crown jewels in the Wash…… in the wash?….. well why didn’t he just wait till the water cooled down and hoik them out?????

A 1960's Business Woman in a Mans' World

Public Speaker Dianne Mannering talks about being "A 1960's Business Woman in a Mans' World"

The talk covers the period before the days of ‘same job – same pay’, Rotary wouldn’t accept women, wouldn’t tolerate them in fact, and even the Insurance Companies for whom I produced business were bemused and even confused about the fact that it was a woman at the helm. Lots of laughs, lots of reminders of how it was when men seemed to consider that if a woman insisted on being in business, then surely a baby linen shop should be the pinnacle of her ambition.
This really is a very light hearted look at how it was, there’s no serious burning of bras – I promise.  Actually, men’s Probus groups love this talk.  The men sit there chucking and nudging each other as though to say ‘she’s right… we did think like that back then, didn’t we’  I think they are affably amazed at just how their attitudes towards women in business have changed over the years.
When I came to put this talk together, I found that the usual sort of photographs of staff outings, the office party etc were not up to the task. I tried using commercial cartoons, downloading them and pasting them into Power Point, but it just didn’t work, so eventually, in desperation, I put pen to paper and where all else failed, I’ve illustrated this talk with my own cartoons.

Send Us Some Women

Talk by Public Speaker Dianne Mannering - Send Us Some Women

There were very few women aboard the First Fleet which sailed to Australia in 1787. It had been decided that once settled in Botany Bay, Governor Phillip would send to the Friendly Islands (now Tonga) to collect a party of native women who would act as a stabilising influence for the garrison (comfort women) and a breeding bank for the male convicts who would be given land when their sentence was served. However, Phillip soon realised that the harsh conditions of the Sydney Cove colony was no place for gentle, grass skirted females and instead, he wrote home to England asking the Home Secretary Lord Sydney to send out some women.

It so happened that Newgate Gaol was bursting at the seams with women – murderers, thieves, pick-pockets, drunks and prostitutes. The Lady Julian set sail in July 1789 with its reluctant cargo and this is the amazing story of the voyage and how these unprepossessing women reinvented themselves and helped found Australia.

Unlike any of my other history talks, none of these women were important enough to have their portraits painted for posterity, nor were the sailors who crewed the Lady Julian – so many of the illustrations in this talk will be my own cartoon sketches. To give you a flavour of what to expect, see my cartoons below.

The fee for this talk – £150.00

susw.Esther Curtiis 320x240
susw.Lincoln coach 320x240

Esther Curtiss was usually the worse for drink. She’d go out in the evening, pick someone’s pocket or turn a trick for the price of a beer or a gin and likely as not, spend the night whereever she fell asleep. One morning, a gentleman found her availing herself of his outdoor privy. He told her to clear off in no very gentlemanly style and later found that, lamentable state as she was in, she’d picked his pocket. That evening, poor Esther turned up at his house again, even more drink befuddled and minus her boots. He called the local comptor and she ended up on the Lady Julian bound for Botany Bay.

Once news got out that Lord Sydney had commission the Lady Julian to take prisoners to the new colony in Australia, counties up and down the country started sending their ‘disorderly women’ to Galleon’s Reach where the ship was birthed. From Lincoln Gaol thirteen women including Sarah Whitelam, Mary Rose and a woman in her 60’s were hoarded onto a coach and there they sat, roped and chained for 36 hours… and it wasn’t a balmy summer night either…. it was March.

susw.014mjessop-Liza Sulley and her girls320x240
susw.007mjessop-The Getaway320x240

Eliza Sulley ran three working girls who specialised in thieving from their clients. Two were already in Newgate when young Mary Bateman hid the watch that she’d stolen from her customer under Eliza’s mattress thus implicating the bawdyhouse keeper in the theft. Eliza ended up with her working girls in Newgate and they were all transported together – so, basically, the government paid for Eliza to relocate her business!

Four women – one with a young baby – escaped from The Lady Julian on the night before she sailed. They got the ‘watch’ drunk and climbed over the side into a waiting boat.


Washday on the Lady Julian. Esther Curtiss who lost her boots on a drunken spree, Catherine Heyland who was pardoned at the eleventh hour from her sentence of burning at the stake and Sarah Whitelam who was already pregnant by the ship’s cooper.

Quarreling over a sailor! There were abour 30 sailors and over 200 women on the Lady Julian. Sharing a sailor’s hammock was something of a perk because you had someone to fight your corner and you didn’t have to sleep on the crowded orlop deck where thieving and bullying were rife.

Talk created and presented by Public Speaker Dianne Mannering "Send Us Some Women"
Public Speaker Dianne Mannering created her own illustrations for her talk Send Us Some Women  which tells the epic voyage of the Lady Julian which arrived in Australia with a cargo of convict women in 1790.

When the women realised that what you caught, you ate, they begged borrowed and most likely stole fishing equipment and learned to fish.

The women fed and cared for the animals on deck. Looks like Maggie Wood won the fight over sailor Eddie Burgis – she’s pregnant and the other woman isn’t.

Public Speaker Dianne Mannering created  her own illustrations for her talk Send Us Some Women  which tells the epic voyage of the Lady Julian which arrived in Australia with a cargo of convict women in 1790.
Public Speaker Dianne Mannering created her own illustrations for her talk Send Us Some Women  which tells the epic voyage of the Lady Julian which arrived in Australia with a cargo of convict women in 1790.

Thief Jane Forbes was thirteen when she gave birth to sailor Will Carlo’s baby. We don’t know how old Will Carlo was. Maybe he was a mature sailor who should have known better than to get a 13 year old girl pregnant when she was hardly in a position to refuse his advances. Or, was he just a lonely, unhappy lad, an orphan perhaps, sent to sea at 13? – it wasn’t an unusual fate for a young boy back then…. Nelson was only 12!

Many of the women got pregnant by the sailors on the voyage and the genes of these ship-born babies were a unique gift to Australia – though of course, that fact wouldn’t have been appreciated at the time! The breeding pool in the new colony was small, so the genes that the sailors so willingly and thoughtlessly ‘donated’ helped enlarge and diversify that gene pool.

What people say about my talks

Born to Rule  – talk at Sarum U3A Wiltshire on Wednesday 19th October 2016

Just a quick message to thank you again for the splendid talk you gave us this morning! It was highly entertaining and went down a storm with our members.
I hope you enjoyed visiting us as much as we enjoyed having you and your great talk! All the best and hope to see you again sometime in the future.
Sue Tranter

Send Us Some Women – talk at Chester Lecture Society 3rd November 2016

The main purpose of this email is to thank you for your most entertaining and informative presentation last night. You have obviously done a lot of research and with the help of your amusing watercolours it brought your characters alive, as of course they were once.  The feedback over coffee afterwards was very good and I hope that you were pleased with the way it went.Thank you again Dianne.
Tony Orde
Dianne Mannering Contact Details:

01420 84226