This event has now finished.
  • Date and time: Thursday 6 June 2024, 1pm to 2pm
  • Location: Online only
  • Admission: Free admission, booking required

Event details

Heroines and harlots, political hostesses and mistresses, the women who lived in the great houses, and the thousands more who led more ordinary lives - they all have a place in British history. Many lived and died without a lasting record of their existence beyond the register of births, marriages and deaths - perhaps not even there. But fortunately, some women did leave behind far richer evidence of their lives, itemised and expressed in the wills they wrote, providing a precious historical record that can be stitched together again today.

Using women's wills across the centuries, Viki Holton, author of A Woman’s Will, will reveal something of women's stories - the pioneers, the celebrities and the achievers, as well as the majority history ignored.

Their bequests are fascinating and diverse, from 'my best beaver hatt' mentioned in Tudor times to great houses such as Chequers. They range from the Duchess of Windsor's Cartier jewels at the top of society to the many wills of poorer women who left practical and personal possessions: pots and pans, household implements and tools for preserving, salting and cheesemaking, clothes passed down to friends and family, or a few pennies for their local church. 

Join Viki to discover the changing lives of British women told through the things they left behind.

This event will take place live on Zoom Webinar. You will receive a link to join a couple of days before the event and a reminder an hour before. During the event, you can ask questions via a Q&A function, but audience cameras and microphones will remain muted throughout.

Book sales

You can buy copies of many of our speakers’ books from Fox Lane Books, a local independent bookseller and Festival partner. In some cases, author signed bookplates are available too. 

About the speaker

Viki Holton has been a business school Research Fellow with more than 40 research reports to her name, including Understanding Women’s Careers. Her co-authored books include Strategies for Career Success; Winning Together: The Secrets of Better Working Relationships (2023); How to Thrive and Survive as a Working Woman and, Women in Business: Navigating Career Success. As well as her longstanding professional work in women’s leadership and career issues, Viki is particularly interested in, and fascinated by, women’s social history. Women’s lives and influence are all too often missing from the history books. This interest was first inspired by an Open University course on ‘Seventeenth Century England: A Changing Culture 1618-1689’. A Woman’s Will: The Changing Lives of British Women Told Through the Things they have Left Behind (Amberley Publishing 2023) is her first book about women’s social history.