Colin King

Location: Atherstone, Warwickshire
About me...

I’m a storyteller!

Originally from Ireland I have lived in Scotland and Jamaica before working as a teacher in Warwickshire for 30 years. I have been a professional storyteller for some 16 years

About my storytelling...

For far too long storytelling has been relegated to the nursery or to bedtimes for infants.  However, storytelling has at last experienced a long overdue renaissance with the growth of story clubs, storytelling festivals, storytelling for therapy, storytelling in business etc etc.
I have been telling stories to adult audiences in village halls, at lunch clubs, Rotary clubs, in festivals, literary Societies, libraries, coffee shops and a prison.
I am an approved speaker with Warwickshire WI.
My stories include traditional folk tales, legends, modern amusing stories or tales with a historical theme.
My story performances are relaxed and light-hearted.  I do not read from a book.  Some of the tales may involve making a few background sound effects where audience members are invited to use a variety of simple instruments.
I use no slides or illustrations and require only a small table. The pictures are conjured up in each audience member’s imagination.


Fee of £80 covers an hour’s presentation. Travel, if over 10 miles, at 30p per mile.
I appreciate that smaller organisations may struggle with my fee -I am always pleased to accommodate small local groups if possible,  so please contact me and we can hopefully come to an agreeable compromise.

My Contact Details:



Traditional Folk Tales from the British Isles Almost forgotten stories that used to be told in the old days in the English counties, Ireland and Scotland

Traditional Folk Tales from Warwickshire, Leicestershire & Further Afield

Public Speaker and Story Teller Colin King talks about Traditional Folk Tales from Warwickshire, Leicestershire & Further Afield

A selection of old, almost forgotten, tales from the English counties.

Where did Tom Hatton the Warwickshire highwayman hide his loot? The adventures of the corpse of the monk of Leicester and what was found in Richard the third’s bed after the Battle of Bosworth?  Why are there pubs called “The Dun Cow” in Warwickshire?  Where is there a gibbet still remaining in Leicestershire? These old tales bring our local past to life.

Myths & Legends from Around the World

With Myths & Legends many people think only of tales of the gods of ancient Greece and Rome. However, every culture has its own collection of such tales. I will take you on a journey around the globe sampling mythical stories from a variety of cultures.

Grace O’Malley, the Irish Pirate Queen

This brave and strong-willed woman lived in the turbulent days of 16th century Ireland.

She eventually came to command a sizeable fleet of ships on the west coast of Ireland exacting tribute from English trading vessels and sailing as far south as Spain. Shortly after giving birth she went on deck to command her sailors to repel Barbary pirates. Grace was married three times.  Find out why she divorced her third husband but continued to live with him in his castle. She could exact dire vengeance on her enemies as you will discover. Despite having a price on her head she sailed up the Thames to Greenwich and sought to have an audience with Elizabeth 1st to explain her grievances. Would she be executed for daring upon such a dangerous escapade?

Redmond O’Hanlon, Highwayman and Irish Robin Hood

O’Hanlon lived in the wild times of seventeenth century Ireland where former chiefs and landowners had lost their lands to English and Scottish settlers at the behest of Cromwell and the English king.

Redmond and his band of followers were the scourge of Ulster robbing the rich incomers and often helping some of the poor peasants.  The story takes us on some of his escapades and ends with his betrayal for a reward by his foster brother.

Tales of the Supernatural & Murder

Old tales of murders in the Midlands, many resulting in spooky appearances of the murdered victims. Includes the story of the Rugeley Poisoner who was hanged for poisoning a friend but was suspected of killing many more including his wife and most of his children. His hanging was a big public spectacle. Then there is the tale of the demise of three girls of the Clopton family of Stratford one of whom was suspected of being entombed whilst still alive; their ghosts are said to have been seen at their former home. Hear about the very strange St Valentine’s Day murder in South Warwickshire in 1945, a murder with all the marks of witchcraft and a crime which has never been solved. There is frequent mention of strange phantom black dogs which are a recurring feature in Warwickshire.

The Legend and History of Coffee


This popular legend and story begins in Africa with, surprisingly, some very lively goats before the drink becomes popular in Arabia.  The Arabs keep a monopoly of coffee for a long time before seeds are smuggled out by an Indian and then some are taken from India to Java by Dutch merchants.  A gift of a coffee plant to the king of France leads to a young French naval officer bringing some to the French Caribbean. The voyage suffers an attack by pirates; the plant is almost vandalised and the ship is damaged in a storm. Eventually an unlikely flirtation leads to coffee plants entering Brazil and the rest is history.

The popularity and importance of coffee houses, or coffee shops as we now refer to them, is covered in my story as well as the more recent rise in the popularity and variety of speciality coffees.


Tales of Some Celtic Saints

Here I tell the fascinating tales of St Columba and/or St Patrick.

St Columba, who took Christianity to the Picts of the Highlands of Scotland and founded the famous abbey on the tiny Isle of Iona, could have been a king.  The story tells of his banishment from Ireland for the peculiar reason of having made a copy of holy book causing a bloody battle!  We then follow his perilous voyage to Argyll including a turbulant brush with the infamous Corryvrecken whirlpool.  The story then follows his later trek along the Great Glen and Loch Ness to meet the king of the Picts.  Did he and his followers have the first recorded encounter with Nessie?

St Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland, parades and party goers was actually a Roman Briton. I relate how he was captured by Irish raiders and was sold as a slave in Ireland.  The story follows his eventual escape back to Britain and the continent where he studies to become a priest.  Patrick feels impelled to return to Ireland where he has several confrontations with the druids and eventually founds many Christian churches.

How Drinking Chocolate Came To England

Would you be surprised to learn that drinking chocolate became popular in England in the 18th century through the efforts of a botanist who was also physician to royalty?  This fascinating story tells of this compulsive collector of plants, his sojourn in the Caribbean and his decision to use chocolate as an “elixir”.  The taste was too bitter so he devised his own recipe which resulted in our hot drinking chocolate.

She Was Mother, Wife, Convict - and 3000 Miles in an Open Boat From Freedom.

Public Speaker and Storyteller Colin King

Mary from Cornwall, originally condemned to death for stealing, was a “first fleeter” on one of the very first  ships containing convicts to be transported in 1786 to the penal colony of Australia. Giving birth on the voyage and marrying soon after arriving she and her husband suffer the hardships of convict life. After the birth of her second child, famine and her husband’s brutal punishment for selling fish they decide to escape. With her husband, her two very young children and seven other convicts they leave Sydney Cove secretly at night in an open boat to face 3000 miles of treacherous, mostly uncharted, waters to freedom. Learn of this epic turbulent voyage and how, at first tasting freedom in the Dutch colony of Timor, disaster strikes through the indiscretion of her braggart husband while drunk.  Handed over again to the English authorities will  she be hanged on return to England?   What a tale!

Entertainment + Stories


A collection of funny things that are reported every day plus a few songs followed by amusing stories. This, my most appealing programme, has proved to be so popular that I have had to compose four similar presentations (to date) as I am asked to give repeat performances.  It includes funny twists of the English language, things that kids say, some good old grumps at life today, amusing notices etc. If your group fancy a good laugh then this is the one for them.

Bringing Stories Alive for Kids

I can give a demonstration for carers, teachers or parents on how to make stories for children “come alive”.  Oral storytelling as opposed to reading from a book can engage children as active participants in the story and hence result a more memorable experience. Adults actually find this demonstration quite entertaining. I have frequently given this talk-cum-demonstration as a training for teachers and pre-school staff.

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