RHS Alexander Prize Past Winners

1898 F. Hermia Durharn, ‘The relations of the Crown to trade under James I’.

1899 W.F. Lord, BA, ‘The development of political parties during the reign of Queen Anne’.

1900 No award.

1901 Laura M. Roberts, ‘The Peace of Luneville’.

1902 V.B. Redstone, ‘The social condition of England during the Wars of the Roses’.

1903 Rose Graham, ‘The intellectual influence of English monasticism between the tenth and the twelfth centuries’.

1904 Enid W.G. Routh, ‘The balance of power in the seventeenth century’.

1905 WAP. Mason, MA ‘The beginnings of the Cistercian Order’.

1906 Rachel R. Reid, MA ‘The Rebellion of the Earls, 1569’.

1907 No award.

1908 Kate Hotblack ‘The Peace of Paris, 1763’.

1909 Nellie Nield, MA ‘The social and economic condition of the unfree classes in England in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries’. (Not published in Transactions).

1910 No award.

1911 No award

1912 H.G. Richardson ‘The parish clergy of the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries’.

19131916 No award.

1917 Isobel D. Thornley, BA ‘The treason legislation of 1531 – 1534’.

1918 T.F.T. Plucknolt, BA ‘The place of the Council in the fifteenth century’.

1919 Edna F. White, MA ‘The jurisdiction of the Privy Council under the Tudors’. (Not published in Transactions).

1920 J.E. Neale, MA ‘The Commons Journals of the Tudor Period’.

1921 No award.

1922 Eveline C. A Martin, ‘The English establishments on the Cold Coast in the second half of the eighteenth century’.

1923 E.W. Hensman, MA, ‘The Civil War of 1648 in the east midlands’.

1924 Grace Stretton, BA, ‘Some aspects of mediaeval travel’.

1925 F.A. Mace, .MA, ‘Devonshire ports in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries’.

1926 Marian J. Tooley, MA, ‘The authorship of “Defensor Pacis”‘.

1927 W.A. Pantin, BA, ‘Chapters of the English Black Monks, 1215-1540’.

1928 Gladys A. Thornton, BA, PhD, ‘A study in the history of Clare, Suffolk, with special reference to its development as a borough’.

1929 F.S. Rodkey, AM, PhD, ‘Lord Palmerston’s policy for the rejuvenation of Turkey, 1839- 1847’.

1930 A. Ettinger, DPhil, ‘The proposed Anglo-Franco-American Treaty of 1852 to guarantee Cubato Spain’.

1931 Kathleen A. Walpole, MA, ‘The humanitarian movement of the early nineteenth century to remedy abuses on emigrant vessels to America’.

1932 Dorothy M. Brodie, BA,, ‘Edmund Dudley, minister of Henry VII’.

1933 R.W. Southern, BA, ‘Ranulf Flambard and early Anglo-Norman administration’.

1934 S.B. Chrimes, MA, PhD, ‘Sir John Fortescue and his theory of dominion’.

1935 S.T. Bindoff, MA, ‘The unreformed diplomatic service, 1812-1860’.

1936 Rosamund J. Mitchell, MA, Blitt, ‘English students at Padua, 1460- 1475’.

1937 C.H. Philips, BA, ‘The East India Company “Interest, and the English Government of 1783-1784’.

1938 H.E.I. Phillips, BA, ‘The last years of the Court of Star Chamber, 1630- 1641’.

1939 Hilda P. Grieve, BA, ‘The deprived married clergy in Essex, 1553- 1561 ‘.

1940 R. Somerville, MA, ‘The Duchy of Lancaster Council and Court of Duchy Chamber’.

1941 R.A.L. Smith, MA, PhD, ‘The “Regimen Scaccarii” in English monasteries’.

1942 F.L. Carsten, DPhil, ‘Medieval democracy in the Brandenburg towns and its defeat in the fifteenth century’.

1943 No submissions made and no award.

1944 Rev. E.W. Kemp, BD, ‘Pope Alexander III and the canonization of saints’.

1945 Helen Suggett, BLitt, ‘The use of French in England in the later middle ages’.

1946 No award.

1947 June Milne, BA, ‘The diplomacy of John Robinson at the court of Charles II of Sweden, 1697-1709’.

1948 No award.

1949 Ethel Drus, MA, ‘The attitude of the Colonial Office to the annexation of Fiji’.

1950 Doreen J. Milne, MA, PhD, ‘The results of the Rye House Plot, and their influence upon the Revolution of 1688’

1951 K.G. Davles, BA, The origins of the commission system in the West India trade’.

1952 G.W.S. Barrow, BLitt, ‘Scottish rulers ant the religious orders, 1070-1153’.

1953 W.E. Minchinton, BSc(Econ), ‘Bristol – metropolis of the west in the eighteenth century’.

1954 Rev. L Boyle, OP, ‘The “Oculus Sacerdotis” and some other works of William of Pagula’.

1955 G.F.E. Rude, MA, PhD, ‘The Gordon riots: a study of the rioters and their victims’.

1956 No award.

1957 R F. Hunnisett, MA, DPhil, ‘The origins of the office of Coroner’.

1958 Thomas G. Barnes, AB, DPhil, ‘County politics and a puritan “cause celebre”: Somerset churchales, 1633’.

1959 Alan Harding, BLitt, ‘The origins and early history of the Keeper of the Peace’.

1960 Gwyn A. Wllliams, MA, PhD, ‘London and Edward I’.

1961 M.H. Keen, BA, ‘Treason trials under the law of arms’.

1962 G.W. Monger, MA, PhD, ‘The end of isolation: Britain, Germany and Japan, 1900-1092’.

1963 J.S. Moore, BA, ‘The Domesday teamland: a reconsideration’.

1964 M. Kelly, PhD, The submission of the clergy’.

1965 J.J.N. Palmer, BLitt, ‘Anglo-French negotiations, 1390-1396’.

1966 M.T. Clanchy, MA, PhD, ‘The Franchise of Return of Writs’.

1967 R. Lovatt, MA, DPhil, PhD, ‘The “Imitation of Christ” in late medieval England’.

1968 M.G.A Vale, MA, DPhil, ‘The last years of English Gascony, 1451-1453’.

1969 No award.

1970 Mrs. Margaret Bowker, MA, BLitt, ‘The Commons Supplication against the Ordinaries in the light of some Archidiaconal Acta’.

1971 C. Thompson, MA, ‘The origins of the politics of the Parliamentary middle groups, 1625-1629’.

1972 I. d’Alton, BA, ‘Southern Irish Unionism: A study of Cork City and County Unionists, 1884-1914’.

1973 C.J. Kitching, BA, PhD, ‘The quest for concealed lands in the reign of Elizabeth I’.

1974 H. Tomlinson, BA, ‘Place and Profit: an Examination of the Ordnance Office, 1660-1714’.

1975 No award made for this year.

1976 B. Bradshaw, MA, BD, ‘Cromwellian reform’

1977 No award.

1978 C.J. Ford, BA, ‘Piracy or Policy: The Crisis in the Channel, 1400-1403’.

1979 P. Dewey, BA, PhD, ‘Food Production and Policy in the United Kingdom, 1914-1918’.

1980 Ann L. Hughes, BA, PhD, ‘Militancy and Localism: Warwickshire Politics and Westminster Politics, 1643- 1647’.

1981 C.J. Tyerman, MA, ‘Marino Sanudo Torsello and the Lost Crusade. Lobbying in the Fourteenth Century’.

1982 E. Powell, BA, DPhil, ‘Arbitration and the Law in England in the Late Middle Ages’.

1983 A.G. Rosser, MA, ‘The essence Of medieval urban communities: the vill of Westminster,1200- lS40’.

1984 N.L. Ramsay, MA, LLB, ‘Retained legal Counsel, c.1275-1475’.

1985 George S. Garnett, MA, ‘Coronation and Propaganda: Some Implications of the Norman Claim to the Throne Of England in 1066’.

1986 C.J. Given-Wilson, ‘The King and the Gentry in Fourteenth Century England’.

1987 No award.

1988 R.A.W. Rex, .NIA, ‘The English Campaign against Luther in the 1520s’.

1989 J.S.A. Adamson, BA, PhD, ‘The Baronial Context of the English Civil War’.

1990 Shelley C. Lockwood, BA, ‘Marsilius of Padua and the Case for the Royal Ecclesiastical Supremacy’.

1991 David L. Smith, MA, PhD, ‘Catholic, Anglican or Puritan? Edward Sacksville, Fourth Earl of Dorset and the Ambiguities of Religion in Early Stuart England.’

1992 Giles Worsley, MA, PhD, ‘The Origins of the Gothic Revival: A Reappraisal’.

1993 Clifford J. Rogers, BA, MA, PhD, ‘Edward III and the Dialects of Strategy’.

1994 Joseph Charles Heim, BA, MA, PhD, ‘Liberalism and the Establishment of Collective Security in British Foreign Policy’.

1995 Rachel Gibbons, BA, ‘Isabeau of Bavaria, Queen of France: the creation of an historical villainess’.

1996 No award.

1997 Steve Hindle, MA, MA, PhD, ‘The Problem of Pauper Marriage in Seventeenth Century England’.

1998 Neil W. Hitchin, BA, MA, ‘The Politics of English Bible Translation in Georgian Britain’.

1999 Magnus Ryan, BA, MA, PhD, ‘Bartolus of Sassoferrato and Free Cities’.

2000 Helen Berry, BA, PhD, ‘Rethinking Politeness in Eighteenth-Century England: Moll King’s Coffee House and the Significance of Flash Talk’.

2001 No award.

2002 Quintin Colville, BA, MA, ‘Jack Tar and the gentleman officer: the role of uniform in shaping class- and gender- related identities of British naval personnel, 1930-1939’.

2003 No award.

2004 Ian Mortimer, BA, MA, RMSA, FRHistS, ‘The Triumph of the Doctors: Medical Assistance to the Dying c.1570-1720’

2005 No award.

2006 Sethina Watson, ‘The Origins of the English Hospital’

From this point the prize is awarded for the year of publication of the article, and presented in the year following publication.

2007 Alice Rio, ‘Freedom and Unfreedom in Early medieval Francia: the Evidence of the LegalFormulae’ in Past and Present 193 (2006)

2008 Mary Partridge, ‘Thomas Hoby’s English Translation of Castiglione’s Book of the Courtier’ in The Historical Journal, 50 (2007), pp. 769-786

2009 No award.

2010 George Molyneaux, ‘The Old English Bede: English Ideology or Christian Instruction?’ in English Historical Review, 124 (2009), pp. 1289–1323

2011 Richard Huzzey, ‘Free trade, free labour, and slave sugar in Victorian Britain’ in Historical Journal, 53, 2 (2010)

2012 Jasper Heinzen, ‘Transnational Affinities and Invented Traditions: The Napoleonic Wars in British and Hanoverian Memory, 1815-1915’ in English Historical Review, vol. 27, no. 529 (2012)

2013 David Veevers, ‘”The Company as their Lords and the Deputy as a Great Rajah”: Imperial Expansion and the English East India Company on the West Coast of Sumatra, 1685-1740’ in The Journal of Imperial and Commonwealth History, 41, 5 (2013), pp. 687-709

From this point the prize is awarded for and presented in the year following publication.

2015 Ryan Hanley, ‘Calvinism, Proslavery and James Albert Ukawsaw Gronniosaw’, Slavery & Abolition 35:1 (2015) (published online Sep 2014).

2016 Mary Cox, ‘Hunger Games: Or how the Allied Blockade in World War I Deprived German Children of Nutrition, and Allied Food Aid Subsequently Saved them’, Economic History Review, 68: 2, (2015), 600-31.

2017 Stephanie Mawson, ‘Convicts or Conquistadores?: Spanish Soldiers in the Seventeenth Century Pacific’, Past and Present, 232:1 (2016), 87-125.

2018 Marcus Colla, ‘Prussian Palimpsests: Architecture and Urban Spaces in East Germany, 1945-1961,’ Central European History, 50 (2017), 184-217.

2019 Jake Richards, ‘Anti-Slave-Trade Law, “Liberated Africans” and the State in the South Atlantic World, c. 1839-1852’, Past and Present, 241 (2018), 170-219.

2020 Meira Gold, ‘Ancient Egypt and the Geological Antiquity of Man, 1847-1863’, History of Science, 57:2 (2019).


History in the News

Dr Susan Cohen ‘Eleanor Rathbone and the Refugees’

2016 marks the 70th anniversary of the death of the independent MP, Eleanor Rathbone. Known as ‘the MP for refugees’ her campaigns on behalf of refugees in the Interwar and 2WW period have a strong resonance with the current crisis, carrying a powerful message as pertinent today as it was then. 

Dr Susan Cohen’s monograph Rescue the Perishing: Eleanor Rathbone and the Refugees was published in 2010. She is currently researching the role of women within refugee organisations in Britain before and during the Second World War. Susan is co-founder of the Remembering Eleanor Rathbone group.

holocaust-memorial-day-2016-themeThe theme of Holocaust Memorial Day this year was ‘Don’t stand by’, a salutary reminder of the duty we all have, as responsible citizens, to speak out on behalf of people who are being oppressed or persecuted. Following the family motto ’what ought to be done, can be done’ Eleanor Rathbone, Independent MP for the Combined English Universities from 1929, embraced this obligation, devoting her working life to the needs of the under-represented in society, regardless of race, religion or gender. She never had a plan in her mind, but instead took up causes that came to her attention and which called for a strong advocate, moving seamlessly from national social and welfare concerns, equality for women, eliminating child poverty, improving housing and a host of other injustices. As a parliamentarian, only one of fourteen women returned in the 1929 election, she put her skills to good use, becoming the most powerful backbencher of the time.

EleanorRathbone GR

Portrait of Eleanor Rathbone by Sir James Gunn, NPG

She extended the scope of her activism to Britain’s colonies, and to Palestine, then ruled under a British mandate, with feminist issues at the heart of her work. But it was the refugee cause, precipitated by Hitler’s accession to power in Germany in January 1933 that set her on a path that was to literally exhaust her, hastening her untimely death in January 1946. An anti-Fascist, anti-Nazi and anti-appeaser, she was the only female politician to denounce the new Nazi regime when the House of Commons met on 13 April 1933, warning of the dangers the regime posed to world peace. Presciently, she spoke of how the Nazis were “inflicting cruelties and crushing disabilities on large numbers of law-abiding peaceful German citizens, whose only offence is that they belong to a particular race or religion or profess certain political beliefs.” These were the very people whom she came to support, and for whom she became the most outspoken critic of government policy.

by Howard Coster, half-plate film negative, 1938

Duchess of Atholl, 1938, NPG

In 1937 she and her fellow MP, Katherine, Duchess of Atholl, organised the rescue of some 4,000 children from the Basque combat zone during the Spanish Civil War and when Eleanor and her allies found out, in early 1939, that more Republicans were at risk of summary executions and reprisals, and that the British government was unwilling to help rescue them or offer protection for rescue vessels, they simply circumvented officialdom. Ships were organised to run the blockade and the National Joint Committee succeeded in getting several boatloads of refugees out, and to safety. But it was the fateful events of 1938 that completely altered the landscape – from the annexation of Austria in March; the orchestrated anti-Jewish pogroms across Germany and Austria, ‘Kristallnacht’, of 9/10 November; and the intervening signing of the Munich agreement in September, which gave the Nazis carte blanche to occupy the Sudetenland in West Czechoslovakia. The latter in particular created an unprecedented refugee crisis as thousands of people, including but not exclusively Jews, sought safety in, and then escape from Prague.

Eleanor Rathbone felt a personal responsibility for Britain’s part in this human disaster, and in response set up, and led her purely voluntary Parliamentary Committee on Refugees in November 1938, quickly gathering more than 200 supporting MPs. The remit of the PCR was:

to influence the Government and public opinion in favour of a generous yet carefully safeguarded refugee policy, including large-scale schemes of permanent settlement inside or outside of Empire; also, since thousands of refugees would perish while awaiting such schemes – temporary reception homes in this country where refugees can be maintained, sorted out and eventually migrated, except in cases where their abilities can be profitably utilised here without injustice to our own workers.”

Jewish refugees.

Jewish refugees cross from Czechoslovakia to Bratislava. Photo: Getty Images

The remit has an uncanny resonance with the current refugee crisis. With some minor alterations, it could have been written in 2016. The Czech refugees were now at the heart of Eleanor Rathbone’s campaigning activities as she urged the government to issue more visa, relax entry restrictions and make good their promise of a loan to Czechoslovakia. The outbreak of war meant the cancellation of any outstanding visas, and dashed hopes of escape, so she now turned her attention to refugees at home, as she championed their fair and humane treatment. Now considered enemy aliens, and classified by a tribunal system, there were some 55,000 Jewish refugees from Germany and Austria amongst the approximatly 80,000 refugees living here at the time. Some 6,782 in Category B, had mobility restrictions imposed upon them, affecting their ability to work and to be financially independent. Employers were desperate to take on suitable refugee workers, but permits were taking forever to be issued. This treatment, she argued, was counter-productive . It struck at the heart of her sense of justice and she did everything in her power to ameliorate the situation. But she was always patriotic, and never lost sight of the priority, which was the safety of the country and its citizens.

21st May 1940: A British soldier guarding an internment camp for 'enemy aliens', at Huyton housing estate in Liverpool. (Photo by Marshall/Fox Photos/Getty Images)

Internment camp in Liverpool, May 1940. Photo: Getty images

Deputations, questions, letters, phone calls, liaising with every refugee committee and activist, and enlisting the support of other MPs were all part of her armoury. The mass internment of around 27,600 enemy aliens in May 1940 served only to exacerbate an already challenging situation and to plunge Eleanor Rathbone and her committee into a maelstrom of activity as they sought the release of thousands of refugees. She put over 80 parliamentary questions on internment alone; the issues pursued including the importance of separating Nazi internees from non-Nazis; the shocking living conditions in many of the camps; the food shortages and lack of medical care. Once again the parallels with refugee camps and detention centres for asylum seekers cannot be ignored. The response to Rathbone’s urgent requests for a more generous immigration policy followed a pattern, including claims that it would fuel domestic anti-Semitism. In a desperate effort at countering this assertion, in late 1942 she established the National Committee for Rescue from Nazi Terror. The remit was to disseminate information at home about the mass extermination of Jews in Europe (information that the BBC in particular was unwilling to broadcast) and to promote small scale rescue missions. Despite the lack of success, the fact that Eleanor doggedly pursued these goals in the face of government intransigence and kept the subject in the public eye, is testimony to her humanity and determination.

Poignant words, written in 1943, highlight the struggle she envisaged people would have to expiate their shame:

If peace came tomorrow, we could not forget the millions for whom it would come too late, nor wash our hands of the stain of blood.’”

Nor was she able to hide her shame at Britain’s myopia, for she was convinced that with:

…greater foresight, courage (sic) there would have been no war, and if our policy towards refugees had been less miserably cautious, selfish and unimaginative, thousands of those already dead or in danger of death, might now be free and happy, contributing from their rich store of talent and industry to the welfare of mankind.”  [i]

Today’s political situation is not the same as that which prevailed during the Second World War. But Eleanor Rathbone’s assessment of the official response to the humanitarian disaster then resonates with the current crisis now. Calls for an imaginative and generous response reflect her belief that Britain’s tradition of liberty, generosity and asylum were of profound importance, even in wartime.

[i] EFR `Speech notes on the Refugee Question’, 16 December 1942. RP XIV. 3.85.

Eleanor Rathbone died 70 years ago in January 1946, and is being commemorated at various events throughout the year. Her refugee work will be remembered at a one-day conference being held in central London on Monday 20 June 2016, World Refugee DayWelcome to Britain? Refugees Then and Now. A conference in memory of Eleanor Rathbone 1872-1946, the ‘MP for refugees’.


Royal Historical Society History Today Prize

The Royal Historical Society History Today prize rewards high-quality work by undergraduates in their final-year dissertations.

It is jointly sponsored by the Society and History Today magazine, and is part of our close association with a magazine which since 1951 has been a pioneer in communicating the results of historical scholarship to the general public. The winner will be awarded a prize of £250 and, at the discretion of the Editor of History Today, an edited article-length version of their dissertation will be published in a future issue of the magazine.

Ella Sbaraini was the 2019 winner. You can read her essay ‘In Praise of Older Women’ in History Today magazine (November 2019).

How to Enter

  • The potential level of entries to the prize is large and to reduce numbers to manageable proportions we limit entries to one for every UK Higher Education institution.
  • Departments are invited to nominate the candidate judged by the examiners to have presented the best dissertation.
  • History departments should complete a History Today Prize Entry Form. They will be asked to upload a copy of the dissertation.


Deadline for 2021 entries:  31 August 2021


History Today Prize Past Winners

All enquiries about the Prize should be addressed to the Administrative Secretary, Imogen Evans, at: adminsecretary@royalhistsoc.org


Portrait of Shakespeare, 1598. Photograph: Alfredo Dagli Orti/The Art Archive/Corbis

Featured News

Anindita GhoshInterviews with Women Historians

To mark International Women’s Day the RHS is launching a new series of interviews with role models, beginning with three inspirational women historians – Margot Finn, Roberta ‘Bobby’ Anderson and Anindita Ghosh (pictured).  READ MORE

New Historical Perspectives

In Spring 2016 the RHS is launching an innovative new series, New Historical Perspectives, in association with the Institute of Historical Research. The new series will publish work by Early Career Historians and include monographs, shorter form works, edited essay collections and conference proceedings. We are now looking for an NHP Convenor.

History in the News: Dr Susan Cohen ‘Eleanor Rathbone and the Refugees’

EleanorRathbone GR2016 marks the 70th anniversary of the death of the independent MP, Eleanor Rathbone. Known as ‘the MP for refugees’, her campaigns on behalf of refugees in the Interwar and 2WW period have a strong contemporary resonance, carrying a powerful message as pertinent today as it was then. READ MORE

ITT Latest Developments

teacher_trainee_in_class_raising_hand_295January 2016: The RHS and Historical Association have now received a reply  from Nick Gibb, Minister of State for Schools, to our joint letter to the Secretary of State for Education in crisis talks over cuts to History PGCE courses. READ MORE

RHS Response to the Government’s Green Paper on HE

Teaching Excellence FrameworkThe RHS has delivered this response to the Government’s Green Paper on HE, which has been endorsed by the Economic History Society, History UK, the British Agricultural History Society and the East Midlands Centre for History Teaching and Learning. READ MORE

The making of the RHS Public History Prize Winner

ForKCAngelaClarewithtrophies2 sq.‘For King and Country’, an exhibition about the First World War at Bankfield Museum, Halifax, is the winner of the first RHS Public History PrizeIn 2013 Angela Clare (pictured) from Calderdale Museums was appointed Project Manager for the exhibition. Her role was to oversee the redevelopment of the gallery and the exhibition installation research as well as writing the exhibition’s content, and promoting it alongside related events. READ MORE.

Review of the REF (Research Excellence Framework)

department-for-business-innovation-skillsUniversities and Science Minister, Jo Johnson, has launched a UK-wide review of university research funding . The review will be chaired by the President of the British Academy and former World Bank Chief Economist Lord Nicholas Stern. He will be assisted by a steering group of academic experts, including historian Linda Colley. The review is due to report in Summer 2016. READ MORE.

Freedom of Information

RHS Response on Freedom of Information

The RHS has conducted a brief consultation among academic historians and historical researchers in response to the Call for Evidence by the Independent Commission on Freedom of Information and submitted this response

RHS Public History Prize Winners

The first Public History Prizes were presented by Professor Amanda Vickery (Queen Mary, University of London) at a reception at University College London on Friday 27th November 2015. The judging panel comprised Professor Mary Beard (Cambridge); Dr. Alix Green (UCLAN); Professor Aled Jones (National Library of Wales) and Professor John Tosh (Roehampton).  It was chaired by Professor Ludmilla Jordanova (Durham). In addition to the overall prize-winner, awards were made in the categories: Broadcasting, Film, Museums & Exhibitions and Web & Digital. READ MORE. 

Margot Finn squareNew Look Newsletter

The latest RHS Newsletter has recently gone online with a beautiful new design. Introducing RHS President-elect Margot Finn (pictured) and articles on the National Archives new strategic priorities, studying history at the Imperial War Museum and more.



Officers of the Society

Professor Emma Griffin

Emma Griffin is Professor of Modern British History at the University of East Anglia, and researches on the social and economic history of Britain during the period 1700-1870, with a particular interest in gender history, the industrial revolution, and working-class life. Emma’s most recent publications include Liberty’s Dawn. A People’s History of the Industrial Revolution (2013) and Bread Winner. An Intimate History of the Victorian Economy (2020), both published by Yale. She is also co-editor of Historical Journal and a former editor of the academic journal History.

Emma is a frequent contributor to radio and television, having written and presented several Radio 4 documentaries on diverse aspects of her research, from the history of fox-hunting, to the industrial revolution, to the gender pay gap and its history. She was a historical advisor for the Channel 4 drama, The Mill and co-presented The Real Mill with Tony Robinson on More4, and has appeared as an expert contributor on several radio and television programmes, including BBC1’s Who do you Think You Are? and Radio 4’s In Our Time.

Emma became President of the RHS in November 2020. Read more from Emma on Historical Transactions, the RHS blog.

Professor Peter D’Sena
Vice-President and Chair of Education Policy Committee

Peter D’Sena is Associate Professor of Learning and Teaching at the University of Hertfordshire and a Senior Research Fellow at the Institute of Historical Research. His key contributions to history education are borne from his enduring commitment, over four decades, to equality and inclusion.

As a writer of the revised National Curriculum in the late 1990s Peter championed the introduction of Black History; now he continues to lecture and write on decolonising the curriculum. As the HEA’s National Lead for History he organised the revision of the QAA Benchmark Statement and created innovative resources for those ‘New to Teaching’. He is a fellow of the Historical Association, a principal fellow of the HEA and last year he was elected to be the first President of SoTL’s European branch for History.

Peter was appointed Vice-President and Chair of Education Policy Committee in 2020 with responsibility for the Society’s contribution to advocacy and training in History teaching.

Professor Olivette Otele

Olivette Otele is Professor of the History of Slavery at the University of Bristol. She is a specialist in European colonial and post-colonial history, particularly the link between history, collective memory and geopolitics in relation to British and French colonial pasts.

Olivette has written widely for academic and broader audiences. Her most recent book, African Europeans: An Untold History, examines the long history of Europeans of African descent. She serves on the board of the British Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies, as a committee member for the Society for the Study of French History, and for the V&A Museum’s research committee. As RHS Vice-President, Olivette focuses particularly on matters pertaining to Membership, including the Society’s work on equality and diversity in the historical profession, and new developments in our support of early career historians.

Professor Jonathan Morris
Vice-President & Chair of the Research Policy Committee

Jonathan Morris is Research Professor in Modern History at the University of Hertfordshire. He is an expert on the global history of coffee, and enjoys an international reputation as a specialist in the transnational history of consumption and modern Italy.

Jonathan’s most recent publication is Coffee: A Global History (Reaktion, 2019). Jonathan leads the Heritage for Business unit within the University of Hertfordshire’s Heritage Hub and was a finalist in Most Innovative Contribution to Business-Collaboration category in the 2018 Times Higher Education Awards for his work with Nestlé Nespresso. Jonathan is a member of the REF2021 History Sub-Panel.

As Vice-President & Chair of the Research Policy Committee, Jonathan oversees the Society’s work in speaking for historians on issues related to research and funding.

Professor Jane Winters
Vice-President and Chair of the Publications Committee

Jane Winters is Professor of Digital History at the School of Advanced Study, University of London.

Jane has led or co-directed a range of digital humanities projects, including — most recently — Big UK Domain Data for the Arts and Humanities; Digging into Linked Parliamentary Metadata; Traces through Time: Prosopography in Practice across Big Data; The Thesaurus of British and Irish History as SKOS; and Born Digital Big Data and Approaches for History and the Humanities. A former RHS Council member, Jane became Vice-President, Publications in 2020 with responsibility for RHS print and online publishing.

Professor Jon Stobart
Honorary Treasurer

Jon Stobart is Professor of History at Manchester Metropolitan University, having previously held academic positions at the universities of Northampton, Coventry and Staffordshire. He is a social and economic historian of eighteenth-century England, with particular interests in the histories of retailing and consumption.

Much of Jon’s work is collaborative, interdisciplinary, and international and he has worked with geographers, art historians, heritage professionals and historians from the UK and across Europe. His most recent book, Consumption and the Country House, was published by OUP in 2016. Jon is a founding editor of the journal History of Retailing and Consumption, a member of the AHRC Peer Review College, and has sat on a number of academic councils and committees including the Economic History Society, Social History Society and Northamptonshire Record Society.

Dr Alana Harris
Honorary Secretary

Alana Harris is Senior Lecturer in Modern British History and Director of Liberal Arts at King’s College London. Her work sits at the intersections of the history of gender, sexuality, ethnicity and religiosity. Alana’s publications include The Schism of ’68: Catholics, Contraception and Humanae Vitae in Europe, 1945-75 (Palgrave Macmillan 2018), Love and Romance in Britain 1918-1970 (Palgrave Macmillan 2014) (co-edited with Tim Jones)and Faith in the Family: A Lived Religious History of English Catholicism, 1945-82 (MUP 2013).

Alana has a strong interest in gender and racial equality and chaired her Department’s successful Athena SWAN Bronze award. She is a member of a number of editorial and advisory boards and enjoys taking her research beyond the academy through various exhibitions, public engagement workshops, and media and theatre consultancies.

Dr Andrew Smith
Co-Honorary Director of Communications

Andrew W.M. Smith is a Senior Lecturer in Contemporary History and Politics at the University of Chichester. His work focuses principally on the French and Francophone world with an interest in identities beyond the frame of the nation state. Recent articles have addressed minority nationalism, decolonization, the Second World War, and linguistic politics.

Andrew is the author of Terror and Terroir: The Winegrowers of the Languedoc and Modern France (Manchester University Press, September 2016), and editor (with Chris Jeppesen) of Britain, France and the Decolonization of Africa: Future Imperfect? (UCL Press, March 2017). As the Society’s Hon. Director of Communications, Andrew oversees RHS Newsletters and the Society’s blog, Historical Transactions.

Professor Andrew Spicer
Literary Director

Andrew Spicer is Professor of Early Modern European History at Oxford Brookes University. He completed his doctorate at the University of Southampton on exiles from France and the Southern Netherlands in the late sixteenth century. As one of two Literary Directors, Andrew oversees RHS publications and is the editor of the Society’s journal, Transactions of the Royal Historical Society.

Andrew has published widely on early modern immigrant communities, as well as nineteenth-century interest in the Huguenots. His more recent work has focused on the socio-cultural impact of the Reformation, particularly sacred space, art & architecture, and the material culture & setting of worship. He is an editor of the Ecclesiastical History Society’s Studies in Church History series. Besides Calvinist Churches in Early Modern Europe (Manchester, 2007), he has published a number of edited volumes, most recently Parish Churches in the Early Modern World (Farnham, 2016). He is currently completing a monograph entitled Conflict and the Religious Landscape: Cambrai and the Southern Netherlands, c. 1566–1621 to be published by Brill. 

Professor Richard Toye
Literary Director

Richard Toye is Professor of History at the University of Exeter. He is an historian of Britain in its global and imperial context in the period from the late nineteenth century to the present. As one of two Literary Directors, Andrew oversees RHS publications and is the editor of the Society’s journal, Transactions of the Royal Historical Society.

Richard is the author of a number of books on Winston Churchill, including Churchill’s Empire: The World That Made Him and the World He Made (Macmillan, 2010), The Roar of the Lion: The Untold Story of Churchill’s World War II Speeches (OUP, 2013), Winston Churchill. A Life in the News and The Churchill Myths (both 2020). He has also written books on persuasion in modern British politics, the history of the British Labour Party, and the Oxford Very Short Introduction to Rhetoric.


The Samuel Pepys Award 2021

The Samuel Pepys Award 2021 – Rules


The Trustees of the Samuel Pepys Award Trust invite submissions for the tenth Samuel Pepys Award, to be presented at the annual Pepys Club dinner on Tuesday 16 November 2021.

The biennial prize of £2,000 is for a book that, in the opinion of the judges, makes the greatest contribution to the understanding of Samuel Pepys, his times or his contemporaries.


The first Samuel Pepys Award marked the tercentenary of Pepys’s death in 2003 and was won by Claire Tomalin for her biography, Samuel Pepys: The Unequalled Self.

Subsequent prize winners were:

  • 2005 Frances Harris for Transformations of Love
  • 2007 John Adamson for The Noble Revolt
  • 2009 JD Davies for Pepys’s Navy: Ships, Men and Warfare 1649-1689.
  • 2011 Michael Hunter for Boyle: Between God and Science.
  • 2013 Henry Reece for The Army in Cromwellian England 1649-1660
  • 2015 Paul Slack for The Invention of Improvement: Information and Material Progress in Seventeenth-Century England
  • 2017 John Walter for Covenanting Citizens: The Protestant Oath and Popular Political culture in the English Revolution
  • 2019 David Como for Radical Parliamentarians and the English Civil War

A specially cast medal by Philip Nathan, in memory of Robert Latham, joint editor of the eleven-volume The Diary of Samuel Pepys, will be presented to the winning author.


The Rules

  1. Submissions must be made no later than Wednesday 30 June 2021.
  2. Books must be published between 1 July 2019 and 30 June 2021.
  3. Submissions, non-fiction and fiction, must have been written in the English language.
  4. Books published in the UK, Ireland, USA and the Commonwealth are eligible for the Samuel Pepys Award.
  5. The judges of the Samuel Pepys Award reserve the right to call in books.
  6. The Samuel Pepys Award will be presented at the annual dinner of the Samuel Pepys Club in London on Tuesday 16 November 2021.


The judges of the tenth Samuel Pepys Award are:

  • Eamon Duffy is Emeritus Professor of the History of Christianity at Cambridge and the author of numerous books including The Stripping of the Altars and Saints and Sinners, a history of the Popes
  • Sir David Latham is the son of Robert Latham, the editor of the Diary. He is a retired Lord Justice of Appeal and an Honorary Fellow of Royal Holloway College, University of London. He is the current Chairman of the Samuel Pepys Club
  • Robin O’Neill is a former British ambassador, read English at Cambridge and has a particular interest in diplomatic history and English literature in the seventeenth century
  • Caroline Sandwich read English at Cambridge and Middle Eastern politics at London. Has served on the Heritage Lottery Fund and the Historic Houses Association amongst others. Her work at her husband’s family house, Mapperton, has given her an interest in seventeenth century history.
  • Sir Keith Thomas is a Fellow of All Souls and a distinguished historian of the early modern world, whose publications include Religion and the Decline of Magic, and Man and the Natural World.


Submissions should be made on the Samuel Pepys Submission Form 2021

Please post completed forms by 30 June 2021 to:

Professor William Pettigrew
4 Regent Street
Lancashire LA1 1SG

And post one copy of each submitted book to the following addresses by 30 June 2021

Professor Eamon Duffy
13 Gurney Way
Cambridge CB42 2ED

Sir David Latham
3 Manor Farm Close
Dorset DT11 8XL

Robin O’Neill
4 Castle Street
Saffron Walden CB10 1BP

Caroline Sandwich
Dorset DT8 3NR

Sir Keith Thomas
The Broad Gate
Broad Street
Ludlow SY8 1NJ



Bringing Archives to ECRs: The RHS Awards Three Rounds of AMD Subscriptions

In April, the Royal Historical Society (RHS) announced that Adam Matthew Digital (AMD) had generously agreed to award the Society a number of twelve-month subscriptions to its digitised collections of primary sources. Our final round closed on 1 September and we were pleased to award 62 subscriptions over three application rounds. 

These licenses will be made available free-of-charge to successful applicants based at UK universities for their doctorate. The RHS hopes that these licenses will significantly enhance the access of Early Career historians (both current doctoral students and recent recipients of doctoral degrees) to digital primary materials during the dislocations, travel restrictions and archive and library closures that are necessitated by the COVID-19 crisis in 2020-21. The twelve-month subscriptions Adam Matthew has kindly allocated to the RHS include not only the 8 million+ pages of primary source material in the Research Source Platform, but also over 70 thematic collections. You can find out more about the scheme on the RHS blog.

 Across the 3 cycles, the RHS awarded 62 subscriptions to the following researchers:

Amelie Addison
University of Leeds
‘National Airs in the Life and Works of William Shield (1748-1829)’

Edward Armston-Sheret
Royal Holloway, University of London
‘Exploring Bodies: Science, Heroism, and the Body in British Exploration Cultures, 1856–1913’

Michael Bennett
The University of Sheffield
‘Merchant Capital and the Origins of the Barbados Sugar Boom, 1627-1672’

Sabera Bhayat
University of Warwick
‘The Problem of Polygamy in Modern India, 1880s-1940s’

Sarah Birt
Birkbeck, University of London
‘A Fashionable Business: Seamstresses, Mantua-makers and Milliners in Seventeenth and Eighteenth-Century London’

Benjamin Bland
Royal Holloway, University of London
‘Extremism in the British Underground: Subcultural Fascism(s) and Their Reflections in Music Culture, c. 1975-1999’

Fiona Bowler
University of Southampton
‘The British Nuclear Test Veteran: Radiation, National Service, and the Soldier’s Body, 1952-2012’

Mike Brackpool
University of Southampton
‘Not the Expected War: How did British Newspapers portray the Phoney War of 1939-1940 and the Resultant Perception of this by its News Audience’

Morris Brodie
Queen’s University Belfast
‘Transatlantic Anarchism during the Spanish Civil War and Revolution, 1936-1939’

Simon Buck
Northumbria University
‘The Aged South: Old Age and Roots Music in the US South’

Emily Burnett
University of Southampton
‘Agency of the “Fallen Women” in the Later Nineteenth Century Portsmouth and Plymouth’

Rachel Chua
University College London
‘Virtuous Reality: Confucian Ideals and Women’s Agency in Late Imperial China’

Nicola Clarke
Birkbeck, University of London
‘Accuracy and the Value of Accuracy Seventeenth Century English News Sources’

Charlton Cussans
University of Aberdeen
‘Constructing Settler Identity in Southern Rhodesia: Law, Immigration and, Citizenship, 1922-1939’

Paul Diggett
Manchester Metropolitan University
‘Poverty and Welfare in Manchester, between 1868 and 1914, with Reference to Angel Meadow and Ancoats’

James Finch
University College London
‘Reframing Oceania: Towards New Narratives of the Colonial Pacific, 1820-1920’

Iain Flood
Newcastle University
‘Violence and Victimhood: The Emotional Impact of Guerrilla Warfare in Civil War Era Missouri’

Kevin Geddes
Edinburgh Napier University
‘Pioneering Television Cooking Programmes: Content, Controversy and Innovation in British Television Production, 1936-1976’

Ben Giordano
University of Southampton
‘Memories of Dance Halls in Twentieth Century Britain’

Nicole Gipson
University of Manchester
‘Making the Third Ghetto: Race and Family Homelessness in Washington, D.C., 1977 – 1999’

Geraldine Gnych
Swansea University
‘Gender, Authority and the Mouth in Medieval Culture’

Nicolás Gómez Baeza
University of Warwick
‘Gringos duros: Transnational British Managements of Labour Discipline in Sheep Farming Industry (Patagonia and Tierra del Fuego, 1837 – c. 1950)’

Nishant Gokhale
University of Cambridge
‘Agents of Order: Governing the Khandesh Bhils in Nineteenth-Century India’

Milo Gough
‘Urban Morphology of an Early Colonial City, Freetown, Sierra Leone 1850-1910’

Stephen Harper
Manchester Metropolitan University
‘The End of the Cromwellian Protectorate in North West England 1658-60’

Mel Harrison
King’s College London
‘Intersections of Gender and Disability on the Early Modern Stage 1553 – 1603’

Jasper Heeks
King’s College London
‘The Spread of ‘Genus Larrikin’: Overseas Reaction to Deviant and Delinquent Australian Youth, 1870-1940’

Yijie Huang
University of Cambridge
‘The Clock and the Hand: Taking the Pulse in English Medicine, c.1650- c.1700’

Sandip Kana
King’s College London
‘Technical Education in Colonial and Post-colonial India, 1880-1958’

Aleksandra Kaye
University College London
‘Mapping the Polish Knowledge Networks in Nineteenth-century Latin America, 1830-1890’

Jennie Kiff
University of Lincoln
‘”Amazonian hooligans” or “feminist zealots”? : A demographic study of the Bradford branch of the Women’s Social and Political Union, 1903-1918’

Oliver Lewis
University of Roehampton
‘Porous Masculinities: Unstable Surfaces, Fluid Identities and Early Modern Embodiment’

James Mackay
University of Edinburgh
‘‘‘What They Call Free in This Country’’: Refugees from Slavery in Revolutionary America, 1775-1783’

Katrina Maydom
University of Cambridge
‘New World Drugs in England’s Early Empire’

Lindsay Middleton
University of Glasgow/University of Aberdeen
‘The Technical Recipe: A Formal Analysis of Nineteenth-century Food Writing’

Sudipto Mitra
Royal Holloway, University of London
‘Conspiracies of Consent: The Middlemen in Nineteenth Century Indian Indentured Labour’

Harriet O’Neill
University of Roehampton
‘The Immigration of Theatrical and Medical Occupational Groups into the City of London 1571-1605: The Influence of Historical, Personal and Social-economic Factors’

Ellen Packham
University of Aberdeen
‘Literary Engineers: Engineers as Authors and Readers 1750 – 1900’

Sami Pinarbasi
University of Manchester
‘Manchester and the British West Indies, 1700-1833’

Matthew Pooley
University of Hull
The role of information and intelligence in the development of the British empire in North America and the Caribbean, c.1700-1750

Jonathan Powell
King’s College London
‘Place, Space and Common Law in Jacobean Britain’

Kelly Power
King’s College London
‘Changing Childhoods: The Educational Experiences of Working-Class Children 1850-1870’

Ellie Reed
The University of Roehampton
‘Lower Middle-class Domestic Culture in Woman’s Weekly, 1918-1958’

Emma Rhodes
University of Leicester
‘Opportunities and Representation of Non-White Women in the Works Progress Administration in the Southern United States’

Timothy Riding
Queen Mary, University of London
‘Producing Space in the English East India Company’s Western Presidency, 1612-1780’

Euan McCartney Robson
University College London
‘A Cathedral Encountered: Stories and Storytelling in Medieval Durham’

Andrew Searle
University of Birmingham
‘Is Anybody Listening? Torture Advocacy by Human Rights Activists from 1961 to 1979 and the Politics of Human Rights in the UK’

Mark Shearwood
University of Leeds
‘The Catholic Other in the Army of James II and William III, c 1685-1690’

Richard James Sladden
University of Cambridge
‘The Oil Shock and ‘Eurodollar Diplomacy, 1969-1979’

Ellen Smith
University of Leicester
‘Communication, Intimacy and Creativity: Family Life in British India, 1790-1920’

Amy Solomons
University of Liverpool
‘Books for Everyone? National Trust Libraries and their Reading Communities in the Long Eighteenth Century’

Cameron Stewart
University of Aberdeen
‘The Russo-British Alliance at Sea during World War One, 1914-1917’

Diane Strange
University of Leicester
‘The Contempt and Reproach of our Nation: petitioning the Court of Wards, 1610–1635’

Donna Taylor
University of Birmingham
‘Governance and Locality in the Age of Reform: Birmingham 1769-1852’

Suraj Thube
University of Oxford
‘Print, Language and Counterpublics: The Marathi Public Sphere in Late Colonial Western India, ca. 1920-1947’

Adam Waddingham
The University of Manchester
‘”We’re Out!”: An Intellectual History of the Development of Euroscepticism within British Political Thought’

Jackie Wilkinson
University of Winchester
‘What can patterns of church court litigation tell us about social and cultural relationships in different areas of early modern Hampshire?’

Weiao Xing
University of Cambridge
‘Language, Translation, and Encounters in the Early Modern North Atlantic World’

Oliver Yule-Smith
King’s College London
‘What are the themes that have shaped the Development of British China policy from 1922 to today?’

Yuan Yi Zhu
University of Oxford
‘The Theories and Practices of Sovereignty in Republican China, 1911-1943’

Jenna Zmrzel
University of Oxford
‘Thomas Cook, Women Travellers, and the Gender Dynamics of Leisure, c.1855-1903’


RHS Whitfield Prize Winners

K.D. Brown, John Burns (Royal Historical Society Studies in History: 1977)

Marie Axton, The Queen’s Two Bodies: Drama and the Elizabethan Succession (Royal Historical Society Studies in History: 1978)

Patricia Crawford, Denzil Holles, 1598-1680: A study of his Political Career (Royal Historical Society Studies in History: 1979)

D. L. Rydz, The Parliamentary Agents: A History (Royal Historical Society Studies in History: 1979)

Scott M. Harrison, The Pilgrimage of Grace in the Lake Counties, 1536-7 (Royal Historical Society Studies in History: 1981)

Norman L. Jones, Faith by Statute: Parliament and the Settlement of Religion, 1559 (Royal Historical Society Studies in History: 1982)

Peter Clark, The English Alehouse: A social history, 1200-1830 (Longman, 1983)

David Hempton, Methodism and Politics in British Society, 1750-1850 (Hutchinson, 1984)

K.D.M. Snell, Annals of the Labouring Poor (Cambridge University Press, 1985)

Diarmaid MacCulloch, Suffolk and the Tudors: Politics and Religion in an English County,1500- 1600 (Clarendon Press, 1986)

Kevin M. Sharpe, Criticism and Compliment: The politics of literature in the England of Charles I (Cambridge University Press, 1987)

J.H. Davis, Reforming London, the London Government Problem, 1855-1900 (Clarendon Press, 1988)

A.G. Rosser, Medieval Westminster, 1200-1540 (Clarendon Press, 1989)

Duncan M. Tanner, Political change and the Labour party, 1900-1918 (Cambridge University Press, 1990)

Tessa Watt, Cheap Print and Popular Piety, 1550-1640 (Cambridge University Press, 1991)

Christine Carpenter, Locality and Polity: A Study of Warwickshire Landed Society, 1401 -1499 (Cambridge University Press, 1992)

Jeanette M. Neeson, Commoners: common right; enclosure and social change in England,1700- 1820 (Cambridge University Press, 1993)

V.A.C. Gatrell, The Hanging Tree: Execution and the English people, 1770-1868 (Oxford University Press, 1994)

Kathleen Wilson, The Sense of the People: Politics, Culture and Imperialism in England, 1715-1785 (Cambridge University Press, 1995)

Paul D. Griffiths, Youth and Authority: Formative Experience in England, 1560-1640 (Clarendon Press, 1996)

Christopher Tolley, Domestic Biography: the legacy of evangelicalism in four nineteenth century families (Clarendon Press, 1997)

Amanda Vickery, The Gentleman’s Daughter: Women’s Lives in Georgian England (Yale University Press, 1998)

John Walter, Understanding Popular Violence in the English Revolution: The Colchester Plunderers (Past and Present Publications, 1999)

Adam Fox, Oral and Literate Culture in England, 1500-1700 (Clarendon Press, 2000)

John Goodall, God’s House at Ewelme: Life, Devotion and Architecture in a Fifteenth Century Almshouse (Routledge, 2001)
Frank Salmon, Building on Ruins: The Rediscovery of Rome and English Architecture (Ashgate, 2001)

Ethan H. Shagan, Popular Politics and the English Reformation (Cambridge University Press, 2002)

Christine Peters, Patterns of Piety: Women, Gender and Religion in Late Medieval and Reformation England (Cambridge University Press, 2003)

M.J.D. Roberts, Making English Morals: Voluntary Association and Moral reform in England,1787-1886 (Cambridge University Press, 2003)

Matt Houlbrooke, Queer London: Perils and Pleasures in the Sexual Metropolis, 1918-1957 (University of Chicago Press, 2005)

Kate Fisher, Birth Control, Sex and Marriage in Britain, 1918-1960 (Oxford University Press, 2006)

Stephen Baxter, The Earls of Mercia: Lordship and Power in Late Anglo-Saxon England (Oxford University Press, 2007)
Duncan Bell, The Idea of Greater Britain: Empire and the Future of World Order, 1860-1900 (Princeton University Press, 2007)

Stephen M. Lee, George Canning and Liberal Toryism, 1801-1827 (RHS/Boydell & Brewer:2008)
Frank Trentmann, Free Trade Nation: Commerce, Consumption and Civil Society in Modern Britain (Oxford University Press: 2008)

Nicholas Draper, The Price of Emancipation: Slave-ownership, Compensation and British Society at the end of Slavery (Cambridge University Press: 2009)

Arnold Hunt, The Art of Hearing: English Preachers and their Audiences, 1590-1640 (Cambridge University Press: 2010)

Jaqueline Rose, Godly Kingship in Restoration England: The Politics of the Royal Supremacy,1660-1688, (Cambridge University Press: 2011)

Ben Griffin, The Politics of Gender in Victorian Britain. Masculinity, Political Culture and the Struggle for Women’s Rights, (Cambridge University Press: 2012)

Scott Sowerby, Making Toleration: The Repealers and The Glorious Revolution (Harvard University Press: 2013)

From this point the prize is awarded for and presented in the year following publication.

John Sabapathy, Officers and Accountability in Medieval England 1170-1300 (Oxford University Press, 2014)

Aysha Pollnitz, Princely Education in Early Modern Britain (Cambridge University Press, 2015)

William M. Cavert, The Smoke of London: Energy and Environment in the Early Modern City (Cambridge University Press, 2016)
Alice Taylor, The Shape of the State in Medieval Scotland, 1124-1290 (Oxford University Press, 2016)

Brian N Hall, Communications and British Operations on the Western Front, 1914-1918 (Cambridge University Press, 2017)

Ryan Hanley, Beyond Slavery and Abolition: Black British Writing, c.1770-1830 (Cambridge University Press: 2018)

Niamh Gallagher, Ireland and the Great War: A Social and Political History (Bloomsbury, 2020)



Studies in History

Studies in History was founded by Sir Geoffrey Elton in 1975 and re-launched in 1995, with the support of the Economic History Society and the Past and Present Society.

Studies in History Series established itself as one of the principal publishers of monographs by early-career historians across the full breadth of the discipline and launched the careers of many distinguished historians. After forty years of successful publishing in this form, Studies in History drew to a close in 2020, with the launch of our new open access book series, New Historical Perspectives.

If you are an early career scholar and would like to publish your monograph with the RHS, please consider submitting a proposal to New Historical Perspectives.


Recent Publications

Luke Blaxill, The War of Words: the Language of British Elections, 1880 – 1922 (2020)

The late nineteenth and early twentieth century have been widely eulogised as a “golden age” of popular platform oratory. This book considers the language of British elections – especially stump speeches – during this period. It employs a “big data” methodology inspired by computational linguistics, using text-mining to analyse over five million words delivered by Conservative, Liberal and Labour candidates in the nine elections that took place in this period. It systematically and authoritatively quantifies how and how far key issues, values, traditions and personalities manifested themselves in wider party discourse.The author reassesses a number of central historical debates, arguing that historians have considerably underestimated the transformative impact of the 1883-5 reforms on rural party language, and the purchase of Joseph Chamberlain’s Unauthorized Programme; that the centrality of Home Rule and Imperialism in the late 1880s and 1890s have been exaggerated; and that the New Liberalism’s linguistic impact was relatively weak, failing to contain the message of the emerging Labour alternative.


Tom Hulme, After the Shock City: Urban Culture and the Making of Modern Citizenship (2019)

 After the Shock City is a comparative and transnational study of urban culture in Britain and the US from the late nineteenth to mid-twentieth century. Using the industrial cities of Manchester and Chicago as case studies, the book traces the idea of ‘citizenship’ across different areas of local life – from philosophy and festivals to historical re-enactment and public housing. Coalitions of voluntary associations, municipal government and local elites lambasted modern urban culture as the cause of social disintegration. But rather than simply decanting the population to new and smaller settlements they tried to re-imagine a reformed city as a place that could foster loyal and healthy communities. Celebrating civic progress in the period since the ‘shock city’ of the nineteenth century, they sought to create a sense of local pride that could bracket growing class and racial tensions. The diverse individuals, groups and communities of the city reacted in different ways to this message. Some jumped on board, happy to gather under the identity of one civic banner. Others, held back by discriminatory structures of society, chose to shape their own idea of citizenship – one that looked far beyond the city for a sense of belonging and rights. Historians have tended to emphasise the rise of national identity, state centralisation and popular patriotism at the expense of distinctive local identities, municipal autonomy and expressions of civic pride. After the Shock City redresses this imbalance and demonstrates how local ideas of belonging could still exert a powerful hold until at least the 1930s.


George Southcombe, The Wonders of the Lord: the Culture of Dissent in Restoration England (2019).

Over the past generation, scholars have offered a much deeper and more persuasive account of the centrality of religious issues in shaping the political and cultural worlds of Restoration England. However, in this work the voices of individual dissenters have not always been clearly heard. This book offers a fresh and challenging new approach to those that the confessional state of Restoration England had no prospect of silencing. it provides case studies of a range of very different but highly articulate dissenters, focusing on their modes of political activism, and on the varieties of dissenting response to the Restoration. Each case study demonstrates the vitality and integrity of witnesses to a spectrum of post-revolutionary Protestantism. This book seeks, through an exploration of textual culture, to illuminate both the varied ways in which Nonconformists sought to engage with central authorities in Church and State, and the development of Nonconformist identities during the period. It is necessarily interdisciplinary in approach and includes close readings of a large number of literary – particularly poetic – texts. It also contributes to wider historiographical debates concerning the significance of print culture and the relationship of ‘popular’ culture and theology.

Ceri Law, Contested Reformations in the University of Cambridge, c.1535-84

The University of Cambridge has long been heralded as the nursery of the English Reformation: a precociously evangelical and then puritan Tudor institution. Spanning fifty years and four reigns and based on extensive archival research, this book reveals a much more nuanced experience of religious change in this unique community. Instead of Protestant triumph, there were multiple, contested responses to royal religious policy across the sixteenth century. The University’s importance as both a symbol and an agent of religious change meant that successive regimes and politicians worked hard to stamp their visions of religious uniformity onto it. It was also equipped with some of England’s most talented theologians and preachers. Yet in the maze of the collegiate structure, the conformity they sought proved frustratingly elusive. The religious struggles which this book traces reveal not only the persistence of real doctrinal conflict in Cambridge throughout the Reformation period, but also more complex patterns of accommodation, conformity and resistance shaped by social, political and institutional context. As well as an important new perspective on this critical intellectual and religious community, this book also provides broader insights on the conflicted nature of religious change in sixteenth-century England.


Michelle Beer, Queenship at the Renaissance Courts of Britain: Catherine of Aragon and Margaret Tudor, 1503-1533

Catherine of Aragon (r.1509-1533) and her sister-in-law Margaret Tudor (r.1503-1513) presided as queens over the glittering sixteenth-century courts of England and Scotland, alongside their husbands Henry VIII of England and James IV of Scotland. Although we know a great deal about these two formidable sixteenth-century kings, yet we understand very little about how their two queens contributed to their reigns. How did these young, foreign women become effective and trusted consorts, and powerful political figures in their own right? This book argues that Catherine and Margaret’s performance of queenship combined medieval queenly virtues with the new opportunities for influence and power offered by Renaissance court culture. Royal rituals such as childbirth and the Royal Maundy, courtly spectacles such as tournaments, banquets, and diplomatic summits, or practices such as arranged marriages and gift-giving, were all moments when Catherine and Margaret could assert their honour, status and identity as queens. Their husbands’ support for their activities at court helped bring them the influence and patronage necessary to pursue their own political goals and obtain favour and rewards for their servants and followers. Situating Catherine and Margaret’s careers within the history of the royal courts of England and Scotland and amongst their queenly peers, this book reveals these two queens as intimately connected agents of political influence and dynastic power

David Parrish, Jacobitism and anti-Jacobitism in the British Atlantic world, 1688–1727

The first half of the Britain’s long eighteenth century was a period fraught with conflicts ranging from civil wars (1688-1691) to a series of Jacobite plots, intrigues and rebellions. It was also a formative period marked by substantial changes including the growth and centralisation of an empire and the maturation of party politics and the public sphere.  Covering almost forty years of this colourful history over an expansive geographical range, David Parrish examines the existence and meaning of Jacobitism and anti-Jacobitism throughout Britain’s Atlantic empire.  Drawing on a diverse source base, Parrish ably captures the essence of the transatlantic, tripartite relationship between politics, religion and the public sphere thus contributing to our understandings of the Anglicization of the British Atlantic world.

Barbara Gribling, The Black Prince in Georgian and Victorian England: negotiating the late medieval past

During the Georgian and Victorian periods, the fourteenth-century hero Edward the Black Prince became an object of cultural fascination and celebration; he and his battles played an important part in a wider reimagining of the British as a martial people, reinforced by an interest in chivalric character and a burgeoning nationalism. Drawing on a wealth of literature, histories, drama, art and material culture, this book explores the uses of Edward’s image in debates about politics, character, war and empire, assessing the contradictory meanings ascribed to the late Middle Ages in Georgian and Victorian culture as a time of heroic virtues, chivalric escapades, royal power and parliamentary development, adding to a growing literature on Georgian uses of the past by exposing an active royal and popular investment in the medieval. It reveals that the Middle Ages was contested terrain in Victorian Britain, disputing frequent modern assumptions that the Victorians saw the medieval period as an idealised and unproblematic past.


Robert Portass, The Village World of Early Medieval Spain

In the early eighth century, the Muslim general Tariq ibn Ziyad led his forces across the Straits of Gibraltar and conquered most of the Iberian Peninsula. Yet alongside the flourishing kingdom of al-Andalus, the small Christian realm of Asturias-León endured in the northern mountains. In this book, Robert Portass charts the social, economic and political development of Asturias-León from the Islamic conquest to 1031.  Applying a forensic comparative method, which examines the abundant charter material from two regions of northern Spain – the Liébana valley in Cantabria, and the Celanova region of southern Galicia – this book sheds new light on village society, the workings of government, and the constant swirl of buying, selling and donating that marked the rhythms of daily life.  It maps the contact points between rulers and ruled, offering new insights on the motivations and actions of both peasant proprietors and aristocrats.  This book is of interest to historians of rural society, economic development, and governing structures across early medieval Europe.


Stephen Werronen, Religion, Time and Religious Culture in Late Medieval Ripon

Ripon Minster was St Wilfrid’s church, and its vast parish at the edge of the Yorkshire dales was his domain, his memory living on among the people of his parish centuries after his death. Wilfrid was a saint for all seasons: his three feast days punctuated the cycle of the agricultural year and an annual procession sought his blessings on the growing crops each May. This procession brought together many of the parish’s earthly lords – the clergy and the gentry – as they carried the relics of their celestial patron. In death they hoped that they too would be remembered, and so remain a part of parish society for as long as their tombs survived or prayers were said for them in the church of Ripon.This book charts the developments in the practice of religion, and in particular the commemoration of the deceased, from the late fourteenth to the early sixteenth centuries in this important parish. In particular, it shows how the twin necessities of honouring the minster’s patron saint and remembering the parish dead had a profound effect on the practice of religion in late medieval Ripon, shaping everything from the ritual calendar to weekly and daily religious routines. It provides, moreover, insights into the state of English religion on the eve of the Reformation.


 Benjamin Dabby, Women as public moralists in Britain: from the Bluestockings to Virginia Woolf

This book explores the ways in which a tradition of women moralists in Britain shaped public debates about the nation’s moral health, and men’s and women’s responsibility to ensure it. It focusses on the role played by eight of the most significant of these women moralists whose writing on history, literature, and visual art changed contemporaries’ understanding of the lessons to be drawn from each field at the same time as they contested and redefined contemporary understandings of masculinity and femininity. In chapters which examine the critical interventions made by Anna Jameson, Hannah Lawrance, Margaret Oliphant, Marian Evans (‘George Eliot’), Eliza Lynn Linton, Beatrice Hastings, Rebecca West, and Virginia Woolf, Benjamin Dabby recovers these writers’ understanding of themselves as part of a tradition of women of letters stretching from eighteenth-century bluestockings to their own time, and the growing consensus in this period across the political range of periodicals that women’s intellectual potential was equal to men’s, and not determined by their sex. Women as public moralists in Britain represents an important new direction in debates about modern British cultural history, and sheds new light on the bluestocking legacy, the place of women in the public sphere and the development of feminism in Britain’s ‘long nineteenth century’.


Kathryn Rix, Parties, agents and electoral culture in England, 1880-1910

The electoral reforms of 1883–5 created a mass electorate and transformed English political culture. A new breed of professional organisers emerged in the constituencies in the form of full-time party agents, who handled registration, electioneering and the day-to-day political, social and educational work of local parties. This book examines the agents not only as political figures, but also as men (and occasionally women) determined to establish their status as professionals. Studying this previously neglected group provides a fresh perspective on the evolution of the modern British political system, shedding new light on debates about how effectively the Liberal and Conservative parties adapted to the challenges of mass politics after 1885. Professional agents performed a vital role as intermediaries between ‘high’ politics at Westminster and ‘low’ politics in the localities. This ground-breaking study addresses key questions about the nationalisation of electoral politics in this period, demonstrating the importance of understanding the interactions between the centre and the constituencies. It shows that while the agents’ professional networks contributed to a growing uniformity in certain aspects of party organisation, local forces continued to play a vital role in British political life.  Overall, the focus on this previously neglected group provides a fresh perspective on the evolution of the modern British political system, shedding new light on debates about how effectively the Liberal and Conservative parties adapted to the challenges of mass politics after 1885.

Brogan - Royal Touch


Stephen Brogan, The royal touch in early modern England: politics, medicine and sin

The royal touch was the religious healing ceremony at which the monarch stroked the sores on the face and necks of people who had scrofula in order to heal them in imitation of Christ.  The rite was practised by all the Tudor and Stuart sovereigns apart from William iii, reaching its zenith during the Restoration when some 100,000 people were touched by Charles II and James II.   This ground-breaking book, the first devoted to the royal touch for almost a century, integrates political, religious, medical and intellectual history. The practice is analysed from above and below: the royal touch projected monarchical authority, but at the same time the great demand for it created numerous problems for those organising the ceremony. The healing rite is situated in the context of a number of early modern debates, including the cessation of miracles and the nature of the body politic. The book also assesses contemporary attitudes towards the royal touch, from belief through ambivalence to scepticism.  Drawing on a wide range of primary sources including images, coins, medals, and playing cards, as well as manuscripts and printed texts, it provides an important new perspective on the evolving relationship between politics, medicine and sin in sixteenth- and seventeenth-century England.

Brenner Leprosy and Charity

Elma Brenner, Leprosy and Charity in Medieval Rouen

Between the twelfth and fifteenth centuries, Rouen was one of the greatest cities in western Europe.  The effective capital of the ‘Angevin Empire’ between 1154 and 1204 and thereafter a leading city in the realm of the Capetian kings of France, medieval Rouen experienced periods of growth and stagnation, the emergence of communal government, and the ravages of plague and the Hundred Years’ War.  In this book, Elma Brenner examines the impact of leprosy upon Rouen during this period, and the key role played by charity in the society and religious culture of the city and its hinterland.  Based upon very extensive archival research, the book offers a new understanding of responses to disease and disability in medieval Europe.  It explores the relationship between leprosy, charity and practices of piety, and considers how leprosy featured in growing concerns about public health. This work will be of great interest to historians of urban society, medicine, religious culture and gender in the Middle Ages, as well as those studying medieval France.

 Past Publications


Professor Catherine Holmes — RHS Lecture, 7 May 2021

Header for lecture

The repulsion of the Rus’ attack on Constantinople in 941 by the Byzantine fleet, C13th, Chronicle of John Skylitzes, cod. Vitr. 26-2, fol. 130, Madrid National Library, CC-0.


“The Making and Breaking of Kinetic Empire: Mobility, Communication and Political Change in the Eastern Mediterranean, c.950-1100 C.E.”


Professor Catherine Holmes (University of Oxford)Photograph of Dr Catherine Holmes
Friday 7 May 2021

18.00 BST – Live online via Zoom



The final decades of the eleventh century were a period of immense geopolitical change for the eastern Mediterranean world. Invasions from the east (Turks) and west (Normans and Crusaders) reordered a political landscape hitherto balanced between the Byzantine empire in the north and the Fatimid caliphate in the south. It can be tempting to interpret this period as one when stable, early-medieval imperial formations with fixed administrative centres, carefully-choreographed ceremonial cultures, and palace-based elites were rapidly undone by outsiders whose power was mobile and fluid.

The picture of the geopolitics of the eastern Mediterranean put forward in this lecture is rather different. By working with ideas about kinetic empire developed for eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century North America, I will suggest that putting mobility at the centre of our analysis can make sense not only of late eleventh-century change in the eastern Mediterranean, but also of the century between 950 and 1050 when the sedentary Byzantine and Fatimid empires were themselves expanding. That mobility was integral to the operation of power in states which are often viewed as ‘sedentary’ is an idea with increasing traction among medievalists.

But ‘mobility’ is a characteristic which requires breaking down so that its role can be more precisely gauged in particular contexts. In the case of Byzantium, harnessing the kinetic was fundamental to the practical ways in which the empire recruited to its armies and fought campaigns, but also to the construction and communication of an imperial ideology. Nor was Byzantium alone in this enterprise – parallels can be detected across western Eurasia and the Mediterranean in the same period. Nonetheless, probing the first-hand evidence for the kinetic enables us to see how little real world control those claiming imperial power often had over the movement that they attempted to channel, harness and celebrate in official communications.

Speaker biography

Catherine Holmes is Professor of Medieval History and a Fellow of University College, Oxford. A specialist in the politics and the culture of the Mediterranean world, including Byzantium, between the tenth and early fifteenth centuries, her research integrates Byzantine studies with the study of other regions of the medieval world. Together with Naomi Standen (Birmingham), Catherine recently edited The Global Middle Ages (Oxford, 2018), a Past and Present supplement volume which draws together the findings of a collaborative project funded by the AHRC.