Publication & Open Access

The Royal Historical Society is actively engaged in ongoing debates about the future of arts and humanities publishing.

New Historical Perspectives

Our new Open-Access book series, New Historical Perspectives, is aimed at early career historians (with no publication fees for authors). Books are commissioned and edited by the RHS, and published by the Institute of Historical Research and the University of London. Find out more about the book series, and the first volumes, here.

The New Historical Perspectives series has a number of distinctive features:

  • published simultaneously in both hard copy and as fully Open-Access high-quality digital publications through the Humanities Digital Library, a new publishing platform from the University of London.
  • no fees for early career researchers publishing in the NHP series. The RHS and IHR will also advise on the correct licenses to ensure authors retain maximum control of their published works
  • includes a wide variety of different book types, including monographs, edited volumes, and shorter form works (such as those too long to be journal articles but not as long as traditional monographs).

Open Access Policy Work

We are engaging closely with wider debates about open access publishing:

  • May 2020: RHS Response to UKRI Open Access Review, available here.
  • October 2019: RHS Guidance Paper Plan S and the History Journal Landscape. This report is designed to assist History and broader Humanities & Social Sciences stakeholders to understand and navigate the current policy frontiers of open access publishing for peer reviewed scholarly journals.
  • July 2019: Interim Working Paper Plan S and the Hybrid History Journal Landscape: a preliminary mapping of current preparedness for Plan S open access implementation among UK and international ‘hybrid’ History journals and designed to elicit further evidence, feedback and corrections for a more comprehensive analysis to be published in October 2019.
  • May 2019: response to the Updated Guidance on Plan S, available here.
  • April 2019: RHS published a Working Paper assessing the implications of Plan S compliance for history researchers, focusing particularly on those with Wellcome funding.
  • February 2019: we submitted a response to the consultation on the ‘Plan S’ open-access initiative, which is available here.
  • January 2019: publication of a briefing paper, call for evidence and interim report, available here.

Publishing and the Research Excellence Framework

In early 2018, the government announced that for REF2027 policies on open access journal articles would be extended to include monographs.

UK Scholarly Communications Licence

Read our briefing (March 2018): The UK Scholarly Communications Licence: What it is, and why it matters for the Arts & Humanities.


RHS Submits Response to UKRI Open Access Review

The RHS has made a substantial response to the UKRI Open Access Review, the outcome of which will determine open access policies for the UK Research Councils and inform the requirements for outputs submitted to the REF after REF2021.

Full information about the UKRI consultation is available here:

Download the Royal Historical Society’s full response to the consultation here.


New Historical Perspectives

New Historical Perspectives is a new book series for early career scholars (within ten years of their doctorate), commissioned and edited by the RHS, and published by the Institute of Historical Research and University of London Press. The series was launched in April 2016 with support from Economic History Society and Past and Present.

NHP offers its authors an opportunity to rewrite a PhD thesis for publication. The substantial reports of peer reviewers and the Author Workshops that we offer each of our authors are an essential part of that process.

Each NHP title will be available as an OA download, eBook, and in hard and paperback formats. Each New Historical Perspectives title will also feature on the IHR’s Open Access books platform, JSTOR’s OA books platform, increasing discoverability and the option to access and share a book at the chapter level.


Volumes in the NHP Series

All volumes are available in hardback, paperback, ePub and Open Access PDF formats.

Coming Soon… Find out about all the published and upcoming volumes in the NHP series.


About the NHP Series

New Historical Perspectives books are published simultaneously in both hard copy and as fully Open-Access high-quality digital publications through the Humanities Digital Library, a new publishing platform from the University of London. Open access titles enjoy greater discoverability and accessibility. Unlike most Open-Access publication routes, there are no fees for early career researchers publishing in the NHP series. The RHS and IHR will also advise on the correct licenses to ensure authors retain maximum control of their published works.

Flexible Formats
The series will accept proposals for a wide variety of different book types, including monographs, edited volumes, and shorter form works (such as those too long to be journal articles but not as long as traditional monographs).

Peer-Review & Support
The RHS has assembled an expert editorial board (see below) to provide extensive editing and support to series authors, ensuring high standards of peer-reviewed scholarship. The author or editor of each work accepted will work closely with a contact person from the series, while monograph authors will also be eligible for ‘monograph workshops’ in which a panel of experts will offer feedback on a draft.

In addition to books solely authored by early career scholars, the series will also accept works produced by collaborations between early career historians and senior scholars.

All early career scholars who have received their doctoral degree from a university in the UK or the Republic of Ireland within the last ten years are eligible to submit proposals to New Historical Perspectives.


Submit a Proposal

To submit a proposal, please download and complete the NHP Proposal Form. Send your completed proposal to:

Information for NHP authors and editors of manuscripts

NHP workshop guidelines



For general enquiries regarding the series, please email:

If you wish to contact the series co-editors directly, please email either Professor Jane Winters ( or Professor Heather Shore (


New Historical Perspectives Editorial Board

Series Co-Editors

Prof. Jane Winters (School of Advanced Study, University of London): communications, culture, digital resources, digitisation, history, medieval history.

Prof. Heather Shore (Manchester Metropolitan University): English/British social history from the 18th to the 20th centuries, with particular reference to crime, policing and youth.


Editorial Board Members

Prof. Charlotte Alston (University of Northumbria): Late 19th and early 20th century international/transnational history, Russian-Western relations, Russian Revolution, World War I.

Prof. David Andress (University of Portsmouth): France, Britain and Europe in late-18th and early 19th centuries, French Revolution, French Empire and French global interactions, 1750 to 1850.

Dr Philip Carter (Institute of Historical Research): 18th century British social history.

Dr Ian Forrest (Oxford University): Social, religious and economic history of Europe between 1200 and 1500, heresy and inquisition, social life and social regulation, power.

Dr Leigh Gardner (London School of Economics): economic and financial history of sub-Saharan Africa during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, with an emphasis on Africa’s global connections.

Prof. Guy Rowlands (St. Andrew’s University): Early modern Europe, especially political history and the history of war and international relations across the globe.

Prof. Alec Ryrie (University of Durham): Religious history, Protestant Reformation in Europe, particularly England and Scotland.

Prof. Richard Toye (University of Exeter): late-19th to 20th century Britain, politics and economics

Dr Natalie Zacek (University of Manchester): 17th to 19th century Americas and Atlantic World, ethnicity, gender and sexuality, political culture, practices of elite hegemony, slavery, race and settler colonialism.



Founding Co-Editors: Professors Penny Summerfield and Simon Newman 



The Royal Historical Society has a long and proud tradition of publishing across a wide range of subjects and formats.

Transactions of the Royal Historical Society, our annual flagship volume, publishes RHS papers by senior and early career historians alike, covering all periods and a wide range of subject areas.

Our New Historical Perspectives (NHP) series, launched in 2016, is our new Open Access book series for Early Career Researchers, a partnership between the RHS and the Institute of Historical Research. Each New Historical Perspectives title will feature on JSTOR’s OA books platform, increasing discoverability and the option to access and share a book at the chapter level.

The Camden Series of editions of primary sources is an invaluable research tool, with over 325 volumes available in print and to subscribers on-line. If you would like to propose a volume, please find more information here.

We have published important reports on Gender Equality in UK History (2015 and 2018) and Race, Ethnicity and Equality in UK History (2018).

With a fully searchable database of over 565,000 records, the Bibliography of British and Irish History is the most complete online bibliography for British and Irish history.

The RHS Library of more than a thousand works of historical scholarship is open to our membership and members of the public by appointment. We are also responsible for important guides to national and regional record societies and their publications.

More information about all of our publications can be found in the page menu.


Publishing Policy

Simon Newman cropSimon Newman, Chair of the Publications Committee, writes: The RHS invests heavily in support for publishing, and one of our most long established ventures is the Studies in History Series, presently published by Boydell and Brewer. The series publishes exclusively adapted PhD dissertations. As part of ongoing process of review of our publications programme we are actively considering converting this series to an Open Access model of publishing which would be free to the author (no author charges). Open Access is potentially helpful to early career researchers, as it means that the text is available free of charge to any readers world-wide from the day of publication. But it would also be published in conventional book form: authors would receive the normal allocation of free copies, with the opportunity to purchase more, and the book would still be sent to review journals in print form.

We are seeking the views of early career researchers into the Studies in History Series and into other possible forms of support we can offer the ECR community, both in publishing and other spheres. Thank you for your time.

Emma Griffin is an RHS Literary Director. She writes:

Emma Griffin

As the nation’s foremost historical society, the RHS actively promotes the publication of historical scholarship.  It does so through four different publishing ventures designed to assist scholars in undertaking and disseminating their historical research.

The Camden Series

Our longest running series is the Camden Series – it has been published continuously since 1838 and now contains over 325 volumes.  Published twice yearly by Cambridge University Press, the Camden Series produces edited collections of previously unpublished British history sources.  The Camden volumes are fully annotated and indexed and contain expert introduction and commentary.  The entire back list of the Camden Society publications is available on-line through Cambridge Journals Online.  A smaller number are also freely available through British History OnLine. The literary directors are always keen to receive new proposals for Camden editions.  The main criterion for consideration is that the sources have not been previously published and are of broad historical significance.  If you are interested in submitting a proposal, please click here for an application form.


In 1872, the RHS began publishing its annual Transactions of the Royal Historical Society – a bound copy of which is sent to all members of the society.  Transactions contains articles presented at RHS meetings in the previous year. The back list up to 2005 is available on JStor; and the entire collection from 1872 to the present is available on the CUP digital archive.

Studies in History

Since 1975 the RHS has published the Studies in History series.  Initially established by  Sir Geoffrey Elton and re-launched in 1995, this distinguished series is dedicated to publishing outstanding works by first-time authors at the beginning of their academic careers. In the process of preparing to present their work for a broader, scholarly readership, authors work closely with a member of the editorial board who acts as mentor. They also benefit from detailed, first-rate copy-editing and an excellent production team at Boydell & Brewer. So far more than 150 titles have been published in the series, which covers the whole range of the discipline from early medieval to the recent past, any geographical area, and all historical sub-disciplines. Early-career historians interested in publishing with the RHS are warmly encouraged to submit a proposal.

The Bibliography of British and Irish History (BBIH)

The most recent publishing venture of the RHS is the Bibliography of British and Irish History (BBIH) – a joint venture between the RHS, the IHR, and Brepols.  The BBIH contains over half a million records, making it easily the most comprehensive online bibliography of British and Irish history.  It is fully searchable and linked to online editions of articles, library catalogues and google books, making it an invaluable resource for any historian embarking on new research.

Emma Griffin is Professor of Modern British History at the University of East Anglia. She is the editor of History and a co-editor of Cultural and Social History, and the author of four books, most recently Liberty’s Dawn: A People’s History of the British Industrial Revolution (Yale University Press, 2013).

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Privacy & cookies

The Royal Historical Society

Privacy and Data Protection

Updated 7 May 2020



The Royal Historical Society is a company incorporated in England and Wales with the registered charity number 206888, whose registered office is: University College London, Gower Street, London, WC1E 6BT.

The Royal Historical Society is committed to upholding and respecting your privacy. This policy explains how we use the personal data that we collect for the purpose of administering our membership categories, funding schemes and prizes.

Please read this information carefully.


How to Contact Us

If you have any questions about the Royal Historical Society’s privacy policy, the data we hold on you, the length for which we hold data, or you would like to exercise one of your data protection rights, please do not hesitate to contact us FAO the Executive Secretary.

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  • Telephone:  +44 (0)20 7387 7532
  • Post: The Royal Historical Society, University College London, Gower Street, London WC1E 6BT


Changes to this privacy policy

We regularly review this policy. Any updates will be made on this web page. This privacy policy was last updated on 1 May 2020.


Why do we collect personal data?

Personal data refers to the any information relating to you that enables you to be identified either directly or indirectly. In the United Kingdom, the use of personal data is regulated by the Data Protection Act (2018).

The Royal Historical Society relies on the lawful basis of our processing of personal data being necessary for the purposes of our legitimate interests.

The Royal Historical Society collects and processes your data so that we can:

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Through our online applications system we collect special category data within the lawful basis of legitimate interest under the condition of explicit consent. Any personal data coming within special category data (e.g. relating to gender, age, disability, racial or ethnic origin) will only be used for the purposes of monitoring diversity and equality. It will be stored confidentially and any analysis will be undertaken anonymously and with disaggregated data.

If you wish to withdraw your consent for the Royal Historical Society to hold special category data about you, please do not hesitate to contact the Executive Secretary.


How do we collect Personal Data?

The Royal Historical Society collects and processes personal data in the following main ways:

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The personal data we collect commonly includes:

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Who do we share personal data with?

The Royal Historical Society will not sell any personal data to third parties.

The Royal Historical Society will only share personal data with third-parties who

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Basic factual information (such as name, institutional affiliation, membership of any committees, Council or working groups may be made publicly available on our website for reasons including:

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Transfers of personal information outside the UK

Data which we collect from you may be stored or processed in and transferred to countries outside of the area covered by EU GDPR legislation, for example if our servers or service providers are located in a country outside this area. If personal data is transferred in this way, we will aim to ensure that your privacy rights continue to be protected as outlined in this privacy policy e.g. through the receipt of a written guarantee of GDPR compliance.


How long do we store personal data for?

Data security is of great importance to the Royal Historical Society, and to protect your data we have put in place suitable physical, electronic and managerial safeguarding procedures. We store personal data for different amounts of time, depending on the purpose:

  • In the case of data provided in the course of administering membership and fellowship, the Royal Historical Society will keep your data for as long as you remain a Member or Fellow.
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What are your Data Protection Rights?

The Royal Historical Society would like to make sure you are fully aware of all of your data protection rights. You are entitled to the following rights in relation to the data that we hold about you:

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If you make a request within these rights, we have one month to respond to you. If you would like to exercise any of these rights, please contact the Executive Secretary of the RHS by:

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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 will draw 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.


Series Editorial Board and Information for Authors


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


Apply for Early Career Research Membership of the Royal Historical Society

Early Career Membership of the RHS is free of charge. It is open to all those registered for a postgraduate research degree in a historical subject, and to early career researchers within two years of submitting their corrected PhD in a historical subject.

Early Career Membership is for a period of five years, with the possibility of a further extension for two years.

Early Career Membership is an opportunity for those new to the profession to join a pre-eminent association for working historians and to gain inspiration, support and encouragement in developing their teaching and research trajectories. The category of Early Career Research Membership of the RHS has been developed to further the Society’s commitments to the next generation of scholars, and provide practical assistance through access to our grants schemes for conference organisation, conference travel and research expenses.

Current Postgraduate Members who joined under the previous scheme will have the option to continue with their existing membership (including receiving Transactions of the RHS) or to cancel and re-apply as an Early Career member.

Benefits of RHS Early Career Membership
  • RHS publications offered at a substantial discount;
  • Regular electronic mailings about the activities of the RHS and our partner organisations;
  • Eligible to participate in all RHS public meetings;
  • Preferential consideration for the RHS Historical Transactions blog;
  • Early bird access to RHS events specifically for early career researchers.
Annual subscription

There is no charge for Early Career Membership. We hope and expect that many Early Career Members will take up the opportunity of full Membership and/or be elected to the Fellowship at a later date.

How to Apply

To apply for the Early Career Membership you will need to read the Notes for Applicants.

Once you have read the notes please complete this Application Form.

Applications can be submitted at any time during the year. All applications are considered by our Membership Committee who meet four times a year. You can expect to hear the outcome approximately eight weeks after the closing date for your application round. Incomplete applications will be held on file until we have received all the necessary information.

Closing dates for applications in 2021: 4 January, 22 March, 31 May, 4 October.

All enquiries about applying for RHS Early Career Membership should be addressed to the Administrative Secretary, Imogen Evans, at


RHS COVID-19 Hardship Grants for UK Early Career (ECR) Historians

The Royal Historical Society (RHS) has launched (7 May 2020) an emergency funding scheme in the specific context of the COVID-19 pandemic. This global crisis confronts us all with a series of unprecedented challenges. For History ECRs, these may include any or all of acute financial hardship, mandatory physical relocation, family and community disruptions, new demands on carers, mental and/or physical health concerns and loss of access to research support and resources.

The Society’s ECR Hardship Grants are intended to help mitigate these damaging circumstances. We recognise that the resources we are able to offer are very modest given the scale of the current crisis and that it is highly likely that demand will outstrip supply. We encourage PhD students confronting these challenges to apply, where possible, to their institution’s hardship funding scheme prior to any application to the RHS 2020 Hardship Scheme.

This scheme is not designed to provide a ‘top-up’ grant for funded students or recent postdoctoral researchers in stable employment: it is an emergency, short-term intervention to offer some material assistance in the COVID-19 context, rather than to fund a specific research output or publication.

Please note that our usual grant schemes are still running, and we encourage innovative applications to support research and the costs associated with virtual events at this time.

How do I apply?

Please ensure that you have read all of the information below.

To make an application please complete the online application formPlease note that you can access the Hardship Grant application form through the Research/Conference Grants program within the RHS applications portal.

The next (2nd) deadline is Monday 29 June 2020.



For the purposes of this emergency funding scheme (as is the case with our standard Conference Travel scheme) applicants will be considered eligible who are:

  • registered for a PhD/DPhil or an MPhil in a historical subject at a UK institution. Registration may be full-time or part-time.
  • within two years (at the time of the application) of receiving their doctorate from a UK institution, and who are not yet in full-time employment. Please note the two years does not include any periods of maternity or paternity leave. Please detail this in the ‘any other information’ section of your application form.

Purpose of the Scheme

The main purpose of these awards is to support ECR historians whose finances (and thus well-being) have suffered significant detriment due to the impact of COVID-19.  Specifically the grants are intended to support research-active History postgraduates and ECRS:

  • who were actively undertaking historical research in the UK prior to the government restrictions imposed in March 2020 and who are now suffering financial hardship as a direct consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic;
  • who are NEITHER in receipt of full-time funding for their doctorate NOR in full-time employment;
  • whose contracts at universities or heritage organisations have been significantly reduced or terminated prematurely in response to COVID-19;
  • whose fixed-term fellowships (for example, to a research library) have been cancelled or postponed due to the COVID-19 crisis;
  • who would normally expect to work part-time AND/OR on a zero-hours contract.
  • who normally work to support their studies and need to leave external employment to undertake caring responsibilities due to COVID-19;
  • who need to leave external employment for health reasons (including pregnancy or disability);
  • who need temporarily to relocate their place of residence due to COVID-19;
  • who are awaiting viva and unable to find employment.

Within both broad categories of eligible applicants (doctoral and postdoctoral), the lists of eligible precipitating factors outlined above are intended to be illustrative rather than fully comprehensive.

The grants are intended to help support ECR historians’ wellbeing and thus to enhance their ability to undertake future historical research.  The awards are intended to support History researchers (including research-active historians who teach in universities or work in the heritage sector), rather than the production of specific pieces of historical research, in a time of global crisis.

Who is not eligible?

Due to the limits of our available funding and our modest staff numbers, we regret that we are not able to open these awards to all History ECRs.  Specifically this scheme is not able to support:

  • PhD students in receipt of full funding;
  • applicants in full-time ongoing paid employment or who have been furloughed under the government scheme;
  • PhD students who have suspended their studies for reasons other than directly related to COVID-19;
  • PhD students who are registered at universities outside the UK;
  • Recent recipients of a UK History PhD who were not normally resident and employed in the UK as of March 2020;
  • ECRs who are in receipt of or due a redundancy payment from their employer;

What are the criteria for selection?

Our selection criteria are intended to be broad and flexible, affording the grant awarding panel appropriate leeway to respond to and accommodate novel circumstances and needs in the rapidly changing context of Covid-19.

Please note that:

  • Only fully completed applications can be considered;
  • Applicants must meet all of the relevant eligibility requirements for their status (either PhD student or recent recipient of the PhD) to be considered for a hardship grant;
  • Unfunded PhD students may be given priority over part-funded PhD students;
  • Post-doctoral applicants on zero-hour contracts may be given priority over applicants on fixed-term contracts;
  • To the extent that the selection committee can identify the cases of the greatest financial need, these applications will be given priority.

How (and how many) grants will be allocated?

Individual grants of up to £500 will be awarded by a combination of 1) assessment of eligibility and need, and 2) a lottery system.


  • In the first instance, the RHS aims to fund at least 12 hardship grants of up to £500 each, in each of 2 application cycles.
  • If demonstrated need significantly exceeds this sum, the Society shall seek to increase the number of awards available in round 2 by fund-raising or other means and/or to add a 3rd round of hardship funding;
  • Each application will be assessed to confirm that the applicant meets all eligibility criteria;
  • All eligible applications will then be assessed for their degree of demonstrated financial need;
  • If the number of eligible applications demonstrating substantial need exceeds the supply of RHS hardship grants, applications demonstrating the highest need will be allocated by a lottery system. Allocation of awards by lottery is an innovative development in international research funding.  In the current context, the lottery’s benefits as a selection tool include not only its tendency to reduce the scope for conscious or unconscious bias but also its speed of operation.
  • Applications entered into the first lottery that are not selected for funding will be automatically resubmitted to the 2nd lottery unless the applicant directs otherwise.
  • Applicants that are not selected are welcome to re-apply to the next round with additional information, particularly if circumstances change. Applicants should note that this is a re-application in such cases.

When will applicants be notified?

All applicants will be notified of the result of their application within a month of the deadline.

Questions and Answers

  • Do I need to be an ECR Member of the RHS to apply?
    • No. Although the Society welcomes applications to its ECR Membership, its funding schemes apply equally to eligible ECRs regardless of their RHS membership status;
  • If I receive an RHS Hardship grant, will my eligibility to apply in future for standard RHS funding (for research trips or conferences) be affected?
    • No. Receipt of a hardship award will not be considered if you subsequently apply for a standard RHS award and thus will not be ‘counted’ against your total eligibility (currently twice as a PhD student and once as a postdoctoral ECR) for our standard funding schemes.  This is an exceptional discretionary award to support you at a critical time and does not affect your broader eligibility to apply to the RHS to support your research.
  • Do I need to be a UK citizen to receive a RHS Hardship grant?
    • Non-UK nationals are eligible to receive awards as long as they meet the eligibility criteria detailed above.
  • Are part-time students eligible for support?
    • Yes, part-time students are eligible for this programme.
  • How will my award be paid?
    • Awards will be paid into a UK bank account.
  • I am registered for a PhD at a UK university but am an international student and have travelled home because of COVID-19. Am I still eligible to apply?
    • If you remain registered at a UK university for the History PhD/DPhil you remain eligible for hardship funding (which will be paid to your UK bank account).
  • Why is the RHS asking applicants to provide information on their employer and disrupted employment?
    • The Society recognises that if the COVID-19 crisis lasts for several months and/or resurfaces we may need to make longer-term adjustments to our funding for ECRs.  Information on the types of employment most disrupted to the detriment of ECRs will allow us to make appropriate accommodations in our own funding and to advocate for good practice with employers. All personal information will only be held by the RHS for the length of time needed to administer and assess the outcomes of this scheme. No personal information will be shared with employers.
  • Do I need to submit receipts to document my expenditure from the Hardship Grant?
    • We understand that in this crisis many different types of expenditure—including, but not only, groceries, medications, accommodation, equipment, relocation costs and costs entailed by caring responsibilities—may justifiably be accrued by applicants and we trust them to expend their grants to the best effect to maintain their well-being during this crisis.
  • Do I need to progress or to complete a specific piece of research with the use of any Hardship Grant
    • No. The hardship grants are designed to support you as a History researcher and a person, not to fund the production of specific historical outputs. We recognise that many History researchers may be unable to undertake research at this time.
  • Do I need to submit a report to the RHS detailing my use of RHS Hardship grant funds?
    • No. Unlike our standard scheme, no formal report is required after the award has been used.  We welcome contributions to our blog, Historical Transactions, but understand that the current COVID-19 crisis and its aftermath may limit and/or preclude many applicants’ capacity to undertake such writing.
  • Do I need to acknowledge RHS Hardship grant support in my PhD dissertation or publications?
    • Not unless you want to. This is an exceptional scheme for exceptional circumstances, and unlike our standard awards the RHS has no expectation that this support will be formally acknowledged by recipients in their scholarly work.

Contact us

All enquiries should be sent to Imogen Evans, RHS Administrative Secretary at