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  Published twice yearly by Cambridge University Press, the Camden Series produces edited collections of previously unpublished British history sources.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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Royal Historical Society History Scotland Prize

The Royal Historical Society History Scotland prize rewards high-quality work by undergraduates in dissertations on any aspect of Scottish history.

It is jointly sponsored by the Society and History Scotland and represents a partnership with a magazine which is written by Scotland’s leading historians, archaeologists and museum curators and reports on current thinking and the latest research to a large public interested in Scottish history. The successful candidate will be awarded a prize of £250 and, at the discretion of the Editor of History Scotland, the prizewinning entry will be published in a future issue of the magazine.

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 Scotland Prize Entry Form. They will be requested to upload an electronic copy of the dissertation.
Deadline for entries: 31 August 2020

History Scotland is the world’s premier Scottish history magazine, available in print and digital editions, and provides fascinating features on topics from all branches and periods of Scottish history and archaeology. The magazine was launched in October 2001 at the Royal Museum in Edinburgh by Professor Christopher Smout, Historiographer Royal, and is backed by the Scottish history and archaeology professions with leading representatives from a variety of different disciplines on the Editorial Board. Find out more about the magazine at:

All enquiries about the Prize should be addressed to the Administrative Secretary, Imogen Evans, at:

Submit entry


Apply for RHS Membership

Next closing date for Member applications: 31 May 2021

Membership of the RHS is open to all those who have an interest in the rich and varied world of the past. You may be involved in teaching, libraries, archives, museums, heritage, or the media in either a professional or volunteer capacity. You may be actively engaged in local or family history, or simply want to join our worldwide community of historians. Membership is open to all.

If you are a published historian, our Fellowship category may be more appropriate for you.

Please check our eligibility criteria for becoming a Member. Many Members are later elected to the Fellowship.

Benefits of RHS Membership

Annual subscription

From 1 July 2019 the annual subscription for Members is £40, payable on election.

How to Apply

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

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

Applications for RHS Membership are welcome through the year. Closing dates for applications in 2021: 4 January, 22 March, 31 May, 4 October.

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. Incomplete applications will be held on file until we have received all the necessary information.

All enquiries about applying for election to the Membership should be addressed to the Administrative Secretary, Imogen Evans, at:




RHS welcomes its new Past and Present Fellow

The RHS is delighted to welcome Dr Diya Gupta as our new Past & Present Fellow: Race, Ethnicity & Equality in History.

Dr Gupta will work with the Royal Historical Society and the Institute for Historical Research to develop and take forward the work of the RHS Race, Ethnicity & Equality Working Group (REEWG), and will combine this with developing her own research interests and her first book, based on her doctoral research. Diya completed her PhD in 2019 at King’s College London, where she studied Indian experiences and literature of the Second World War. In her work, alongside colonial photographs, she analyses letters, memoirs, political philosophy and literary texts in English and Indian languages to reveal the intensity and influence of Indian war emotions.

Dr Gupta takes over from the previous Past and Present Fellow, Dr Shahmima Akhtar, who has taken up a permanent lectureship at Royal Holloway, University of London. We wish Dr Akhtar all the best in her new position, and many thanks for all her work at the RHS and IHR.

We thank the Past & Present Society for their ongoing support of this position.


Professor Sarah Hamilton – RHS Lecture 1 May 2020

‘Responding to violence: Liturgy, authority and sacred places c. 900-c.1100’.

Professor Sarah Hamilton (University of Exeter)
From 11 May – online with a virtual Q&A.

Thomas Becket’s murder in Canterbury cathedral in December 1170 is one of the more well-known incidents of medieval English history. But while murder inside a cathedral was actually very rare throughout the Middle Ages, reports of violent acts in the precincts of churches, especially in graveyards, are much more common. How did bishops and priests react to such events?

Set apart through rituals of consecration, grants of immunity and rights of sanctuary, local churches with their graveyards came to constitute important sites of ecclesiastical authority across the medieval West from the tenth century onwards. As such, both church and cemetery were vulnerable to attack from non-Christians and other Christians.  And as open spaces, graveyards, in particular, routinely attracted incidents of drunkenness, dancing, brawls, and, if only occasionally, murder.

Scholars are well aware that the principle of sacred space is a specific feature of medieval Christianity. There is a rich body of research focusing on how churches and their precincts, including graveyards, came to be defined and maintained as holy by churchmen in the medieval world.  We know, also, how episcopal and monastic communities reacted to violent incursions into their own consecrated spaces with specific acts. They met in council and issued legislation, or recited curses against their enemies, imposed excommunications, or humiliated saints’ relics. For all its strengths, this latter approach focuses upon unusual and atypical events.

What is missing from this picture is the evidence of the much more common rites by which bishops and their priests sought to restore and reconcile holy places, including graveyards, which had been violated by acts of bloodshed, drunkenness, negligence and obscenity. This lecture will investigate how, why, where and when churchmen developed these rites, anchoring their development in the years after the dissolution of the Carolingian Empire.

Sarah Hamilton is Professor of Medieval History in the Department of History, University of Exeter. Her research focuses on the religious, social and cultural history of early medieval Europe between c. 900 and c. 1200.

St Mary and All Saints, Rivenhall, Essex