David Berry Prize

The Custom House at Greenock, Scotland, 1828, Robert Salmon, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, public domain


The David Berry Prize is for the best published essay addressing an aspect of Scottish history. The winner is awarded a prize of £250. The Prize was endowed by David Anderson-Berry in memory of his father the Reverend David Berry. In 1937 the first David Berry Prize was awarded to G. Donaldson for his essay ‘The polity of the Scottish reformed Church c.1460-1580, and the rise of the Presbyterian movement’.

Submissions for the 2022 David Berry Prize are now closed. This year’s Shortlist, Winners and Runners-Up will be released between May and July 2022.

Applications for the 2023 Prize will open on 1 September 2022, with a closing date of 31 December 2022. Further details will be made available nearer the time


How to Enter the David Berry Prize, 2023

  • Candidates must be doctoral students in a historical subject in a UK institution, or be within two years of having a submitted a corrected thesis in a historical subject in a UK institution at the time of the closing date for entries.
  • The essay submitted must be a genuine work of research based on original (manuscript or printed) materials.
  • The article or essay must have been published in a journal or edited collection during the calendar year 2022 (for the 2023 prize round). Advanced access publisher versions are also eligible, but an item cannot be entered more than once in subsequent years.
  • Previous prize winners are not eligible to enter for the prize again.
  • Please note that an electronic copy of your essay will need to be uploaded to the entry form.

Timetable for submissions

  • Submissions for the 2023 Prize open: 1 September 2022. All submissions are via the RHS Prize Applications Portal.
  • Closing date for entries for the 2022 Prize: 31 December 2022.

All enquiries about the Prize should be addressed to the RHS. Please contact the Membership and Administration Officer at: membership@royalhistsoc.org.


Winner of the David Berry Prize, 2021

A portrait of Stuart McManus

Stuart McManus was awarded the 2021 David Berry Prize for his article, ‘Scots at the Council of Ferrara-Florence and the Background to the Scottish Renaissance’, The Catholic Historical Review (Summer 2020).

Judges’ citation:

Stuart’s article offers the first study of the Scottish presence at the Council of Ferrara-Florence. It aims to show that educated and well connected Scots were present in one of the premier cultural centres of the early Renaissance such that the flowering of classicising culture in Scotland a generation later comes as no surprise. This is a strikingly original piece of work originality, based on painstaking research using very limited sources.

The results of this research are impressive, first, for setting in better context the emergence of Renaissance ideals in Scotland and, second, in underlining the importance of ecumenical councils like that of Ferrara-Florence in understanding the longer history of European cultural integration.

Runners Up, 2021


A list of all past winners of the David Berry Prize is available here.