Gladstone Prize

In honour of the value William Gladstone placed on the study of history, the Gladstone Memorial Trust made it possible for the RHS to launch the Gladstone History book prize in 1998 on the centenary of Gladstone’s death. The prize offers an annual award of £1,000 for a work of history on a topic not primarily related to British history that is the author’s first sole book publication. In 2015, the Linbury Trust made a donation of £12,500 in support of the Gladstone Prize.


2020 Winner

The Gladstone Prize for 2020 was awarded to Caillan Davenport for A History of the Roman Equestrian Order  (Cambridge University Press, 2019). 

Judges’ citation:

“This social and institutional history of the ordo equester is a most impressive work of profound scholarship. Combining written sources with archaeological studies, and also drawing on insights derived from cognate disciplines in the sociological sciences, it spans over a thousand years of ancient history, from the 8th century BC to the 5th century AD. The book offers a new way of looking at the rise of the mounted warrior aristocracy and its subsequent transformation into a landed elite. Through this prism it analyses the political and social changes of Rome from the republic to the Principate and the Empire, culminating in the remaking of the Roman state in the 3rd century and some further observations on the continuities between Rome and the Frankish empire that succeeded it in Western Europe. It is a work of great ambition, erudition and sophistication.”



To be eligible for the prize the book must:

  • be its author’s first solely written history book;
  • be on any historical subject not primarily related to British history;
  • be an original and scholarly work of historical research by an author who received their doctoral degree from a British or Irish university;
  • have been published in English during the calendar year 2020.

Publishers are invited to nominate their books. (Please note authors cannot submit their own work.) For further information on how to enter, please refer to the Guidelines.

Past Gladstone prize winners

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