Rees Davies Prize

The Rees Davies Prize for an outstanding Master’s thesis commemorates former Royal Historical Society President and distinguished medieval scholar, Professor Sir Rees Davies (1938-2005). It is awarded for the best Master’s dissertation submitted by a UK institution of Higher Education. The winner is awarded a prize of £250.

How to Enter

  • The Rees Davies Prize is awarded for the best dissertation submitted in a calendar year as part of a one-year full-time (or two-year part-time) postgraduate Master’s degree in any UK institution of Higher Education.
  • Nominations should be of work completed by a Masters student in a historical subject in a UK institution.
  • Nominations are limited to one per centre / department / school / and nominators are asked to nominate only dissertations that they regard as being of outstanding quality.
  • Nominated works may come from centres / departments / schools outside History, but will be clearly historical in subject.
  • Dissertations will have been submitted for examination in the year previous to the award. For example, 2021 entries were submitted for examination in 2020.
  • An electronic copy of the dissertation will need to be uploaded to the entry form.
  • To submit an entry, please complete this Entry Form.

Closing date for entries: 31 January 2022

All enquiries about the Prize should be addressed to the RHS Membership and Administration Officer at:


2021 Winner

Tom Parkinson (University of Cambridge) was named winner of the 2021 Rees Davies Prize for a dissertation titled, ‘Space, Time and the Body: Muharram in Nineteenth-Century Singapore’. 

Judges’ citation:

This was an outstanding study of Islamic practice in Singapore which explored the various cross-cutting influences on the island and the city, looking at culture and the economic and political pressures which were reflected in changing religious practice. This was a clear-cited and well-written analysis throughout which made for an excellent read, separating the chapters into themes of space, time and body was a skilful and elegant way of exploring this topic.

An excellent dissertation which reflected meaningfully on race, gender, power and place using the rhythms and rights of religious observation to explore and unpick the intersecting tensions of empire during a period of profound change for Singapore.

Amy Smith (University of Bristol) was named proxime accessit for the 2021 Rees Davies Prize for a dissertation titled, ‘A Rise of the Spirit of Individualism? Group petitioning and the performance of neighbourliness in early modern Worcestershire’.

Past winners of the Rees Davies Prize