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 2020 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 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.

2020 Winner

Alexandra Wingate (School of Advanced Study) was named winner of the 2020 Rees Davies Prize for a dissertation titled, ‘”Prosigue la libreria”: Understanding late seventeenth-century Navarrese Book Culture through Lorenzo Coroneu’s Bookstore’. 

Judges’ citation:

“This is excellent work which undertakes a close book history while also making a clear case for its wider significance. With a very strong archival basis, it presents an interesting case study using the inventory of this bookstore around which to build the study. This made for an engaging read and gave the thesis a really strong spine. There is interesting use of visuals throughout which help the reader understand the figures and also visualise information about the context. The examiners were also impressed that it set out meaningful interventions for future studies”.

Robert Thompson (University of Southampton) was named proxime accessit for the 2020 Rees Davies Prize for a dissertation titled, ‘”The true physicians here are the padres”: British Christian Army Chaplains and the Liberation of Bergen-Belsen’. 

Judges’ citation: 

“This piece sketches the ways in which the horror of the concentration camps shattered the illusion of a clean peace, and sets out to revisit a neglected perspective on this well-studied and significant event. The examiners thought the subject of the piece was nuanced, with chaplains crossing a number of categories, as the author made clear, and that this lent an interesting hook to the piece. The study was sensitively conducted and skillfully realisedrecognising different categories of agency and offering a humane assessment of the experience of these horrific events and their aftermath. The thesis has a good archival base of unpublished contemporary reflection contextualised with published memoirs and scholarly work”.

Past winners of the Rees Davies Prize

Closing date for entries: 31 January 2021

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