Rees Davies Prize

Map of Wales, Joan Blaeu (1598-1673), from the collections of the Koninklijke Bibliotheek, public domain


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.

Submissions for the 2022 Rees Davies Prize are now open. Please apply via the RHS Prize Applications portal, selecting the prize for which you wish to enter during the application process. The closing date for the Rees Davies Prize is: 31 January 2022.


How to Enter the Rees Davies Prize

  • 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, 2022 entries were submitted for examination in 2021.
  • An electronic copy of the dissertation will need to be uploaded to the entry form.

Timetable for submissions

  • Submissions for the 2022 Prize open: 1 September 2021. All submissions are via the RHS Prize Applications Portal.
  • Closing date for entries for the 2022 Prize: 31 December 2021.

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


Winner of the Rees Davies Prize, 2021

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.


Runner Up, 2021

Amy Smith (University of Bristol)  for her MA dissertation, ‘A Rise of the Spirit of Individualism? Group petitioning and the performance of neighbourliness in early modern Worcestershire’.

List of previous winners of the Rees Davies Prize