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Author Archives: juliespraggon

New Historical Research articles published online



This article attempts a reassessment of Clan Donald’s activities and their relations with the Scottish and English crowns in 1461–3. There are two objectives: first, to review the nature and significance of the MacDonald alliance with Yorkist England and the identities and roles of its leading advocates; and second, to establish how far, if at all, the raids conducted by the MacDonalds in these years can be linked with the development of this entente. The exercise necessitates a review of background themes, at first seemingly distinct from each other, but which coalesce in 1460–1 to create a dynamic out of which the alliance was born and, arguably, MacDonald military activity encouraged.

Tenure and property in medieval England. Susan Reynolds

This article argues that the use of the word ‘tenure’ instead of ‘property’ in discussions of medieval English property law impedes the understanding of that law and makes it harder to compare it either with modern law or with the law of other parts of medieval Europe. Its use derives not from the vocabulary or content of medieval English law, but from the effort of seventeenth-century antiquaries to connect medieval English law with the academic law that French scholars had derived from the twelfth-century Italian Libri Feudorum.

New Historical Research articles published online



The death, funerals and commemoration of George V and George VI have received relatively little attention. The elaborately staged funerals established new democratic spaces where people could affirm their loyalty and live broadcasts generated nationally shared experiences. New mass media were significant but the funerals also incorporated commemorative rituals established after the First World War including the two-minute silence and memorial appeals building on the war memorials movement. National philanthropic schemes or living memorials promoted young people’s welfare inspired by both kings’ belief in the physical, moral and social benefits of outdoor recreation. Drawing extensively on unexplored sources, this article argues that royal death affirmed a shared Britishness, which strengthened the monarchy and enhanced social and national cohesion in the era of total war.

This article analyses Anglo-French relations with regard to Rhodesia’s Unilateral Declaration of Independence (U.D.I.). It highlights how long-standing ideas about co-operation and competition shaped British and French views of each other in the Rhodesian context, as well as French policies towards U.D.I. The article then moves beyond the dichotomy between alliance and acrimony, identifying other themes that informed Anglo-French relations in this rebellious British colony. By exploring interaction between Britain, France and Rhodesia, it challenges the binaries that dominate the study of the end of European colonial rule in the twentieth century, offering instead a connected history of decolonization.

New Historical Research articles published online


korean martyrs 2The ‘blood of the martyrs’ and the growth of Catholicism in late Chosŏn Korea. Andrew Finch

The article examines the significance of martyrdom in a context beyond that of the Roman world. The sources employed are the published works of French missionaries active between 1836 and 1866 in Korea. The findings illuminate the mentalité of the missionaries who held that the association claimed for martyrdom and successful Christian evangelization was self-evidently true – the martyrs would ensure the mission’s ultimate success. They also demonstrate the means by which martyrdom may have assisted the spread of Christianity within a context of limited persecution and a well-organized and properly funded mission structure supported by a dedicated cadre of catechists.


The land market and Anglo-Saxon society. Rory Naismith

Over 500 references survive to payment in return for control over land in Anglo-Saxon England. This article considers these documents as a source for social developments. Issues which are explored include the identities of buyers and sellers, changes in the roles of these groups over the period, and the likely aims and concerns of different individuals and institutions who paid for land. A chronology is developed for the participation of various groups in land payments. Payments emerge as a significant component in definitions of status and strategies of land management, albeit closely interwoven with other forms of transaction.

Latest issue of Historical Research, lxxxviii, no. 241 (August 2015)




Royal and non-royal forests and chases in England and Wales. John Langton

The seditious murder of Thomas of Sibthorpe and the Great Statute of Treasons, 1351–2. David Crook

Mercantile conflict resolution and the role of the language of trust: a Danzig case in the middle of the sixteenth century. Justyna Wubs-Mrozewicz

‘Such nonsense that it cannot be true’: the Jacobite reaction to George Lockhart of Carnwath’s Memoirs Concerning the Affairs of Scotland. Daniel Szechi

Local initiative, central oversight, provincial perspective: governing police forces in nineteenth-century Leeds. David Churchill

Liberal Unionism and political representation in Wales, c.1886–1893. Naomi Lloyd-Jones

Courting public favour: the Boy Scout movement and the accident of internationalism, 1907−29. Scott Johnston

Ballot papers and the practice of elections: Britain, France and the United States of America, c.1500–2000. Malcolm Crook and Tom Crook


Pollard Prize 2015


Pollard_w5cmThis year’s Pollard Prize for the best paper given at an IHR seminar by a postgraduate student or  researcher within one year of completing the PhD has been won by Cornelis Heere with ‘That racial chasm that yawns eternally in our midst’: the imperial politics of Asian immigration, 1900–14.

Nominated by the International History seminar. Cornelis is currently enrolled as a third-year PhD student in the Department of International History at LSE where he is working under the supervision of Dr Antony Best. His thesis concerns the influence of the Russo-Japanese War on the British Empire in the late 1900s and is entitled ‘The British Empire and the Challenge of Japan, 1904-1911’.

The panel said:

An excellent, wide-ranging and well-contextualised piece.

A relevant and compelling study.

Challenging the metropole/colony binary, considers immigration and exclusion and provides fresh insights into competing definitions and implications of empire, race and national identity as they played out across “imperial politics”.


The runner up was Martin Spychal with ‘One of the best men of business we had ever met': Thomas Drummond, the boundary commission and the 1832 Reform Act.

Nominated by the Parliament, Politics and People seminar. Martin Spychal is a PhD student at the IHR under the supervision of Professor Miles Taylor. His thesis is on ‘Parliamentary boundaries and reform in England, 1830–1868’.

The panel said:

A real find in the well-trod realm of the first Reform Act.

Very well-researched and well-argued with the case for the importance and influence of Drummond’s work firmly made.

Fascinating account of a most impressive man and his achievement.


Both papers will be published in Historical Research next year.

Historical Research/Wiley plenary lecture ~ Lucy Worsley, How fashion helps make a monarch: 500 years of royal dress


367px-Charles_II_of_England_409151The first Historical Research annual plenary lecture sponsored by Wiley will take place at this year’s Anglo-American conference (2 July, 18.00-20.00). We are delighted to have on board Lucy Worsley, Chief Curator at Historic Royal Palaces, on the theme of How fashion helps make a monarch: 500 years of royal dress

The lecture is part of the conference but a number of tickets are also available to the general public.


To mark the occasion a number of past Historical Research articles on wardrobe, jewellery and the clothing trades are being made freely available until the end of July:

Secrecy, splendour and statecraft: the jewel accounts of King Henry III of England, 1216–72. Benjamin L. Wild

An aristocratic wardrobe of the late thirteenth century: the confiscation of the goods of Osbert de Spaldington in 1298. Frédérique Lachaud

English cloth exports during the thirteenth and early fourteenth centuries: the continental evidence. Patrick Chorley

Nature, production and regulation in eighteenth-century Britain and France: the case of the leather industryGiorgio Riello


New Historical Research articles



The Bari charter of privileges of 1132: articulating the culture of a new Norman monarchy by Paul Oldfield

This article examines how Roger II, who in 1130 became the first king of Sicily, articulated the culture of a new monarchy to his subjects. It does so through extensive analysis and contextualization of a crucial, yet undervalued, royal charter issued to the city of Bari in 1132 (and here translated into English for the first time). Previous scholarship has overlooked key evidence within the charter and tended to emphasize conflict in royal-urban relations. Instead, it will be argued here that the monarchy promoted and upheld negotiation and reciprocity as an integral facet of this new kingdom.





Sierra_Leone_miners_panningThe art of governing contingency: rethinking the colonial history of diamond mining in Sierra Leone by Lorenzo D’Angelo

This article briefly outlines the history of the colonial diamond industry of Sierra Leone from 1930 to 1961, highlighting its contingent aspects and the bonds guiding the decisions and actions taken by local social actors in different contexts and at different times. By drawing on colonial documents and memoirs of colonial officers, it shows how the colonial government of Sierra Leone and the mining company that exercised a monopoly on diamond extraction collaborated on the establishment of a series of legislative and disciplinary devices that encompassed forms of biopolitical expertise.



New Historical Research articles


HighlanderOf crofters, Celts and claymores: the Celtic Magazine and the Highland cultural nationalist movement, 1875–88 by Ian B. Stewart

This article examines the cultural nationalist movement in the Scottish Highlands during the period 1875–88, through the lens of the Celtic Magazine, a source which has been overlooked by historians. The cultural nationalist movement resulted from the intertwining of the crofters’ land reform movement with a Celtic cultural revival. It was propelled by intellectuals who promoted the distinctive Celtic nature of the Highlands and demanded recognition from the government. An imagined Highland nation, distinct from the rest of Scotland, arose from the cultural nationalist movement but fitted within a wider ‘unionist-nationalist’ identity.

Royal and non-royal forests and chases in England and Wales by John Langtonroyal forest

Royal forests comprised land devoted primarily to hunting. They were a distinctive feature of Norman and Angevin England and Wales. Expressing the crown’s arbitrary power to prevent holders of land from using it as they chose, they were generally resented. Royal forests must disappear to enable individuals to utilize landholdings for their own private economic purposes, and so for commercially oriented land uses to occur. However, it is shown here that ‘royal forests’ did not constitute a hermetic historiographical category, distinct from non-royal ‘chases’. There were royal chases as well as royal forests; monarchs had private forests and chases as well as royal ones; and non-royal earls, barons and high churchmen possessed and created forests and chases of their own, which were as well protected and displayed the same non-economic imperatives and cultural consequences as those of the crown. They were not a transient feature of medieval times which inevitably disappeared with the inexorable progress of commercial economy. Some of them continued to flourish, in all their distinctiveness, through early modern times into the nineteenth century. In consequence, the transition between the medieval and modern worlds was not as clear-cut nor as complete as is suggested by the conventional narrative of English historical development.

Obstinate juries, impudent barristers and scandalous verdicts? Compensating the victims of the Gordon Riots of 1780 and the Priestley Riots of 1791 by Jonathan AthertonGordon riots 2

Historians have devoted considerable attention to both rioting and the rise of the adversarial trial in the eighteenth century. Despite this, no research has explored how victims of riot used the courts to seek compensation. Through a comparison of the Gordon Riots and Priestley Riots, this article examines the factors that determined the relative success or failure of such cases at trial. It is suggested that the ambiguities of the Riot Act, the choice of counsel and the political and socio-economic context in which the trials were held could all influence the juries’ verdicts.

The humble ballot paper


Londoners_Record_Their_Vote_on_National_Polling_Day,_Holborn,_London,_England,_UK,_5_July_1945_D25100Ballot papers and the practice of elections: Britain, France and the United States of America, c.1500–2000, a new Historical Research article by Malcolm Crook and Tom Crook.

The humble ballot paper is a defining technology of elections throughout the world. This article interrogates its contested past by demonstrating – over a long period and in the context of three contrasting countries – how and why it emerged in the early modern period and how it was then used, abused and regulated in the context of the expanded, and eventually mass, electoral arenas of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Ironically, by the time that the ballot paper was firmly established, its monopoly was already being challenged by mechanical and then electronic media, which may eventually condemn it to extinction.

Free access until the end of May as part of our Election special virtual issue

May issue of Historical Research: vol. 88, no. 240




An unrealized cult? Hagiography and Norman ducal genealogy in twelfth-century England. Ilya Afanasyev

Two oaths of the community in 1258. Joshua Hey220px-William_Laud

Bishop William Laud and the parliament of 1626. Mark Parry

‘Now the mask is taken off’: Jacobitism and colonial New England, 1702–27. David Parrish

Religion, politics and patronage in the late Hanoverian navy, c.1780–c.1820. Gareth Atkins

Through French eyes: Victorian cities in the eighteen-forties viewed by Léon Faucher. Philip Morey

Representing commodified space: maps, leases, auctions and ‘narrations’ of property in Delhi, c.1900−47. Anish Vanaik

Herbert Read and the fluid memory of the First World War: poetry, prose and polemic. Matthew S. Adams

The creation of the Council for Mutual Economic Assistance as seen from the Romanian archives. Elena Dragomir