Harold Godwineson’s journey to France, depicted on the Bayeux Tapestry, is nowadays mostly regarded as rather reckless attempt to free two hostages in Normandy. It is a curious incident, interrupting Harold’s ascent to power in his homeland. William of Malmesbury’s description of it as a fishing party has always been dismissed as a silly explanation. This article connects Malmesbury’s phrase ‘commentum’ (‘pretext’) with other sources on the expedition. This comparison shows that Harold’s boat trip and his intended diplomacy in France were not an interlude in his policy, but formed a continuation of his cautious, calculated manoeuvres towards possession of the English throne.
This article is the first detailed examination of the English parishes and knights’ fees tax of 1428, based upon parliamentary and exchequer material. It demonstrates that the house of commons insisted upon granting this novel tax, in place of a more financially burdensome fifteenth and tenth, during the financial crisis of 1427–8. The parishes and knights’ fees tax was efficiently administered, notwithstanding some local complications, although its yield was not commensurate with the scale of the crown’s financial needs by the late fourteen-twenties. This provides a unique insight into the origins of the well-documented late Lancastrian fiscal crisis.
This article argues that the church’s strenuous efforts to publicize Magna Carta can only be fully understood when viewed in the context of canon law and pastoral care. The automatic sentence of excommunication that fell on anyone who infringed Magna Carta meant that every Christian in medieval England needed to know not just the general principles of the charter, but the contents of every clause. Clergymen had a duty to ensure that their parishioners did not unwittingly incur the sanction, thereby endangering their souls. Thus the threat of excommunication had a profound effect on the political awareness of English society, as a result of the church’s obligation to look out for the spiritual welfare of its members.
Magna Carta mentions the honour of Wallingford twice. Exploring the context of this shows how a tenurial relationship predating John’s accession to the throne led to minor ‘gentry’ landholders experiencing the king’s manipulation of marriages, wardships and escheats directly, and resulted in many serving in John’s military expeditions. All this was in addition to the increasingly onerous demands of royal government also felt by many of their neighbours in the localities. This combination of networks, tenurial and local, helps explain the politicization of minor landholders such as William fitz Ellis of Waterperry, who was present at Runnymede in 1215, and the nature of political society in the early thirteenth century.
Using the 1830 divorce of Lord and Lady Ellenborough as a case study, this article sheds more light on the mechanisms of sexual scandal in early nineteenth-century Europe. It contrasts the publicity and political meaning given to the adultery of Lady Ellenborough and the Austrian envoy Felix zu Schwarzenberg in London and Vienna. Whereas radical and moderate reformers exploited the divorce to contest aristocratic leadership and to propagate a contrasting model of domesticity in the British press, the Austrian government went to great lengths to cover up the affair. Both Austrian diplomatic correspondence and British high-society letters and diaries from before and during the scandal show an awareness of the damage that disclosures about the private affairs of the elite could cause.
The deadline for this year’s prize is Friday 27 May.
The Pollard Prize (sponsored by Wiley-Blackwell Publishing Ltd.) is awarded for the best paper presented at an IHR seminar 2014-15 by a postgraduate student or by a researcher within one year of completing the PhD.
Fast track publication in the prestigious IHR journal, Historical Research, and £200 of Blackwell books.
Runner up prizes
Publication in Historical Research, and a selection of Blackwell books.
Applicants are required to have delivered a paper during the academic year in which the award is made. Submissions should be supported by a reference from a convenor of the appropriate seminar. Papers should be fully footnoted, although it is not necessary at this stage to follow Historical Research house style. All papers submitted must be eligible for publication.
To mark the centenary of the Easter Rising we have put together a collection of previously published articles from Historical Research and podcasts from the IHR research seminar series on the theme of Anglo-Irish relations. This content can be accessed freely for a limited period.
This article explores the violence surrounding the collapse of the Munster plantation in 1598. It situates this event in the wider context of violence in early modern Ireland, and highlights both similarities and differences in the behaviour seen there, and in other, better-explored Irish episodes of violence. It also argues that while the memory of those earlier settlers was apparently forgotten or silenced, violence in 1598 played a significant part in how later violent incidents in Ireland were narrated, particularly the 1641 rebellion, and that consequently Munster played an important role in New English identity-building in the early modern period. OPEN ACCESS.
n 1891, southern Russia experienced a famine which affected 30–40 million people in an area the size of France, killing 650,000 in the highest estimates. The response of the Russian government was widely criticized by both opponents within Russia and observers abroad. This article analyses the response of the British liberal press and the Quaker relief fund, considering how the famine and its causes were presented with respect to the tsarist government’s culpability and ideas of Russian backwardness. It goes on to show how the framing of Quaker relief work highlighted these ideas of Russian underdevelopment and mismanagement, and advanced a liberal internationalist position within Britain. It is argued that we cannot explain the appeal of humanitarianism purely by its aesthetics of suffering and sympathy, but must also look to a wider range of social and political values held by its protagonists.
This article is a reassessment of Anne of Kiev as mother and guardian in the early years of the minority reign of her son, Philip I of France. The available chronicle evidence is re-examined and more emphasis is given to documentary sources which have previously been disregarded or overlooked. The article addresses outdated judgements about Anne’s role which are still prevalent in the historiography and aims finally to put them to rest, while arguing that Anne played a far more active role than has been suggested before. [OPEN ACCESS]
A comprehensive analysis of Bede’s references to ‘hides’ provides insights into his sources. Bede’s references are of two different types, revealing two different kinds of sources, which might most simply be termed ‘charter type’ and ‘tribute type’. Examining the first set reveals that in writing the Historia Ecclesiastica and especially the Historia Abbatum, Bede had access to documentary sources, some of the language of which is probably preserved in his works. In the absence of separately surviving Northumbrian charters, these elements give hints about the nature and content of such texts. The second group, the ‘tribute type’, points to Bede’s possession of a document along the lines of the ‘Tribal hidage’, probably originating in one of the periods of Northumbrian hegemony in the mid seventh century.
This article explores the problem of recovering early modern utterances by focusing upon the issue of how the ‘kingship debates’ of 1657 between Oliver Cromwell and a committee of ninety-nine M.P.s came to be recorded, reported and printed. Specifically, it investigates the two key records of the kingship debates which, despite being well known to scholars, have extremely shady origins. Not only does this article demonstrate the probable origins of both sources, but by identifying the previously unknown scribe of one of them it points to the possible relationship between the two. It also questions whether the nature of the surviving sources has exacerbated certain interpretations about the kingship debates and their outcome.
Isaac Nelson’s response to the civil war represented the fruit of twenty years’ reflection on the issues of slavery and emancipation. Perhaps surprisingly, he did not support the Federal government’s efforts to restore the Union, even after the Emancipation Proclamation was issued. Nelson’s analysis of the struggle helpfully illuminates the complexity of radical abolitionist responses to the civil war, while it also serves to correct hasty generalizations concerning British and Irish evangelical support for the Federal government. Thus, by means of a biographical case study of Ulster Presbyterianism’s most zealous abolitionist, a wide number of thematic issues can be freshly examined.
Across the seventeenth century medical self-help manuals noted that aromatic substances were a suitable remedy for female barrenness. It has often been suggested that in the early modern period physicians did not touch their patients but instead relied upon patient narrative to diagnose and treat the sick body. This article problematizes this issue by investigating the multi-sensory approach to treating infertility, a disorder invested with concerns of gendered bodily access. It will be demonstrated that the recommendation of aromatic treatments for infertility allowed male physicians a means to negotiate the complex gender boundaries that restricted their access to women’s bodies
This article examines associations between fat bodies and reproductive dysfunction that were prevalent in medical, midwifery and other literature in early modern England. In a period when fertility and successful reproduction were regarded as hugely important for social, economic and political stability such associations further contributed to negative attitudes towards fat bodies that were fuelled by connection with the vices of sloth and gluttony. Fat bodies were categorized as inherently, constitutionally, less sexual and reproductively successful. Consequently they were perceived as unhealthy and unfit for their primary purpose once they had reached sexual maturity: marriage and the production of children.
This article highlights the parameters of a lifecycles project that was funded by the Irish Research Council for the Humanities and Social Sciences, entitled ‘From the cradle to the grave: lifecycles in modern Ireland (pilot study: maternity)’. The project used individual hospital records to bring the regional effects of ‘medicalization’ outside metropolitan areas into a sharper focus. With an emphasis on rural Ireland from 1926 to 1956, this ‘pilot’ study used longitudinal data modelling to explore the medicalization of the female reproductive cycle in a general hospital and again in a psychiatric hospital setting. The project team chose disparate clinical settings to test how people understood their functions, to see, for example, if medical cases were presenting to the psychiatric setting. This article describes the digitization and data modelling processes and the parameters of the research agenda. It locates the broader medical and statistical findings of the project in their socio-economic context to highlight whether such matters conditioned when and how women resorted to medical care. It discusses the analytical challenges that the project posed and points to avenues of further research and future publications. It concludes that for historical reasons, in the rural Irish context, people engaged more freely with the asylum than the general hospital setting.
This article builds upon recent scholarship on the recycling – or ‘salvage’ – schemes organized by the British government during the Second World War. Viewing the act of recycling as part of an interactive ‘communications circuit’, it uses records produced by the Ministry of Information to analyse the development of publicity produced for the national salvage campaign. Particular attention is paid to the public’s role in shaping the course of the campaign. By demonstrating that a disjuncture between publicity and perceptions of inaction led to a sense of frustration, the article suggests that this example complicates the notion of a ‘people’s war’.
Combined operations in Britain’s pre-1914 strategy have been portrayed as fantastical, envisioning troop landings on Germany’s Baltic coast. These plans were apparently much in vogue during Admiral Sir John Fisher’s first term as first sea lord. Recent interpretations have also argued that Fisher never seriously considered amphibious projects over an economic strategy. This article will demonstrate that amphibious plans were central to the royal navy’s strategy against Germany but were limited to supporting a North Sea/Baltic observational blockade. Significantly, in 1905 and 1908, it was the army that proposed landings in northern Germany and Denmark, not the admiralty.