In recent years, the study of the networks, ideas and identities that bound the ‘British world’ together has proved a rich field of enquiry in imperial history. This article seeks to apply those insights to an issue that dominated much of Britain’s relations with its settler colonies before the First World War: the controversies surrounding the exclusion of Asian migrants. Racial exclusion has garnered a great deal of scholarly attention in recent years. This article builds on that historiography, but also questions its inattention to the British connection, and hence to considerations of imperial power. It analyses how the debate on immigration served as a canvas on which advocates and detractors of exclusion could paint competing concepts of empire, and seeks to understand how policymakers attempted to manage the migration question through a range of spatial and diplomatic solutions. It will attempt, in sum, to show how a global empire dealt with the problems of a world that seemed increasingly divided along racial lines.
This article examines the last twenty years of the life of one of Ireland’s most controversial scholars, the polymath John Pentland Mahaffy. Mahaffy’s name still has wide resonance in Irish historiography owing to his interventions in Irish cultural politics in the decades before 1919. He is frequently seen as an ‘anti-Irish’ figure. This article places Mahaffy in the wider context of international scholarship of the late Victorian era, arguing that he was a cosmopolitan whose overriding concern was not Ireland, or even Britain, but the fracturing of the republic of letters.
In Renaissance Florence, the militia force created by Machiavelli in 1506, then re-established in 1527–30, involved the production of two types of records: the low-level ‘practical’ records which documented the daily running of an army in the field, such as muster rolls, notes and lists; and the upper-level administrative records, such as the correspondence between governing bodies and military officers. An analysis of published and unpublished sources provides evidence of the importance of such documentary practices, and highlights the problems connected to the loss and preservation of low-level military records relating to Renaissance ordinanze and militia.
The twelfth-century chronology of the de Mortemer (later Mortimer) family of Wigmore has proved a difficult and confusing subject. In particular, most scholars have accepted the Complete Peerage genealogy, which incorrectly posits the existence of two distinct lords called Hugh between 1104 and 1181. Here, the English sources are reconsidered alongside independent Norman evidence, resulting in a more robust genealogy and a better context for understanding how the de Mortemers shifted their position from being primarily a Norman family with English and Welsh interests (which they neglected) to being primarily an English one with Norman and Welsh responsibilities (which they did not).
There were undercurrents of discontent amidst the public rejoicing which met the marriage of the future William III and Mary II in November 1677. This article examines the nature of those public misgivings and assesses how Stuart and Orange propaganda responded to the ensuing doubts and anxieties. Through detailed analysis of public festivities, medals and prints, it explores the development of complex images which endorsed the policies and personalities of husband and wife. Ultimately, these hitherto neglected representations of William and Mary were both persuasive and influential, providing the foundations for their regal portrayal, following the 1688 revolution.
This article examines the reform of the penitential system during the reign of Henry VIII. It considers the call to reform, and analyses official statements from the Ten Articles (1536) to the King’s Book (1543), which is usually regarded as a victory for traditional religion. A careful assessment of the section of the King’s Book on the sacrament of penance, and of the King’s Primer, reveals that in this area evangelical reformers made gains. It shows Cranmer influencing Henry’s religious policy, and as such challenges George Bernard’s position. The article therefore argues for the major significance of penitential reform in the English Reformation.
This article investigates the discussion of the origins and development of religious belief within the Scottish jurist and philosopher Henry Home, Lord Kames’s Essays on the Principles of Morality and Natural Religion (1751). Kames’s work is argued to be a significant yet understudied contribution to the Scottish Enlightenment’s examination of religion as a human phenomenon. The Principles contained one of the lengthiest analyses on the topic published by a Scottish literatus. In particular, Kames placed into a historical trajectory the internal sense theory’s account of the non-rational origins of religious belief. In doing so, he provided an apologetic account of the progress from polytheism to monotheism resulting from the emergence of civil society, which set the tone for later Scottish discussions of religion.
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.