Studentships and Essay Prizes
Lancaster's Department of History offers a number of prizes and studentships at undergraduate, masters and doctoral level throughout the year. These include an undergraduate essay prize, The Merriman Prize (on the topic of International and/or Military History).
Merriman Essay Prize
The Merriman Prize (named in honour of Lancaster’s Dr Marcus Merriman) is awarded for an outstanding undergraduate essay on any topic in the fields of international and/or military history from the ancient world to the present day. Offered by the Department of History in partnership with the Centre for War and Diplomacy at Lancaster University, it is open to current undergraduates at any UK or overseas university. The successful candidate is awarded a prize of £250.
The winner of the Merriman Prize for 2019-20 is Cadet Daniel Berardino of the United States Military Academy (West Point), for his essay ‘Revolution or Evolution? A Quantitative Analysis of the Impact of Artillery on Sieges in the Hundred Years War’.
The judging panel – Dr Sophie Ambler, Professor Michael Hughes and Dr Marco Wyss – deemed the essay to be of ‘exceptional quality, in terms of both research and presentation. Engaging with a key historiographical debate, the essay presented sophisticated, rigorous and original research, making an impressive contribution to the field. The material was handled with confidence and clarity, in a way that demonstrated outstanding historical and communicative skills.’
Cadet Berardino said, ‘At West Point, I have had the privilege of working with leading scholars in the field of military history. Among those scholars is Professor Clifford J. Rogers, who served as my advisor on this project. Being part of this group endeavor and the subsequent presentation at the 54th International Congress of Medieval Studies has been a formative experience for me as I prepare for a career of service, first as an army officer, and eventually in academia.
I am honored and humbled to have received the Merriman Prize. I would like to extend my heartfelt gratitude to the selection committee – Professor Michael Hughes, Dr Marco Wyss, and Dr Sophie Ambler – for selecting me. I would like to further thank Professor Clifford Rogers and my classmates – Liam Kane, Ryne Hicks, and Zachary Watters – who helped generate the database that I used in my submission. Even though medieval military history is not my area of expertise, studying it has helped me to see continuities in history that I never would have considered. Working with Professor Rogers has been one of the most positive experiences that I have had at West Point.’
The Merriman Prize 2019-20 attracted a number of very strong submissions from across the UK and North America, with essays investigating a range of topics in international and military history broadly defined, from the fourteenth to the twenty-first century, across Europe, Asia, and North America. As the panel noted, the quality and originality of research on display is a testament to the strength and vibrancy of the fields of international and military history.
With such a strong field, the panel was also pleased to award an Honorary Mention to Mr Sterling Mancuso of the University of Toronto, for his essay ‘Expulsion Compulsion: Reconsidering the Motivations and Consequences of the 1923 Turco-Greek Population Exchange’. The panel lauded the essay’s ‘sophisticated approach to an under-addressed historical issue, combining a rigorous historiographical and theoretical framework with use of primary sources.’
The panel would like to thank all entrants for participating, and for preparing their essays to such a high standard.
For details of last year's winner, please see the bottom of this page.
Undergraduate Essay Prizes
Andrew Pearson Prize
The Andrew Pearson Prize was set up in memory of Andrew Pearson, a student of History (1985-88) who was tragically killed in an accident when on holiday in New Zealand. The award is for the single major History student who, in the opinion of the Part II board of examiners in History, has written the best dissertation for the compulsory dissertation unit (HIST 300).
WINNERS 2020 - James Lockwood and Georgia Megan Britton.
The regulations for the Queen's studentship and scholarships are available in the Department of History. Awards are made by the Senate on the recommendations of the Head of Department of History each year to the undergraduate who has done best in the Part I course in History and who intends reading History as a major or combined major course (scholarship first awarded in 1966) and to the undergraduate reading history as a major or combined major course who has done best in their second-year studies.
WINNERS 2020 - Anna Drury, Phoebe Mia Kendrew, Holly Parsons (Part 1). Jennifer Kehlenbeck, Gergana Tsvetanova, Molly Lawson and Grace Olivia Sewell (Part 2).
A H Woolrych Prize
The prize, instituted as a result of the commemorative appeal made on the retirement of the late Professor A H Woolrych, the founding professor of the Department of History, is an annual book prize awarded to the undergraduate who during the academic year presents the best essay in a Part II course in history. The prize was first awarded in 1987.
WINNERS 2020 - James Andrew Clarke, Ignas Gulbinas, Georgia Megan Britton, Conor Walker and Georgia Whelan.
Digital Humanities Essay Prize
The Lancaster Prize in Digital Humanities is awarded for an outstanding undergraduate essay on any topic in a humanities discipline—such as history, archaeology, literature, theology, religious studies, anthropology and philosophy—that uses or critiques digital technology. Offered by the Digital Humanities Hub at Lancaster University, it is open to current undergraduates at any UK or overseas university. The successful candidate will be awarded a prize of £250, and the offer of the Lancaster Digital Humanities Masterclass: the opportunity to spend a week training with Lancaster’s leading digital humanities scholars.
Possible themes may include, but are not limited to:
- Mapping and special technologies
- Data visualisation and design
- Blogging and web technologies
- Text analysis
- Coding for humanities research
- Digitisation projects
- Image processing
- Humanities gaming
- Debates in digital literacy or digital humanities
For details of Lancaster’s MA Digital Humanities, see lancaster.ac.uk/history/masters
The 2019 prize was wone by Naja Algreen Suhr from the University of Copenhagen for an essay on “The elderly of Copenhagen in 1885.” Two other applicants, Kanish Garg (Indian Institute of Technology, Roorkee) and Lena Zlock (Stanford University) were noted as highly commended.
Previous Scholarship and Essay Prize Winners
Previous Scholarship and Essay Prize winners are detailed below:
Merriman Essay Prize 2019
The winner of the Merriman Prize for 2018-19 was James McHale of Huddersfield University for his essay ‘“Saladin’s delaying tactics gave the Crusaders little choice” – Jonathan Phillips. Is this a valid conclusion to draw about the massacre of the Muslim prisoners at Acre?’. The essay investigated the sources for and historiographical debate surrounding the killing of 2,700 prisoners by Richard the Lionheart (King of England 1189-99) at the Siege of Acre in 1191.
The judging panel – Dr Sophie Thérèse Ambler, Professor Michael Hughes and Professor William Pettigrew – praised the ‘extensive and careful use of primary sources’ in James’s essay, and his ‘strong critical engagement with a broad range of secondary literature, as well as the conceptual sophistication of his approach and nuance of his analysis. The essay demonstrated a remarkable rigour and quality both in its attention to detail and in its broader argument.’
James McHale said, ‘I am so utterly delighted to have been awarded the inaugural Merriman Prize from Lancaster University for my essay relating to Richard I's execution of Muslim prisoners at Acre in the summer of 1191 during the Third Crusade. The interplay of ideologies, strategies, intelligence and diplomacy were inherent to why negotiations between Richard and Saladin over the crusaders' captured Muslim prisoners broke down and ended in their massacre. In order to understand and interpret events, it was incredibly fascinating to analyse extensive primary source material, including both western and Arabic eyewitness accounts. I would like to express my very best wishes to the panel, Dr Sophie Ambler, Professor Michael Hughes and Professor William Pettigrew. Most of all, I'd like to express my immense gratitude to my family, but also to Dr Katherine J. Lewis, my Personal Tutor, who has always supported and encouraged me as a student and medievalist.’
The Merriman Prize 2018-19 attracted a number of very strong submissions from across the UK and USA, with essays investigating a range of topics in international and military history broadly defined, from the seventh to the twenty-first century, across Asia, Africa, North America, South America, and Europe. As the panel noted, the quality and originality of research on display is a testament to the strength and vibrancy of the fields of international and military history. The panel would like to thank all entrants for participating, and for preparing their essays to such a high standard.
2019 Undergraduate Prize Winners
Andrew Pearson Prize - Dabeoc Stanley, Caroline Winstanley and Caitlin Cheshire.
Queen's Scholarships - David Comerford, Louise Varley, Eve Hood, Jude Rowley, Sofia Skiming, Bridget Morgan and Kiera Collins.
A H Woolrych Prize - Dabeoc Stanley.