Joan Thirsk Memorial Prize 2023

This year, for the first time, the Joan Thirsk Memorial Prize was split between two authors: Professor Christopher Dyer and Dr Jane Rowling, seen here with President of the BAHS, Professor Nicola Verdon.

Presenting the prize at the BAHS Spring Conference in Nottingham, Prof Verdon said: “I would like to thank my fellow panellists this year, Sarah Holland and Henry French. We all agreed that the submissions were of a very high standard, each contributing to the field of British/Irish rural/agrarian history in different ways.

“We read submissions that in many respects marked the culmination of a lifetime of scholarship, showcasing a mastery of myriad primary sources; we read others that were written by scholars at the beginning of their academic and publishing careers, which were conceptually innovative and thought-provoking. Indeed one of the submission took issue with some of the conclusions of a previous Thirsk Prize winner, which shows how quickly the field can move on.

“Some submissions concentrated on particular regions and landscapes, whilst others ranged more broadly; some focused on the life and work of one particular agricultural writer, whilst others analysed a cannon of published agricultural literature. All this made our job very hard as we found merit in each.

“Because of this the panel this year decided, for the first time, to split the award between two submissions: Chris Dyer’s ‘Peasants Making History: Living in an English Region, 1200-1540’ (Oxford University Press), and Jane Rowling’s ‘Environments of identity: Agricultural Community, Work and Concepts of Local in Yorkshire, 1918-2018’ (The White Horse Press), both meticulously researched, highly readable and thought-provoking.”

Dr Jane Rowling, Environments of Identity: Agricultural Community, Work and Concepts of Local in Yorkshire, 1918-2018

Prof Christopher Dyer, Peasants Making History: Living in an English Region, 1200-1540

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