Spike Gibbs and Steve Hindle win Thirsk Prize 2024

Many thanks go to Dr Jordan Claridge (LSE) and Professor Carl Griffin (Sussex), who joined me on the judging panel this year. As ever, it was a difficult job. We had a varied range of submissions that spanned the centuries and that approached their subjects in very different ways. Some were aimed at the more popular end of the market and others at the academic audience, but all were insightful, readable and scholarly. Some common themes emerged—for example, how aspects of rural history link to British national identity, and the centrality of animal history to historians of rural life and agriculture. And as ever, the submissions confirmed rural and agricultural history to be a broad and vibrant area.

Like last year, there were two books that stood out, and the panel had a long, considered exchange about the merits of each. In the end it was decided that there were clear and compelling reasons to split the award for the second year running. The first, Spike Gibbs’ Lordship, State Formation and Local Authority in late Medieval and Early Modern England (Cambridge University Press), is a book that the panel agreed will shape the historiography for many years to come. The second, Steve Hindle’s The Social Topography of a Rural Community: Scenes from a Labouring Life (Oxford University Press), is a wonderful, illuminating microhistory of one early modern Warwickshire community.

Nicola Verdon
Thirsk Panel Chair, 2024

Steve Hindle’s keynote address to the BAHS Spring Conference 2024, based on his prize-winning book, is now available on our YouTube channel.

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