W.G. Neely Prize

2016 W.G. Neely Prize Winner, Ms Kathryn Sawyer, from Notre Dame, Indiana

The Church of Ireland Historical Society is pleased to announce that our postgraduate essay prize is open for 2018! The winner of the W. G. Neely Prize will receive €150. His/her essay will, moreover, be considered for publication by Ireland’s premier history journal, Irish Historical Studies. The candidate with the best essay will also be expected to present his/her paper at the Society’s conference in Armagh 2019.

The W. G. Neely Prize is named in honour of the Society’s founder. It provides an excellent opportunity for postgraduate students to promote their work that considers aspects of the Church of Ireland. The prize is open to students pursuing a major research thesis in Ireland or abroad. Candidates interested in submitting an essay may write on any topic of their choosing relating to the history of the Church of Ireland.

The paper should be no more than 5,000 words (including footnotes). Please email it to the secretary, Dr Adrian Empey, at secretary.coihs@gmail.com. Essays will be judged anonymously. The deadline for submission is Friday, 31 August 2018.

All enquiries should be directed to the secretary.

Terms and conditions:

Candidates for this prize must be pursuing full-time research at MLitt or PhD levels.

Essays can stem from research out of the candidate’s thesis but he/she cannot submit an exact replica of a draft chapter from his/her thesis. The society reserves the right to seek reimbursement if the successful candidate fails to comply.

Footnotes should take the format outlined by Irish Historical Studies. You can find the details here: IHS Rules for Contributors

Essays are to be submitted in a word document to the Society’s secretary with ‘W.G. Neely Prize‘ in the email title heading.

Candidates are required to state their name, university affiliation and supervisor when submitting their essay.

Essays will not be accepted after the stated deadline.

Candidates do not have to join the Society (but are welcome to avail of the membership package at our student discount rate).

The Society reserves the right not to award a prize if entries fail to meet the required standard.

Candidates will be informed of the result by the secretary.

The winner is obliged to acknowledge the Church of Ireland Historical Society and the W.G. Neely Prize upon completion of his/her thesis AND in his/her article should Irish Historical Studies accept the work for publication.

Past winners:


Kathryn Sawyer: ‘A “disorderly, tumultuous way of serving God”: prayer and order in Ireland’s church and state, 1660-1689’, IHS, Nov. 2018 (forthcoming)


Jeffrey Cox, ‘The pastoral ministry of the established church in County Kildare, c. 1591 to 1633’


Ciarán McCabe, ‘Suppressing street begging in pre-Famine Ireland: a case study in the use of parish vestry minute books’


Suzanne Forbes: ‘“Publick and solemn acknowledgments”: occasional days of state-appointed worship in Ireland, 1689-1702’, IHS, xxxvii (2013), 559-78

2013 W.G. Neely prize winner, Ciarán McCabe, from Maynooth University