Julia Wood Prize Winning Essays

St Hugh’s College

Founded in 1886, St Hugh’s is now one of the largest colleges in Oxford. The College was established to offer an Oxford education to women, and it retains a strong sense of its radical tradition and of the importance of opening Oxford up to all who would do well here. St Hugh’s now accepts men and women, and welcomes students from every country and any kind of background.

St Hugh’s has a beautiful setting just to the north of the city centre, with Edwardian buildings and some of the largest college grounds. The College is known as the ‘island site’ because of its tranquil gardens, and it is a restful place to live and work.

Studying History at St Hugh’s College

St Hugh’s College admits about 11 undergraduates a year to read single Honours History; and a further two or three (in varying combinations) for the Joint Honours Schools of Ancient and Modern History, History and English, History and Modern Languages, and History and Politics.

What we are looking for is the ability to think imaginatively, a willingness to argue, a real interest in ideas, and a commitment to the subject. We have no preference for particular subjects at A-level, International Baccalaureate or Pre-U. Most candidates will usually have been studying History, but even this is not essential. However, languages (both modern and classical), English Literature, and Economics have, in their different ways, proved useful preparations for the course. We welcome both pre- and post- qualification applications; and we generally admit a few people each year from Scotland, Ireland, and further afield.

St Hugh’s provides excellent facilities for studying History: the library has unusually large and up-to-date holdings in all periods (one of the tutors is Library Fellow), and there is an active, sometimes rumbustious History Society. We encourage our undergraduates to travel in vacations. We participate in the History Faculty’s exchange programme with Princeton University, so most years one of our second year historians spends a semester at Princeton. In recent years several of our historians have gone on to undertake research in History and related fields; others have got jobs in journalism, television, law, teaching, the Foreign Office, the UN, the City, Brussels, management and management consultancy, publishing, etc. The world has proved to be their oyster, with historical training at St Hugh’s providing them with the essential bit of grit.

More information about studying History at St Hugh’s College is available on our course and admissions pages.

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

St Hugh’s provides excellent facilities for studying History: the library has unusually large and up-to-date Since the establishment of the essay competition in 1994, 50 school students have been given prizes; many of these people went on to study History at Oxford and St Hugh’s. The names of the winners and their essay titles can be seen below.

The winners in 2017 were:

Ned Ashcroft, in the Lower Sixth of St Paul’s School, for his essay entitled ‘What was the significance of the British Radical Movement of the 1790s?’; Jessica Curry, in the Upper Sixth of St Columba’s Senior School, Kilmacolm, for her essay entitled ‘The playboy who brought down the Republic? An assessment of the importance of Clodius Pulcher in the fall of the Roman Republic’; and Felix Stocker, in the Lower Sixth of Eton College, for his essay entitled ‘To what extent did the Carolingian Renaissance innovate beyond Classical culture?’

YearAwardNameTitle of Essay
2017WinnerNed AshcroftWhat was the Significance of the British Radical Movement of the 1790s?
2017WinnerJessica CurryThe Playboy that brought down a Republic? An assessment of the importance of Clodius Pulcher in the fall of the Roman Republic.
2017WinnerFelix StockerTo what extent did the Carolingian Renaissance innovate beyond existing Classical culture?
2016Runner UpSamuel KillcrossCults, cuts and controversies: An essay on the relationship between State and Cinema in Russia from 1896-2014, with particular reference to the analogous connection between Eisenstein and Tarkovsky- how far did the State exert power over film?
2016WinnerOscar BakerTo what extent do the longer-term origins of the American Revolution actually lie in constitutional incompatibility and uncertainty, as opposed to ideological and intellectual principles?
2015WinnerJoshua Kimblin“A king in all but name”: To what extent is this an accurate reflection of the nature of Cosimo de’Medici’s power over Florence between 1434 and 1464?
2015Runner UpMia BellouereTo what extent have historians settled the debate about the significance of the Englightenment in the origins of the French Revolution?
2014WinnerCecilia Murray-BrownHow has the British Monarchy survived “one of the most spectacular political landslides in history”?
2014Runner UpLily SpicerHow significant was Prince Albert’s contribution to the success of the Great Exhibition in 1851?
2014WinnerJoshua SticklandWas the fall of the Romanov Dynasty inevitable?
2013Year 13 WinnerTony HanWas Papal Reform a revolutionary movement?
2013Year 12 WinnerMatthew ReesHas the significance of the 1945-51 Labour governments been exaggerated?
2012Year 13 WinnerAlicia MavorWas Magna Carta a bitter indictment of the (mis-) rule of King John?
2012Year 12 WinnerRosie StonorThe crusading legacy: “a splendid paradox of belligerence in the cause of peace”.
2011WinnerJean-Andre PragerThe Religious, Political, and Social Accommodation and Appropriation of Darwinism.
2011Runner UpEmily BrewerTo what extent did Heinrich Kraemer’s Malleus have an impact on the European Witch-Hunts 1485-1650?
2011Runner UpWilliam PerryDid the concept of English Liberty Depend on Perceptions of the French? 1688-1763
2011Runner UpNicholas WrightAccount for the demise of the Western Roman Empire.
2010WinnerNicholas DixonFrom Georgian to Victorian: A Radical Transition?
2010Runner UpOlivia Elder“The events between September 1658 and May 1660, when Charles II returned to London as King, have often been treated as a confused epilogue in which all hurried towards the Stuarts’ inevitable restoration” (Toby Barnard). To what extent should the period be regarded in this way?
2010Runner UpRobert WilsonAlaric was defeated in his campaign of AD 401. Why, therefore, did he come to sack Rome in 410?
2009WinnerEmily PartonHow far was the Risorgimento movement led by a desire to create cultural unity?
2009Runner UpJessica AnandHow far did the Laudian religious changes of 1629-1640 amount to a radical reform of the Church of England?
2008Year 13 WinnerHannah BostonHow does the document DE 2638/3/2 contribute to the understanding of the Earls of Chester and land tenure in post-Conquest England?
2008Year 12 WinnerTom Seaward
2007Year 13 WinnerThomas MeakinTo what extent did Italian Facism represent a triumph of style over substance?
2007Year 12 WinnerHannah BostonWhat does this thirteenth century gift of land reveal about its contemporary society?
2006Year 12 WinnerMarius OstrowskiIs medieval history the history of the church?
2006Year 13 WinnerBeatrice RamsayCatholic Christianity before England’s break with Rome was flourishing (Haigh).  How far does evidence from Norfolk support this claim and how does this help explain their response to the Reformation?
2005WinnerDouglas JamesWhy did so many in the Christian West answer Pope Urban II’s appeal for crusade following the Council of Clermont in 1095?
2005Runner UpNicholas EvansLenin’s Populism
2005Runner UpNoor NanjiTo what extent has Richard III been unfairly maligned by historians?
2004Year 13 WinnerHoward AmosTo what extent were the proposals laid out in Spenser’s colonial blueprint.  ‘A view of the present state of Ireland’, reflected in English policy in that country from the suppression of Tyrone to the establishment of the Ulster plantations
2004Year 12 WinnerFlorence Sutcliffe-BraithwaiteWhat  evidence is there that England was still a catholic nation in 1547
2003WinnerJoshua ShottonDoes the Exclusion Crisis, 1678-81, show the Earl of Shaftesbury to have been a man of principle.
2003Runner UpAaron GrahamFor Commonwealth or Conscience: Why did Cromwell readmit the Jews to England
2002WinnerOlivia GrantHow important were the press to the desacralisation  of the French Monarchy
2002Runner UpRichard EschwegeWhat did Iustitia mean to Gregory VII?
2001WinnerFrancis MurphyWas ‘Science the main enemy of Religion’ in the Nineteenth Century?
2001Runner UpBen SelbyWhy did Charlemagne accept the imperial title?
2000WinnerJenny BryceWhy did America enact the 18th Amendment in the face of historical evidence that suggested it was doomed to failure
2000Year 12 WinnerEmil Bielski3rd May Constitution of Poland 1791.  A reaction to the enlightenment of an exercise in self-preservation
1999WinnerCressida TrewHow far does the historiography of the Holocaust in Poland reflect the nature of the Holocaust in History as a problem of national and historical identity
1999Josephine TuckerHow far did Luther’s theology mark a clear and radical break from mediaeval tradition.
1999Andrew ShaplandHow European was the Renaissance?
1998Winner (First)Jayne RosefieldWagner was both cause and effeto of the repulsive process which ended in the apogee and apotheosis of human bestiality and degradation, Hitler and the Nazis – Leonard Woolf.  To what extent is this true
1998Winner (Second)Edwina RushworthWas it because he was “a tyrant” that James II lost the support of his people so quickly after 1685, and then his throne in 1688?
1998Year 12 WinnerReza DadbakhshIt was inevitable that the papal reform programme of the late eleventh century would lead to a conflict between Henry IV and Gregory VII.  Discuss this statement
1997Criseyda CoxWhy was Leviathan considered ‘a most poisonous piece of atheism’?
1997Rebecca Welsford“How important was the concept of blood guilt in the trial and execution of Charles I?”
1996Raphael Mokades/MohadesHow far did the Boer War change the direction of British Domestic Politics, 1899-1911?
1996Antony McConnellTo what extent is the portrayal of Pontius Pilate in John’s Gospel historically accurate?
1995James Bickford-SmithRestoration or Revolution? The Ottoman conquest and reorganisation of the Balkans (1352-1402)
1995Andrew GibsonA consideration of the view that: “The reason for the remarkable spread of Calvinism throughout sixteenth century Europe lay in its system of church government rather than its beliefs.”’
1994Alexander MacLeod“It isn’t Cricket, Sir!”: The Bodyline Controversy and the Politics of Cricket, 1932-33
1994Alexandra GoodenTo what extent was the creation of the German Empire the result of Nationalist Forces?

Who was Julia Wood?

Julia Wood was an alumna of St Hugh’s College. She was born on 19th December 1938 and studied History and was an Exhibitioner at the College between 1957 and 1960. Tragically, she died in an accident whilst in Australia in 1970. The fund for the Julia Wood Prize was established by the parents and friends of Julia Wood in May 1971.

The College Library in the mid twentieth century

Originally, the prize was awarded to a second year History undergraduate student at St Hugh’s College. The first prize awarded went to Miss Anne Johnstone for her “striking progress” and she was marked out as “distinguished for industry, vigour and enthusiasm”. The letter informing Miss Johnstone of her award, sent on 16th June 1972, stated that “the prize is £15, to be used for the purchase of books”.

In 1994, the Governing Body of the College agreed that, for an experimental period of three years, “the Prize should be awarded to Sixth Formers on the basis of an essay competition”. The success of the competition resulted in the recommendation that the Prize take on the format of a Sixth Form essay competition permanently and the Prize remains in this format to this day.

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

St Hugh’s College

Founded in 1886, St Hugh’s is now one of the largest colleges in Oxford. The College was established to offer an Oxford education to women, and it retains a strong sense of its radical tradition and of the importance of opening Oxford up to all who would do well here. St Hugh’s now accepts men and women, and welcomes students from every country and any kind of background.

St Hugh’s has a beautiful setting just to the north of the city centre, with Edwardian buildings and some of the largest college grounds. The College is known as the ‘island site’ because of its tranquil gardens, and it is a restful place to live and work.

Studying Classics at St Hugh’s College

St Hugh’s College admits between 4 and 6 undergraduates a year to read Single and Joint Honours Classics. We accept students applying for the majority of schools, including: Classics I, Classics II, Classics and English, Classics and Modern Languages and Classics and Oriental Studies.

What we look for in potential applicants is the ability to think independently, a willingness to argue, a real interest in ideas, and a commitment to the subject. We have no preference for particular subjects at A-level, International Baccalaureate or Pre-U, welcoming both pre- and post- qualification applications.

St Hugh’s provides excellent facilities for studying Classics: the 24-hour library has unusually large and up-to-date holdings in all periods, and, as much of an undergraduate student’s academic timetable will be spent in College, the Library becomes invaluable. Our Classics Tutorial Fellow, Professor Tim Rood, has recently been awarded the prestigious Leverhulme Research Grant for a project entitled ‘Anachronism and Antiquity.’

Classics is a wide-ranging degree, devoted to the study of the literature, history, philosophy, languages and archaeology of the Ancient Greek and Roman worlds. Oxford has the largest Classics department in the world, with outstanding teaching, library and museum resources, including the Sackler and Bodleian Libraries, the Ashmolean Museum and designated Classics Centre. The University’s Classics II degree is aimed at encouraging students who have not previously studied Ancient Greek or Latin at school, but are interested in the subject at a Higher Education level.

For further information concerning these choices please see our course pages, or visit the University’s webpages.

Save

Save

Save

This biography below is taken from the St Hugh’s College exhibition, recently on show in the Howard Piper Library.

‘Eileen Mary Challans was born on 4th Sept 1905, the daughter of Frank Challans, a medical practitioner. She attended Romford House School, Forest Gate, and Clifton High School, Bristol before matriculating at St Hugh’s in Oct 1925 to read English Language and Literature, obtaining a BA (III) in 1928.

During her time at St Hugh’s, she developed a love of ancient Greece, Crete and Macedon – a setting which resurfaced in many of her novels. Although she had initially intended to become a teacher, in 1933, after a period of illness, she returned to Oxford and became a nurse at the Radcliffe Infirmary, obtaining a nursing degree in 1936. Here she met her lifelong partner, Julie Mullard.

She published her first novel, a hospital romance called Purposes of Love, in 1939, under the pseudonym Mary Renault, the name by which she became known. She continued to write and publish whilst nursing during WWII and her novels developed overtly homosexual themes, which she treated honestly and sympathetically. Her sixth and last non-historical novel, The Charioteer, was published in 1953. Mary moved on to writing historical novels set in Ancient Greece, eventually publishing eight, the first being The Last of the Wine in 1956 and the last Funeral Games in 1981.

Although her portrayals of homosexuality provoked outrage in British society at the time, MGM presented her an award for her 4th novel, Return to Night, and she was able to afford to emigrate with Julie to South Africa in 1948, never to return to England. They both became South African citizens and were involved in the early anti-apartheid movement.’

Save

Save

Save

0 Replies to “Julia Wood Prize Winning Essays”

Lascia un Commento

L'indirizzo email non verrà pubblicato. I campi obbligatori sono contrassegnati *