Kate Walton wins the Critchley Prize

25 February 2016

kate walton critchley prize web

Kate Walton (MSc English Local History, 2015) has been awarded the Critchley Prize for the best MSc in English Local History dissertation by a Kellogg College student of the 2013-15 cohort as chosen by the Final Examination Board.

Mark Smith, Fellow and Course Director for the MSc in English Local History says of Kate’s dissertation:

“Kate was awarded the prize for an excellent local study of the working lives of women in the city of Worcester in the period 1650-1720. It was particularly notable for the range of sources deployed – ranging from wills and probate documents to court records, apprenticeship indentures, and local newspapers, for the quality of its argumentation and its clear charting of the significance of this particular study for our wider historical understanding.”

Kate said that she was “thrilled to be awarded the prize” going on to tell us more about her research:

“The study comprised an examination of the position of women in Worcester’s economy in the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries. The dissertation focused on the income-generating activities of lower, and middling, women in a large urban community and sought to demonstrate the centrality of women through their wage labour, business participation and provision of credit. An analysis of women of differing marital status was undertaken which sought to illuminate the varied experiences, and diverse activities, of wives and single women.

As well as practising as a commercial property solicitor in Worcester, I am currently studying for a part-time DPhil in English Local History at Lincoln College, with Jonathan Healey, a Fellow of Kellogg, supervising my thesis. My research builds on my MSc study by looking in greater depth at single people in the seventeenth-century West Midlands region. But rather than assessing the positive contributions single people could make to an economy, I’m concentrating my research on their disorderly conduct and criminal behaviour. Seventeenth century commentators and local authority figures often associated single people with disorder, and my DPhil research will focus on how the various social groups categorised as ‘single’ were perceived, and whether these labels were justified.”