Welcome to the home of the Townsend-Warner History Prize. This national competition was started 135 years ago and is one of the oldest institutions in the preparatory school world. It has proved enduringly popular in encouraging the study of history. It is not linked to any national testing or examinations, but aims to provoke interest and delight in historical reading, facts and analysis.

It regularly produces winners of remarkable calibre, writing history of much flair and knowledge. Around 1,000 candidates participate each year from schools all over the UK and from a few schools from abroad.


The dates for the 2021 prize had to be adjusted given the circumstances imposed by lockdown and the Covid epidemic.
It was a tribute to those running the schools and those teaching history that only a handful of schools found it too difficult to fit in the dates for the prize. We were delighted that over 1,000 candidates completed Paper 1 and 255 qualified for Paper 2. The standard at the top was high. To our delight candidates from nine different schools filled the first nine places.
The results and the report from Alastair Cook were sent by post and by email to all participating schools on Monday April 19th.
Paper 2 is set for Monday 24th May, and we will attempt to get the results to all schools before the end of June.

From: The Administrator, AH Beadles, Chaff Barn, Compton Pauncefoot, Yeovil, Somerset. 01963 440461


The first fifty candidates receive generous prizes, in 2020 to a total of over £1,100, and the next fifty are sent cards of commendation.

Join the growing number of schools participating

The prize is open to schools affiliated to IAPS - the Independent Association of Preparatory Schools. A growing number of schools take part. In 2020 a record of eighty-one schools contributed 1037 scripts for this year’s Paper 1.

The Prize encourages students to enjoy the study of history and its variety and challenges, and to use their knowledge at a national competitive level. Every year the schools involved eagerly await the Townsend-Warner History Prize.



The Prize consists of two papers, the first to be completed in January near the start the Easter Term, the second in late February just after half-term.

Paper 1 has 100 questions demanding one-word, or one-sentence, answers from world history, but with a strong emphasis on British history. Many are straightforward, some a little more obscure. Two hundred and fifty candidates qualify from Paper 1 to sit Paper 2. This is in the form of essay questions, but allows candidates a very wide choice so that they can write on what they know, but also show analytical skill and historical imagination


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