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Mansel-Pleydell & Cecil Memorial Trust

Essay competitions

Prizes awarded


The Mansel-Pleydell & Cecil Memorial Trust offers prizes of up to £1000 plus smaller prizes of up to £500


The Mansel-Pleydell Competitions


The two Mansel-Pleydell Trust essay competitions are open to anyone resident in Dorset (including Poole and Bournemouth) or having past or present connections with the county.

In order to encourage diversity and competition, the Trustees, in their absolute discretion, reserve the right to exclude entries for any of the prizes from entrants who have previously been awarded a prize.  Prospective entrants who might fall within this category should seek prior guidance from the Trustees before embarking on any project intended to be entered for a prize to avoid possible future disappointment.


Click here for a download list of past winners.


Essay Competition No.1


This competition is for substantial essays (of about 10,000 words) reflecting original research into an aspect of Dorset’s local, cultural, archaeological or natural history and which shall be of sufficient standard and interest to be published in the Proceedings of the Dorset Natural History and Archaeological Society;


Sources used should be listed with full references. They are cash prizes of up to £1,000 (for an exceptional entry), plus prizes for runners-up.


Essay Competition No.2


This competition is for shorter essays (of about 2,000 – 5,000 words) relating to an aspect of Dorset’s local, cultural, archaeological or natural history which should be of a standard to be a placed in the Dorset County Museum Library.

There are cash prizes of up to £500.


The Cecil Competition


This competition is for any project involving the application of science which promotes interest in, and awareness of, any aspect of Dorset’s local, cultural, archaeological or natural history. There are cash prizes of up to £500.


Rules of entry, terms and conditions


  • Closing date for entries is 31st December in each year.

  • All proposed subjects should be notified to the secretary before the 31st August in each year in order that proposals can be confirmed acceptable and within the terms of the Trust.

  • All entries must comprise material previously unpublished in whole or in part.

  • The original text of the essay, one further paper copy, and one electronic copy, should be submitted to the Secretary to the Trustees.  See below. 

  • Essays may be published in the Proceedings, or placed in the Museum library, at the Trustees' discretion.

  • All entries remain the property of the Trustees. Copyright of winning entries is vested in the Trustees, but may be waived on application to the Secretary.

  • The decision of the Trustees, who reserve the right to vary or withhold awards, shall be final.


All communications should be addressed to
the Secretary to the Trustees,


Mansel-Pleydell & Cecil Trust,
Dorset County Museum,

High West Street,



DT1 1XA. 


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