Prince Consort and Thirlwall Prize winners 2020

PC Prize

Congratulations to Sara Caputo and Jake Subryan Richards, joint winners of the Prince Consort and Thirlwall Prize, awarded for a dissertation involving original historical research.

Dr Caputo's PhD thesis was completed in 2019, under the supervision of Dr Renaud Morieux. Entitled 'Foreign Seamen and the British Navy, 1793-1815', it focused on the foreign sailors who served in the Royal Navy during the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars. It investigated the legal, social, cultural, and diplomatic context of transnational employment aboard British naval vessels, using the wartime Navy as a case study to deconstruct the meanings of 'foreignness' and state boundaries. The project drew on primary sources from British, Dutch, Italian, and Maltese archives. She is currently revising it into a monograph.

Sara Caputo is currently Lumley Research Fellow at Magdalene College, Cambridge.


Jake Subryan Richards’s PhD thesis analyzes how abolition laws shaped the opportunities and limitations for ‘liberated Africans’ in the nineteenth-century Atlantic world. Abolition laws reclassified slave-ship captives as liberated Africans by sanctioning naval captures of slave ships, court adjudications of these captures, the indentured apprenticeship of the recaptured Africans, and the formation of post-apprenticeship legal status. Through a systematic comparison of Sierra Leone, South Africa, and Brazil, Richards’s research focused on the South Atlantic as the major zone of enslavement and abolition. Naval capture, adjudication, apprenticeship, and the end of apprenticeship presented legal predicaments for liberated Africans. Far from a human-rights triumph, the abolition legal regime produced conflict between the liberated Africans, British imperial agents, and African and Latin American political authorities.

Jake Subryan Richards is currently assistant professor of history at the London School of Economics.