The Mansel-Pleydell and Cecil Memorial Trusts exist to attract and reward writers on topics relating to Dorset. For the rules of the competitions and how to take part, please see the Trusts' own website.
John Clavell Mansel-Pleydell of Whatcombe was one of the founder members of the Dorset Natural History and Antiquarian Field Club, from which the present DNHAS has evolved. He was President from 1875 until his death twenty-seven years later and spent a vast amount of his time and energy developing the Museum and the Field Club. On his death a Memorial Fund was set up to promote natural history, archaeology and science in Dorset, these being his lifelong interests. Two years later the Fund was increased by a donation from Lord Eustace Cecil, who succeeded him as President. The award for the first essay was made in 1906.
Here is a catalogue of past entries, including all known winners and some unsuccessful entries. References are given to those essays that have been published in the Proceedings of DNHAS or elsewhere, and even to unpublished essays that are kept in the Museum Library.