As the first half of the Advent Term drew to a close, this year’s new Lower Sixth were encouraged to be intellectually heretical, to challenge comfortably orthodox, prosaic textbook thinking in feistily argued extended essays of 1,500 to 2,000 words for the Lancing Heresy Project. The Project is rooted in Lancing’s proud tradition of creative, well-read intellectual individualism; and, in the school of Evelyn Waugh, Tom Sharpe and David Hare, nearly the whole Lower Sixth rightly rose to the heretical challenge with verve, rigour and analytical flair. They produced an extraordinary range of essays, marked by wit, surreal fancy, trenchant argument and, above all, grittily intelligent and well researched heretical bite. Independence of thought at Lancing is definitely alive and kicking. Marxism was praised, Anne Boleyn’s virtue questioned, and the efficacy of vaccination doubted. Even unicorns were argued into existence.
The following collection contains the final shortlist of the best ten heretical essays, and the list could have been far longer given the sheer weight of talent within the year. It also includes the winning heretical entries. In the end, a grand jury from the Common Room of Dr Kerney, Dr Herbert, Mr Harman, and Mrs Mole battled long into the night to argue the case for their favourites on the shortlist. It was agreed that three essays should be awarded joint top prize.
These essays were marked by their particularly fluent, well researched, heretical argumentative punch, and their formidably well justified positions: precisely the qualities of independent thought sought by top universities.
It was decided that this year Lancing’s trinity of heretics should be:
- Eunice Adeoyo for her essay: ‘Communism is dead. Long live Marxism!’
- Gabriel Bellamy Plaice for his essay: ‘Vaccines: Are they doing more harm than good in society today?’
- Olivia Longhurst for her essay: ‘To what extent were the indictments of adultery laid against Anne Boleyn credible?’
Please click on the image below to read the full essays (PDF):
Dr Damian Kerney, Head of History and Sixth Form Enrichment