Martin Burr Grants

The Society invites applications for small amounts of funding (usually up to a maximum of £500) to support any form of activity which brings together language and history and allows them to be enjoyed by a non-academic audience. This money is made available thanks to the generosity of the late Martin Burr who was himself a non-academic with a passion for the study of language and history and the connection between them.

Two annual application deadlines: 30 September and 31 March

There are two deadlines annually for application: 30 September and 31 March. The application should include a statement of no more than 300 words to explain what the money will be used for, accompanied by a breakdown of the costs. The Henry Sweet Society can only offer up to £500 per application, but this may be supplemented by other sources of funding. Successful projects or activities should acknowledge the contribution of the Henry Sweet Society and of the Martin Burr Bequest.

Both members and non-members of the Henry Sweet Society can apply for the grant. However, if non-members are successful in their application, they must join the Society before the grant can be awarded.

Please send applications by e-mail to the Secretary of the Society, Dr Olivia Walsh:


1. The Poor Man of Nippur – World’s first film in Babylonian

“The Poor Man of Nippur” is a c. 3,000 year-old comic folk tale in Babylonian language. The main manuscript is a clay tablet from 701 BC found at the site of Sultantepe, in South-East Turkey. Recounted by a third-party narrator, it tells the story of the three-fold revenge which Gimil-Ninurta wreaks on the local Mayor after the latter wrongs him.

The film version of this ancient text is a creation of Cambridge Assyriology, and (as far as we know) the world’s first film in Babylonian.

The film was acted by Assyriology students and other members of the Cambridge Mesopotamian community. Shooting locations were in several Cambridge Colleges, King’s Parade, The British Museum, Flag Fen Archaeological Park, and countryside near Grantchester.

2. The 200-year Anniversary of Indo-European Studies



(Photo and newspaper article representing a recently funded exhibition entitled ‘Thousand branches is a tree – the growth of historical linguistics’, which was held to mark the 200-year anniversary of Indo-European Studies. Just click the newspaper to read it.)

3. English Grammar Day 2016

grammar is cool

(Picture representing English Grammar Day 2016 supported by the Henry Sweet Society for the History of Linguistic Ideas, the Philological Society, the University College London Joint Faculty Institute of Graduate Studies (JFIGS), and the English Faculty at the University of Oxford)

Link to vidoe:

The BL, UCL and Oxford will all shortly be posting a copy of this video of last summer’s event on their respective websites.

Link to a report on the British Library Website:

This page was last updated on 6 December 2018 at 1:28 pm.