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What’s it all about?

The BAHS is the national society for the study of the history of agriculture, rural society and the landscape of Britain and Ireland. We publish a magazine, Rural History Today, as well as a scholarly journal, Agricultural History Review, and our conferences provide opportunities for historians (professional and non-professional) to meet, mix and exchange views in a friendly and sociable atmosphere.

email newsletter

Do you have trouble remembering to look at this web site? Would you like a reminder now and again? We plan to send out email newsletters about once a month (on average) when the content on the web site changes. We promise not to bombard you with spam, and you can un-subscribe whenever you like, from a link at the bottom of each newsletter.

BAHS forums

Last month we were pleased to announce BAHS forums, where you can ask questions or start discussions on any subject related to agricultural history and the history of rural economy and society. Even if you don't have a question in mind right now you might be able to answer one of the questions that are there! So please register now and subscribe to the ‘Agricultural history’ forum so that you will be notified by email about any new posts.

Latest BAHS publications

Cover of current issue of Rural History Today

Cover of current Agricultural History Review
Rural History Today issue 33 is now online, with articles by John Broad on Little Londons, Jean Ila Currie on Walsopthorne Farm in Herefordshire and Gavin Bowie on grain harvesting and drying; the deadline for copy for the February edition is 31 December.

Agricultural History Review volume 65 part 1 is available online and in print. It contains articles by Jordan Claridge, Hugo La Poutré, Frances Richardson, Elizabeth Ritchie, Marten Seppel, and Dries Claeys.

Rural History 2017

Register before 25 August for Rural History 2017, the third biennial conference of EurHO, to be held in Leuven, Belgium, 11-14 September.

Calls for papers

Announcing the call for papers for Farm Animals: Husbandry, Poultry and Draught Beasts in Late Medieval Europe, a conference to be held in Valencia 30 November to 1 December 2017, deadline 15 September 2017.

Announcing the call for papers for TransRuralHistory2018, to be held at Santiago de Compostela, 20-23 June 2018, deadline 30 September 2017.


– The LIBrary of Rural and Agricultural Literature –

At the recent Spring Conference, Richard Hoyle and Catherine Glover made an announcement about LIBRAL.

As a first step to creating this resource for rural historians, we had compiled a catalogue of 18th- and 19th-century literature on agricultural topics that have already been digitised and are available on a variety of Web sites. We have now added 200 titles to the Library, and you are welcome to access them on the test site. We are also working with TannerRitchie Publishing to use their MEMSOshell platform to provide a better service (faster download times, among many other benefits). Watch this space...


It’s so easy to join the BAHS because we are now set up to use PayPal.

PayPal Logo

Fill in an online form and pay via PayPal. You will also be able to renew your membership in this way.

Work in Progress

The Work in Progress list, formerly published in Agricultural History Review, is now has over 70 entries, together with an online form for you to create your own entry, which will only take you a few minutes. Researchers listed here have reported other researchers contacting them as a result, making it a valuable resource.


Winter Conference 2017

Disraeli ren=minds the farmer of his obligations to the farm labourer ('Hodge')

This year the subject of the Winter Conference is Politics and the Countryside. The conference will be held on Saturday 2 December 2017 at the Institute for Historical Research, Malet Street, London, WC1E 7HU.

Register now!

Coffee will be served from the slightly earlier time of 10.00, to enable us to present a Round Table as well as the usual four papers. Full programme and registration form

Recent publications

English Landed Society Revisited: The Collected Papers of F.M.L. Thompson, published in two volumes by Edward Everett Root.
As an individual member of the BAHS you can get a discount of £25 per volume by ordering from the publisher's web site and using the discount code you will find in the advertisement in Agricultural History Review volume 65 part 1

[if necessary, you can find the advertisement and the code online here].
Old Pond Publishing is pleased to announce Farming Stories from the Scottish Borders. This book is about the generations of people who have made the farms we know today. Engaging, enjoyable and informative, the author uses various family experiences to take the reader through three centuries of change in the countryside, including two farming revolutions. Cover of Farming Stories from the Scottish Borders
Now available from the University of Hertfordshire Press: The World of the Small Farmer Tenure, profit and politics in the early-modern Somerset Levels by Patricia Croot.
‘a substantial, innovative and thought-provoking contribution to the history of agrarian development’ – Professor Henry French.
Routledge recently announced the publication of Transforming the countryside: The Electrification of Rural Britain, edited by Paul Brassley, Jeremy Burchardt and Karen Sayer, and the result of a BAHS-sponsored conference.

Available online at a discount.
Transforming the countryside
The Hornby Castle Estates: Agrarian Change from the 1582 Survey to the 1751 Sederunt The Chetham Society recently published The Hornby Castle Estates: Agrarian Change from the 1582 Survey to the 1751 Sederunt, by Jennifer S. Holt.

Available at an introductory price of £25 (incl. UK delivery) from Prof. Tim Thornton (whose email address is on the Chetham Society web site).

Spring Conference 2017

The Spring Conference was held at Plumpton College, near Lewes, Sussex, at the beginning of April. The programme included a trip to the Weald and Downland Museum, which was very much enjoyed.

A highlight of the conference was the presentation of the first Joan Thirsk Memorial Prize, awarded for the best book in British or Irish Rural or Agrarian History published during 2016. Martin Thirsk, Joan’s son, presented the prize to Prof. Peter Jones of the University of Birmingham for his volume, Agricultural Enlightenment: Knowledge, Technology and Nature, 1750-1840, published by Oxford University Press.
Announcing the winner, Dr John Broad, President of the BAHS, said, ‘Since January, the judges have been reading the entries ... All the entries were of a high standard and worthy of serious consideration. Interestingly, three of them had a significant ‘transnational’ comparative element which we enjoyed and felt was well done. Although we had marginally different views of the merits of each book, were were unanimous in awarding the prize to Peter Jones.

Agricultural Enlightenment: Knowledge, Technology and Nature, 1750-1840
Peter Jones
‘This is a book Joan Thirsk would have empathised with and enjoyed, since one of her last essays, “The World Wide Farming Web”, covered some of the same issues of the transmission of agricultural ideas in a slightly earlier period. Peter’s book ranges right across Europe from the the British isles to Germany and beyond, and from Scandinavia to Spain, tracing the spread of ideas, the interactions between them, and using illuminating case studies to show the practical implications. It is a pleasure to congratulate him on his achievement.’

Publicity leaflet

The Society has a publicity leaflet. If you would like copies of the leaflet to distribute to potential members, or to leave at a location likely to be frequented by potential members, please contact us. BAHS Leaflet

Funding opportunities

We have a fund available to support otherwise unfunded Conferences and Initiatives. If you are considering holding a conference, workshop, special meeting or something similar, why not apply?   We also offer bursaries to student members who want to attend our conferences and other meetings supported by the Society.


The Society for Landscape Studies is holding their autumn conference, ‘From the Cotswolds to the Chilterns: The historic landscapes of Oxfordshire’, on Saturday 21 October 2017 at Anne’s College, Oxford. Book your place now.