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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.

It’s easy to join the BAHS.

David Hey Memorial Meeting

David Hey The British Agricultural History Society, with the British Association for Local History, the British Records Society and the Yorkshire Archaeological and Historical Society invite you to attend a celebration of the life and work of David Hey, at Channing Hall, Sheffield, on 23 June 2018.
Full programme and booking details are here.

Subscription renewals

Please note that, effective from 11 May 2018, new rates will apply to individual subscriptions to the Society. It is many years (the last increase was in 2009) since the BAHS last put up its individual subscription rates, and since then print, postage and publication costs have risen to the point where the subscription no longer covers our basic operating expenses. At the same time, the Society has increased the size of Agricultural History Review, continued to publish Rural History Today, and expanded the range of its activities, including, most recently, the email newsletter, online forums and LIBRAL.

The Executive Committee has therefore reluctantly taken the decision, endorsed by the 2018 AGM, to increase the individual UK subscription rate from £20 to £30. The concessionary rate rises from £5 to £15. We have also made other changes. There will now be a single subscription rate for overseas members, of £42, reflecting the difference in postage between the UK and all overseas countries. We have also introduced a joint subscription for the same price as an individual subscription, for two or more persons at the same address receiving a single copy of each publication.

If you pay by PayPal, you should have received a personalised version of this letter. You need not take any action until advised by the Society.

If you pay by standing order on 1 February, please amend your standing order, as described on the membership page.

Anthony Phillips Memorial Seminar

In November we announced the death of A. D. M. Phillips, formerly editor of Agricultural History Review. The University of Keele School of Geography, Geology and the Environment is organising a memorial seminar and tree planting ceremony, to be held on Friday 18 May 2018 in the William Smith Building and the KPA (Keele Postgraduate Association and one of Tony’s regular haunts). They are also inviting contributions from colleagues to talk about their memories of working with Tony. If you would like to attend and/or speak, please contact Clare Holdworth at the email address given in the PDF.

Latest BAHS publications

Cover of current issue of Rural History Today

Agricultural History Review Volume 65 part 2 is available to members via the Ingenta web site.
Rural History Today issue 34, the first to be edited by Rebecca Ford, is available online.

Cover of current Agricultural History Review

Volume 62 is now ‘open access’ on this web site.


The LIBrary of Rural and Agricultural Literature: enthusiastic testers wanted!

Version 3.0 now has over 300 digitized items uploaded to it, including 72 volumes of Farmer's Magazine and 45 issues of Dairy World. We have been working with TannerRitchie Publishing to use their MEMSOshell platform to host our online library. We need feedback on the content and the user experience, to help us improve it and ensure that it meets your needs. Please sign up here if you are interested in helping us.

Please sign up for LIBRAL 3.0 here.

The LIBRAL 2.0 site will close on or before 10 January 2019, but has been superceded by LIBRAL 3.0.

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

Do have a look at 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 the one person 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.

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.

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.

Work in Progress

The Work in Progress list, formerly published in Agricultural History Review, is now over 90 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 contacts being made with them as a result of their entry here, making it a valuable resource.

Bursary Announcement

The Richard Jefferies Society has established a bursary to support work on Jefferies or related topics: highly suitable for agricultural history applicants.

Thirsk Prize awarded at BAHS Spring Conference

The Society’s Spring Conference 2018 was held at the Cannington Campus of Bridgwater and Taunton College just outside Bridgwater, 26 to 28 March 2018. The varied programme included papers on Water Management in Britain; the Knight Family and the Reclamation of Exmoor Forest; the Economics of Grain Storage in England; Women’s Work in Early Modern England; and the Green Revolution. There was also a New Researchers session.
The Joan Thirsk Memorial Prize was awarded at the Conference to Dr Briony McDonagh for her book, Elite Women and the Agricultural Landscape, 1700–1830. Presenting the prize, the President of the Society, Dr John Broad said,

‘The excellence of the field for the Thirsk Prize this year was such that all submissions would be worthy winners in a normal year. We found it extremely difficult to rank the books and indeed each of the four was ranked first or equal first by one of the judges. However we were ultimately unanimous in our decision to award the prize to Briony McDonagh for her book Elite Women and the Agricultural Landscape, 1700–1830. She used both national samples and local case studies to illuminate how female landowners could be independent managers of their estates and shapers of the landscape. I am sure that Joan Thirsk would have warmed to both the subject matter and the quality of the argument and writing.’

Recent publications

Sian Edwards, Youth movements, citizenship and the English countryside: creating good citizens, 1930–1960 (Palgrave). Sian gave a paper in our new researcher's session at the Spring conference in 2014. In her book she explores the significance and meaning of the countryside to twentieth-century youth movements such as the Scouts, Guides, Woodcraft Folk and Young Farmers' Club.
Hadrian Cook, New Forest: the forging of a landscape (Windgather Press). A contested landscape for at least 1000 years, the New Forest has a complex history, here explored through four themes: the shaping of the natural environment before historical times; the effects of management of natural resources; the governance of the Forest with its conflicting pressures on resources and attempts to exclude certain social groups; and attempts at conservation of the Forest.
David Edwards and Colin Rynne (eds), The colonial world of Richard Boyle, first earl of Cork. Richard Boyle was a grasping colonial adventurer who became the biggest landowner in the Munster Plantation (Four Courts Press). This book pays close attention to his estates and clientele to reveal new evidence of connections across the Atlantic, offering a new view of colonialism in the seventeenth century.
Susan Rose, The Wealth of England: the medieval wool trade and its political importance, 1100–1600 (Oxbow Books). The wool trade and its influence on English history are explored here through the lives of prominent wool-men: producers like the Stonors, middlemen such as Nicholas Brembre and Richard Whittington, and wealthy merchants such as William de la Pole of Hull.

What’s On

Special Exhibition at the New Forest Centre, Lyndhurst, Hants: Ancient and Remarkable Trees of the New Forest 21 April to 8 July. Discover and appreciate these ancient treasures of the New Forest in this unique exhibition by local photographer David Russell.

Ancient tree in the New Forest
‘Farms in Crewkerne Past’, 24 March to 16 June at the Crewkerne and District Museum.
Eling Tide Mill Experience has undergone a major refurbishment and reopened on Monday 9 April.

New Boydell & Brewer Series

Boydell & Brewer, the leading independent publisher of academic works in History and the Humanities, announces the launch of a new series, Boydell Studies in Rural History, under the editorship of Professor Richard Hoyle.
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