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F.M.L. Thompson, 1925-2017

It is with great sadness that the Society announces the death of Professor F. M. L. (Michael) Thompson on 23 August at the age of 92. The Society offers its condolences to his widow, Anne and to his family.

Read about Michael’s contribution to Agricultural History and to the Society here.

The Institute of Historical Research has announced its intention to hold a memorial meeting on 9 November at 6pm: further details will follow.

Edward Everett Root recently published English Landed Society Revisited: The Collected Papers of F.M.L. Thompson.

One-Day Conference

‘Farming and the nation: historical perspectives for rural policy after Brexit’: a one-day conference at The Farmers Club, 3 Whitehall Court, London SW1A 2EL, on Friday 3 November:
Read more and register...

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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BAHS Winter Conference 2017

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 | How to get there.

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.

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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.

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.

Calls for papers

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...

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.


Recent publications

Both of the editors of Agricultural History Review have new publications out this month:
Cover of Famine in European History Cambridge University Press announces the publication of Famine in European History, edited by Guido Alfani and Cormac Ó Gráda, which includes a chapter on famine in Britain by Richard Hoyle. ‘A seminal exercise in historical comparison which places Europe’s many own grim encounters with death-dealing famine in a wholly new perspective’ – Bruce M. S. Campbell.
Routledge announces the publication of Elite Women and the Agricultural Landscape, 1700–1830, by Briony McDonagh. A ‘highly original book [which] provides an explicitly feminist historical geography of the eighteenth-century English rural landscape’. Cover of Elite Women and the Agricultural Landscape, 1700–1830

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.

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.
The New Forest Knowledge Conference 2017 will be held from Friday 27 October through to Saturday 28 October 2017 at the Lyndhurst Community Centre. Come and hear about the archaeological and historical research being carried out in and around the New Forest.


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

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