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BAHS Winter Conference: Neighbourliness in farming and rural society

We are excited to announce the programme for the Winter Conference, which will be held via Zoom on Saturday 5 December from 13:30 to 18:00. Registration is now open.

We are especially looking forward to receiving registrations from those who for one reason or another would not normally be able to take part in the Society's conferences and hope to see an audience from across the British Isles and further afield.

BAHS Spring Conference 2021

The Spring Conference will also happen, but what form it will take is still uncertain. What is certain is that it won’t be at Denman College, as the WI is reluctantly proposing to close it.

Pilgrimage opens artists' eyes to landscape change

Seven artists from Kent are walking the Augustine Camino pilgrimage route from Ramsgate to Rochester in small stages to give them time to respond to each stage creatively. The artists have paused their journey outside Faversham due to the pandemic and are hoping to start up again in September. Although they are local to Kent they have found the experience of walking across the landscape has opened their eyes to the Kent countryside which has lead to questions about how the landscape has changed since pilgrimages became popular in medieval times. Even in recent times, vineyards have started to appear across a county known for it's apple orchards and fields of hops. This has ignited the artists imagination and they are interested to know more about the agricultural history of the county. This will feed into the work they create which will be a mixture of art reflecting the landscape as well as the religious element to the journey.

The artists are: Liz Garnett, Alexandra le Rossignol, Bay Lees, Sonia McNally, Fiona Taylor, Marion Lynn and Caroline Hymers. Their website reflects their progress so far, and they are holding exhibitions of their work on weekends through October.

Wings over Britain: the relationship between the RAF and the landscape it flew over, 1939–49

Recorded talk by Gary Willis, given at the RAF Museum as part of its 'RAF in a World Transformed, 1945-1949' conference, on the competition for land between the Air Ministry and the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, and amenity organisations like the Council for the Preservation of Rural England. To view the talk, click here to register (just type your email address; no password is required); the talk starts at 9 minutes 30 seconds.

Talk by Sue Woore on Derbyshire Monastic Granges

This talk will be hosted on Zoom by the Ashbourne Heritage Society on Tuesday 10 November 2020 at 19:30.

Sue has always had an interest in Landscape History. She has often worked in collaboration with Mary Wiltshire and others to research and produce several publications relating to Derbyshire (Medieval Parks of Derbyshire, Duffield Frith, A Catalogue of Local Maps of Derbyshire, c.1528-1800). This talk is based on their book, Monastic Granges of Derbyshire and aims to give a snapshot of the medieval granges established around the county by various religious houses. Many granges were established by out-of-county religious houses [map].

This lecture will be presented by Zoom. Attendees can join the meeting from 7:00 pm and the speaker will start at 7:30 p.m. To register please send an email to


The Online LIBrary of Rural and Agricultural Literature now comprises more than 800 digitized items, classified into over 200 categories. The LIBRAL Gateway enables you to exploit this classification to find literature you didn’t know existed. And once you have entered the library itself, you can use its magnificent full-text search capability.

This month’s eclectic additions includes quite a collection of books on milk and the milk trade. We might add that there are more of these to come. We hope that it encourages research into an important, albeit often overlooked, agricultural industry. 


It also occurred to us that we had published little by William Marshall (1745-1818) on LIBRAL. Marshall is often seen as Arthur Young’s great rival. Historians have disagreed over the merits of the two men’s writing, but with Young in the ascendant at the Board of Agriculture, Marshall made only a small contribution to the General Views: the only one he wrote was on the Central Highlands, researched whilst he was working for the Earl of Breadalbane at Taymouth in Perthshire. Just to show that we are both eclectic and impartial, we have scanned Marshall’s Rural Economy of the West of England. We had hoped to add his Rural Economy of Yorkshire this month, but the scanner has taken against one out of Marshall, Yorkshire or the book (perhaps all three), and the Rural Economy of Yorkshire will follow later. 

Amongst other curiosities we have added to LIBRAL this month are a New Zealander’s discussion of English agriculture at the end of the Second World War, an annual prospectus from Thornbers, a firm of supplying laying hens, from 1962-3, and a gorgeous illustrated book on grassland management by the Fison Fertilizer company from 1956. 


Please note, you can download a complete PDF of any item by clicking on the PDF icon PDF Icon in the item's toolbar.

The Agricultural History Review Garage Sale

The retiring editor has a large number of copies of past editions of the Review, some going back into the 1960s. They are, quite literally, in his garage. The car isn’t. (It ought to be emphasised that these are not the Society’s archive run of the Review, but oddments which have accumulated.) Yes, the Review is on the website, but we know that many of you still like paper copies. What’s available:

  • Set A: a complete run from vol 7 (1959) to vol 49 (2001): £125.00 plus carriage
  • Set B: covering vols 18 (1970) to to 44 (1996) with five missing parts (35 pt 1, 37 pt 2, 38 pt 2, 39 pt 1, 42 pt 1), £75.00 plus carriage
  • Lots of odds and ends

If you have a part missing from your run, this is the moment to plug the gap. Or if you would like to extend your run backwards beyond the date at which your joined the Society, then do it now as it is unlikely that the opportunity will arise in the future.

Prices will be £2.50 for a single part, £4.00 for a volume of two parts. Longer runs of five or more volumes (i.e. ten parts) at £3.00 per volume. No sensible offer refused for longer runs! Postage will be at cost, payment by cheque or Paypal. Please send details of what you would like using the contact form, and we will do what we can to meet your needs.

Contact (under Subject choose Garage Sale).

Agricultural History Forum

Apparatus for lifting hay

This image recently started a discussion on our Agricultural History Forum, although we still don’t have a name for it. The forum is the place where anyone can ask questions or start discussions on any subject related to agricultural history and the history of rural economy and society. We’ve noticed that far more people have signed up to receive our newsletters than have signed up for the BAHS forums. Some of you are missing out on some interesting discussions, and the world is missing out on a huge pool of rural history knowledge. We would really appreciate it if more of you could sign up and be ready to join in the discussions! You can register here.


And if you have trouble remembering to look at this web site, sign up for our email newsletter. We send one out about once a month 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.

Work in Progress

Work in Progress is a list of researchers working in the field of agricultural history and the history of rural economy and society – and related disciplines. Researchers listed here have reported contacts being made with them as a result of their entry, making it a valuable resource. This month we have redesigned the facilities for filtering the list. In particular, we used the keywords in your entries to make a drop-down list to choose from. And from the same list we made the word art below.

Word cloud for WIP keywords

If you don’t already have an entry in the list please use the contact form to let us know your research interests, keywords, and period and regions of interest. If you already have an entry, please check that it’s up to date and use the contact form to let us know what changes you want to make.

Support Agricultural and Rural History

It’s easy to join the BAHS and by doing so you will be supporting the work of the Society in promoting rural history.

But please note that due to the closure of university buildings during the COVID-19 outbreak, we are currently unable to access any incoming post.

Alternative Agriculture in Europe (sixteenth-twentieth centuries)

Alternative Agriculture In Europe (Sixteenth-Twentieth Centuries), by Gérard Béaur, is published by Brepols.

The issue of long-term agricultural transformations remains a hot topic in historiography. The texts of this book intend to take this debate seriously into account by putting several models of alternative crops to facts. This book can be purchased at a discounted price of 64 Euro until 31 May. For details use the contact form (select Other for Subject).

Seventeenth-century Lancashire Restored: The Life and Work of Dr Richard Kuerden, Antiquary and Topographer, 1623-1702

Seventeenth-century Lancashire restored: the life and work of Dr Richard Kuerden, antiquary and topographer, 1623-1702, edited by Bill Shannon, is published by the Chetham Society.

Bill Shannon has celebrated the end of his term as Treasurer by publishing this fascinating study of the seventeeth-century Lancashire doctor and antiquarian, Richard Kuerden. The special launch price is £25.00.

Peasant Perspectives on the Medieval Landscape: A study of three communities, by Susan Kilby, is published by Hertfordshire University Press.

This compelling new study forms part of a new wave of scholarship on the medieval rural environment in which the focus moves beyond purely socio-economic concerns to incorporate the lived experience of peasants.
Read more on the publisher’s web site...

The Political Economy of the Common Agricultural Policy 
Coordinated Capitalism or Bureaucratic Monster?

The Political Economy of the Common Agricultural Policy Coordinated Capitalism or Bureaucratic Monster?, by Fernando Collantes, is published by Routledge.

What is the balance of the European Union’s Common Agricultural Policy more than half a century after its birth? Does it illustrate the virtues of the European model of coordinated capitalism, as opposed to US-style liberal capitalism? Or is it an incoherent set of instruments that exert diverse negative impacts and, like Frankenstein’s monster, seems to have escaped the control of its designers?
Read more on the publisher’s web site...