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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. The Society regularly updates this web site, with it online Library of Rural and Agricultural Literature (LIBRAL), online discussion Forums, Work in Progress list, and Related Links. In addition we publish a magazine, Rural History Today, as well as a scholarly journal, Agricultural History Review (both of which are available online), 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 and by doing so you will be supporting the work of the Society in promoting rural history.

Sale of books in aid of LIBRAL

Dr Joan Thirsk was the leading agrarian historian of the late twentieth century and her executors have given us a selection of her books to sell in aid of LIBRAL, the Online Library of Rural and Agricultural Literature.

List of books, with prices [PDF].
Joan Thirsk
Through the kindness of Martin Thirsk and Dr Jane Robinson, the Society is able to offer for sale a number of books from the library of Dr Joan Thirsk. The proceeds from the sale will be to support the development of LIBRAL. The books are sold as working copies (except in a very few cases) and their price reflects that. Occasionally they bear annotations by Joan. A few (characteristically) carefully note the misprints on the fly leaf. The books are offered on a first-come, first-served basis. If you are attending the Nottingham conference you can have your books brought there for collection if we hear from you by 6 April: otherwise an invoice will be issued which will include postage and packing. Dispatch will be not before the week beginning 15 April.

The books received from Joan’s children also include a large number of offprints which we will sell at the conference at £1 a piece. If anyone wishes to acquire a particular offprint, then we will reserve if for you if we hear by 6 April. All requests to reserve a book should be sent to If you are not attending the conference, please be careful to include a postal address. All requests will be acknowledged even if the book has already gone.

Forthcoming Conference in Newcastle

New Lives, New Landscapes: Rural Modernism in Twentieth-Century Britain, 1-2 August 2019
The post-1945 decades witnessed technological innovation and expansion. New networks of energy, communication and leisure facilities were established, often by a dirigiste state. These changes are usually associated with urban modernities, but much of the new infrastructure necessitated by these developments was located in rural environments.
How were twentieth-century rural landscapes ‘modern’ or ‘modernist’? What social, economic, political and cultural effect did this new infrastructure have on the ‘rural’? These are timely questions, for such structures are being decommissioned or fast becoming redundant just as a new and highly contentious rural modernity of wind-farms, solar panels and natural gas extraction is rapidly developing. In no small way do current debates mirror past controversies.

By bringing together scholars working on rural landscapes and societies from across the humanities, this conference will take a cross-disciplinary approach to questions directly relevant to current debates about planning, preservation and the environment.

View a draft conference programme and sign up for the conference (early-bird prices until 15 June).

Call for papers

The Scandinavian Economic History Review invites submissions for a special issue on ‘Agriculture and Economic Development’. Full description of the topic, suggested areas for contributions and contact details.

Forthcoming symposium in Spalding

Spalding Gentlemen’s Society is holding a symposium on Saturday 13 April, at Broad St Methodist Church, Spalding, on ‘Understanding Fenland Landscape and Society: Past and Present’.

The aim of the symposium is to increase the academic profile of the society and to introduce the resources available at their museum. As you can see from the Programme, they have an interesting selection of speakers, including Dr John Morgan from the BAHS, and will be covering topics from Roman to Early Modern. Book via Eventbrite | Registration form.

Latest BAHS publications

Cover of current issue of Rural History Today

Agricultural History Review Volume 66 part 2 is now available.
Rural History Today issue 36 is now available.

Cover of current Agricultural History Review

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.

Bursary Announcement

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

Spring Conference

We're sorry: booking is now closed. ‘Historical Perspectives on Rural Economies, Societies, Landscapes and Environment’

Part of the map of the Laxton open field system

The BAHS Spring Conference 2019 will be held at the Jubilee Conference Centre, University of Nottingham, 8 to 10 April.

Full Programme and Map of the Conference Centre.

Call for Papers

The West of England and South Wales Women’s History Network is planning its 26th annual conference at the University of the West of England, Bristol on Saturday 29th June 2019. The theme this year is ‘Histories of Women in Agriculture and Rural Life’, with the keynote lecture by Professor Nicola Verdon, author of Rural Women Workers in 19th-century England. Further information regarding the call for papers.

Recent publications

978-1-912260-12-6 Communities in Contrast Doncaster and its rural hinterland, c.1830-1870, by Sarah Holland, published by University of Hertfordshire Press. This book investigates what a case study of a northern market town and its rural hinterland can tell us about village differentiation, exploring how and why rural communities developed in what was chiefly an industrial region and, notably, how the relationship between town and country influenced rural communities. [More...]
Lumberjills: Britain's forgotten army, by Joanna Foat. On the eve of the Second World War, with only seven months supply of timber stockpiled, Britain was in trouble. Timber was critical to the war effort: it was needed for everything from aircraft and shipbuilding to communications and coal mining. Lacking in both men and timber, the government made a choice. Reluctantly, they opened lumber work for women to apply – and apply they did. Enter the Lumberjills... [More...] 978-0750990905


The online LIBrary of Rural and Agricultural Literature now has over 450 digitized items uploaded to it. The most recent titles are
  • MAFF, A century of agricultural statistics, Great Britain, 1866-1966 (1968)
  • T. B. Wood, Rations for livestock, MAF Bulletin 48 (1923)
  • H.E. Woodman, Rations for livestock, MAF Bulletin 48 (11th edn, 1948)
  • N. M. Comber, Agricultural education in Great Britain (1948)
  • Dept of Agriculture and Fisheries for Scotland, Agriculture in Scotland: Report for 1970
  • Eastern Counties Farmers’ Co-operative Association Ltd, Fifty years’ service to agriculture, 1904-1954
  • Joseph Henry Gilbert, On rainfall: evaporation and percolation (1876, repr. 1896)
  • Joseph Henry Gilbert, Introduction to the study of the scientific principles of agriculture (The Inaugural Lecture at the University Museum, Oxford, 1884)
  • Thomas Stone, General View of Agriculture of the County of Bedford (1794)
  • James Howard, The English land question (National Liberal Federation, 1881)
  • James Howard, The farmers and the Tory Party (National Liberal Federation, 1883)
  • W. Fream, In Memoriam: Sir John Bennet Lawes, Bart, 1814-1900, with a portrait (1900)
  • John Bennet Lawes, An attempt to explain the action of manures (1883)
  • John Bennet Lawes, On the application of different manures to different crops and on their proper distribution on the farm (1861)
  • John Bennet Lawes, Experiments on the question whether the use of condiments increases the assimilation of food by fattening animals or adds to the profits of the feeder (1893)
  • John Bennet Lawes, Fertility (1881)
  • John Bennet Lawes, The sewage of London (1855, repr. 1888)
  • John Bennet Lawes, Compensation for unexhausted manures (1883)
To browse the collection sign up for LIBRAL here. If you already have an account go straight to LIBRAL. Please Contact Webweaver if you have forgotten your log-in details.

We continue to digitize new items and add them to the library, and to work with TannerRitchie Publishing to improve their MEMSOshell platform that hosts it. We welcome your suggestions for titles you’d like us to add and any other improvements you’d like to see.

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.

Work in Progress

If you don't already have an entry in the list do fill in the online form to create one. If you already have an entry, do check that it’s up to date and contact the Web Weaver to amend it. Researchers listed here have reported contacts being made with them as a result of their entry, making it a valuable resource.

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.
Read more... Adobe PDF icon.

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.