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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.

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Latest BAHS publications

Cover of current Agricultural History Review

Cover of current issue of Rural History Today
Agricultural History Review volume 65 part 1 is now available online. It contains articles by Jordan Claridge, Hugo La Poutré, Frances Richardson, Elizabeth Ritchie, Marten Seppel, and Dries Claeys, on subjects ranging from horses, and manure, in medieval England, through enclosure in Wales, livestock farming in Canada, and potato blight in Russia to the reconstruction of rural landscapes in the Low Countries after WWI.

Rural History Today issue 32 is also online, and the deadline for copy for the August edition is 30 June.

Day Conference: ‘The Art of Beefing it Up’

A conference is to be held on how paintings and prints of farm livestock functioned during the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, to be held at the Museum of English Rural Life, University of Reading, on Monday 19 June 2017, 9:30 to 16:30. Please register by 12 June as space is limited. The full programme will also be found on the registration page.

Rural History 2017

Register now 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.


Publication announcement

English Landed Society Revisited: The Collected Papers of F.M.L. Thompson
Edward Everett Root Publishers Co. Ltd announce the publication of a two-volume set that brings together the essential and extensive publications by Professor Thompson otherwise scattered in many journals. These pieces form a major supplement to his classic book English Landed Society.
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].

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.’

Recent publications by members of the BAHS

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).
At the same time, Jennifer S. Holt’s previous publication, The Diary of Thomas Fenwick Esq. of Burrow Hall, Lancashire and Nunriding, Northumberland, 1774-1794 is available at a special price of £85 from the List and Index Society.

For four magnificent hardback volumes, this is truly a bargain.
Fenwick Special Offer Leaflet
‘The Fenwick diary provides not only a fascinating introduction to the life of provincial England between 1774 and 1794 but is also an important window onto significant changes in English society in those years’ – Professor Jeremy Black, author of Eighteenth-century Britain.

New IHR seminar series on Food History

Here is the programme for the new IHR seminar series on Food History.

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.