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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.

Latest BAHS publications

Cover of current issue of Rural History Today

Agricultural History Review Volume 67 part 1 is available online.
Rural History Today issue 37 is now available online.

Cover of current Agricultural History Review

Rural Museums Network Regional Seminars

The 1940s Farm at Beamish, The Living Museum of the North

If you are a non-specialist working with, or looking after, rural and agricultural collections in any role, the Rural Museums Network (RMN) has created a practical knowledge-development seminar specifically for you. This national programme, run regionally, is free to attend, and comes with a bursary.

Further details.

Poultry Mania Past and Present

At this one-day event four past and present fellows of the Museum of English Rural Life will explore the revolutionary changes in poultry husbandry from the poultry mania of the mid-nineteenth century to the present day.

The event will be held twice on two successive days, 28 November 2019 at the Museum of English Rural Life and and 29 November 2019 at Harper Adams University Campus.

Programme [PDF] | Programme and Booking [Website].

Rural History 2019

Rural History 2019 is the biennial conference organised by the European Rural History Organisation, of which the BAHS is a member.

This year the conference is hosted in Paris by L’Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales, 10-13 September.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Bursary Announcement

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

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.

Winter Conference 2019

This year the Winter Conference, to be held on Saturday 7 December 2019 at the Institute for Historical Research, Malet Street, London, WC1E 7HU, will be a celebration of the life and work of of Professor Alun Howkins (1947–2018).

Full programme and registration.
Alun Howkins

Spring Conference 2020

The 68th annual British Agricultural History Society Spring Conference, Historical Perspectives on Rural Economies, Societies, Landscapes and Environment, will be held at the Wortley Hall Conference Centre near Sheffield, 6-8 April 2020.
We are interested in receiving proposals for panels or papers on any aspect of the history of agriculture and of the wider rural economy, society, landscapes and environments, particularly in relation to the history of Britain and Ireland, but including comparative European or global contexts. We are keen to encourage papers from doctoral or post-doctoral researchers, for whom travel bursaries may be available for this event. Details [PDF]

Review article wins Food History prize

The Society has heard that Dr Malcolm Thick has won the Sophie Coe Prize for writing on Food History, for his article, The Sale of Produce from Non-Commercial Gardens in Late Medieval and Early Modern England [PDF], which was published last year in Agricultural History Review, Volume 66 part 1.
We send Malcolm (pictured here at his recent 70th birthday lunch) our heartiest congratulations and look forward to seeing the fruits of his current project on William Ellis.

Winner of the Thirsk Prize, 2018

The Society congratulates Dr Paul Warde for winning the Joan Thirsk Memorial Prize for the best book on rural or agricultural literature published in 2018, for his book, The Invention of Sustainability: Nature and Destiny, c.1500–1870 (Cambridge University Press).

Get a 20% discount on this book.

Presenting the prize, the President of the Society, Dr John Broad, said, ‘There were more entries for this year’s Joan Thirsk prize than ever before, the standard was high, and the judges found a great deal of interest in them all. Nevertheless, they were unanimous in awarding the prize to Paul Warde for his lively and well-written book, The Invention of Sustainability, which uses the printed literature of Britain and many other European countries to show how ideas of a sustainable rural economy – forestry as well as agriculture – developed from the early modern period through to the mid-nineteenth century. Its concern is with agricultural writers and with European-wide linkages, and its success is both relevant to contemporary concerns and apt: these are themes that Joan Thirsk discussed and wrote about throughout her life.’


Our online LIBrary of Rural and Agricultural Literature now comprises over 500 digitized items.

The most recent titles are:
  • Addison, Christopher, Report of the National Park Committee (1931)
  • Scottish National Parks Survey Committee, National parks: A Scottish survey (1945)
  • Ministry of Town and Country Planning, National Parks and access to the countryside (1947)
  • Andrews, G. H., Rudimentary Treatise on agricultural engineering, with illustrations, I, Buildings (1852)
  • Buttress, F. A., Agricultural periodicals of the British Isles, and their location (1950)
  • Cobbett, William, Cottage economy (16th edn, 1843)
  • Demainbray, Rev. S., The poor man’s best friend; or, land to cultivate for his own benefit: being the results of twenty years’ experience. In a letter to the Marquess of Salisbury, as given in evidence before the House of Lords’ Committee on the Poor Laws (1831)
  • Board of Agriculture and Fisheries, Guide to smallholders, 1, Pig-keeping (1919)
  • Board of Agriculture and Fisheries, Guide to smallholders, 2, Dairy farming under small holding conditions (1919)
  • Board of Agriculture and Fisheries, Guide to smallholders, 3, Co-operation for small producers (1919)
  • Board of Agriculture and Fisheries, Guide to smallholders, 4, The smallholder’s horse (1919)
  • Board of Agriculture and Fisheries, Guide to smallholders, 5, Farm crops (1919)
  • Board of Agriculture and Fisheries, Guide to smallholders, 6, Soils and manures (1919)
  • Board of Agriculture and Fisheries, Guide to smallholders, 7, Fruit growing on small holdings in England and Wales (1919)
  • Board of Agriculture and Fisheries, Guide to smallholders, 8, The dairy cow and milk selling (1919)
  • Board of Agriculture and Fisheries, Guide to smallholders, 9, Potato growing on small holdings (1919)
  • Board of Agriculture and Fisheries, Guide to smallholders, 10, Market garden crops on small holdings (1919)
  • Board of Agriculture and Fisheries, Guide to smallholders, 11, Poultry keeping for small holders (1919)

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.