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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. 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.

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

Calls for Papers

Celebrating our Woodland Heritage: an international and interdisciplinary conference to be held at the University of Bradford 16-18 November 2018 is inviting papers (deadline 1 August). Registration for this conference is also open.

Historical Perspectives on Rural Economies, Societies, Landscapes and Environment

For our next BAHS Spring Conference, which will be held at the University of Nottingham, 8 to 10 April 2019, we are inviting proposals for panels or papers (deadline 30 November).

Power in Agricultural History

A Call for Papers for the US Agricultural History Society Annual Meeting in Washington, DC on June 6-8, 2019 can be found on our Announcements Forum.

Rural History 2019 – Call for Panels

Rural History 2019, the fourth biennial conference of the European Rural History Organisation (EURHO), will be held in Paris from Tuesday 10 to Friday 13 September 2019. The call for panels is now open, with a deadline of 15 October 2018.

Latest BAHS publications

Cover of current issue of Rural History Today

Rural History Today issue 34 is available online. Note that the deadline for copy for the next issue is 20 June.
Agricultural History Review Volume 66 part 1 is now available online. The printed copies will be mailed out soon.

Cover of current Agricultural History Review
Volume 62 is now ‘open access’ on this web site.

Work in Progress Spring Cleaning

If you created a Work in Progress entry before the beginning of this year, you should have received a personalised version of this letter [PDF]. Please read it, review your entry and let us know via the form that you have reviewed it.

If you don't already have an entry in the list do fill in the online form to create one. Researchers listed here have reported contacts being made with them as a result of their entry, making it a valuable resource.

Subscription renewals

Please note that, effective from 11 May 2018, new rates will apply to individual subscriptions to the Society. It is many years (the last increase was in 2009) since the BAHS last put up its individual subscription rates, and since then print, postage and publication costs have risen to the point where the subscription no longer covers our basic operating expenses. At the same time, the Society has increased the size of Agricultural History Review, continued to publish Rural History Today, and expanded the range of its activities, including, most recently, the email newsletter, online forums and LIBRAL.

The Executive Committee has therefore reluctantly taken the decision, endorsed by the 2018 AGM, to increase the individual UK subscription rate from £20 to £30. The concessionary rate rises from £5 to £15. We have also made other changes. There will now be a single subscription rate for overseas members, of £42, reflecting the difference in postage between the UK and all overseas countries. We have also introduced a joint subscription for the same price as an individual subscription, for two or more persons at the same address receiving a single copy of each publication.

If you pay by PayPal, you should have received a personalised version of this letter. You need not take any action until advised by the Society.

If you pay by standing order on 1 February, please amend your standing order, as described on the membership page.


The LIBrary of Rural and Agricultural Literature: enthusiastic testers wanted!

Version 3.0 now has over 300 digitized items uploaded to it, including 72 volumes of Farmer's Magazine and 45 issues of Dairy World. We have been working with TannerRitchie Publishing to use their MEMSOshell platform to host our online library. We need feedback on the content and the user experience, to help us improve it and ensure that it meets your needs. Please sign up here if you are interested in helping us.

Please sign up for LIBRAL 3.0 here.

The LIBRAL 2.0 site will close on or before 10 January 2019, but has been superceded by LIBRAL 3.0.

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.

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.

David Hey Memorial Meeting

The conference, held by the British Agricultural History Society, with the British Association for Local History, the British Records Society and the Yorkshire Archaeological and Historical Society to celebrate the life and work of David Hey, at the impressive Channing Hall, Sheffield, on 23 June 2018 was a great success. Over 70 people enjoyed papers by George Redmonds, Ian Rotherham, Melvyn Jones, Gill Cookson, Henry French, John Chartres, Peter Edwards, Andrew Wareham and Richard Hoyle. John Beckett opened the proceedings with his personal memories of David and of course there was the usual networking.

Recent publications

In Building Anglo-Saxon England, published by Princeton University Press, John Blair presents a radical rethink of the Anglo-Saxon built environment and its inhabitants, drawing on the latest archaeological discoveries.
Through a study of horses, Horses and the Aristocratic Lifestyle in Early Modern England William Cavendish, First Earl of Devonshire (1551–1626) and his Horses, by Peter Edwards, reveals how an important and growing aristocratic estate was managed, where the aristocrat at the centre of it travelled and how he spent his time, and how horses were one of the means by which he asserted his social status. Published by Boydell and Brewer.
Based on a detailed investigation of local sources, Eric Jones's Landed Estates and Rural Inequality in English History from the Mid-Seventeenth Century to the Present (Palgrave Macmillan) shows how both newcomers and existing landowners presided over a relatively impoverished mass of rural inhabitants. Preferences for privacy and fine views led landowners to demolish or remove some whole villages. Alongside extensive landscape remodelling, rights-of-way were often privatised, imposing a cost on the economy.
People have always attached meaning to the landscape that surrounds them. In Storied Ground: Landscape and the shaping of English national identity, published by Cambridge University Press, Paul Readman uncovers why landscape matters so much to the English people, exploring its particular importance in shaping English national identity amid the transformations of modernity.

Thirsk Prize awarded

The Society’s Spring Conference 2018 was held at the Cannington Campus of Bridgwater and Taunton College just outside Bridgwater, 26 to 28 March 2018. The varied programme included papers on Water Management in Britain; the Knight Family and the Reclamation of Exmoor Forest; the Economics of Grain Storage in England; Women’s Work in Early Modern England; and the Green Revolution. There was also a New Researchers session.
The Joan Thirsk Memorial Prize was awarded at the Conference to Dr Briony McDonagh for her book, Elite Women and the Agricultural Landscape, 1700–1830. Presenting the prize, the President of the Society, Dr John Broad said,

‘The excellence of the field for the Thirsk Prize this year was such that all submissions would be worthy winners in a normal year. We found it extremely difficult to rank the books and indeed each of the four was ranked first or equal first by one of the judges. However we were ultimately unanimous in our decision to award the prize to Briony McDonagh for her book Elite Women and the Agricultural Landscape, 1700–1830. She used both national samples and local case studies to illuminate how female landowners could be independent managers of their estates and shapers of the landscape. I am sure that Joan Thirsk would have warmed to both the subject matter and the quality of the argument and writing.’

What’s On

Special Exhibition at the New Forest Centre, Lyndhurst, Hants: Ancient and Remarkable Trees of the New Forest 21 April to 8 July. Discover and appreciate these ancient treasures of the New Forest in this unique exhibition by local photographer David Russell.

The Dales Countryside Museum is holding a special exhibition to celebrate the 50 years since the original publication of Life and Tradition in the Yorkshire Dales by Marie Hartley, which captured the last days of a disappearing way of life. We share the background to the book by iconic Dales authors Marie Hartley and Joan Ingilby – who with their foresight and passion for collecting, founded the Museum in 1979. Original notes, photographs, sketches and artefacts give a glimpse into the everyday lives of Dales people.