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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.


It’s so easy to join the BAHS because we are now set up to use PayPal.

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Fill in an online form and pay via PayPal. You will also be able to renew your membership in this way.

New Web Site Features

For the first time in PDF! No fewer than three out-of-print Agricultural History Review Supplements:

Joan Thirsk (ed.), Land, church and people (1970)

Adrian Hall, Fenland worker peasants (1992)

and Susanna Wade Martins and Tom Williamson, Roots of Change (1999).

Cover of Finberg supplement

Also recently started:
List of publications by members of the BAHS. Please add your books to this list!

Recent BAHS publications

Cover of current Agricultural History Review

The latest issue of Agricultural History Review is available online. It includes articles ranging from C13th England to C19th Italy via C18th Sweden.
Rural History Today issue 30 is available online, with articles by Karen Sayer, Juliet Gayton, Elizabeth Griffiths, Gavin Bowie and Peter Dewey.

Cover of current issue of Rural History Today


The Library of Irish and British Rural and Agricultural Literature
As a first step to creating this resource for rural historians, we have 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. This is just the start.

We plan, over the coming months, to scan and digitise many more volumes ourselves, making them available here. The idea is to allow you to search across multiple volumes to find the topics that interest you.
Brittany cow Image of a Brittany cow from Dairy Stock by John Gamgee (1861), one of the many volumes already in LIBRAL

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.

Joan Thirsk Memorial Prize Fund

The British Agricultural History Society is pleased to announce a prize to be awarded annually for the Best Book in British or Irish Rural or Agrarian History in memory of Joan Thirsk. The prize will be awarded for the first time in Spring 2017, for a book published during 2016.

We have set up a fund for the prize and invite you to make donations to it.

Joan Thirsk
Joan Thirsk was the leading agricultural and rural historian of her generation. More...

The BAHS will match all donations made to this prize fund.

Exhibition: ‘Life on the Land’, opening 11 June

A new exhibition based on the original research of its curator, Dr Sarah Holland. It showcases the area’s rich and varied agricultural past and the hidden stories of rural Doncaster from landowners to labourers. Items on display come from the collections of Doncaster Museums, Doncaster Archives and private collections, including rarely seen agricultural artefacts and iconic images that characterise Doncaster’s rural past. Displayed for the first time is a small but important private collection from a local farming family.
To accompany ‘Life on the Land’ Dr Holland will be delivering a free public talk, giving a ‘Behind the Scenes’ perspective of curating the exhibition on Monday 27th June 2016. Book here for the Talk. A workshop about researching life on the land and discovering more about your agricultural ancestors will run on Tuesday 28th June 2016. Contact Dr Holland for more information.
Find out more about the themes of the exhibition and specific objects on display via Dr Holland’s Web site and Twitter feed (@DrSarahHolland #LifeontheLand)

New publication

cover of Rethinking ancient woodland: the archaeology and history of woods in Norfolk

‘A compelling narrative, with the power to change the way you see the world around you’, Mike Pitts, British Archaeology.

Drawing on more than a decade of research, this groundbreaking study questions many common assumptions about ancient woodland.
University of Hertfordshire Press announces the publication of Rethinking ancient woodland: the archaeology and history of woods in Norfolk, by Gerry Barnes and Tom Williamson, the latest volume in the Studies in Regional and Local History series.

‘Essential reading for anyone interested in the history of woodland as well as landscape history in general ... highly recommended and is a “must” for any landscape historian’s bookshelf.’ Suffolk Review.

‘Essential reading for anyone concerned with the recording and understanding of ancient woodland, as well as those interested in the history of the countryside more broadly.’ Chartered Forester.

Our recent Spring Conference

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.

The Ideal Animal conference

Announcing the Ideal Animal: How Images of Animals and Animals Were Created, 1800-2000, a Two-day conference to be held 2-3 June 2016 at Witzenhausen near Kassel, Germany. Admission is free of charge, but please register before the 22nd of May at the conference website.

New publication

Book cover
The Farmer’s World comprises all the articles by Richard Jefferies published in The Live Stock Journal, along with an introduction by
Professor Eric Jones.
‘one cannot but admire not only RJ’s breadth of knowledge drawn from such a small area of countryside, but also his prolific and relentless industry. It is an important book, not only for Jefferies scholarship, but also for understanding agricultural history of the period, in Wiltshire and beyond’ – John Chandler
Order a copy for £12 from here.

David Hey

We are saddened to hear of the death of David Hey, former President of the BAHS, on 14 February at his home in Derbyshire. There will be a session in David's honour at the forthcoming Spring Conference.

See his obituary in The Guardian.
David Hey
£39.00 to BAHS members (normally £60.00), a saving of 35%. Please ask the WebWeaver for the discount code. Offer ends 30 April.


Rural South Asia announce the first edition of their journal, Rural South Asian Studies.PDF file [Cover & Contents]
Cover of Rural South Asian Studies journal

The papers are finalised and once the printed copy is circulated the contents will available online with open access.


A study day, Living off the Land: Agriculture in Wales, c.400–1600 AD, is to be held on 16 July 2016 at Cardiff University.
Conference Poster


Rural History 2017, the 3rd conference of EurHO, will be held in Leuven, Belgium, September 11-14, 2017.


The Wessex Centre for History and Archaeology and Romsey Local History Society announce a day conference on Anglo-Saxons and River Valley Settlement to be held 30 April 2016 in Romsey.

Anglo-Saxon mask