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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.

Recent BAHS publications

Cover of current Agricultural History Review

The latest issue of Agricultural History Review is available online. It includes two articles about agricultural machinery: one in the setting of Shropshire and the other in Scotland; two articles about animal husbandry in what might be thought of as less-then-optimal places: rabbits in the urban area of London and dairy cattle in Southern Rhodesia; complemented by an article about the drainage of Hatfield Chase.
Rural History Today issue 31 is also available online, with articles about hop picking in the 20th and 21st centuries and grain milling in Anglo-Saxon times; a follow-up article about rats; an introduction to Gressenhall Farm and Workhouse Museum, Norfolk and an article about Cusworth Hall.

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.

Winter Conference 2016

Book now for the Society’s Winter Conference, Muck into Gold: Trade in Agricultural Goods, from the fourteenth to the twentieth century, which will take place on 3 December, from 10.30 to 16.30 at the IHR, WC1E 7HU.

New publication

Oxford University Press announces the publication of Agriculture: A Very Short Introduction by Paul Brassley and Richard Soffe.
‘The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area.
These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.’ Good Reads.

Paul Brassley with his book

Paul spoke about Agriculture at the recent Ways With Words festival at Dartington Hall.

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.

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.


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