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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.

A. D. M. Phillips

The Society is sad to report the death of A. D. M (Tony) Phillips earlier this month. Tony spent his entire career at the University of Keele, arriving there direct from postgraduate work at UCL in 1968. He retired in 2010. His work on nineteenth-century improvement and investment in agriculture will be well known to many members of the Society including his book The underdraining of farmland in England during the nineteenth century (1989)

Tony was a good servant of the Society and had its interests at heart. He served on the Executive Committee from 1974 and acted as its chairman from 1989 to 1992. He then stepped sideways to be Editor of Agricultural History Review from 1993 to 1998. He will be remembered as excellent company at conferences and a man who conducted business with good grace and humour.

As of 20 November: we have been told that the funeral has been postponed – to be informed when a date has been fixed, please contact

New editor for Rural History Today

Rural History Today, our bi-annual magazine, has a new editor, Dr Rebecca Ford.
Rebecca Ford

The deadline for the next issue is 8 December. Contact the editor.
  Rebecca is an historical / cultural geographer. She is keen to widen the content of Rural History Today and expand its range of contributors, so that it reflects the ‘Today’ in the publication’s title as much as the ‘History’. Rebecca is looking forward to receiving features on scholarly research, historical perspectives on contemporary rural life, interviews, exhibitions, book reviews and conference reports.
The Society is grateful to Susanna Wade Martins for editing the periodical for many years.

Joan Thirsk Memorial Prize, 2018

The Joan Thirsk Memorial Prize is awarded annually for the Best Book in British or Irish Rural or Agrarian History. The prize was awarded for the first time in Spring 2017. Now is the time to submit your entry for next year’s prize. Books with a publication date of 2017 are eligible. The deadline is 8 January. Joan Thirsk

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.
We now have over 300 subscribers on the list!

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.

Latest BAHS publications

Cover of current issue of Rural History Today

Agricultural History Review volume 65 part 1 is available online and in print.

Volume 65 part 2 will be out in January.
Rural History Today issue 33 is available online.

The deadline for copy for the February edition is 8 December.

Cover of current Agricultural History Review


It’s easy to join the BAHS. Just fill in an online form and pay via PayPal. You can also renew your membership in this way. Or you may prefer to use a paper formAdobe PDF icon and send a cheque through the post.

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 LIBrary of Rural and Agricultural Literature

This is an open-access digital resource for rural historians.
Version 1.0 was a first step to creating this resource for rural historians: a catalogue of 18th- and 19th-century literature on agricultural topics that had already been digitised and were available on a variety of Web sites. This was done in 2014. Version 2.0 appeared earlier in 2017 and includes 200 titles all uploaded to a single site with its own search facility. We are now working with TannerRitchie Publishing to use their MEMSOshell platform to provide a better service (faster download times, among many other benefits). This will soon be available as Version 3.0.

Winter Conference 2017

The Politics  of the  Countryside from the fourteenth to the twentieth century

The society's Winter Conference will be held at the Institute for Historical Research, Malet Street, London, WC1E 7HU in Wolfson Room I on Saturday 2 December

Coffee will be served from the slightly earlier time of 10.00, to enable us to present a Round Table as well as the usual four papers.

Read more and register.... Closing date 24 November.

David Hey Memorial – Call for Papers

The British Agricultural History Society, together with the British Association for Local History and the Yorkshire Archaeological and Historical Society is convening a meeting in memory of Professor David Hey and in celebration of his research. This will take place in Sheffield on 23 June 2018.

David was a man of wide interests and made a contribution to the discipline of local history as a whole, but his research was also strongly rooted in the history of Yorkshire and the north Midlands. The conference will feature contributions from a number of historians who knew and were associated with David, but we also invite contributions from historians, especially younger members of the profession, who have been inspired and stimulated by his work and can offer papers on subjects in which David took an interest, and which, should he still be with us, he would enjoy hearing. Papers on the landscape, economy and society of the Pennines, south Yorkshire and Sheffield are particularly welcome.

It is hoped that arrangements can be made for the publication of a memorial volume.

Proposals (including a title and 100-word abstract of the proposed paper) should be sent to Professor Richard Hoyle at by Monday 11 December 2017.

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.

Recent publications

Palgrave Macmillan announces the publication of Working the Land: A History of the Farmworker in England from 1850 to the Present Day, by Nicola Verdon. This book offers a new history of the farmworker in England from 1850 to the present day. It focuses on the paid worker, considering how the experiences of farm work were shaped by gender, age and region.
Use the token in this flierPDF file to get a 20% discount on the price of this book. Valid until 31 December 2017.
University of Hertfordshire Press announces the publication of Trees in England: Management and Disease since 1600 by Tom Williamson, Gerry Barnes and Toby Pillatt.
Cover of Trees In England There is currently much concern about our trees and woodlands. The terrible toll taken by Dutch elm disease has been followed by a string of further epidemics, most worryingly ash chalara – and there are more threats on the horizon. There is also a widely shared belief that our woods have been steadily disappearing over recent decades, either
replanted with alien conifers or destroyed entirely in order to make way for farmland or development. But the present state of our trees needs to be examined critically, and from an historical as much as from a scientific perspective. For English tree populations have long been highly unnatural in character, shaped by economic and social as much as by environmental factors.

Trees in England will be essential reading not only for landscape historians but also for natural scientists, foresters and all those interested in the future of the countryside.
Both of the editors of Agricultural History Review have new publications out this month:
Cover of Famine in European History

To get a discount on the price, use the discount code at the bottom of this flierAdobe PDF icon.
Cambridge University Press announces the publication of Famine in European History, edited by Guido Alfani and Cormac Ó Gráda, which includes a chapter on famine in Britain by Richard Hoyle. ‘A seminal exercise in historical comparison which places Europe’s many own grim encounters with death-dealing famine in a wholly new perspective’ – Bruce M. S. Campbell.
Routledge announces the publication of Elite Women and the Agricultural Landscape, 1700–1830, by Briony McDonagh. A ‘highly original book [which] provides an explicitly feminist historical geography of the eighteenth-century English rural landscape’. Cover of Elite Women and the Agricultural Landscape, 1700–1830

Bursary Announcement

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

Work in Progress

The Work in Progress list, formerly published in Agricultural History Review, is now nearly 90 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 contacts being made with them as a result of their entry here, making it a valuable resource.

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.