Spike Gibbs and Steve Hindle win Thirsk Prize 2024

Like last year, two books stood out. The first, Spike Gibbs’ Lordship, State Formation and Local Authority in late Medieval and Early Modern England (Cambridge University Press), is a book that the panel agreed will shape the historiography for many years to come. The second, Steve Hindle’s The Social Topography of a Rural Community: Scenes from a Labouring Life (Oxford University Press), is a wonderful, illuminating microhistory of one early modern Warwickshire community.

News

Sheep standing in a field. Photo by Tanner Yould on Unsplash.

Australia bans live sheep exports: A precedent from Agricultural History Review

In May, the federal Australian government announced its intention to ban live sheep exports by 2028. As Alan Renwick reported for The Conversation, Australia’s ban followed UK and New Zealand bans in 2023. The historical precedents are many and varied.

Front covers of volumes uploaded to LIBRAL in June 2024

LIBRAL adds 15 volumes, spanning c.1800-1944

Elections have badly impeded LIBRAL over the past couple of months, but good to say the scanner’s assistant was happily re-elected. Here, before the second election of the year, is the LIBRAL circulation you should have had before the last election containing the usual mixture of the known and unknown.

Joan Thirsk Memorial Prize 2023

This year, for the first time, the Joan Thirsk Memorial Prize was split between two authors: Professor Christopher Dyer and Dr Jane Rowling.

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Events and Calls for Papers

Publications

Agricultural History Review 72.1

Volume 72.1 contains articles by Nicola Verdon, David Arnold, Janne Mäkiranta, Zenyep Akçakaya, Peter J. Atkins, Pablo Delgado and Adrián Espinosa-Gracia, Per Lundin, Martin Karl Skoglund, Tiia Sahrakorpi, Alan Swinbank, and Elly Robson, Eugene Costello, and John Morgan.

Rural History Today, Issue 46 (January 2024)

Issue 46 carries articles on the diaries of Violet Dickinson; oral history and environmental land management; rural resistance to land dispossession in the Western Isles; and county magazines.

Peasant house built with crucks (large timbers extending from the ground to the apex of the roof) at Wick near Pershore, Worcestershire. A number of houses of this type in the midlands have been dated to the period 1380-1510. They were normally built by artisans (especially carpenters) employed by peasants. Image: Stephen Price

Rural History Today, Issue 45 (July 2023)

This issue features an article by Christopher Dyer on medieval peasants’ contributions to the countryside; Elizabeth Pimblett on women’s roles in the story of cider; Tony Pratt on the British cattle census of 1866; and Paul Warde on land valuation and surveying in mid-nineteenth-century Ireland.

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Spotlight

The Real Agricultural Revolution: The Transformation of English Farming, 1939-1985

Paperbacks of the 2022 Thirsk Prize winner ‘The Real Agricultural Revolution: The Transformation of English Farming, 1939-1985’, by Paul Brassley, Michael Winter, Matt Lobley, and David Harvey, are available now from Boydell & Brewer.

Mountains and fog in Scotland

Land prices in Scottish uplands: A perspective from Agricultural History Review

On 20 April, Farmers Weekly’s Michael Priestley wrote that land prices in Scottish uplands are so far above average agricultural values that “forestry interests continue to outcompete livestock producers for land”. It’s happened before—in the late 18th and mid-19th centuries.

Peasant house built with crucks (large timbers extending from the ground to the apex of the roof) at Wick near Pershore, Worcestershire. A number of houses of this type in the midlands have been dated to the period 1380-1510. They were normally built by artisans (especially carpenters) employed by peasants. Image: Stephen Price

How peasants made the rural landscape

Peasants were not rich or powerful, but they had a capacity, often when operating together in a community, to make decisions and change the world around them. The peasant contribution to the medieval countryside has emerged gradually in the thinking of historians and archaeologists.

New on LIBRAL in February 2024

Aiton, William, General View of … Ayr [A] (1811)
Aiton, William, General View of … Ayr [B] (1811)
Anon., Rinderpest in Aberdeenshire: the outbreak of 1865 and how it was stamped out (1882)
Hazard, Willis P., How to Select Cows; or the Guenon System, Simplified, Explained and Practically Applied (1889)
Hurst and Son, Trade Catalogue of Agricultural Seeds, offered by Hurst and Son (1901)
Long, James, The Small Farm and its Management (1901)
Lundy, John J., Rinderpest: its Prevention and Cure; and Gypsum (or sulphate of lime, its advantages as a manure, deodoriser and sanitary agent (1865)
MAF, The Farm Tractor (1940)
Marsh, John B., with illustrations by E.T.D. Stevens and J. Rochefort, Hops and Hopping (1892)
One who has Whistled at the Plough, A Letter to the Farmers of England (1843)
Pitt, William, General View of … Stafford (1808)
Rea, E., Tractor Ploughing in War Time (1941)
Robinson, John, On the Present Position of the Agricultural Labourer (1864)
Roland, Arthur, ed. William H. Ablett, The Management of Grassland: Laying Down Grass; Artificial Grasses, etc (1887)
Stanhope, Philip Henry, 4th Earl, A Letter to the Owners and Occupiers of Sheep Farms from Earl Stanhope (1828)
Stratton, Rev. J. Y., Hops and Hop-pickers (1883)
Strickland, H. E., General View of … the East Riding of Yorkshire (1812)
Tallerman, D., Markets and Marketing: a Sequel to Farm Produce Realization (1899)
Western, Charles, 1st Baron Western, Lord Western’s Letter to the President and Members of the Chelmsford Agricultural Society, on the State of the Country (1835)
Whitmore, W. W,, A Letter on the Present State and Future Prospects of Agriculture, addressed to the Agriculturists of the County of Salop (1823)