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This guide was last updated in 2009

One of the most fruitful online sources of information on agricultural labourers is academic articles – either posted in full or as downloadable PDFs. Here are five of the best you can read for free, but be warned – they can be rather hard going!

The Village Labourer
The full text of celebrated work The Village Labourer, by J L and Barbara Hammond, originally published in 1911.

Farm Servant vs Agricultural Labourer
Farm Servant vs Agricultural Labourer, 1870-1914, by Richard Anthony, examines the socio-economic structure of rural society.

Agricultural Labourers
Article on agricultural labourers taken from an 1874 edition of The Cornhill Magazine.

Ceredigion Museum
Article about agricultural labour in Ceredigion, Wales.

A more accessible overview of agricultural change in England from 1500 to 1850, by Professor Mark Overton, can be found here.

Those who wish to take their research to the next level should visit the website of the British Agricultural History Society, founded in 1952 to promote the study of the history of agriculture and of rural economy and society.

The Family and Community Historical Research Society (FACHRS) recently conducted a project aiming to determine the true extent of the Swing Riots, a spate of agricultural uprisings that occurred in parts of England between early 1830 and spring 1832. Find out more about the project here. You may also wish to buy a £10 copy of the Swing Unmasked CD-Rom, which includes the names of 3,521 people documented as taking part in the protests.

Forums are a great place to share information and ask questions. has a lively forum on agricultural labourers. Based in rural Britain, but not strictly speaking agricultural labourers, millers, millwrights and their kind are well-served by The Mills Archive. The site has records and history relating to traditional mills and milling and contains thousands of digital images, documents and other databases.


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