Richard Hoyle

Richard Hoyle is one of the country's leading experts in the field or rural history (he holds the only chair of rural history in Britain). He is editor of Agricultural History Review and founding President of the European History Society, EURHO. Much of his work has concentrated on the early modern economic and rural history and especially the history of landholding and tenure, but he has also written on the rural history of later periods including the twentieth century. He maintains a interest in the field sports of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries and in other non-agricultural uses of the countryside. He is also well-known for his work in sixteenth-century political history: having done his bit for the history of events, he now concentrates on the structures of popular politics and political communication through petitions, much, of which, of course concerns economic issues. A great deal of his research has concerned the operation of rural society at the local level, and he retains a research interest in the history of the landscape and countryside of northern England, especially Yorkshire. He is interesting in hearing from potential postgraduates interested in working in any of these areas. Professor Hoyle is also the managing editor of the Completing the Calendar of Patent Rolls, Elizabeth project, which is now drawing to a conclusion as the final volumes appear. He would insist that the Patent Rolls are one of the key sources for early modern English economic historians


Tenancy and landholding in the early modern period - at the moment Richard Hoyle is drawing to a conclusion a big book on customary tenure in sixteenth- and early seventeenth-century England, Tenure in Tawney's Century, for OUP. He will then return to his long expected Oxford Economic and Social History of early modern Britain and Ireland (which will also contain a few sideways glances towards the Atlantic World).

Power and economic institutions in rural society - he continues to work on the development of local economic and economic institutions in the early modern period, including forms of voluntary incorporation and the development of local institutions sanctioned by the state.

Long term trends in landholding and land markets - forthcoming work includes estimates of the size of the England land market, 1540-1800, work on late eighteenth-century landholding seen through the Land Tax of 1798 (In collaboration with John Broad and Leigh Shaw-Taylor of the Cambridge Group), for which he recently published details of an innovative approach drawing on the record linkage of the 1798 returns held at the National Archives and the Land Tax Certificates, also at the National Archives (see; and he is collating the available government evidence for landholding in Britain and Ireland from the mid-nineteenth to the late twentieth century.

Outputs to date

Recent outputs include:

[with H. R. French], The character of English Rural Society: Earls Colne, 1550-1750 (xxvi+ 301 pp., Manchester UP, 2007).

B. J. P. van Bavel and R. W. Hoyle (eds), Rural economy and society in north-western Europe, 500-2000, IV, Social relations, property and power (2010).

(ed.), Custom, improvement and landscape in early modern Britain (Ashgate, 2011).

'Famine as agricultural catastrophe: the crisis of 1622-3 in east Lancashire', Economic History Rev. 63 (2010), pp. 974-1002.

'Securing access to England's uplands: or how the 1945 revolution petered out', forthcoming in R. Santos, and R. Congost (eds.) Contexts of property: The social embeddedness of property rights to land in Europe, Turnhout, Brepols (2011), pp. 187-209

'Introduction: custom, improvement and anti-improvement' and 'Cromwell v Taverner: landlords, copyholders and the struggle to control memory in mid sixteenth-century Norfolk', both in Hoyle (ed.), Custom, improvement and the landscape in early modern Britain (2011) (pp. 1-38 and 39-63 respectively).

'The Masters of Requests and the small change of Jacobean patronage', English Historical Rev. 126 (2011), pp. 544-81

'Farmer, nonconformist minister and diarist: The world of Peter Walkden of Thornley in Lancashire, 1733-34', Northern Hist. 49 (2011) pp. 271-94

'Who owned Earls Colne at the end of the eighteenth century? Or, how to squeeze more value out of the Land Tax', The Local Historian 41 (2011), pp. 267-77.

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