Professor Richard Hoyle, BA (Birm.), DPhil (Oxon), FAcSS, FRHist.Soc

Professor of Local and Regional History: Director and General Editor, Victoria County History

Richard Hoyle took up his present post in October 2014 having previously been Director of the Rural History Centre and Professor of Rural History in the University of Reading. Prior to that he was the first and so-far only Professor of History at the University of Central Lancashire.

He was a British Academy Research Reader in 2004-6 and a Visiting Fellow at the Folger Library, Washington DC, in January-March 2014 where he worked on Robin Hood.

Amongst other contributions to the profession, Professor Hoyle has been for many years editor of Agricultural History Review. He is also President of the List and Index Society. As a rural historian, he is also the founding and current president of the European Rural History Organisation, EURHO.

Amongst other projects, he has acted as director of the Completing the Patent Rolls Elizabeth project funded by the AHRC.

Research and publications

Professor Hoyle is well known as a historian of the early modern Britain, especially its economic history and the political history of rural society: he has also made contributions to the history of rural England from the sixteenth to the twentieth centuries. His next book will be a study of tenure in the sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries.

He is interested in recruiting research students either in early modern history or in aspects of the long term history of agricultural, rural and landscape change in England post-1500.


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

The Pilgrimage of Grace and the politics of the 1530s (xiv + 487 pp, OUP, 2001, pb, 2003).

Edited Books

The farmer in England, 1650-1980 (Ashgate, 2013).

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

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

(ed.) Our hunting fathers: field sports in England since 1850 (xvi + 320 pp., Carnegie P., 2007)

(ed.), Landscape, people and alternative agriculture: essays celebrating Joan Thirsk at Eighty (Agricultural History Rev., Supp. III, 2004), xvi +148 pp.

(edited with John Broad) Bernwood, the life and afterlife of a forest (University of Central Lancashire, Harris Papers, 2, 1997)


Recent articles include:

‘Introduction: Recovering the Farmer’ and ‘Why was there no crisis in England in the 1690s?’, both in Hoyle (ed.), The Farmer in England (2013).

‘The enclosure of Preston Moor and the creation of Moor Park in Preston’, Northern Hist., 49 (2012), pp. 281-302.

‘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.

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

‘Farmer, nonconformist minister and diarist: The world of Peter Walkden of Thornley in Lancashire, 1733-34’, Northern Hist. 48 (2011) pp. 271-94.

‘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).

‘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.

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

‘Rural economies under stress: “a world so altered”’, in N. Jones and S. Doran (eds), The Elizabethan World (2010), pp. 439-57.