Rural Community History from Trade Directories

Dennis R. Mills, Rural Community History from Trade Directories (Hatfield, 2001). £2 including postage and packing

Trade directories provide two main kinds of information: parish descriptions, and lists of residents and tradespeople. Most village entries are to be found in county directories, especially those published at intervals of a few years between about 1840 and 1940. Many of these can be found in central libraries and archive offices, with smaller collections in major branch libraries. Rural Community History from Trade Directories is aimed at beginners without formal training in the field, but will also prove useful to students wishing to base a project on relatively easily available source materials. Universities, colleges and schools will find it useful at various levels, as will local and family historians seeking to explore the history of their particular communities.


Introduction: community history, trade directories, topics on which trade directories are useful.

Traditional trades and crafts: crafts, trades, how were the enterprises run?, rural industries.

The rural populations: trends, large villages and small, local population trends.

Choosing communities: general thoughts, the Billinghay, Lincs. group of townships, township acreages.

Dual occupations: description, analysis, evidence from the census.

Village self-sufficiency in decline: Thornborough, Bucks., the experience of one village, the general view, some intermediate case studies.

Village interdependence: assumptions, a Buckinghamshire example, a Leicestershire example.

Town and country: village dependence on towns, the Sleaford Gazette Almanack: a market town and its villages, carriers.

Using county lists: the list described using a Dorset example, ploughmakers in the East Midlands, county lists of private residents.

Parish descriptions, glossary and epilogue: the Imperial Gazetteers, a Leicestershire example, open and closed villages, geographical and administrative information, landownership and land use, religion, other descriptive material.

Bibliography and further reading

Subject index

To order this book, please contact the Editor of Local Population Studies, Dr Andrew Hinde, 8 Anstey Mill Lane, Alton, Hampshire GU34 2QP ( OR