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Rural and urban poaching in Victorian England.

Research output: Contribution to Journal/MagazineJournal articlepeer-review

<mark>Journal publication date</mark>1/10/2006
<mark>Journal</mark>Rural History
Issue number2
Number of pages26
Pages (from-to)187-212
Publication StatusPublished
<mark>Original language</mark>English


Poaching is commonly portrayed as the archetypal nineteenth-century ‘rural’ crime, particularly associated with agricultural districts of southern and eastern England. This study argues that this interpretation is misleading. Judicial statistics collected from the mid-nineteenth century suggest that poaching was much more widespread in the North and Midlands than has previously been acknowledged. These industrialising regions largely determined the national trends in poaching in the second half of the century which have usually been considered to be characteristics of rural society in the South. The South shared neither the national peak in prosecutions of the mid-1870s nor the dramatic decline in prosecutions thereafter. It considers a range of possible explanations for these different regional trends. These include a discussion of the potential motivation of so-called ‘steam age poachers’ but also the growing regional specialisation in game preservation during the period and the different opportunities, and obstacles, this presented for poaching.

Bibliographic note

The final, definitive version of this article has been published in the Journal, Rural History, 17 (2), pp 187-212 2006, © 2006 Cambridge University Press. This is a genuinely joint article arising out of shared postgraduate teaching and research interests while Dr Osborne was at Lancaster. Data collection was equally shared and the analysis and format of the article jointly written. Two presentations on the subject were made by the authors to the Agricultural History Conference (2001) and Field Sports conference (2005). RAE_import_type : Journal article RAE_uoa_type : History