Rural Moral Reform in Nineteenth-Century England

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This book examines a campaign of moral reform conducted by Church of England clergymen against hiring fairs and farm service in the East Riding region of Yorkshire during the mid-Victorian years. In analyzing the nature and impact of the campaign, and placing it within its economic and religious context, this study makes a significant contribution to the history of nineteenth-century rural society. This book contains 3 black and white photographs.


“Dr. Moses’ book is to be strongly recommended both to the academic and that mysterious person the ‘intelligent general reader’. It opens up the world of the farm servant at work and above all at play. It gives a vivid and even colorful account of some small part of the ‘world we have lost’, but most of all it helps put the farm servant centrally into the history of the nineteenth century rural working class.” - Alun Howkins, Professor of Social History, School of Humanities, University of Sussex

“Dr. Moses’ present book is a testimony to a career of studious and honest academic development by a historian whose publications are well-selected and thoughtful, and which command respect in the profession.” - Professor Jeffrey Hill, Director, International Centre for Sport, History and Culture

“This is a work clearly worthy of publication both for its detailed scholarship and the new, specialist knowledge that his research has generated and for its contribution to wider debates about the nature of British society in the nineteenth century. As such it will appeal to social historians as well as to specialist agricultural historians.” - Professor David Taylor, School of Music, Humanties and Media, University of Huddersfield

Table of Contents

List of Tables
Foreword by Professor Alun Howkins
1 Introduction
2 East Riding Farm Servants c. 1840-1880
3 Bargaining at Hiring Fairs c. 1850-1880
4 Hiring Fairs and Popular Recreation
5 The Church Critique of Hiring Fairs and Farm Service
6 Reforming Hiring Fairs and Farm Service c. 1850-1880
7 Conclusion

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