Rural Population Changes Since 1851: Three Sample Studies

  • June A. Sheppard


The broad pattern of population change in the rural parts of England during the past century is well known, thanks to several recent studies.1 The details have been less fully analysed,2 and we rarely know the exact process by which change has been brought about in individual parishes and why trends should vary from parish to parish. For instance, how close is the relationship between the decline in population numbers and the decreased labour requirements on the land? Do variations in type of farming help to explain the differences in extent of decline? Is there any significant relationship between the size of villages and population loss? And within individual parishes, has the loss of population been principally from the villages or from the scattered dwellings? Answers to such questions can only be obtained by detailed studies of small areas and the purpose of this study is to elucidate the population trends of three parishes in the East Riding of Yorkshire.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    Especially S. W. E. Vince, ‘Reflections on the structure and distribution of rural population in England and Wales, 1921–31’, Institute of British Geographers Transactions and Papers (1952), and John Saville, Rural depopulation in England and Wales 1851–1951 (London, 1957). See also the previous chapter.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    The principal contributions are: H. E. Bracey, ‘A note on rural depopulation and social provision’, Sociological Review, vi, no. 1 (1958) 67–74;CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. G. D. Mitchell, ‘Depopulation and rural social structure’, Sociological Review, xlii, (old series) (1950) 69–85.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 3.
  5. 4.
    Female occupations are not included in this study principally because their significance was not appreciated when the work was started.Google Scholar
  6. 5.
    The term applied to men engaged by the year and living as members of the farmer’s household.Google Scholar
  7. 6.
    The relatively small decrease in Wheldrake may be attributed partly to afforestation in the northern part of the parish and to an increase in the number of forestry workers, who have been included with the agricultural labourers.Google Scholar
  8. 7.
    The growth of Humbleton village is fairly recent. In 1954 the Holderness Rural District Council pulled down five old cottages and erected twelve houses in their place, in order to meet the needs of local farmers for more dwellings for agricultural labourers. (Since this time there have been heavy general losses of farm labour — ed.)Google Scholar
  9. 8.
    Wheldrake and Kilham each have several buses a day, to York and Driffield respectively. Humbleton has only one bus a day, but buses from Aldbrough to Hull pass along the boundary of the parish, about a mile from the village.Google Scholar
  10. 9.
    W. M. Williams, The Country Craftsman (London, 1958).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Macmillan Publishers Limited 1973

Authors and Affiliations

  • June A. Sheppard

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations