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William Ellis
William Ellis

William Ellis

Eighteenth-century farmer, journalist and entrepreneur



192 Pages, 6.25 x 9.25

Formats: Trade Paper, EPUB, PDF

Trade Paper, $33.95 (US $33.95) (CA $45.95)

Publication Date: July 2022

ISBN 9781912260492

Rights: WOR X UK & EUR

University Hertfordshire Press (Jul 2022)
Hertfordshire Publications


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William Ellis, who lived and farmed at Little Gaddesden in Hertfordshire in the first half of the eighteenth century (d. 1759), is an important figure in English agricultural history. In his time the most prolific writer on agriculture in England, his many works were read not only at home but also in the American colonies and continental Europe. Ellis was essentially an agricultural journalist, then a relatively new occupation. He wrote about his own life as well as those of the ordinary people of Little Gaddesden and further afield—he travelled extensively throughout the southern half of England. Most of his copy was derived from conversations he had had with farmers, their wives, and other rural folk, the sheer immediacy of his books outshining those of his rivals. Piecing together the scant facts about Ellis's early life, Malcolm Thick has uncovered new information on his time before he commenced farming, and unravelled some of the complexities of his two marriages. The book's central focus is on Ellis's agricultural writings, which provide a fascinating picture of rural life in the period and shed light on the evolution of English farming.

Author Biography

Malcolm Thick is a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society and a winner of the Sophie Coe prize for food history writing. He has published books and papers on early modern gardening, food, and agriculture, including a critically acclaimed biography of the early scientist Sir Hugh Plat and a history of market gardening around London. He also wrote the introduction to a new edition of Ellis's Country Housewife's Family Companion.