Rural History

Wood and Crop Theft in Rural Herefordshire, 1800–60

a1 University College, Worcester, Henwick Grove, Worcester, WR2 6AJ, UK


Lacking the glamour of poaching or the undertones of protest associated with incendiarism or animal maiming, the more petty rural crimes have been largely ignored. This paper examines the motivation, nature and criminal administration of two under-researched crimes, wood and crop theft. It will be suggested that while the theft of wood and crops was almost wholly the crime of the rural poor, it may have been committed within a wider realm of social protest.