Dr Michael Heaton

Dr Michael HeatonDr Michael Heaton

Honorary Visiting Fellow

Contact Details




My MA in 2011 had satisfactorily answered the question as to whether Parliamentary Enclosure influenced grassing down in Northamptonshire in the negative, I decided to take on the ‘hopeless’ task, for a PhD, of looking at farming in the interwar years in and around the Midlands. But I wanted to do this from real farm case studies and managed to find 35 such studies, one each from ten Record Offices, seven from the Museum of English Rural Life, with the other half in private hands. While farming in the 1920s was well understood in its detail, this was not so for the 1930s for which i was able to fill in the details.


Prior to my MA, I researched the farming history of my home village of Spratton in Northamptonshire and this, my MA and the research for my PhD has given me considerable insight into farming history over almost a 500 year period. This was a perfect background for my current research into the history of the Ishams of Lamport, Northamptonshire. John Isham commenced farming soon after 1560 and subsequent family members built up an estate of over 4,000 acres. The estate became a charitable trust in 1976 and still farms 2,600 acres. The challenge was to chart the rise and fall of the estate acreage in the context of its likely finances and taking account of the ups and downs of farming.

Other research projects which touch on farming history are to be sought.

Recent Publications


  1. Joint author of Spratton – A Village History (2005)
  2. Archival support for a companion volume in 2007
  3. Researcher and author A Farming History of Spratton 1766-1914 (2009)
    (This commenced from my own reconstruction of the Enclosure Award of 1766)

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