Ray Walden revisited – with a contribution from Prof. Brian Short

N.B. PTBarnumthe2nd, Prof. Short would like to hear from you! See address below.


A few days ago, I posted a piece here about the case of Ray Walden, a Hampshire farmer who was killed in a siege and shootout resisting eviction from his farm. One of the commenters, “Jim”, very helpfully provided a link to a paper by Professor Brian Short of Sussex University, about the War Ags and how they operated within existing social and power structures.

Contained within that very interesting paper was a reference to another article by Professor Short, specifically on the Walden case. I emailed the author (who is now retired but continues at Sussex as Professor Emeritus) and he has kindly responded as follows:


Interested that you picked up on this case, which I have been looking at for some time. The article I wrote was published in the Agricultural History Review vol 56 part ii (2008) and can be readily accessed from the British Agricultural History Society website although this would cost $43! So instead, please find attached the version I sent to the journal – all the material is there.

I note from your subscribers that there was doubt about the amount of land Ray was supposed to plough up. My article proves that it was about half of his land. I would love to make contact with the relative of Ray’s – is there any way to do this? Basically, I havn’t been able to discern why Ray didn’t follow War Ag instructions, other than that he was elderly, somewhat bloody-minded, and that the order was almost certainly too harsh. But, of course, he put himself in the wrong by opening fire on the police. There are full comments from the inquest in my article. It wasn’t held in secret. Hope this helps, and I’d be happy for you to put any of this on your website.

best wishes


Brian Short
Emeritus Professor of Historical Geography
Dpt of Geography
Arts C
University of Sussex
Brighton BN1 9SJ
The origial article in the form sent to the Agricultural History Review follows – I am grateful to Professor Short for his prompt courtesy and for saving me (us all) the $43 charge to read it!

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