Shropshire and the English Midlands provide instructive examples of mobility induced by rapid economic and demographic change, redistributing and dislocating its population in certain key districts. Precocious industrialisation came to Shropshire by the 1770s and performed its dynamic and disruptive functions in classic but localised form. In adjacent Staffordshire there were parallel developments, though the course of industrialisation was more comprehensive and cumulative than in Shropshire. Farmers and the rural community in Shropshire had faced turbulent times as parts of the county experienced the impact of industrial growth and then relative decline. Contemporary perceptions emphasised the common reluctance of rural folk to migrate, and still more to emigrate. Highley was a middling rural parish losing a large proportion of its people, mostly young folk, who migrated short distances; they were predominantly male, and followed the decline of agriculture and its reduced use of labour.