Students from The Dukeries College near Newark will be working with Stuart Rose of Bottom Farm in Laxton to research Nottinghamshire farming heritage. Stuart is a farmer, as his father was before him but he is also a very knowledgable local historian with a wealth of information to share with the young people.
The village of Laxton is situated in the north of Nottighamshire and the farmers in the village are tenants of the Crown Estates. Laxton differs from other rural communities in that it still has in place an agricultural system that dates from medieval times. It has three Open Fileds that contain strips with a 3 field crop rotation. Each strip ranges in size from 1-7 acres, each farmer averaging 130 acres of land.The Open Fields come under the jurisdiction of the Court Leet and Jury, a legally constituted manorial court that ensures that the three year crop rotation continues and also oversees the maintainence of the strip boundaries.
The farms in Laxton are clustered around the heart of the village with fields surrounding them, unlike the more common model of a farm house set amongst the fields. The older houses and barns typically stand end on to the road and, being an arable farming area, each farm would have had its own threshing barn.
Lilac Farm is home to the Laxton Heritage Museum, which is owned by Reg Rose, Stuart’s father. The museum will host the young particpants who will be able to see an impressive collection of both agricultural and domestic artefacts gathered from around the local area.Other places of interest in Laxton that will support the young people’s research are Laxton Castle and the Laxton Visitor Centre that has on display a replica of an ancient village map, the original being in the Bodleian Library in Oxford.