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DOCUMENT 1

Ma B 168/168: Document relating to the quarrel over the ownership of Cocking Moor, late 17th century

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This document records a legal case brought about because people from the neighbouring parish of Boughton were cutting and carrying away soil (turf) from Cocking Moor which the parishioners of Laxton claimed was theirs. The document is undated, but it refers to William Pierrepont, who was the Lord of the Manor from c.1660-1678.

The interesting feature of the legal battle is that the Laxton people were using the 1635 survey, and also very many people with long memories of the Laxton boundaries, for their evidence.

DOCUMENT 2

Ma B 183/697/1: Regulations for grazing in Laxton, 1908

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Gait or gate (grazing) rights in the open fields were reserved for those who held land there; small tenants with no strips and tenants of wholly enclosed farms had no 'gaits'. The right to graze on the Commons was reserved for people who had no other land to pasture, and was stinted, i.e. the numbers of livestock were restricted.

These new regulations were drawn up in 1908. Evidently complaints had been made for some time that people possessing no rights were putting stock on the commons, and that the open fields and the stints were not being observed.

DOCUMENT 3

Ma B 184/710: Document relating to the quarrel between Laxton and Moorhouse, 2 November 1680

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In this letter, John Roos explains that at the manorial court held in October 1680 the jury signed an agreement drawn up in private by the bailiff Francis Green, the steward of the manor Mr Scrimshire, and the Moorhouse landowner Augustine Hynde. The agreement gave away too many common rights to people from Moorhouse:

‘Whereas Mr Hynd of late encroached upon our Common under pretence of right (which he can never prove) they have now by this Agreement not only granted him right of Common in our best Field without limitation (which is a breach of our Stint), but also Common of Raike to all [farmers from] Moorhouse in all our Fields, after our Harvest is got, which was never Claimed, or desired before’.

John Roos blames the bailiff Francis Green, and states that the jury signed the agreement ‘out of fear of Mr Hynd, and for contradicting others in what was done - not knowing what they did’.

DOCUMENT 4

Ma B 201/5: Document relating to the quarrel between Laxton and Moorhouse, 26 March 1681

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In March 1681 a document was drawn up repudiating the agreement mentioned in Document 3, and blaming Mr Scrimshire for forcing it. The Laxton tenants made it clear that they allowed Augustine Hynde and his father before him to graze animals in ‘Rongsicke feilde’, not because he had a right to do, but ‘because he was an eminent man and we could not dispute it with him’.

Many of the people who signed this document had signed the original agreement without understanding its contents. It is clear from this document that many of these people were unable to read and write, but marked their names instead of signing them.

DOCUMENT 5

TL 2/1: Laxton manorial court suit roll, 1744-1754

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People eligible to attend the court were those who occupied land or owned common rights in Laxton and Moorhouse. There were also a small number of people who occupied land in Wellow which was part of the manor of Laxton.

The list of these people was called the ‘suit roll’, and it was annotated to show whether they appeared, or whether they ‘essoigned’ (did not appear). It is possible from the suit roll to work out when a landholding passed to another family member, or to another tenant altogether.

This is the earliest surviving suit roll held by the University of Nottingham and shows the complex changes in land tenure, with many crossings-out to indicate new tenants.

DOCUMENT 6

Ma B 168/173: Presentments at the Laxton manorial court, 1751

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This stray presentment paper comes from the Manvers collection. 17th and early-18th century manorial records are held at the British Library, as part of the Egerton papers. The main series of minutes and presentments then continues in the Tallents papers, held at The University of Nottingham, which date from 1753 onwards.

DOCUMENT 7

TL 1/1/1-2: Minutes of proceedings at the Laxton manorial court, 1753; and Presentments at the Laxton manorial court, 1754

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These are earliest pair of Laxton court minutes and presentments held by the University of Nottingham. The court minutes are dated 1753 and show the names of the new foreman, 14 jurymen, constable, pinder and thirdboroughs, and the names of three people doing fealty for their landholdings. The presentment is dated 1754 and is signed by the same jurymen. Space was left for those who could not write their names to make their mark

DOCUMENT 8

TL 1/55/2: Presentments at the Laxton manorial court, 1809

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