Manuscripts and Special Collections
   
   
  

Wealth and Status

detail from document 7

Lists of tenants and householders in Laxton were drawn up at regular intervals for the purposes of tax or rent calculations. They provide researchers with the names of people living in Laxton, and also an indication of their relative wealth and status.

One form of tax which people had to pay was the tithe. Tithe was a legal charge upon the land. The church (or a lay person who had acquired a right to the tithes, known as an 'impropriator') had a right to one-tenth of the yearly produce of the land. The exact details varied from place to place. Tithes were widely paid in cash rather than in kind, and where the landlord was the lay impropriator he simply added the value of the tithes to the rent. The 2nd Duke of Kingston and his successors were the impropriators in Laxton in the 18th and 19th centuries.

Two types of tithes were payable: the 'rectorial' or 'great tithes' were paid out of the main crops, while the 'vicarial' or 'small tithes' were levied on livestock and sundry produce. All tithes in Laxton and Laxton Moorhouse were replaced by rent charges in 1839, under the provisions of the Tithe Commutation Act 1836. Examples of tithes in Laxton are given in Document 5, Document 6 and Document 7.

Relative size of landholdings is most clearly illustrated in the Manvers estate records (although they only list land in the village owned by the Pierrepont family). Document 8 lists Earl Manvers' tenants and their landholdings in Laxton in 1862.

Most taxation records relating to Laxton can be found in The National Archives, at Nottinghamshire Archives, or in published form. However, a copy of a window tax return dated 1771 has survived in the Manvers Collection (Document 9).

Document 10, a petition dated 1727, is not a comprehensive list of inhabitants of Laxton, but it does help to give an idea of how many people could read and write.

Many people in Laxton were poverty-stricken, or were landless labourers who moved around from village to village finding work. It is hard to track these people using tax records. Poor people, from 1601 to the Poor Law Amendment Act of 1834, could be removed to their legal parish of settlement, which would be responsible for paying them poor relief. Records of settlements and removals, and the records of the Laxton Overseer of the Poor, can be found at Nottinghamshire Archives.

 

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