Landlords and tenants
In 1635 Sir William Courten owned about 60 percent of the land in Laxton. There were two other main landowners, Peter Broughton and Augustine Hinde, and also 25 freeholders owning small amounts of land. Most of the population were tenants of Courten, Broughton or Hinde.
Sir William Courten died soon after buying Laxton, and in 1640 it was sold again. The new Lord of the Manor was Robert Pierrepont, 1st Earl of Kingston-upon-Hull (1584-1643), a member of an old Nottinghamshire family based at Holme Pierrepont Hall.
By the early eighteenth century the main residence of the Pierrepont family was Thoresby Hall, a few miles from Laxton. Evelyn Pierrepont (1711-1773) succeeded as 2nd Duke of Kingston-upon-Hull when he was only 15. His trustees made improvements to Laxton while he was under-age, notably by enclosing the meadows, and creating four enclosed farms at the edges of the village from land acquired from some of the small freeholders.
Plan of Westwood Farm in 1929, one of the new enclosed farms at the edge of Laxton, created 1728-1732
From Manvers Collection Ma B 193/1/2
When the 2nd Duke came of age he took little interest in his properties. When his wife Elizabeth Chudleigh, Lady Kingston, died in 1788, the estates passed to his nephew Charles Medows (1737-1816), who assumed the surname Pierrepont. Charles was created Earl Manvers in 1806.
Laxton was a very small part of the extensive Thoresby estate (over 26,000 acres in Nottinghamshire alone in 1873). Agents were employed to manage the land efficiently. The estate was large enough to justify pre-printing heavily-used forms such as labour account sheets and rent receipts.
In the 1860s the 3rd Earl Manvers completed land exchanges with John E. Denison of Ossington Hall and Henry Savile of Rufford. He became the only substantial landowner in Laxton.
Pre-printed Thoresby Estate labour sheet for workmen’s wages at Westwood Farm, 1881
From Manvers Collection Ma B 200/27
Pre-printed receipt showing Earl Manvers’ crest, 1893
From Manvers Collection Ma B 212/20
Engraving of the third Thoresby Hall, built between 1864 and 1871 by Anthony Salvin.
Published by R. White, 1875
From East Midlands Special Collection Not 1.D14 WHI
More: Enclosing Laxton
Laxton: Farming in an Open Field Village home