Manuscripts and Special Collections

Activity 2: Joseph Rose

Enquiry Question

What was the 'world' of Joseph Rose like? 


  • To build up a picture of the world of Joseph Rose and what Laxton was like in the 1860s using the resources outlined below
  • There are opportunities here to explore further the concepts of change and continuity - images are available from 1635, to compare with 1862 and the 21st century
  • n.b. This activity relies heavily on the archive material. Students may find the text difficult to interpret at first, but this is part of the challenge


  • Document 1 - Copy of map of Laxton by Mark Pierce, 1635, in four sections (MS 280) Notes: This is a copy of an original map held at the Bodleian Library, University of Oxford. The original map is accompanied by a terrier or survey, naming all the people who farmed each strip of land. The map clearly shows the houses in the village centre, and the 2280 strips of land in the four open fields. Towards the north of the village centre is the ‘demesne’ estate. This was the Lord of the Manor’s own land, concentrated into a compact holding near the remains of the medieval motte-and-bailey castle.
  • Document 2 - Details from coloured plan of Earl Manvers' estate in 1862 (Ma 5420). Notes: Plots of land (including strips) are colour coded to show the holdings of each of the Earl’s tenants. The strips of land in the open fields are prominent
  • Document 3 - Pages relating to Joseph Rose's house and farm 1862 (Ma S 16), with transcript.
  • Internet resource such as Google Earth, Multimap or other online mapping product, projected onto a whiteboard (if possible). Or, a modern map of Laxton and a magnifying glass


Outline Starter

  • Begin with Google Earth, another online mapping product, or a modern map, showing Laxton today
  • Point out main features and introduce concept of continuity and change; highlight the village layout and the church
  • Show the 1635 Mark Pierce map (Document 1)


  • Focus on the Manvers estate coloured plan of 1862 and the pages from the 1862 relating to Joseph Rose's house and farm (Documents 2 and 3)
  • Paired or small group work to locate Rose family strips and estimate amount of land they held, via map plotting exercise and using the coloured key on the map
  • There is an opportunity here to create graphical representations of land ownership, location of strips, crops grown etc., for several Laxton families
  • Q & A about who owns the best land, who owns the most land etc., and why this may be the case
  • Study the pages from the 1862 survey relating to the Rose family and analyse the information carefully
  • Create a concept map or mind map to translate the information to answer the question: What was the 'world' of Joseph Rose like? For example, the buildings could be sketched from the description, total acreages worked out, different land use etc.


  • Relate back to Laxton today; discuss what has changed and what has remained the same


Next: Activity 3: How Joseph Rose lived


Manuscripts and Special Collections

Kings Meadow Campus
Lenton Lane
Nottingham, NG7 2NR

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