A study of the village of Laxton in Nottinghamshire, which operates a medieval style system of open fields administered by a village Court Leet.





Film type:

Colour / Sound




University Of Hull (Audio Visual Centre)

Master format:



The Laxton area is introduced with aerial shots of farm land and the village itself. We also see a mound that marks the remains of a Norman castle and views of Laxton church including effigies of the Everingham family who were early local landowners. The film uses a commentary as well as maps and diagrams to explain the village cultivation system and the changes that have taken place over the centuries to farming life. Ridge and furrow cultivation is demonstrated with shots of a farmer using a horse drawn plough. The administration of the open field system at Laxton is described in voice-over by the village bailiff Edmund Rose. We see Rose on his farm and then see villagers marking land boundaries with wooden stakes and a meeting at the Dovecote Inn to discuss fines for land infringements. This is followed by a Court Leet meeting where future policy is discussed and a new foreman sworn in. Another local custom is shown in the annual auction of common grass and we see modern methods of cutting grain using a combine harvester. Finally there are views of the village and a commentary about changes which include the abandonment of the crop rotation fallow field in the 1960s.


Commentary written by John Saville: Professor of Economic and Social History