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Update on Laxton

As part of our Spring Conference in 2019, we visited Laxton Open Field System, with Professor John Beckett of Nottingham University. Professor Beckett has sent us this update.

Laxton open field system

The annual Jury Day was held this year on 28 November, and was followed by a meeting of the Court Leet on 5 December 2019.

At Jury Day the new owner, Hugh Matheson on behalf of the Thoresby estate trust, told the farmers that the long silence since the original deal was agreed with the Crown Estate was a result of the Crown being unable to provide evidence which Hugh thinks is vital for him as future owner. It is all a little tedious I suspect, but not having any drainage maps, or any idea of who is responsible for certain things in the village, has made life difficult all round.

At the Court Leet it was announced that many of the drainage maps had reappeared, some of them misfiled in the papers of the agents, Carter Jonas. Many other details have still to be worked out, but Gregor Matheson, on behalf of the Thoresby estate trust, told the court that Carter Jonas had now answered many of the queries that had been raised with them, and that the trust fully expected to go ahead and sign the transfer papers in the next few weeks.

The Trust then expects to call several meetings, including one for the whole village, and another for the estate tenants. The latter meeting may determine the actual date of the transaction in such a way as to avoid disruption of the annual agricultural cycle or rent days.

I remain optimistic that Laxton is passing into good hands, and that at least in the medium term the future of the village looks secure.

John Beckett
5 December 2019