Laxton, near Newark, may be a small village, but it packs a powerful punch when it comes to history. It is a living history village, as well as being home to a national museum.
Medieval farming today
We’ll talk about the living history first. Laxton is the only remaining ‘open field’ village in England, in fact, in Europe. Open field is a medieval farming system that divides large fields into strips, with the strips worked by village farmers under supervision of, and annual inspection by, the Court Leet and jury. There is a crop rotation system and farmers are required to maintain the boundaries of their strips.
The villagers in Laxton are proud to have maintained this communally regulated system. They have established a visitor centre (pictured), on the grounds of the Dovecote Inn, a traditional pub and B&B. The centre is run by volunteers and gives the history and an explanation of the open field system. Guided walks in the village are available at certain times in the year and can be booked for groups. The centre can be contacted through the Dovecote Inn or more information is available here.
A national treasure
Also in Laxton, is the National Holocaust Centre and Museum, a member of the Arts Council’s National Portfolio. Through the history of the holocaust, this national museum demonstrates how society can break down as a result of prejudice and discrimination. It does it in a positive way that promotes respect for human rights and equal opportunities.
Suitable for children age 8 and upwards, it has an exhibition that is dedicated to teaching younger children about the Holocaust. Called ‘The Journey’, it follows the life of a 10 year old German Jewish boy living in Berlin in 1938. This is one of two permanent exhibitions, the other is the main Holocaust exhibition, and the centre also has digital exhibitions, survivor talks, memorial gardens and artefact collections.
This summer it is undergoing renovation works and there are some restrictions to the main exhibition as a result. All the information is available on the website.
While you are in Laxton, you are close to the wonderful Sherwood Forest, the historic market town of Newark and the vibrant and picturesque town of Southwell. Have a look around our site to find out the many other attractions in our region.