Framed print of a tracing of Mark Pierce's 1635 map of Laxton, Nottinghamshire, 20th century

Scope and Content

The collection consists of one framed item, measuring 72 cm x 100 cm:

Printed copy of a detailed black and white tracing of the 1635 map of Laxton and Laxton Moorhouse; shows each separate piece of land (including strips in the open fields), with their numbers on the corresponding survey; the map is decorated with apparently accurate images of buildings including the church and the village houses, images of animals grazing such as cattle, sheep and horses, and illustrations of people undertaking agricultural activities such as ploughing, broadcast sowing, haymaking and gleaning;

Other parts of the original map have also been traced, including the compass rose, the coat of arms of Sir William Courten, the scale of chains (decorated with an image of measuring compasses and the date '1635'), and the introductory text by Mark Pierce, beginning 'A plat and description of the whole mannor & Lordship of Laxton with Laxton Moorehouse in ye county of Nottingham and also of the mannor & Lordship of Kneesall lying adiacent to ye aforesaid mannor of Laxton...' (n.b. the section of the original map showing Kneesall has not been included in this tracing);

The map and each of the decorative items have been cut out separately and mounted on a large plain sheet of paper; the whole item has then been framed in a wooden frame.

Administrative / Biographical History

Laxton in Nottinghamshire is famous for being the last English village to operate the open field system of farming. The Earls Manvers managed the Manor of Laxton from 1640 until 1952, when Gervas Evelyn Pierrepont, 6th Earl Manvers, sold the Laxton estate to the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries. The estate has been in the hands of the Crown Estate Commissioners since 1981.

The surveyor Mark Pierce was commissioned by Sir William Courten (1572-1634), Lord of the Manor of Laxton, to produce a survey and map of his property. The map was completed in 1635. The original map and survey are owned by the Bodleian Library, University of Oxford, reference: MS. C17:48 (9).

A version of this print was published in C.S. Orwin and C.S. Orwin, 'The Open Fields' (Oxford: The Clarendon Press, 1938), where it was described as a reproduction of a 'faithful tracing' of the original map. It is not known who did the tracing.


No archival arrangement has been necessary.

Access Information

Accessible to all registered readers.

Other Finding Aids

This description is the only finding aid available for the collection. Copyright on the description belongs to the University of Nottingham.

Physical Characteristics and/or Technical Requirements


Conditions Governing Use

Reprographic copies can be supplied for educational and private study purposes only, depending on access status and the condition of the documents.

Identification of copyright holders of unpublished material is often difficult.

Permission to make any published use of any material from the collection must be sought in writing from the Keeper of Manuscripts and Special Collections

Custodial History

The item was acquired by the Department of Manuscripts, The University of Nottingham, in 1977.

Related Material

Original Mark Pierce map at the Bodleian Library, University of Oxford, reference: MS. C17:48 (9)


C.S. Orwin and C.S. Orwin, 'The Open Fields' (Oxford: The Clarendon Press, 1938) A version also appears in 'Laxton: life in an open field village' (Nottingham: University of Nottingham, Manuscripts Department, Archive Teaching Unit No. 4, revised ed., 1974); and in the 'Laxton: life in an open field village' online resource (University of Nottingham, 2008):