WWI Project

1900 - 1920

Laxton History Group received £31,400 from the Heritage Lottery Fund to support our project “A Snapshot in Time, Laxton in Peace and at War (1900 -1920)”. Professor John Beckett, Nottingham University described it as “An extraordinary opportunity to find out more about this unique English village and to recreate the lives of the villagers at the turn of the century until after the First World War”.

During those years not only was the nation gripped by World War I but Laxton itself underwent a major re-organisation of its strip farming system. The project has uncovered the impact on village life of the great changes wrought by the war and by the politics of the day. It was a fantastic opportunity for members of Laxton History Group and the people of Laxton to come together and document part of the history of this unique village.

Laxton remains remarkable as England’s last open field farming village managed by a Court and Jury, a survival of a farming system which has long passed away across most of Northern Europe and it gets visitors from all over the world.

The History Group, all volunteers from the local community, produced four booklets about the village, which were published in in June 2016. They also worked with local teachers to produce educational materials for use in schools and by the general public. In January 2017 three further booklets were published to complete a set of seven from this project.

Our volunteers - around 50 in total -  took part in all aspects of the research and the presentation of the materials. The combination of skills and deep knowledge brought by those born in Laxton and others who have come into the area provided the basis for a tremendous information gathering process. Everyone was encouraged to make the most of training opportunities provided by the project, such as researching from original documents, computer use, preparing displays and organising events for people of all ages. Members now look back on their participation in the project and are amazed at what they have discovered, what they have found themselves enjoying doing and the impression their work has made.

We feel we have amply fulfilled the hopes expressed at the outset by, Roger Cottee, Project Leader 'To work together to help to preserve Laxton’s unique heritage and to make it more widely available locally, nationally and internationally and to enjoy ourselves in the process'.


The Group is offering presentations for community groups. This takes the form of a dramatised reading of some of the material discovered and can be customised to particular interests. A talk on the project and how it was possible to exceed the original targets for the deliverables is also available on request. Please contact us for details.

Contact info@laxtonhistorygroup.org.uk