Sunday, 8 January 2012

Laxton history

I have been looking at the history of Laxton [Yorkshire] in preparation for giving a talk to the local WI in February. On the internet it is often confused with Laxton in Nottinghamshire where strip farming survives.

Our Laxton is agricultural but the fields are large and arable and very flat. Until the death of the last Philip Saltmarshe of nearby Saltmarshe much of the village was owned by the Saltmarshe estate and still within living memory villagers had to tip their hat to the 'squire'.

The village has a church, a village hall [the Victory Hall], a pub and a garage but no longer has a shop and post office and sadly too there is no longer the village blacksmith.

Herbert Martin was the last smith and I can remember him shoeing a horse in the road. He also made gates, weather vanes and other ornamental ironwork as well as repairing farm machinery.

His blacksmith's shop, outside which there was often a gathering  of men, putting the world to rights, now stands empty.


  1. I remember him really well, he used to come & see my pony. He looked like a blacksmith from a children's book, big & broad with curly hair.
    My pony must have had a bad experience once & was impossible to shoe. Herbert tried to make friends with him by giving him polos, but when he put on his leather apron the pony went on two hind legs. His advice was just to trot him on the roads & he used to knock all his hoofs with a hammer to check he was in no pain & they were sound. I think he said he had shod horses in the armed forces.

  2. Do you happen to know how old the pub is?

  3. Before Herbert it was Laurie Fox who was the blacksmith. I have a memory of him bringing a portable electric welder to our steam boiler at Elm Tree Gardens to make some repairs.