The History of Harlaxton

Harlaxton is mentioned in the 1086 Doomesday Book as "Herlavestune". The name derives from the Old English Herelaf+tun, meaning "estate or farm of Herelaf". In 1740 a burial urn was uncovered in the village containing Roman coins. The history of Harlaxton village is tied to that of Harlaxton Manor

The original manor house dated from the 14th century and stood south of the church off Rectory Lane where the original moat can still be seen in gardens there. It is recorded[ as having been used as a hunting lodge by John of Gaunt. It was purchased and occupied by the De Ligne family around 1475 eventually standing empty from 1780 until 1857 when it was pulled down. By this time the present Harlaxton Manor had been built some distance to the East of the village.

The life of the village was tied to that of the Lords of the Manor and the Estate, with many villagers employed by, and their houses and cottages tied to, the estate. This remained the case until 1937 when the estate was broken up Most of the older houses in the village were built by the De Ligne and Gregory families.

Harlaxton church is dedicated to St Mary and St Peter and is a Grade I listed building. It is of ironstone and limestone ashlar in Perpendicular style, with parts dating from the 12th century. The church has an early 14th-century buttressed tower and a font dating from around 1400. The south porch was re-built in 1856. John Oldrid Scott restored the interior in 1890-91. There is an alabaster memorial monument from c.1400, and further monuments to the De Ligne and Gregory families of the manor of Harlaxton.

After 1857 many of the buildings utilised building materials from the demolished manor house. Between 1758 and 1822 George De Ligne was responsible for the building and repair of much of the village including the rows of cottages on The Drift near the Nottingham to Grantham canal; his initials can be seen on the cottages. Originally wattle and daub, they were refinished by De Ligne in red brick as are many of the buildings in the village, with added embellishments of stonework. Thirty-six buildings in the village are Grade II listed. There are unusual architectural features in the older buildings including distinctive chimneys, rounded pillars and overstated porches and verandas. There are statues in gardens, listed gazebos, a duck pond, and substantial dry stone walls. Near the village store is a pillar on a double base known as the obelisk which could be the remains of a market cross. Piped water was not introduced until the 1940s and some of the wells previously used survive. One of the gateways to the original manor house still stands on Rectory Lane.


You can also obtain more information by contacting the Harlaxton History Society or viewing their website at