Eakring, like Laxton, was once an 'open field' village. It was only in the Second World War when the last remaining strips in these fields finally disappeared from view.
At the same time a new addition to the village scene was the arrival of 'nodding donkeys', when oil was discovered under the village just before the outbreak of the war. Extraction of the oil at this crucial time was speeded up with the arrival of Oklahoma oilmen, whose visit was kept a closely guarded secret. Oil production ceased in the parish in 1996, but a small oilfield museum remains in Duke's Wood, now a wildlife reserve and a site of earlier intensive oil extraction.
Just to the west of the village, along a farmer's track and the Robin Hood Way, Mompesson's Cross at Pulpit Ash may be found. This marks the spot where, in the early 1670s, William Mompesson, the newly-arrived rector, preached in the open air to his flock. He had come from the earlier plague-stricken village of Eyam in the Peak District, where he had witnessed a decimation of the population that included the loss of his wife. Credited with having prevented the spread of the infection to neighbouring villages and tending to his afflicted congregation, he has ever since been considered the ‘Hero of the Plague’. During the epidemic he abandoned the church and preached in an open area in an attempt to avoid the spread of infection. The traditional explanation for his similar action on his arrival in Eakring is that his new parishioners feared that he still carried the plague and refused to allow him access to the church.
Duke’s Wood Oil Museum and Walk Tel: 01623 882446 or 01623 883332
Mompesson Cross (situated on the Robin Hood Way)