Rutland is Peppered with Picturesque Villages
These days, retreating to a quintessentially English village for a relaxing weekend break can be a welcome diversion from the stress of everyday life.
So if an authentic countryside experience, complete with picturesque country cottages, country pub and village green is what’s required, Rutland cannot fail to impress. There are over 50 pretty villages to explore in Rutland, all of which are well kept, charming and unspoilt; perfect for your holiday destination, as many villages have luxury accommodation available.
If you enjoy walking in the UK then you will want to fully appreciate the beautiful scenery in Rutland by enjoying a leisurely walk, before stopping off at the local inn for some home cooked food and real ales. Meet the friendly, welcoming locals and discover a relaxed pace of life. You can download a leaflet for village walks starting from Exton - Braunston - Empingham - Ryhall and Langham here.
Rutland has a wealth of villages with an interesting history; here are just a few examples;
Stoke Dry; A small village of around 14 houses nestled in the hillside overlooking the Eyebrook Reservoir, however it is said to be the village where the Gunpowder Plot conspirators met in the small room above the porch of the church. The church itself dates from the late tenth century, but has been enlarged and modified since!
Ashwell; This village is thought, by some, to have taken its name from the Ash lined stream near the village. It is situated just 2 miles from Oakham and it boasts one of the few remaining 'Request Railway Crossings', where travellers have to manually press a button to request the opening of the crossing gates to walk over the railway.
Bisbrooke; A small village straddling an ironstone ridge between two brooks and it is from one of these streams that Bisbrooke takes its name. One explanation is that an early settler named Bitel lived next to the brook but it is also possible that the village's name is attributed to the fact that the stream was infested with water beetles, as betel is an old English word for beetle.
Gunthorpe; William the Conqueror made reference to Gunthorpe in the Doomsday book. The population grew to several hundred before being devastated by the plague in the 14th Century. Today Gunthorpe remains as one of Rutland's tiniest inhabited Hamlets and it's oldest surviving building was built circa 1840.
Hambleton; Meaning 'the settlement' (tun) 'on the crooked hill' (Hamble). The village is situated on the Hambleton Peninsula with Rutland Water surrounding it on three sides.
Market Overton; The settlement at Market Overton probable dates back to Roman times as many Roman artefacts have been found in the village and the earthworks to the north and east of the church are thought to be Roman in origin. The Village was important in Saxon times too; an early pagan cemetery to the south-east produced many fine grave goods, and the church tower dates to the 10th century.There are references to a market here from early 12th century - hence the name - and the village green probably marks the location of the medieval market place. Today it is home to the village stocks and whipping post.
Normanton; All that remains of Normanton, after the creation of Rutland Water, are a few farms, a hotel and cottages. The remains of the church can be seen at the edge of Rutland Water. Dramatic changes have occurred in this small area of Rutland - imagine a landscape without water; let your eyes follow the shallow valley below the church, where a small stream, the Gwash, once followed an insignificant course on its way to join the Welland at Stamford.
Whitwell; Named after the spring which flows from beneath the church, which is called 'the white spring', or 'the white well'.Whitwell claims to be twinned with Paris, France. In the 1970's, regulars from the local pub wrote to the Mayor of Paris proposing this twinning with a tight deadline for a response. As no answer arrived from the Mayor's office by this set date, the village unliterary declared itself to be twinned and erected road signs to that effect.
Edith Weston; In 1030 Edward the Confessor bequeathed Rutland to his wife Edith. Rutland form the extereme western area of Edith's lands, hence the name of the village.
Langham; Meaning long village or long water meadow, Langham owes its origins to the Anglo Saxons, although Stone Age, Bronze Age, Iron Age and Roman remains have been found within the parish. The Domesday Book records Oakham as having five hamlets of which, it is likely, Langham was one. Being largely Royal property, Langham was given by successive kings to various favoured families. It was granted to Thomas Cromwell by King Henry VIII and the Cromwell family owned Langham until 1600 when it was sold to Sir Andrew Noel. The Manor of Langham remained in the Noel family until 1925 when the sale of the Gainsborough estates took place. For more information view the Langham Village Leaflet.
Greetham; The main landmark is the broach spire of the medieval village church, which is perhaps the finest of its kind in England. Greetham, meaning ‘village on stone’ is a long village that stands on both sides of North Brook, a stream that meanders through the village. Its older buildings are constructed from fine locally quarried limestone with Collyweston stone or thatched roofs. Archaeological finds demonstrate that the village has been occupied through the Neolithic, Bronze and Iron ages, and a pottery kiln from the Roman period has been found. In 1290 King Edward 1st stayed with the Earl of Warwick at the Manor House (long since demolished) which had its own enclosed deer hunting park. View the Greetham village website here.