Curiosities of Rutland

England’s Smallest County has lots of Quite Interesting facts…

Stephen Fry was a student at Uppingham School (and was expelled!) so in the vein of QI,  we’re going to tell you some quite interesting facts about Rutland.

  • Rutland was mentioned on QI when Stephen told viewers that we were only the smallest county in England when the tide was out on the Isle of Wight. This is not quite accurate, for reasons that get complex, so we’ll just leave it that Rutland is England’s smallest county!
  • Rutland’s area is 151 square miles; North to South is 16.3 miles and East to West is 16.53 miles.
  • Rutland was reinstated as a county in 1997 after being absorbed into Leicestershire in 1974.
  • Rutland Water is the UK’s largest man made lake, with an area of 12.6 square km holding around 27 billion gallons of water. Similar in size to Lake Windermere in the Lake District
  • Rutland residents are known as ‘Raddlemen’.
  • Peers of the realm who pass through Oakham for the first time must give a horseshoe to the Lord of the Manor.  This unique custom started over 500 years ago and still continues today. Over 200 horseshoes are displayed in Oakham Castle (which is actually a Great Hall).  The oldest surviving horseshoe is said to have been given by Edward IV in about 1470.
  • In Rutland, all horseshoes are hung with their tips at the bottom, which some people consider to be upside down and bad luck. There are several reasons given for hanging them this way including, so that the devil cannot make a nest in the bottom of the horseshoe and so that luck falls from the horseshoe and is bestowed on those that walk beneath it.
  • Oakham Castle is the oldest English court building that has remained in continuous use, with trials taking place there as early as 1229.
  • In the 17th Century, Rutland was home to England’s smallest man, Sir Jeffrey Hudson, who was 18 inches tall (45 cms) and was presented to Queen Henrietta Maria in a pie.  Sir Jeffrey lead an exciting and adventurous life that included being feted by the Royal Court, killing a man in a duel, being captured by Barbary pirates & spending 25 years as a slave in North Africa before being rescued and returned to home to England.
  • Rutland has a latin motto: ‘Multum in Parvo’ which means ‘Much in Little’.
  • There is a Duke and Duchess of Rutland who reside in Belvoir Castle in Leicestershire
  • Rutland hosts a World Championship of Nurdling, usually every late May Bank Holiday. Nurdling dates back to the middle ages, competitors throw old pennies on to a drilled hole in a wooden seat. This takes place at The Jackson Stops, in Stretton, and the winner is known as the ‘Best Tosser’ as featured on Channel 5’s ‘Rory & Will – Champions of the World’.
  • Oakham is the finishing point for The Viking Way, a 147 mile footpath which starts near the Humber Bridge in North Lincolnshire.
  • The Grainstore Brewery in Oakham holds the National Leg Wrestling Championships during their Cider & Sausage Festival in the late May Bank Holiday weekend.
  • Rutland was bequeathed to the Anglo-Saxon Queens, this tradition started with Emma, mother of Edward the Confessor, who was granted ‘Roteland’ on her marriage to King Ethelred in AD 1002.

If you know any interesting facts about Rutland, please let us know at [email protected]