A History of the County of Rutland: Volume 2. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1935.
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Until 1894 the parish of Oakham consisted of three townships: Oakham Lordshold, comprising 2,010 acres; Oakham Deanshold with Barleythorpe, containing some 1,235 acres; and Gunthorpe, covering 500 acres. In 1894, under the Local Government Act, Deanshold and Lordshold with Gunthorpe were united to form the civil parish of Oakham, and Barleythorpe was made a separate civil parish. The present parish of Oakham has an area of 2,250 acres. It lies in the fertile vale of Catmose, the hills on the west side rising to over 600 ft. above Ordnance datum. Here are the sources of three small brooks which, flowing through the parish from west to east, join the main stream of the Gwash below Hambleton. The land is mostly pasture, rather less than a quarter being arable.
The market town of Oakham lies at the head of the Vale of Catmose, midway between the market towns of Melton and Stamford, and forms the natural centre for a small group of villages. The town grew up under the castle, to the south of which the Market Place and High Street seem to mark the limits of the original settlement. The older houses are of local marlstone with Ketton dressings and Collyweston slates, but there was a good deal of building in brick in the late 18th and early part of the 19th century. The houses then erected, a considerable number of which remain, are generally of simple but good design, with stoneslated or tiled roofs. Houses with thatched roofs are not uncommon. One still stands in the High Street, and another, No. 19, Northgate, apparently of early 17th-century date, is a stone-built house with four-centred doorway and two-story mullioned bay windows. In the wall of No. 1, Dean's Street is a panel inscribed 's.c. 1682,' and No. 31, Gaol Street, a rectangular ironstone building, formerly a Quaker meeting-house, now used as a Church Room, bears a panel inscribed 'r.h. 1714.' On another house in the same street is 'm.b. 1809.' At the corner of High Street and Gaol Lane stood the old Gaol and Bridewell, parts of which are still shown. In 1811 the New County Gaol was built on a site in Station Road, but owing to lack of inmates it was closed in 1878. (fn. 1)
The oldest and most interesting example of domestic architecture in the town, however, is a house on the south side of High Street (No. 34) known as Flore's House, which was no doubt the home of the Flore family that occupied an important position in the town in the late middle ages. William Flore was controller of the works of the castle in 1373–1380 and sheriff of Rutland. (fn. 2) His son, Roger Flore, was one of the county members in several Parliaments from 1394 to 1414, and was elected Speaker of the House of Commons in the four Parliaments of 1416, 1417, 1419 and 1422. (fn. 3) He added considerably to the family estates in Oakham, (fn. 4) and by his marriage with Katherine daughter of William Dalby became patron of the Hospital of St. John and St. Anne (q.v.). It is with him that local tradition associates Flore's House. His descendants remained as landholders in the town certainly until the death of Richard Flore in 1540, (fn. 5) shortly after which date the Flore property in Oakham was sold. (fn. 6)
The house retains a good 13th-century pointed entrance doorway of two moulded orders on jambshafts with moulded capitals and bases, and label with head-stops, and the middle part of the building, which was occupied by a hall about 33 ft. long by 21 ft. wide, (fn. 7) is perhaps in the main of the same period though altered and subdivided. The house faces east and the entrance is at the end of the screens. In the wall of the screens there remains a projecting lavatory basin, perhaps of 14th-century date, in the centre of which is a female head, with the drain holes on either side; there is a small staple, probably for a towel, at the apex of the arched recess. The building was much altered towards the end of the 15th or early in the 16th century, to which period the projecting end wings apparently belong. On the ground floor of the north wing are two moulded squareheaded windows. The upper floor and end gables are plastered, and the roofs are covered with stone slates and tiles. In 1914, for purposes of street widening, the building was shortened at the north end, and all that part facing the street is modern. In the Melton Road there is a good 18th-century house (No. 40) with a straight symmetrical front of two stories and an attic with dormer windows. In the middle of the ground floor there is a doorway with a semicircular coved canopy, over which is a panel with the initials and date TD 1719. On the first floor are seven windows. The front is stuccoed and has stone dressings and drafted quoins.
Catmose, lying between the Stamford and Uppingham roads, was largely rebuilt and the extensive gardens were laid out by the Rt. Hon. G. J. Noel, for many years M.P. for Rutland. Adjoining is the Riding School of the Rutland Fencibles, a force raised by the Earls of Nottingham and Gainsborough at the beginning of the 19th century. Near by, too, is a handsome 18th-century house known as 'Judges Lodgings,' which masks a much earlier building. In the old castle park are the Lodge (Mrs. McNeile) and the modern Vicarage, while in Station Road is Deanscroft (Mr. J. Baird, late M.F.H.).
The stocks and Butter Cross form a picturesque group in the Market Place. The cross is an octagonal structure with high-pitched stone-slated roof supported by a massive central stone pier and by eight upright timber posts on stone bases. (fn. 8) It is of late 16th or early 17th-century date, and about 36 ft. in diameter. (fn. 9) The octagonal central shaft stands on three steps and is surmounted, above the roof, by a four- sided sundial and vane. The steps form the seat for the stocks, which are still in position and have five holes. The position of the old market shambles is marked by a tree planted at each corner.
There were formerly four crosses besides the Market Cross. Those which stood at the junction of Church Street and High Street and of Finkle Street and Northgate Street evidently marked a boundary. Those which stood at the bottom of Mill Street and the west end of Northgate Street, where the North Gate was situated, may have marked the borough boundary. (fn. 10) At the junction of South Street and Catmose Street was Gibbet Gate. The gallows was at Mount Pleasant and the pillory stood opposite the Crown Hotel at the south end of the Market Place. (fn. 11)
The market of Oakham is mentioned in 1249, when it belonged to Isabel Mortimer, whose predecessors presumably held it by prescriptive right. (fn. 12) In 1252 Henry III granted to Richard, Earl of Cornwall, two weekly markets on Monday and Saturday, (fn. 13) but in 1347 there was apparently only a Saturday market. (fn. 14) In 1792 the market was still held on Saturday, (fn. 15) but at the present day there is a weekly market for corn and cattle on Monday. A fair at the feast of the Decollation of St. John the Baptist was held by Walchelin de Ferrers, the lord of Oakham, in the reign of Henry II. (fn. 16) In 1252 Henry III also granted to his brother the right to hold the two fairs annually, for three days at the feast of the Decollation of St. John the Baptist and three days at the feast of the Invention of the Holy Cross. (fn. 17) In 1347 there was only a one-day fair on the feast of the Decollation of St. John the Baptist. (fn. 18) It seems to have been the custom at this time to farm the markets and fairs, (fn. 19) but in 1385 Richard II, the manor being in his hands, appointed a chief bailiff of the markets and fairs, (fn. 20) and in 1521 (fn. 21) the markets and fairs were in the hands of the lord of the manor.
The port-moot which is mentioned in 1373, (fn. 22) and was still held in 1521, (fn. 23) appears to have been the precursor of a court of pie-powder (fn. 24) by which it was replaced in the grant of three fairs made in 1600 by Queen Elizabeth to Sir John Harington. (fn. 25) These fairs were to be held for two days at the feast of St. Mark the Evangelist, at the Decollation of St. John the Baptist, and on the Tuesday and Wednesday in the first week of Lent. The three old fairs are still held on 15 March, 6 May, and 9 September. A pleasure fair is also held in May, and there are cattle fairs held on a Monday in each month except January. Tithes of the fair at the feast of the Decollation of St. John the Baptist were granted to the priory of Brooke by Walchelin de Ferrers, (fn. 26) temp. Henry II, and were paid in the 14th century, (fn. 27) but no tithes appear to have been paid in 1521. (fn. 28)
No record of a pre-Reformation school at Oakham has been found, but one of the chantry priests may have acted as a schoolmaster. The Dean and Chapter of Westminster paid salaries to schoolmasters from 1563 to 1588, and in 1577 the Warden of the Hospital of St. John and St. Anne also had a school but had no bishop's licence. (fn. 29) In 1584 the sites occupied by the chapels of St. Mary and St. Michael were used by Robert Johnson for his school-house of Oakham School. (fn. 30) The old school-house, which was restored in 1903, is an oblong building of coursed rubble, lying east and west, with ashlar groins and dressings, stone-slated eaved roof, and coped gable at each end. It is lighted by three large square-headed transomed windows of three lights on each side, those on the south side having hood-moulds. The entrance is at the west end of the south wall, along which runs an inscription in bold letters: 'schola latina græca hebraica ao 1584.' Above, between two of the windows, is 'refecta ao 1723.' There is also a date stone '1584' in the west wall. The scheme of internal decoration already alluded to (fn. 31) was completed in 1911. The present school-house was erected in 1858, from designs by Sir Sidney Smirke, on the site of the Hospital of Christ, which had for many years served as the old school-house. The dormitories were enlarged in 1866 and the Old Vicarage, used as a sanatorium, was shortly afterwards acquired. Bank House was built in 1884, a school-house for junior boys was added in 1910, and a second boarding house in 1928. At the same time a large science block, six new class-rooms, a library and music-rooms were added, completing the provision for 250 boys. A school chapel, designed by Mr. G. E. S. Streatfeild, who is also responsible for the other additions, was erected in 1924–5 in memory of old boys and masters who fell in the Great War. This fine monument, costing £17,000 apart from the carvings on the west front by Mr. F. W. Sargant, was provided entirely by subscriptions. The architect, while retaining the Gothic style in keeping with the church, has succeeded in producing a building of great dignity and one admirably adapted for school worship. (fn. 32)
Among 15th-century place-names are Newgate, in which William Flore had a house, a messuage called 'le Bulle' in Estbarregate, Fengate and Haynes Lane, Westbarregate (14th cent.). (fn. 33)
Gunthorpe, a detached part of the parish to the south-east, was attached to Oakham township in 1316. (fn. 34) There was formerly a village, but in 1684 a shepherd's cottage was the only dwelling. (fn. 35) In 1846 there were 8 inhabitants, but only one house beyond Gunthorpe Lodge. It was then said to be a township in the parish of Egleton. (fn. 36) The district was excepted from the inclosure of the parish of Oakham in 1820. (fn. 37)
The castle (fn. 38) stands east of the parish church, to the north of the Market Place. Its descent followed that of the Barony (q.v.). It was not until the 13th century that it was definitely called a 'castle,' being in reality a large fortified manor-house with an earthen bank around it, protected at first by timber and surrounded on all sides by a broad ditch. The earthworks, which comprise two courts and represent a type between the mount castle and the moated residence, have already been described. (fn. 39) The hall, which stands within the first court, was built by Walchelin de Ferrers at the end of the 12th century. Its architectural details point to a period within the ten years between 1190 and 1200; it may, however, have been begun a little earlier, but it was finished before the death of Ferrers in 1201. It is probable that the wall round the first court, or main enclosure, which has already been referred to, (fn. 40) was raised about the middle of the 13th century by Richard, Earl of Cornwall, after he came into possession in 1252. It is difficult to make out a definite date of what remains of the stonework, as the details are of a very plain kind. (fn. 41) The most interesting feature of the wall is the small round tower, or bastion, which projects from the west curtain, but apart from this there was no serious attempt to provide the wall with flanking defences. The general character of the work, however, appears to be of the 13th century, and it is most likely that Richard was responsible for the fortifying of the place and for its conversion from a manor-house into a castle with a strong wall. In the inquisition which followed the death of Richard in 1272 nothing is said of the state of the buildings. It was, however, kept in good repair throughout the 14th century, (fn. 42) and in 1308 the king ordered that it should be one of the castles specially fortified and guarded. (fn. 43)
The entrance to the first court is now from a passage on the north side of the market-place immediately opposite the great hall, through a pedimented gateway, which is a restoration of that erected by the first Duke of Buckingham early in the 17th century. The position of the hall in relation to the subordinate buildings can only be reconstructed by a comparison with other known buildings of the time. In 1340 the castle is thus described: 'The castle is walled, and within are a hall, four chambers, a chapel, a kitchen, two stables, a grange for hay, a house for a prison, a chamber for the gatekeeper (janitore) and a draw bridge with iron chains.' (fn. 44) The lord's chambers were at the west end of the hall and the kitchen and offices at the east end, but the position of the chapel is not known. Of the date or plan of these buildings it is impossible to speak with certainty, but it is not unlikely that the hall was originally the one permanent stone structure in the castle, the other buildings being of timber. In the course of time these buildings would be superseded by others of a more permanent nature, but these too have perished and only traces of their foundations are left.
The hall of Oakham Castle, often styled the Shire Hall, is well known as a very beautiful and little spoilt example of the domestic architecture of the late 12th century. It has many points of resemblance with the contemporary hall of Auckland Castle (co. Durham), especially as regards the plan, but at Auckland the building was converted into a chapel in the 17th century and many of its original features lost. (fn. 45) At Oakham the changes have been very slight. On plan the hall covers a rectangular space measuring internally about 65 ft. by 42 ft., (fn. 46) divided by north and south arcades into a middle space, or nave, and side aisles. The aisles are 9 ft. wide, and the arcades consist of four semicircular arches springing from cylindrical piers. It had the usual internal arrangements of a great hall, with the dais at the west end and the screens at the east, perhaps occupying the whole of the eastern bay. Three doorways, now blocked, which led to the kitchen and offices, still remain in the east wall. Of these the two main doorways are pointed (fn. 47) and have a continuous roll moulding, but the smaller one at the north end has a semicircular arch. (fn. 48) Above it, slightly more to the north, is a small blocked round-headed opening, which led to one of the adjoining upper chambers. The principal entrance was at the lower end by a doorway in the most easterly bay of the south aisle, but in comparatively recent times this has been moved to the middle of the south wall, where it takes the place of a former window. (fn. 49) The lighting was by windows in the side walls and one in the eastern gable; (fn. 50) there was no clearstory.
The building is of rubble throughout, with ashlar quoins and dressings, (fn. 51) and has stone-slated eaved roofs with coped east and west gables to the nave. There are buttresses of two stages at each end supporting the arcades. The aisles are under separate lean-to roofs, (fn. 52) in which, on each side, a series of three dormer windows has been inserted. (fn. 53) The walls are plastered internally. The west end (fn. 54) is filled with wooden court fittings, and until 1911 the east end was similarly furnished as a civil court, the end walls in each case being panelled. In that year, as a memorial to the Right Hon. G. H. Finch, M.P., whose bust is now placed there, the fittings at the east end were removed and the floor lowered to its original level and flagged. (fn. 55) The building was probably the Moot Hall mentioned in 1375, (fn. 56) which was then and still is used for holding the assizes and later the quarter sessions, and for other public business of the town and county. There are modern additions on the north side (fn. 57) and at the west end.
The arches of the arcades have flat soffits and moulded edges, with a kind of outer order or hood-mould, enriched with dogtooth on both sides. Towards the aisles the hood has large headstops, but on the nave side it terminates above the piers in large carved figures (fn. 58) playing musical instruments. The piers have foliated capitals of great beauty, square abaci, and circular moulded bases with plain spurs on low square plinths. (fn. 59) At the ends the arches spring from corbels (fn. 60) composed of figures of animals resting on brackets supported by pairs of heads, one pair at the east end, opposite the former doorway, representing a king and queen. The foliage of the capitals, with its long stiff stalks and leaves which bend over, has often been compared with that in the quire of Canterbury Cathedral, and is typical of the classical carving which was employed on the Continent (fn. 61) at this period. (fn. 62) The lateral windows, though varied in their details, are of one general form. Externally they are double lancets, (fn. 63) with moulded heads and shafted jambs enriched with dog-tooth; (fn. 64) the openings are square topped, the pointed heads having solid spandrels ornamented with foliage (fn. 65) and simple arcading. Internally the windows are recessed, both lights being under a semicircular moulded rear-arch enriched with dog-tooth, which is continued down the jambs to the floor. (fn. 66) On the north side the two westernmost windows alone remain; of the others, one has been converted into a doorway leading to the jury room and the other blocked. (fn. 67) The doorway, now in the middle of the south wall, has a semicircular arch of two moulded orders and hood, the outer order on banded nook shafts with foliated capitals. (fn. 68) Inserted in the wall on each side of the doorway is a carved stone—on the east a grotesque animal, on the west a much mutilated figure striding a horse. (fn. 69) Another carved stone with mutilated seated figure is near the south-east corner. There is a chamfered string-course along the south wall at sill level, but no plinth.
The present roof is modern, though apparently retaining some 17th-century work. (fn. 70)
In 1521 the castle was in a ruinous condition; only the hall had been kept in some state of repair, as the courts were held there. (fn. 73) In a survey of the lordship of Oakham made in that year there is apparently the earliest mention of the custom by which every peer entering the town does homage to the castle by giving a horseshoe or paying a fine. The models of the horseshoes which were originally attached to the outer door and gates, as shown in Buck's drawing, are now hung inside on the walls of the hall. The horseshoes vary in size; that given by George IV as Prince of Wales is very large and hangs at the west end of the hall. The origin of the custom is lost, but it is remarkable that the fines were received by the clerk of the market. (fn. 74)
The town has never been incorporated, but in the 13th and 14th centuries it was a private borough in the hands of the lords of Oakham barony (q.v.). Burgage tenements are mentioned about 1285 (fn. 75) and still existed in Newgate in 1521. (fn. 76) In 1300 there were 29 burgesses in the town, (fn. 77) and in 1305 Margaret, Countess of Cornwall, was granted leave to take a reasonable tallage from her tenants in the borough. (fn. 78) A successful appeal against this taxation was made in 1344 by the inhabitants of Oakham, Langham and Egleton on the ground that Oakham was not a city, borough, nor ancient demesne, and that except on two occasions they had never been tallaged. (fn. 79) This desire to escape the heavier taxation levied on a borough probably stopped any development of the town towards self-government. Nevertheless by comparison with other towns of a similar character it seems probable that the gilds of St. Mary and St. Michael (q.v.), besides their religious and social functions, exercised certain powers for the general welfare of the community. With the dissolution of the gilds, the vestry took over duties of a like nature, such as the provision and charge of the fire engine, buckets and ladders, which were kept in the church, and looked after the rights regarding grass in certain fields, and other matters not directly connected with the church. (fn. 80) The town is now under the administrative control of the Urban District Council formed in 1911, and remains under the jurisdiction of the county magistrates.
There is a railway station at the west end of the town on the London Midland and Scottish Railway, which was opened in 1848. The now disused Melton Mowbray and Oakham Canal, terminating at Oakham, was completed in 1803.
Among the celebrities connected with the town was the Rev. Abraham Wright (1611–1690), who was presented to the vicarage of Oakham in 1645. He was not inducted, as he refused to take the Covenant. After the Restoration he took possession of the vicarage. He published various books, the best known being a Eulogy of Wentworth. (fn. 81) His son, James Wright, of the Middle Temple, was the author of The History and Antiquities of Rutlandshire (1684) and of other works. Jeremiah Whitaker (1599–1654), a Puritan and oriental scholar, was master of Oakham School, before becoming rector of Stretton, Rutland (1630), and a member of the Westminster Assembly of Divines (1643). (fn. 82) Sir Jeffery Hudson, the well-known dwarf, in the service of Henrietta Maria, was born at Oakham in 1619. (fn. 83) Titus Oates, who devised the story of the Popish plot and has been described as 'one of the vilest characters in history,' was born at Oakham in 1649.
The town is the centre of the cattle trade of the district. There was formerly a boot factory, owned by a Leicester manufacturer, which is now closed. For a long time the town has been an important hunting centre.
Oakham Lordshold was inclosed in 1820 under an Act of Parliament for the inclosure of the parish, Gunthorpe and Flitteris being excluded from its provisions. (fn. 84)
Lordshold or Barony
The barony (fn. 85) of Oakham, usually known as the lordship, castle and manor of Oakham, was formed out of part of the estate in Rutland and Leicestershire which was assigned, according to the 12th-century chronicler Gaimar, to two pre-Conquest queens, Elfthrith, the wife of Edgar, and Emma, the wife first of Ethelred the Unready and then of Cnut. (fn. 86) Edward the Confessor assigned it to his queen Edith, (fn. 87) who held all the manor of Oakham (except a carucate) and its five unnamed berewicks at the time of the Norman Conquest. (fn. 88) Four of the berewicks may doubtless be definitely identified with Langham, Brooke, Egleton, and Gunthorpe; the fifth was perhaps Knossington (co. Leic.). (fn. 89) Edith probably held the manor until her death in 1075, (fn. 90) but, although the Confessor had granted the reversion to the Abbey of Westminster, (fn. 91) William the Conqueror retained the manor in his own hands. (fn. 92) William Rufus gave to the abbey the church of Oakham, which probably included the manor later known as Deanshold and Barleythorpe. (fn. 93) The remainder of Oakham was held by the Crown until the reign of Henry I, when it was formed into a barony, which seems to have been more or less identical with the former soke, excluding the Westminster holding.
The barony or lordship was granted, probably by Henry I, to Henry de Newburgh or Roger his son, who in 1123 succeeded his father as Earl of Warwick. (fn. 94) The overlordship remained with the Earls of Warwick until about the middle of the 12th century, when it was exchanged with the king for Sutton Coldfield (co. Warw.). (fn. 95) After this time it was apparently held of the Crown. Before 1130 Oakham was held by the Ferrers family as sub-tenants of the Earls of Warwick. Henry son of Walchelin de Ferrers (Ferrières), the Domesday commissioner, had a son Robert who in 1138 was created Earl of Derby and died in 1139; (fn. 96) another son William, who died before 1131, (fn. 97) was possibly the first sub-tenant of Oakham, as his sons seem to have successively inherited it. Henry, the eldest of these sons, paid danegeld in Rutland, probably for Oakham, in 1130 and died before 1156–7. (fn. 98) Hugh, another son, gave Brooke in the soke of Oakham to the canons of Kenilworth with the consent of his brother William. Henry was probably dead at the date of the gift, as Hugh obtained confirmation of the grant from his nephew Walchelin, son of Henry, who was apparently under age and in the custody of [Robert] de Newburgh, his overlord, who also assented to the gift. (fn. 99) Walchelin was pardoned a debt to the Crown in 1161. (fn. 100) He was holding Oakham in 1166 and in the same year answered for the barony held by the service due from 1½ knight's fees, (fn. 101) which he was still holding in 1196. (fn. 102) He accompanied Richard I on the Crusades and visited him while in captivity. He died in 1201, leaving two sons, Henry and Hugh, and two daughters, Isabel and Margaret. (fn. 103) Oakham passed to Henry, the elder son, who forfeited his English lands on the loss of Normandy in 1204. (fn. 104) Hugh, to whom his father had given the manors of Lechlade and Longbridge, died in the same year, possibly before his brother's forfeiture, without issue, and these manors passed to Isabel, his eldest sister, the wife of Roger de Mortimer. (fn. 105) Oakham, however, remained in the king's hands until 1207, when it was granted to Isabel and Mortimer for her life with reversion to the Crown. (fn. 106) After the death of Roger de Mortimer in 1215, Isabel married Peter Fitz Herbert. (fn. 107) By her first husband she had a son Hugh de Mortimer of Wigmore, who died without issue in 1227. Isabel continued to hold Oakham until her death in 1252, when, in accordance with the terms of the grant from King John, it reverted to the Crown. (fn. 108)
Henry III in 1252 granted the barony to his brother Richard of Cornwall, King of the Romans, on his marriage with Sanchia of Provence. (fn. 109) He was succeeded by his son Edmund, Earl of Cornwall, (fn. 110) on whose death in 1300 it was assigned in dower to his widow Margaret de Clare. (fn. 111) The barony consisted of Oakham (Lordshold), Langham and Egleton held in demesne; knights' fees in Oakham, Clipsham, Braunston, Pickworth, Belton and Wardley in Rutland, and in Knossington, Thorpe Satchville and Twyford in Leicestershire; and estates held in socage in Gunthorpe and Braunston. (fn. 112) Edward II, after the death of the Countess of Cornwall, granted the barony to his niece Margaret de Clare, daughter of Gilbert Earl of Gloucester and Hertford and widow of Piers Gaveston, Earl of Cornwall, during pleasure. (fn. 113) In 1317 it was regranted to her and her second husband Hugh de Audley and the heirs of their bodies, (fn. 114) but in 1319 the grant was varied and made for their lives only. (fn. 115) As a supporter of the Earl of Lancaster, Audley lost his possessions in 1321, and Oakham was granted during pleasure to Edmund, Earl of Kent, the king's brother. (fn. 116) On the accession of Edward III, Audley was restored and created Earl of Gloucester. The Earl of Kent had to surrender the barony, which was recovered by Audley and his wife, who were to hold it for their lives. (fn. 117) In 1337 the reversion was granted in tail male to William de Bohun, brother of Humphrey Earl of Hereford, on his creation as Earl of Northampton. (fn. 118) He obtained possession on the death of Hugh Earl of Gloucester in 1347, (fn. 119) and died in 1360. (fn. 120) On the death in 1372 of his son Humphrey, who succeeded him, the barony reverted to the Crown under the terms of the grant of 1337, as he left only daughters. (fn. 121) The barony was at first excepted from the dower assigned to his widow Joan, (fn. 122) but by a later arrangement she received £96 13s. 1d. annually, paid apparently only from the manor of Langham. (fn. 123)
In 1380 Thomas Holland, Earl of Kent, half-brother of Richard II, received yearly £100 from the issues of the barony, pending arrangements for his maintenance, (fn. 124) and another annuity of £100 was granted to Sir Richard Stury. (fn. 125) In 1385 the barony was granted to Robert de Vere, Earl of Oxford, for life, (fn. 126) but after his attainder and flight from the country, in 1388, (fn. 127) it was granted in 1390 to the King's cousin Edward, eldest son of Edmund, Duke of York (d. 1402), on his creation as Earl of Rutland, to hold during the lifetime of his father. (fn. 128) The reversion was granted in fee tail in 1390 to the King's uncle Thomas, Duke of Gloucester, on his marriage with Eleanor, one of the daughters of Humphrey de Bohun. (fn. 129) The Duke of Gloucester was arrested for conspiracy against Richard II and was murdered while a prisoner at Calais in 1397. (fn. 130) His nephew Edward, Earl of Rutland, who was implicated in his murder, in the following year obtained a new grant of Oakham in tail male. (fn. 131) Edward himself fell into disfavour in 1399 and forfeited the Dukedom of Aumarle, which he had obtained in 1397; he, however, received a confirmation of Oakham from Henry IV in 1400. (fn. 132) A further confirmation in 1412 gave him a life tenancy only. (fn. 133) He was killed at the battle of Agincourt in 1415.
The Gloucester attainder having been reversed in 1399, the barony had been successfully claimed in 1414 by Sir William Bourchier and his wife Anne, Gloucester's daughter and heir. (fn. 134) Anne was the widow of Edmund, Earl of Stafford, and on her death in 1438 Oakham passed to her son Humphrey Stafford, who was created Duke of Buckingham in 1444. (fn. 135) His grandson and successor Henry, the second Duke, was executed by Richard III in 1483, and the barony was granted to Henry Grey, Lord of Codnor, in 1484. (fn. 136) It was, however, restored to Edward, Duke of Buckingham, on the accession of Henry VII in the following year and was in the king's hands during his minority. (fn. 137) On a somewhat vague claim to the crown he was executed in 1521 and all his possessions were forfeited. (fn. 138) Eleanor, Duchess of Buckingham, continued to hold Oakham as dower until her death in 1530.
No subsequent grants of the barony as a whole were made, although Henry VIII granted Oakham to Thomas Cromwell in 1531 under the old title of the castle, lordship and manor, (fn. 139) yet the grant seems to have referred only to the manor of Oakham with certain judicial rights in the soke and not to the dependent manors and fees of the barony. (fn. 140) In 1538 the manor was settled on Gregory, Thomas Cromwell's eldest son, and his wife Elizabeth, to hold for their lives, with remainder to their son Henry. (fn. 141) In this way it escaped forfeiture at the time of Thomas Cromwell's attainder and execution, and was held by his descendants till 1596, when Edward, 4th Lord Cromwell, sold it to Sir John Harington, afterwards first Lord Harington of Exton. (fn. 142) Lord Harington died in 1613, (fn. 143) and his widow held the manor till her death in 1620, when it passed by settlement to his elder daughter and heir, Lucy, the wife of Edward, Earl of Bedford, (fn. 144) who sold it in 1621 to George Villiers, afterwards Duke of Buckingham. (fn. 145) It then passed to his son, the 2nd Duke, a minor at the time of his father's assassination in 1628. He recovered possession of it before the Restoration and sold it between 1684, when he was described as lord of the manor, and 1687, the date of his death, (fn. 146) to Daniel Finch, 2nd Earl of Nottingham (d. 1730). (fn. 147) Daniel succeeded his cousin as 6th Earl of Winchilsea in 1729, and his descendants the Earls of Winchilsea and Nottingham owned it till the death of George, 9th Earl of Winchilsea, in 1826. (fn. 148) Oakham then passed to George Finch of Burley-on-the-Hill. (fn. 149) He was succeeded by his son the Rt. Hon. G. H. Finch, M.P., whose son Mr. Wilfred Henry Finch is the present lord of the manor.
In 1275 the lord of Oakham claimed to have gallows, pillory and tumbrel in the lordship, as well as the assize of bread and ale. (fn. 150) In 1316 Margaret, Countess of Cornwall, also had infangthief and outfangthief. (fn. 151) Edward, Duke of York, in 1403 obtained a special confirmation of the jura regalia belonging to the barony: which, besides the above, included waifs, strays, ransomes, fines of trespass and concealments, licences for agreement, aids and certain amercements of sheriffs, chattels of felons, fugitives and outlaws and all other forfeitures, returns of all writs and the execution of the same, rents, services, free customs and all other profits and commodities from and in the county from all tenants and residents. (fn. 152)
The view of frankpledge was held for the soke of Oakham by Edmund, Earl of Cornwall, and had pro bably been claimed by his predecessors. (fn. 153) In 1622 the Duke of Buckingham held the view of frankpledge for the soke. (fn. 154) At the present day a court leet for the manor of Oakham Lordshold is held annually.
The court of Oakham appears to have served both as a court of the barony and the ordinary three weeks' court for the manors of Lordshold and Egleton. (fn. 155) The sub-tenants of the barony owed suit of court (fn. 156) at this court. (fn. 157) In 1846 the jurisdiction still extended over the old barony and the inhabitants owed suit at the court held at the Castle and paid 1d., otherwise they were liable to be fined at the pleasure of the clerk of the court. (fn. 158)
In 1252 Henry III granted to Richard, Earl of Cornwall, the right to inclose with a ditch and hedge the wood called FLITTERIS at Oakham, which was within the king's forest of Leighfield (q.v.). He had also the right of putting his beasts into the park at will. (fn. 159) The deer in the park are mentioned in 1300 (fn. 160) and in 1521 it was described as 'within a mile of the town a little park called Flitteris park containing about a mile and a half and having in it 80 fallow deer.' (fn. 161) In 1373 the lodge in the park at Oakham is mentioned. (fn. 162) In 1399 Edward, Duke of York, granted the keepership of the park of Flitteris to Roger Flore for life. (fn. 163)
The LITTLE PARK was in existence in 1275, when Edmund, Earl of Cornwall, was presented for imparking 2 roods of land of the king's highway passing through the Little Park. (fn. 164)
In 1250 Isabel de Mortimer successfully maintained her right not to have the dogs of the manor of Oakham hambled (fn. 165) and in 1275 Peter de Neville, the keeper of the forest of Rutland, was presented for fining the men of Oakham and Langham 10 marks because their dogs were not hambled, which they were not bound by custom to have done. (fn. 166)
A MILL was held (temp. Henry II) by Walchelin de Ferrers, who granted tithes from it to the Priory of Brooke. (fn. 169) Two mills were farmed about 1285. (fn. 170) In 1373 they were in lease, one being a water-mill and the other a wind-mill, (fn. 171) and mills were leased with other tenements in 1521. (fn. 172)
Deanshold was formerly a township in the parish of Oakham, separated from Lordshold (q.v.) at a date subsequent to 1086. With Barleythorpe (q.v.) it owed suit to a different view of frankpledge (fn. 173) and was separated from Lordshold manorially, but its lands and houses lay intermixed both in the town and fields of Oakham. (fn. 174) Deanshold now belongs to the civil parish of Oakham, Barleythorpe having been formed into a separate civil parish in 1894. It was inclosed at the same time as Lordshold in 1820. (fn. 175)
The manor of OAKHAM WITH BARLEYTHORPE (fn. 176) or WESTMINSTER FEE (fn. 177) in Oakham formed part of a larger estate, known from the 13th to the middle of the 16th century as the CHURCH (fn. 178) or RECTORY (fn. 179) OF OAKHAM, acquired by the Abbey of Westminster some time after 1086. (fn. 180) Edward the Confessor is said to have granted the reversion of Rutland after the death of Queen Edith to the abbot and monks, (fn. 181) and there is a charter of 1067 in which William the Conqueror granted them the mother church of Oakham, (fn. 182) but though Queen Edith certainly held the manor, it was in the king's hands in 1086, eleven years after her death. (fn. 183) The church, however, to which 4 bovates of land were attached, was held by Albert, a Lotharingian clerk in the royal service. (fn. 184) The monks of Westminster then obtained two writs from King William, possibly the Conqueror, but more probably Rufus, granting them the churches and tithes of Rutland, to hold as fully as Albert had held them. (fn. 185) The church of Oakham, to which the chapels of the four berewicks of Langham, Egleton, Brooke and Gunthorpe (fn. 186) were probably already attached, was a valuable possession, but it is clear that at some date the abbey obtained a much larger estate with manorial and other rights in Oakham and Barleythorpe. Although claimed as part of the endowment of the church, (fn. 187) the manor was to some extent dependent on the Castle of Oakham (q.v.), since in 1283 Edmund, Earl of Cornwall, confirmed to the abbot all the liberties and freecustoms in Oakham, which he had held in the time of Isabel de Mortimer, and also gave leave for the abbot to build a mill in Oakham. (fn. 188) A rent of 13s. a year, which was paid to the Castle in 1300 (fn. 189) from Barleythorpe, in lieu of certain services, was still paid in 1515. (fn. 190) The confirmation of Pope Alexander III implies that the abbey held the advowson of the church before 1178. (fn. 191) Hugh de Grenoble, the canonised Bishop of Lincoln (1186–1200), granted the abbey a pension of 30 marks a year from the churches of Oakham and Hambleton, (fn. 192) and either Abbot William Postard (1191–1201) or his successor Ralph de Arundel granted 21 marks a year (fn. 193) from the same churches to the infirmarer for the expenses of the infirmary. From this it seems clear that at the end of the 12th century the rector still held the whole estate in Oakham, from which the Abbey only received a pension. James Salvage, who was rector in 1205, agreed to pay a pension of 30 marks from Oakham alone. (fn. 194) He also obtained from King John the privilege of freedom for his tenants in Oakham and its chapelries from suit to the shire and hundred courts, from payment of sheriff's aid and from the royal bailiffs and their officials. (fn. 195) This suggests that he had a considerable number of tenants over whom he had manorial rights. His successor Gilbert Marshall, instituted in 1226 or 1227, (fn. 196) undoubtedly held the manorial estate as well as the rectory in the more technical sense. (fn. 197) According to Flete, the Westminster historian, Abbot Richard de Berkyng (1222–1246) acquired the church of Oakham with the manor of Barleythorpe at his own cost for the use of the abbey and obtained a charter of confirmation from Hugh de Welles, Bishop of Lincoln, and the Dean and Chapter of Lincoln. (fn. 198) The bishop's charter was only obtained after the matter had been brought to the arbitration of the Abbot of Chertsey and a sufficient share of the church property assigned to form a vicarage. (fn. 199) This took place in 1231, and from that date the abbey held the great tithes of the church of Oakham, with its chapelries of Langham, Gunthorpe, Brooke, Egleton and probably of Barleythorpe, the township of Barleythorpe, a house on the west side of the church, and all lands belonging to the church in Oakham, excepting one carucate, together with all homages, rents and other services appurtenant to them. (fn. 200) This estate the abbot assigned to the prior and convent of Westminster for the provision of pitances, reserving to himself procurations for two days. (fn. 201) In the 14th century the abbot received £6 13s. 4d. a year from the church of Oakham for the use of his hospice there, (fn. 202) but Abbot Litlyngton (1362–86) granted this for the upkeep of the plate which he had given for the refectory. (fn. 203) The whole estate was administered by the pitancer or the warden of the church of Oakham, one of the monks, who frequently visited the town and superintended the bailiff or reeve. (fn. 204) In 1330 the warden came to supervise the harvest work, (fn. 205) but by 1341 (fn. 206) commutation of these services had been introduced in most of the tenants' holdings. In 1312 a lease of the estate was granted for 9 years to the rector of Oakham at a rent of £120 a year, (fn. 207) but it does not seem to have become the regular custom until some years later to lease the demesne lands, (fn. 208) and then they seem to have been leased to the various tenants of the manor and not to a farmer. (fn. 209) The granges of the different chapelries, excepting that of Brooke, which was let on lease as early as 1274, (fn. 210) seem to have been in the care of an official called the granger. (fn. 211) He had disappeared by the 16th century and all the granges were let at farm. This led to a more definite separation of the manor and the spiritualities of the rectory before 1515, though both were still administered by the warden. (fn. 212)
After the dissolution of Westminster Abbey the manor of Oakham with Barleythorpe was granted in 1542 to the Dean and Chapter of the newly established cathedral of Westminster and the old habit of calling the whole estate the Church or Rectory of Oakham was discontinued. (fn. 213) After the dissolution of the bishopric by Edward VI the manor remained in the Crown until 1559, when Elizabeth granted it to the Dean and Chapter of the newly instituted collegiate church of Westminster. (fn. 214) During the Commonwealth, the possessions of the abbey being confiscated in 1650, the manor was sold to Anthony Twyne, (fn. 215) who, however, found that much damage had been done by the former lessee William Busby, who had cut down trees on his copyhold to the value of £200. (fn. 216) The Dean and Chapter recovered the manor after the Restoration, (fn. 217) but have recently disposed of all their property in Oakham piecemeal (fn. 218) and have separated it from Barleythorpe (q.v.).
The prior and convent of Westminster held a view of frankpledge at Oakham on their tenants of Oakham and Barleythorpe, (fn. 219) while in the 15th century the tithing of 'Tolcestre' also owed suit to the same court. (fn. 220) Queen Elizabeth granted a court leet with the manor to the Dean and Chapter of Westminster in 1559, (fn. 221) but it is noteworthy that the title of the court was not changed on the court rolls till after 1705. (fn. 222) From 1723, and possibly earlier, the court leet was held once in three years, and it was customary for one or two of the canons to be present. (fn. 223) Dean Vincent was present at the court leet held in August 1803. (fn. 224) The court was held for the prior and monks by the steward of the abbey, who came from Westminster for the purpose. (fn. 225) Under the Dean and Chapter the same procedure was adopted, although a deputy-steward took his place on occasion. (fn. 226)
No mill is mentioned in the earliest accounts of the manor in Oakham, but in 1283 Edmund, Earl of Cornwall, ordered his bailiff to allow the Abbot of Westminster to build a windmill at Oakham. (fn. 227) It is doubtful if it was ever built, as no windmill at Oakham appears in the manorial accounts. A horse-mill is, however, mentioned in 1516. (fn. 228)
BARLEYTHORPE (Torp, xii cent.; Thorpe, Bolarystorp, xiii, xiv cent.), formerly one of the three townships forming the parish of Oakham, was formed into a separate civil parish in 1894, under the Local Government Act of that year. The hamlet lies about one mile to the north-west of Oakham on the Melton Mowbray road. At the present day it consists of the Hall, Manor House Farm, the Riding School and some slate-roofed cottages. It is not mentioned in Domesday Book (1086) and does not seem to have ranked as one of the berewicks attached to the royal manor of Oakham. (fn. 229) It is possibly mentioned in 1179, when William, the priest of 'Torp,' paid half a mark to the Exchequer for his lay fee. (fn. 230) It was inclosed in 1772. (fn. 231)
In the early 13th century the manor was held by the monks of Westminster Abbey (fn. 232) and formed part of their manor of Oakham with Barleythorpe (q.v.). (fn. 233) It is still in the possession of the Dean and Chapter of Westminster, though separated since 1894 from the manor of Oakham.
No chapel of Barleythorpe is mentioned at the ordination of the vicarage of Oakham in 1231, (fn. 234) when tithes were allotted to the abbey of Westminster and the vicarage. In 1515 the rectory of Barleythorpe was leased by the prior and convent for £6 13s. 4d. a year. (fn. 235) In 1535 Barleythorpe was one of the four chapelries attached to Oakham vicarage, (fn. 236) and in the later 16th century was served by the vicar himself, no resident priest being appointed, as at Langham, Egleton and Brooke. (fn. 237) Barleythorpe is now attached ecclesiastically to the vicarage of Langham.
A mill at Barleythorpe existed in 1329. (fn. 238) It was probably the windmill still standing, of which the rent appears in the manorial accounts of the manor till the 17th century. (fn. 239) A malt-mill is mentioned in 1514. Under the Commonwealth both these mills were sold to Anthony Twyne. (fn. 240)
LEIGHFIELD was formed from the central part of the Forest of Rutland or Leighfield at its disafforestation about 1630 or possibly somewhat earlier. (fn. 241) It was inclosed and declared to be extra- parochial. There was no village and it consisted of hilly land, partly woodland and partly cultivated; there were five lodges of the old forest included in Leighfield—namely, Leigh, Coles, Swintley, Lambley and College Lodges. (fn. 242) Stilton cheese was largely made in the district, which is still mainly pasture land. It now forms a civil parish.
The manor of Leighfield or Leigh or Lye was formed from land held in the reign of Henry I by a serjeant of the county called Hasculf. (fn. 243) According to the 13th-century story, as the king was passing through the district on his way to the north, he saw some hinds and ordered one of his servants, named Pichard, to remain behind and guard the hinds for the royal use. When Henry returned the following year, Hasculf was made keeper of the forests of Rutland and Leicester, on the recommendation of Pichard, who had lodged at his house. (fn. 244) It seems clear, therefore, that Hasculf was a man of some position, and already held the messuage and three carucates of land with pasture, which was afterwards called the manor of Leighfield. (fn. 245) He was killed in the reign of Stephen, and was succeeded by his son Peter, (fn. 246) who is probably identical with Peter the Forester who appears in 1166. (fn. 247) Peter married a niece of Ivo de Neville, and his son Hasculf took the name of Neville. (fn. 248) Peter died in the reign of John and Hasculf appears to have held the manor till he entered religion in 1248 or 1249. (fn. 249) His son Peter de Neville succeeded him and attained an unenviable notoriety for his exactions and waste in the forest, which finally led to his outlawry in 1274. (fn. 250) Leighfield manor had, however, previously, in 1273, been given to his son Theobald de Neville, who granted it immediately to his grandmother Christine for her life, retaining half a bovate of land. She died before the end of the year and Theobald continued in seisin of the manor until he was ejected by the justices of the forest on his father's outlawry. (fn. 251) He recovered it in 1275. (fn. 252) In 1313–14 Theobald granted the manor to Reginald de Warle and his wife Alice and the heirs of their bodies, with remainder to Theobald and his heirs. (fn. 253) Possibly this was only a grant of rent and service, since Theobald apparently continued to hold Leighfield in demesne. (fn. 254) In 1357 the rent of 40s. and a pound of cummin yearly from Leighfield, with the homage of the tenants in demesne, was granted by Sir Nicholas Peyver, knt., to John Wade, clerk. (fn. 255) In 1360 Wade granted them to the chantry of the Blessed Virgin Mary, recently founded in Manton church by William Wade. (fn. 256) Leighfield manor was held of the chantry until its dissolution. (fn. 257)
Theobald Neville died in 1316, and his lands were delivered to his daughter and heir Alice and her husband Sir John Hakluyt. (fn. 258) Sir John was dead in 1362 (fn. 259) and his widow married John Wardieu. (fn. 260) They settled Leighfield manor on themselves and the heirs of their bodies, with remainder to Alice's son Sir William Hakluyt, in 1370. (fn. 261) Alice died in 1371, (fn. 262) and though Hakluyt evidently still claimed it up to his death in 1373, (fn. 263) John Wardieu remained in possession probably till his death about 1377. (fn. 264) During Wardieu's absence on the king's service, the custody of the Forest of Leighfield was seized into the king's hands on account of certain forest offences; but as the manor does not figure in the lawsuit, brought by his daughter and heir Elizabeth and her husband Sir Edward Dalingrugge, to recover the custody, it probably escaped seizure. (fn. 265) In 1382 they sold it to Sir William de Burgh, (fn. 266) but on the forfeiture of his lands in 1387 it was granted for life to Edmund, Duke of York, (fn. 267) and in 1391 to his son Edward, Earl of Rutland. (fn. 268) In 1399 Henry IV granted it for life to his esquire, Hugh Norburgh, (fn. 269) but in the next year he was forced to grant £16. 21d. a year from the issues of the county of Leicester, in lieu of the manor and custody of the forest, to Sir William de Burgh, whose lands had been restored. (fn. 270) On his death they passed to de Burgh's daughter Amy, wife of Robert Chesilden, (fn. 271) who died seised of the manor in 1448 and was succeeded by her grandson John Chesilden. (fn. 272) In 1462 the manor had come into the hands of Edward IV, who granted it to Sir William Hastings, his chamberlain, recently raised to the rank of baron. (fn. 273) Quitclaims were made to Hastings in 1464 by Sir John Chesilden of Uppingham and his brother William. (fn. 274) The grant may have been made under political compulsion, since after the execution of Hastings, John Chesilden granted the manor to Henry, Duke of Buckingham, the Earl of Wiltshire and other feoffees. (fn. 275) On the accession of Henry VII, Hastings's young son and heir Edward was restored, (fn. 276) and he and his descend- ants held the manor until Henry Hastings, Earl of Huntingdon, sold it to Sir James Harington in 1582. (fn. 277) His son John, the first Lord Harington of Exton, died abroad in 1613, (fn. 278) and John his only son and successor settled the manor on feoffees to be sold for the payment of his father's debts. (fn. 279) The second Lord Harington survived his father only a few months, and in 1614 his sister and heir Lucy and her husband, the Earl of Bedford, sold the manor to Sir Edward Noel, bart. (fn. 280) The Noels held it until the time of Edward, first Earl of Gainsborough, whose daughter Jane married William, the fifth Earl Digby, and the manor seems to have come into the possession of one of her younger sons, Wriothesley Digby, who was the owner in 1747. (fn. 281) His son of the same name was lord of the manor in 1781. (fn. 282) It appears later to have been bought by George, the ninth Earl of Winchilsea, and afterwards passed to Mr. George Finch, who owned it in 1846. (fn. 283) Mr. Wilfred Finch is the present owner of the manor. A portion of Leighfield remained with the Noels and was sold in 1925 to Mr. James Ward. (fn. 284)
In 1312 Edward II granted a view of frankpledge with sheriff's aid, in Leighfield, to Margaret, Countess of Cornwall. (fn. 285)
In the time of Edward the Confessor, Leuenot held a carucate of land in the manor of Oakham. (fn. 286) In 1086 Fulcher Malsor (Mala Opera) had succeeded him and held it apparently of the king in chief. (fn. 287) Fulcher Malsor was a large landowner in Northamptonshire and gave his name to Milton Malsor, held of the Bardolf fee, and Thorpe Malsor. His descendants held their Northamptonshire property for several generations, but no later connexion with them has been found at Oakham, and presumably their holding reverted to the Crown and was merged in Oakham Lordshold.
The manor of GUNTHORPE may be identified as one of the five unnamed berewicks attached to the manor of Oakham in the Domesday Survey (1086). (fn. 288) It was held in socage tenure as a sub-manor under the lords of Oakham (q.v.), (fn. 289) certainly until the attainder of Edward, Duke of Buckingham, in 1521. (fn. 290)
The early history of the lords of the manor is obscure. Gunthorpe was probably held by Alexander de Boville or Beiville (fn. 291) late in the 12th century, when he claimed the advowson of Gunthorpe chapel against the rector of Oakham. (fn. 292) Possibly he was succeeded by William de Boville, against whom his brother Gilbert brought an unsuccessful action for 2 virgates as his share of their father's land held in socage. (fn. 293) In 1223 the tenant seems to have been Henry de Boville, a grandson of Alexander, who again claimed the advowson of the chapel. (fn. 294) Probably the manor passed to two or more co-heirs, either daughters or granddaughters of Henry, since in 1285–6 Margery and her husband Geoffrey de Fontibus quitclaimed to Sarah and her husband John de Hotot 28s. rent, one-third of a messuage and 2 virgates of land in Gunthorpe, Martinsthorp and Exton. (fn. 295) The Hotots evidently obtained all the manor of Gunthorpe, as in 1300 William de Hotot held 9 virgates of land there of the castle and manor of Oakham at a rent of 34s. and suit of court at Oakham. (fn. 296) He was still in seisin in 1316, (fn. 297) but had apparently been succeeded by another John de Hotot before 1321. (fn. 298) William de Hotot was tenant in 1346, (fn. 299) but from that time the descent of the manor disappears for nearly a century. In 1434 John Sapcote left it by will to feoffees, who were to grant it to his wife Joan for life with remainder to his son John in tail. The will was proved in the spring of 1434. The younger John had two sons living in 1434, (fn. 300) but in 1463 it was in the possession of Eleanor, widow of Sir William Sturmy, and Joan, wife of Richard Carlile, who granted it to Richard Sapcote of March (co. Camb.). (fn. 301) The latter died seised of Gunthorpe in 1498 and was succeeded by his cousin, Sir John Sapcote, son of Sir Richard Sapcote of Elton (co. Hunts) and brother of Sir Thomas Sapcote of Burley. (fn. 302) In 1527 his son, Sir Richard Sapcote of Elton, was lord of the manor, (fn. 303) and on his death in 1543 it passed to his son Robert of Elton, a minor. (fn. 304) Robert held it in 1578. (fn. 305) It passed to Frances, one of his three daughters and co-heirs, who married James Harington of Ridlington (fn. 306) and died in 1599. Her husband was created a baronet in 1611. (fn. 307) Gunthorpe passed to his son Sir Edward Harington, whose lessee of the manor and agent in Rutland was Abel Barker of Lyndon. (fn. 308) Sir Edward was succeeded in 1653 by his son James, the Parliamentarian, whose orders to cut down all the trees at Gunthorpe naturally drew forth expostulations from Barker. (fn. 309) In 1655 the manor was sold to William Ducie of Islington, afterwards Viscount Downe, or to his brother Sir Hugh Ducie, K.B. (fn. 310)
The latter died seised of Gunthorpe in 1662 and was succeeded by his son William, then a minor. (fn. 311) It passed probably by sale to John Flavell, merchant tailor of London, the owner in 1684, (fn. 312) and then to Sir Joseph Eyles, knt., who sold it to Sir John Heathcote, bart., in 1738. (fn. 313) From that time it belonged to his descendants, Lord Aveland being the lord of the manor in 1862. (fn. 314)
The lords of the castle and manor of Oakham held the view of frankpledge in the manors of Belton and Gunthorpe. (fn. 315) The Prior of the Hospital of St. John of Jerusalem claimed in 1283 that his 12 tenants in Gunthorpe should come to the view of frankpledge held by him at Whitwell and Uppingham. (fn. 316) A windmill appurtenant to the manor of Gunthorpe is mentioned in 1632. (fn. 317)
The church of ALL SAINTS consists of chancel 43 ft. by 20 ft., with north and south chapels, each about 16 ft. 9 in. wide, south vestry, clearstoried nave 56 ft. 9 in. by 22 ft. 6 in., with north and south aisles about 17 ft. 6 in. wide, large north and south transepts of two bays divided into eastern and western aisles, south porch, and engaged west tower 16 ft. square, all these measurements being internal. The tower is surmounted by a spire. The width across nave and aisles is 61 ft. 9 in., and the transepts are each 27 ft. 6 in. wide, with a projection beyond the aisles of 15 ft. The chapels cover the chancel its full length, the walls being flush at the east end.
The east end of the chancel, the north transept, two bays of the north aisle and the west wall of the porch are of coursed rubble, but elsewhere the walls are faced with ashlar. All the roofs are leaded, and, with the exception of that of the chancel, are of low pitch behind battlemented parapets. (fn. 318) Internally all the walls are plastered. (fn. 319)
The oldest part of the present building is the south doorway, which dates from c. 1190, and has a pointed outer arch of two moulded orders supported by shafts and an inner less elaborately moulded drop-arch on half-round responds with fillet. The shafts and responds have moulded bases and capitals with square abaci, but while the capitals on the east side are plain those on the west have stiff water-leaf foliage. The space between the outer and inner arches is plastered. No other portion of the 12th-century (fn. 320) church has survived, the building having been enlarged early in the 13th century, when the nave aisles were either added or widened, and the chancel probably extended its present length. The porch also is substantially of this date. An internal keel-shaped string-course below the windows of the south aisle and both the transepts points to the lower part of these walls at least being of this period, and in the east wall of the north transept is a piscina of the same date with fluted bowl and an edge-roll with two fillets. The string-course, much renewed, occurs also in the north aisle west of the doorway, but is not continued along the west wall, as on the south side. To the 13th century also belong the piers and responds of the transept arcades, together with the remains of two responds in the south aisle, all which would seem to indicate that the plan of the early 13th-century church was the same as at present with the exception of the chancel chapels, tower and vestry. That the end of the chancel originally stood free is clearly shown on the outside, where the north and south arms of the pairs of angle buttresses are yet visible incorporated in the later walling of the chapels.
About the end of the 13th century a north chapel was added to the chancel, or a smaller one enlarged and extended eastward. The three arches of the existing arcade between the chancel and chapel have good mouldings, of which the roll and fillet, used also on the soffit of each arch, forms the principal member. The abaci of the capitals have the scroll-moulding usual in work of this period (c. 1280–90), and the piers consist of four attached shafts with fillets, divided by arrises at the angles formed by the quatrefoil plan. (fn. 321) The west arch of the chapel, which divides it from the north transept, is similar in design, but the whole arcade shows evidence of a later heightening.
Shortly afterwards, about the first quarter of the 14th century, the rebuilding of the nave was taken in hand, (fn. 322) new arcades with lofty columns and arches erected, the chancel arch reconstructed to match the arcades, and the tower begun at the west end. At the same time the transepts were heightened in proportion to the new nave, that on the north side being remodelled first. It would appear that in this general reconstruction of the nave the walls of the aisles and transepts were in the main rebuilt from about sill level, all the older windows being of this period. The tower and spire were completed during the 14th century, and were probably designed upon the model of the tower and spire at Grantham church, completed c. 1300, but used here with more modest proportions and less striving after height. The north aisle of the nave was perhaps wholly rebuilt in this century.
The chief structural changes in the 15th century were in the chancel. During this period, probably after 1450, the north chapel was rebuilt from the ground with walls higher than before, and the arches between it and the chancel were raised to a height corresponding to those of the nave. This remodelling of the arcade was effected by lengthening the piers and bases and by supplying longer bells to the capitals, carved with meagre conventional foliage—the whole of the old stonework being retained. The effect of the old moulded capitals in conjunction with their later bells is more curious than beautiful.
Later in the century, c. 1480, the south wall of the chancel was pierced by an arcade of three arches and a chapel added. The vestry, which is on the south side of the chapel, appears to have been planned with it, but may not have been completed till later.
In the 15th century, also, new roofs of lower pitch than before were erected over the nave (fn. 323) and aisles and the clearstory assumed its present appearance, being then heightened and new windows inserted. New windows were inserted also in the aisles, those in the south aisle being late in date, and new parapets were added to the whole church. All the gables, except that of the chancel, have curious curved crocketed finials, that of the nave being surmounted by a double crucifix. In its general appearance the church affords a good example of combined 14th and 15th century architecture. Though the abbot and convent of Westminster, as rector, and the secular priests who were vicars, were responsible for the upkeep of the chancel, it is evident that the greater part of the church was built at the expense of the lords of the manor and the important inhabitants of the town. The owners of the castle and the wealthy family of Flore may be held largely responsible for the beauty of the nave and the splendid tower and spire. (fn. 324)
The chancel had fallen into decay in 1658, (fn. 325) and an order was issued for its repair. In 1857–8 there was a very extensive restoration (fn. 326) of the fabric under the direction of Sir Gilbert Scott, when the galleries (fn. 327) and pews which then filled the church were removed, the floors renewed, the gables of the chancel and north chapel taken down and rebuilt, new roofs erected over the chancel and south chapel, and the other roofs restored. (fn. 328) In 1898 a new reredos was erected and the sanctuary repaired. (fn. 329) The spire was repaired in 1930.
The chancel has a modern pointed east window (fn. 330) of five trefoiled lights and geometrical tracery, and is open to the chapels by arcades of three bays. There is a short length of plain walling on each side at the east end, in which, in the usual position, is a 15thcentury piscina, the projecting part of the bowl being cut away. On the north side is a modern credence bracket, and in the east wall, immediately over the altar, now covered by the reredos, a rectangular recess. (fn. 331) The north arcade has already been described; that on the south side has pointed arches of two moulded orders, the outer continued to the ground, the inner supported by soffit shafts, or half-round responds with high bases and battlemented capitals. The arch between the chapel and transept is of the same design; all the arches have hood-moulds, and both arcades are filled with modern oak screens. The 14th-century chancel arch is of two moulded orders, without hood-mould, the outer order springing from slender shafts with moulded bases and carved capitals, and the inner from short half-round corbelled responds, the carved capitals of which are no longer distinguishable. Those of the shafts are, on the south side, foliage, and on the north a man's figure with hands to mouth. The chancel roof was raised to its original pitch at the restoration. (fn. 332) There is no chancel screen. (fn. 333)
The north or Holy Trinity Chapel is divided externally into four bays by buttresses which terminate above the parapet in panelled and crocketed pinnacles. The east window is of five cinquefoiled lights with Perpendicular tracery, and the windows in the north wall of three lights, all with moulded jambs and mullions, and hood-moulds which are continued along the wall and round the buttresses as a string. The westernmost window differs slightly in design from the others, but the tracery of all has battlemented transoms, and in the east window the middle bar is enriched with strawberry-leaf ornament. In the short length of south wall is a moulded trefoil-headed piscina, the fluted bowl of which has a five-leaved flower in the centre with orifices on either side. (fn. 334)
The south chapel or chapel of St. Mary (fn. 335) is now used as a quire vestry and organ chamber, the organ occupying the whole of the east end and hiding the piscina. Externally the chapel is divided into five unequal bays, the second from the east being covered by the vestry, and the buttresses are continued above the parapet as pinnacles as on the north. The east window is of five lights under a depressed head, with simple vertical tracery. In the south wall are four pointed windows of three lights, of the same type, but of slightly different design from those of the north chapel, (fn. 336) the hood-moulds of which have head-stops. The priest's doorway is below the window west of the vestry, in the adjoining wall of which is a stoup; the doorway has a four-centred head.
The 14th-century nave arcades are of four bays with pointed arches of two moulded (fn. 337) orders, springing from piers consisting of four attached shafts, similar in plan to those of the north arcade of the chancel, except that the fillets are not set at right angles to the shafts, but project from them with an ogee curve. The moulded tops of the capitals are also shorter and plainer than those in the chancel, and the rather tall bases are set diagonally, and have a series of independent roll mouldings. The arches have hood-moulds on each side, with head-stops; at the east end they spring from responds similar in design to the piers and at the west from corbels. The chief feature of the arcades, however, is the elaborate carving of the bells of the capitals. That of the east respond of the north arcade, which has been much damaged by late screenwork, now destroyed, has a beast-like figure playing upon a musical instrument, the figure ending in foliage. The carvings on the capitals of the piers of the north arcade, from east to west, are (i) foliage, (ii) grotesque heads and limbs with a dragon biting itself, (iii) a somewhat similar design of heads and hands, while the capital of the corbel has a sculpture of the Expulsion from Eden. The corresponding corbel on the south side has rich foliage and a pelican in piety, and the carvings of the south arcade, (fn. 338) from west to east, are (i) fox stealing goose followed by goslings and man with a besom, and on the other side an ape with his clog, (ii) four angels, (iii) symbols of the four Evangelists, while on the respond three subjects are represented: (a) the Expulsion from Eden, (b) the Annunciation, and (c) the Coronation of the Virgin.
The raising of the north transept to the height of the nave arcade was effected by building loftier arches without raising the pier and respond of the arcade which divides it longitudinally into eastern and western aisles. This resulted in the south arch of this arcade abutting awkwardly upon the adjoining pier of the north arcade of the nave below its capital, and when the south transept was remodelled its pier and respond were heightened, the old capitals being retained and new arches built upon them. The arches of both transept arcades (fn. 339) are of two hollow-chamfered orders, and the piers are octagonal with moulded capitals and bases. The respond at the angle where the south transept meets the south aisle was heightened by the simple expedient of placing a sculptured figure of a lion above it, to fill the space between it and the timbers of the aisle roof, the arch being removed. The 13th-century piscina in the north transept has already been mentioned, and that (fn. 340) in the south wall of the south transept, which retains a wooden shelf, is apparently of the same date, as is probably also the rectangular cupboard (fn. 341) near to it in the east wall. In the upper part of the same wall, formerly between the two east windows, but now between the remaining window and the arch to the chapel, is a wide pointed 13th-century recess, (fn. 342) and in the corresponding position in the north transept, above the piscina, a canopied niche, (fn. 343) apparently of late 14th-century date. In the south transept the windows, two in the south and one in the east wall, are of three cinquefoiled lights with tracery of a somewhat advanced 14th-century type, (fn. 344) and there is a small 15th-century window of two lights in the west wall above the roof of the porch. Externally in the wide-spreading gable of the transept there is a large empty niche immediately below the parapet.
The windows of the north transept are 15th-century insertions, similar in type to those of the chapel, with moulded jambs and battlemented transoms in the tracery. The hollow of the moulding below the parapet is here enriched with four-leaved flowers and heads. In the south transept it is plain, but in the aisles, clearstory and porch this moulding is enriched with carved heads and a 15th-century version of dogtooth ornament, and along the rake of the west end of the north aisle with large and widely spaced carvings of animals and grotesque heads. The aisle windows are 15th-century insertions, differing in design, but all of three lights, except that in the north wall of the north aisle, which is a large pointed opening of five lights with Perpendicular tracery. (fn. 345) The 14thcentury north doorway has a pointed arch of two shallow hollow-chamfered orders on moulded imposts, and hood-mould with notch-stops. The lofty clearstory has four large four-centred windows on each side, all of three cinquefoiled lights, with transoms and Perpendicular tracery. The hood-moulds are continued along the wall as strings.
The interior of the porch preserves its 13th-century features, though extensively restored. On each side is a wall arcade of four pointed arches of a single chamfered order, with hood-moulds, on detached shafts with moulded capitals and bases standing on a low bench table; some of the capitals are enriched with nail-head. (fn. 346) The outer doorway has a pointed arch of three moulded orders on keel-shaped responds and shafts on each side with moulded bases and capitals enriched with nail-head. The parapets and gable belong to the 15th-century remodelling; the Crucifixion on the finial is a modern copy.
The tower is of five stages marked by strings, with moulded plinth, pairs of buttresses its full height, and massive octagonal pinnacles, or small angle turrets, between which is a somewhat nondescript parapet with three slightly ogee openings. The west doorway and window are included in the lofty lower stage beneath a containing arch of two hollow-chamfered orders, the jambs of which are interrupted by a moulded impost continuing that of the doorway. The window is of two trefoiled lights with curvilinear tracery, and the doorway is of two moulded orders and hood with head-stops and a head at the apex. Above, in the second stage, are three graded trefoiled niches containing figures of our Lord and of two Apostles, probably St. Peter and St. Paul. The bellchamber has double windows of two trefoiled lights, with transoms, and Decorated tracery of two types; the arches are of two moulded orders on banded shafts with moulded capitals and bases, and have separate hood-moulds. The vice is in the south-west angle. (fn. 347) Internally the tower opens into the nave by a pointed arch of three chamfered orders, the innermost on halfoctagonal responds with moulded capitals and bases, and into the aisles by narrower and more sharply pointed arches of similar type, but the responds of that to the north aisle are half-rounds. On the south buttress of the south-east pier, at the level of the springing of the arch, is a moulded bracket supported by a seated figure playing a symphony. The spire has plain angles and three tiers of gabled lights on the cardinal faces, each of two openings; those of the two lower tiers have traceried heads, the upper ones being pierced with quatrefoils. The total height of tower and spire is given as 162 ft. (fn. 348) The cock vane is dated 1632. (fn. 349)
The roofs, apart from those of the chancel and south chapel, though much restored, are in great part of the 15th century, with moulded ribs and panelling over the transepts and north chapel. (fn. 350) The nave roof is of four bays, with long wall-pieces taken down to the stone corbels which supported the earlier roof; the principals are curved, but the moulded ridge and purlins alone appear ancient. The stone corbels are carved with grotesque animal heads. (fn. 351) The lean-to roof of the north aisle has shaped moulded principals and short wall-pieces on carved stone corbels. (fn. 352)
The font has a late 12th-century circular bowl ornamented with an arcade of intersecting round arches, formerly supported by eight shafts, the capitals of which, carved with water-leaf foliage, remain. (fn. 353) The bowl now stands on a short modern drum and square base with traceried panelling, apparently of 14th-century date, (fn. 354) and has a modern oak pyramidal cover with oxidised iron and bronze mountings. (fn. 355)
At the east end of the north chapel is a large early 16th century table tomb, without inscription or identification of any kind, its two exposed panelled sides carved with representations of ringed weights, probably designating a wool merchant. (fn. 358) At the west end of the south aisle (fn. 359) is a small wall monument with kneeling figure and rhyming inscription to Ann, daughter of Andrew Barton, of Oakham, who died in 1642, aged 15. There is also a tablet to Abraham Wright, vicar (d. 1690), father of Joseph Wright, the historian of the county, (fn. 360) and in the south aisle a memorial to the men who fell in the war in South Africa, 1899–1902. The library given in 1616 by Anne Lady Harington of Exton for the use of the vicar and benefit of the local clergy is housed in two handsome Jacobean oak presses in the vestry: it consists of an interesting collection of about 200 volumes on theology, history, and canon law. The church also possesses a MS. Latin Bible of the 13th century, probably of English work. It is inscribed 'ex dono Thome Pilkington.' (fn. 361)
There is a ring of eight bells, cast by Gillett and Johnston, of Croydon, in 1910, (fn. 362) and a priest's bell of 1840.
The plate (fn. 363) consists of a cup of 1578–9; a cup of 1637–8 inscribed 'Ex dono Willielm Gibson de Barlythorp Armiger 1638'; two covers without hallmarks fitting the cups; a paten of 1742–3 inscribed 'The gift of Mary daughter of John Warburton late Vicar of Oakham 1742'; a flagon of 1725–6; a paten of 1895–6; another of 1903–4; and a chalice and paten of modern mediaeval design given by the Rev. J. H. Charles, vicar, in memory of his wife and son (d. 1915). There are also two pewter plates of 1748, and three of 1750.
The registers before 1812 are as follows: (i) all entries 1564–1743; (fn. 364) (ii) baptisms and burials 1746– 1809, marriages 1746–54; (iii) marriages 1754–85; (iv) baptisms and burials 1810–12; (v) marriages 1785–1805; (vi) marriages 1805–12. There are no churchwardens' accounts.
In 1681 an order was made on Mr. Abraham Wright, vicar, and Mr. Burton, tenant of the Dean and Chapter of Westminster, to pave the chancel and repair the ceiling, seats and windows; and on the churchwardens to remove the rubbish out of the churchyard, repave the church alleys throughout, repair the seats and the roof and glaze the windows, rebind the Bible, provide a new Common Prayer Book, plaster and whitewash the vestry, provide a covering to one of the pewter flagons, a carpet for the Communion table of fine green or purple broad cloth, to repair the beam in the middle aisle over the minister's pew and to take away the seats in the middle aisle. (fn. 365)
THE HOSPITAL OF ST. JOHN stood on a site now largely covered by the Midland Railway. It was established by John Dalby in 1399 on the east side of a field called Chamberlayn's Close. The site was a quadrangle inclosed by a wall, to the north of which Dalby built a house for himself with access to the chapel. Within the precinct wall stood the chapel, near the north-east corner, with a house for twelve poor men to the south of it. The warden had a house on the south side and the chaplain on the north. In 1845 the Midland Railway acquired practically the whole of the western half of the hospital site, and such of the old buildings as then remained, except the chapel, were demolished. (fn. 366)
The chapel (fn. 367) is a small rectangular building measuring internally 39 ft. by 21 ft. 3 in., faced with local stone with dressings of Clipsham stone and Barnack rag. The walls are without plinths or buttresses and terminate in plain parapets, and there is a bell-cote at the west end. The flat-pitched roof is covered with lead. The fabric is for the most part earlier than the recorded foundation of the hospital in the later part of the 14th century. The chamfered rear-arch of the east window, carried on small moulded corbels shaped like capitals of shafts, and the pointed doorways in the north, south, and west walls, which are of a very plain character, with chamfered arches and hood-moulds, date from c. 1300, and a pointed window of two cinquefoiled lights with simple curvilinear tracery in the head at the east end of the south wall is only a little later (c. 1320–30). The walls, however, appear to have been largely rebuilt or heightened late in the 14th or early in the 15th century, the masonry throughout being coursed and the jointing towards the west of remarkable fineness. At this time a squareheaded window, now blocked, was inserted high in the wall north of the altar, (fn. 368) and a long two-light window, with flat label and slight cusping in the rectangular heads of the lights, was made in the south wall east of the doorway. New tracery was made in the east window during the 15 th century, when the outer arch and jambs seem to have been newly moulded, and the roof and parapets (fn. 369) are of the same period. A broad ogee-topped crocketed finial at the east end, which may have supported a gable cross, is similar to those at the parish church. Later in date is a singlelight window above the west side of the south doorway, the reason for which, unless it was intended to give light to a pulpit, is difficult to explain. The square-headed two-light transomed window over the west doorway is a 17th-century insertion. (fn. 370) The north and south doorways are blocked. There is a stone sundial at the south-west corner. (fn. 371)
Internally the building is without structural division. Originally, no doubt, there was a screen crossing the building immediately to the east or west of the lateral doorways, which divided it into a quire for the hospital and a western ante-chapel, but of this no trace remains. The western part is too small in area to have been used, as was commonly the case in mediaeval hospitals, as the common hall of the inmates, and the chapel was evidently distinct from the rest of the hospital. (fn. 372) The warden's house was on the north, and the bedehouse on the south side, an arrangement which accounts for the provision of north and south doorways in addition to the western entrance, which was probably reserved for lay folk visiting the building. (fn. 373)
The roof is of three bays and of plain construction, with cambered tie-beams (fn. 374) and wall-pieces resting upon large and well-carved corbels. Three of these on each side are grotesque heads, but one on the south is a blank shield upon carved foliage, which retains much of its original colour. The corresponding shield on the north side is modern.
During a restoration of the building in 1912–13 a pointed piscina with rectangular trough, contem porary with the earlier work, was discovered in the usual position in the south wall: the projecting portion of the trough, or bowl, had been cut away, but from a remaining fragment it was possible to reconstruct the grooves and drain holes. A number of put-log holes in the east wall were also found, some of which had been blocked with old masonry, and a small alabaster head of delicate execution was discovered in the wall as well as a portion of a stone head, probably the support of a former image bracket north of the altar. (fn. 375) The removal of the modern plaster from the walls further revealed a recess in the south wall west of the doorway, inside which was found the end of a barhole, (fn. 376) and west of this again a fireplace, now blocked, with a flue in the wall above, put in when the chapel was used for secular purposes. (fn. 377) The floor was restored to its original level, (fn. 378) and the old altar slab was repaired and set up upon a new freestone base. (fn. 379) About half-way up the south wall, near the altar, a small head, probably the stop of a hood-mould, has been inserted.
The bell in the turret is by T. Eayre, of Kettering, 1744. (fn. 380)
Wright in 1684 mentions two inscriptions in Latin remaining in the chapel windows. (fn. 381)
The church of All Saints (fn. 382) or All Hallows (fn. 383) was in existence before the Norman Conquest, (fn. 384) and was described as the mother church of Oakham in a charter of William I dated 1067, which, however, may be spurious. (fn. 385) The church and chapels were confirmed to the Abbey of Westminster in 1178 by Pope Alexander III, (fn. 386) and in 1231 the four chapels of Langham, Egleton, Brooke and Gunthorpe were enumerated as belonging to the church of Oakham. (fn. 387) Barleythorpe, at this date, was only mentioned as a township, but a chapel was possibly in existence. (fn. 388) The history of the rectory is identical with that of the manor of Deanshold (q.v.). It has been noted that the title of 'the Rectory of Oakham' was used by the abbots of Westminster in a much extended sense, but in the 15th century a separation was made between the manor and the rectory or parsonage in the more technical meaning. (fn. 389) The rectories of the chapels of Langham, Brooke and Egleton were separated from that of Oakham and were leased to separate tenants. (fn. 390) Brooke seems to have been leased as early as 1366 to the priory of Brooke, (fn. 391) which was the lessee in 1515. (fn. 392) Gunthorpe chapel seems to have fallen into disuse and decay, (fn. 393) and in the latter year its tithes were included in the rectory of Oakham, which was leased by Thomas Tileston. (fn. 394) It was then said to consist of tithes only, but later some 19 acres of land belonged to the rectory. (fn. 395) The Barleythorpe tithes were also held on a separate lease. The rectory of Oakham and Gunthorpe, with tithes in the other chapelries, was granted in 1542 to the Dean and Chapter of Westminster Cathedral (fn. 396) and in 1559 to the Dean and Chapter of the Collegiate Church. (fn. 397) It was held by a succession of lessees, who seem to have been responsible for the repair of the chancel of the church. (fn. 398) Under the Commonwealth it was confiscated, and the trustees for the sale of the manors, rectories, etc., belonging to bishops, deans and chapters, and others sold the reversion of the parsonage house and tithes in 1650, on the expiration of a lease granted in 1633 to Francis Jephson for three lives, to Cornelius Burton of Oakham. (fn. 399) After the Restoration, the Dean and Chapter were re-established and recovered the rectory, but Burton seems to have retained his lease. (fn. 400) The rectory with 19 acres of land was leased in 1682 to Elizabeth, the Dowager Viscountess Campden. (fn. 401) In 1820, at the time of the inclosure of the parish, the rectory was leased for three lives to the Earl of Winchilsea and all tithes were abolished and land allotted in their place. (fn. 402)
The advowson of the church belonged to the abbey of Westminster and the abbot presented to the rectory until 1231 (fn. 403) and afterwards to the vicarage. (fn. 404) In 1534 Abbot Boston gave the next presentation to Thomas Cromwell, (fn. 405) but after the Dissolution the advowson came to the Crown, when it was granted to the newly established bishopric of Westminster. (fn. 406) In 1550 Edward VI granted it to Nicholas Ridley, Bishop of London, (fn. 407) and it belonged to the see of London (fn. 408) until 1697, when it passed by exchange, made under Act of Parliament, to the Earl of Northampton. (fn. 409) From him it passed to the Earls of Winchilsea, (fn. 410) and at the present day the advowson belongs to Mr. W. H. Finch. The chapelries of Langham and Brooke have been separated, but the chapel of Egleton is still attached to the church of Oakham.
The vicarage was ordained in 1231, but a vicar named William is mentioned at the institution of Gilbert Marshall as rector in 1225 or 1227, (fn. 411) and appears to have had a house on the south side of the church and a carucate of land. (fn. 412) At the time of the ordination of the vicarage, the abbey of Westminster recovered the greater part of the rectory held by Gilbert Marshall to its own use, and he was apparently compensated by the abbot with money for the loss of everything but the newly constituted vicarage. (fn. 413) The fate of William is not recorded. To the vicarage were assigned the vicar's house and carucate of land, all the altarage of the church of Oakham and of the four chapels of Langham, Egleton, Brooke and Gunthorpe, the small tithes, half of the tithes of hay and the tithes of sheaves to the value of 30 marks a year, together with one mark a year paid out of the chapelry of Knossington. The rector was to provide suitable chaplains to serve the church and chapels. (fn. 414) The title rector was retained until the middle of the 14th century, (fn. 415) but the officials of the Bishop of Lincoln seem to have had doubts whether it was a rectory or vicarage, and in 1264 and 1273 the institutions were made to a benefice in the church of Oakham. (fn. 416) In 1339 the vicar of the church of Oakham is mentioned, (fn. 417) and from that time the title of vicar seems to have prevailed. (fn. 418) In 1488 the parishioners made serious complaints as to the negligence of their vicar, who behaved more like a layman than a priest. They also complained that he had neglected to provide two priests besides himself to serve the parish as was the custom and only apparently had a deacon to assist him. (fn. 419) Egleton may have depended to some extent on the services of the priest of the well-endowed chantry there, and in 1549, when the vicar seems to have had no assistants, an effort was made to reserve the endowment to provide an assistant priest for the vicar of Oakham. (fn. 420) This was not successful, but by 1563 there were three stipendiary priests, resident at Langham, Egleton and Brooke, paid by the vicar of Oakham, who, however, served Barleythorpe chapel himself. Besides the vicarage, certain other emoluments came to the vicar. In 1291 the Pope granted an indulgence to all visiting the church of Oakham on the feast and during the octave of All Saints' Day and the feasts of the Nativity, Purification and Assumption of the Blessed Virgin, as well as on the dedication feast of the church. There were also two pilgrimages, one to the image of the Virgin at St. Mary's well, (fn. 421) a spring near the brick-kilns about a quarter of a mile to the north of the town, and the other to the image of St. Michael, possibly set up in the chapel of St. Michael (q.v.) in the churchyard. By the time of Elizabeth's accession the vicar was suffering, not only from the disappearance of these oblations, but the town was impoverished by the loss of Calais, for its chief citizens had been merchants of the Staple of Calais and had been forced to leave the town. Consequently in 1563 Thomas Thickpenny, the newly instituted vicar, appealed against his assessment for first fruits and tenths. The vicarage, which was nearly the same in constitution as in 1231, was valued at £52 19s. 8d. a year, from which the vicar paid £30 in stipends to the chaplains. As a result the assessment was considerably lowered and the vicar also obtained relief, by the cutting down of the chaplains' stipends to £8 a year. (fn. 422) Another attempt was made in 1658 to increase the value of the vicarage by the addition of the rents from the rectories, which were then in possession of the Commonwealth. (fn. 423) The Protector consented, (fn. 424) but it is improbable that any action was taken before 1660, when the Dean and Chapter of Westminster recovered the rectories. (fn. 425)
By his will, which was proved in 1409, Robert Stonham, the vicar of Oakham, left plate and 3 books to the parish church. (fn. 426) In 1662 the sum of 10s. a year, part of the interest arising from £100 stock given by Mrs. Parthenia Lowman, was assigned for a sermon in the parish church on Ash Wednesday. (fn. 427)
Chapels and Gilds
We have reference to four gilds at Oakham—namely, those of St. Mary, St. Michael, All Saints and Holy Trinity—and each of them seems to have been connected with a chapel or altar belonging to the parish church. The most important was the gild of St. Mary, (fn. 428) which no doubt was connected with the chapel of St. Mary on the south side of the chancel (fn. 429) and supported the chapel of St. Mary on the north side of the churchyard. There was a toft attached to the chapel in the churchyard which was possibly the site of the gild-hall or the house of the chantry priest. (fn. 430) In 1513 the master of the gild paid rent for lands in Oakham and Barleythorpe. (fn. 431) The priest of the chapel was known as the 'chauntree preeste' or 'guild preeste.' (fn. 432) The chapel is mentioned in the will of William Pensax, vicar of Oakham, in 1378 (fn. 433) and the gild is referred to in 1404 (fn. 434) and in 1483, (fn. 435) when it was said to be in the church of Oakham.
On an adjoining site (60 ft. in length and 30 ft. in breadth) stood the chapel of St. Michael the Archangel, served by the gild priest. It is referred to in 1404 and 1424. (fn. 436) Both chapels escaped confiscation under the Chantries Act of 1547, but from that date they ceased to be used as places of worship. At an inquiry held at Oakham in March 1584 both chapels were described as in decay and in ruins and both sites, having been returned as concealed lands, (fn. 437) were granted by the Crown to Anthony Collins and George Woodnet, (fn. 438) who sold them in the same year to Robert Johnson, the founder of Oakham School. Upon the sites of the two chapels he built 'the schoolhouse' (i.e. schoolroom) for Oakham School. (fn. 439)
The gild of All Saints mentioned in 1501 (fn. 440) was probably founded at the high altar of the parish church, and the gild of Holy Trinity, to which bequests were made in 1404 and 1499, (fn. 441) was doubtless founded at the altar of Holy Trinity in the chapel on the north side of the chancel of the parish church.
The free chapel in the castle of Oakham is mentioned in 1248, but had probably been in existence since the building of the hall within the castle enclosure. The advowson belonged to Isabel de Mortimer at that time, and passed to the succeeding lords of Oakham certainly till the close of the 14th century. (fn. 442) The castle fell into disrepair in the 16th century and no chapel is mentioned among the possessions of Edward, Duke of Buckingham, in 1521. In 1248 Isabel Mortimer presented Richard, son of Hugh de Clyva, to the chapel, and he received a house and toft appurtenant to the chapel, 9 soams of corn a year and an annuity of 40s. from the farm of Oakham, as well as tithes of the market of Oakham and certain tithes of stock and small tithes in the manors of Oakham and Langham. (fn. 443) In 1300 the chaplain received 50s. a year, which, it is noticed, were formerly paid from the rents of the bondmen of Egleton, while the tithes had been commuted into an annual sum of 43s. 7d. (fn. 444) In 1373 the tithes had increased in value. (fn. 445) In 1388, however, the chaplain claimed, besides an annual salary of 8 marks 7s. 1½d., the right of having 4 loads of wood a year from the park. (fn. 446)
The chapel of Gunthorpe was certainly in existence at the end of the 12th century and was dependent on the church of Oakham. Alexander de Boville, who was probably lord of the manor (q.v.), attempted to obtain the advowson and presented a chaplain named Reginald, who was admitted and held the chapel during his life. In his old age he was assisted by his son Henry, who continued to serve the chapel after Reginald's death. Then the rector of Oakham, named Herbert le Poure, intervened, but made an agreement by which Henry was to hold the chapel for life as a farmer, while the right of the rector was recognised. Henry never obtained institution by the Bishop of Lincoln, and when Henry de Boville, Alexander's grandson, put forward a claim to the advowson in 1223, he lost his case. (fn. 447) Later the chapel fell into disuse and ruin, (fn. 448) and it was not mentioned as one of the chapelries of Oakham in 1534, when the new valuation of churches was made. (fn. 449) The tithes of Gunthorpe were excepted from the provisions for the inclosure of the parish of Oakham in 1820. (fn. 450)
The hospital of ST. JOHN THE EVANGELIST and ST. ANNE was founded in 1399 by William Dalby (d. 1405), then of Exton, but later of Oakham, for a warden and chaplain and twelve poor men to pray for King Richard II and Queen Isabella, Anne, the late queen, and the king's father, Edward the Black Prince, and his mother, Joan the Fair Maid of Kent, and for William Dalby and Agnes, his wife. (fn. 451) The patronage was to have been with the priory of St. Anne next Coventry, which was to pay to the hospital £40, afterwards reduced to 40 marks, and later a further £20 a year charged on lands in Edith Weston. Dalby, however, was dissatisfied with the priory's management and in 1406 had settled the patronage on Roger Flore or Flower, husband of his daughter, Katherine, and his heirs. (fn. 452) Flore revised the arrangement with the priory and endowed the hospital further with a toft and 64 acres of land and 6 acres of meadow in Oakham and Egleton. (fn. 453) He made new statutes in 1421, whereby it was provided that if the patrons failed to present either the chaplain or the bedesmen, the vicar of Oakham was to act. (fn. 454) The patronage continued in the family of Flore of Whitwell (q.v.). Edith Weston having become the property of John Flore, he refused to pay the rentcharge from it to the hospital. (fn. 455) After long litigation the hospital seems to have gained its case, yet John failed to pay the charge. The hospital fell into decay and in 1590 its property was sold as concealed land to William Tipper and Robert Dawe, the famous fishing grantees. (fn. 456) In 1593 the property had passed to Robert Johnson, (fn. 457) the founder of Oakham and Uppingham Schools, who also acquired the patronage from Henry Allen of Wilford, to whom John Flore had conveyed it. (fn. 458) He refounded the hospital in 1597, vesting the patronage in himself and his heirs, and appointed the Dean of Peterborough, the rector of North Luffenham and vicar of Oakham governors. (fn. 459)
The endowment now consists of 59 acres 2 roods and 35 poles of land, a rent-charge and stocks held by the official trustees producing in all £310 a year. The net income is distributed among 34 poor persons. Capt. W. D. Johnson of Ketton, descendant of Robert Johnson, is now patron, and the governors, the successors to those appointed by Queen Elizabeth, are the Bishop and Dean of Peterborough, the rectors of North Luffenham and Uppingham and the vicar of Oakham. During the last century the chapel was occasionally used as a place of worship, but is now regularly used for religious service.
In 1672 a licence was granted to Benjamin King, who had been intruding minister at Oakham during the time of the Commonwealth, for Presbyterians to meet at the house of Matthias Barry at Oakham. (fn. 460) King had two daughters, one of whom married Vincent Alsop, usher of Oakham School and later an eminent minister in Westminster; the other married Robert Ekins, the first minister in the Northgate Barn. In 1727 the old meeting-house, now the property of Oakham School, was built and in 1861 the present church in High Street. A Congregational chapel is said to have been founded in 1662. There is a Baptist chapel, originally built about 1770, enlarged in 1851 and rebuilt in 1870; a Wesleyan chapel was built in 1865 and a Catholic chapel in 1883.
The Foundation of Robert Johnson, clerk, was made by virtue of letters patent, dated 24 October 1587, granting licence in mortmain to erect the Free Grammar School in Oakham, the Hospital of Christ in Oakham, the Free Grammar School in Uppingham and the Hospital of Christ in Uppingham. The endowment of the foundation now consists of land containing 77 a. o r. 13 p., tithes and rent-charges and several sums of stock held by the official trustees of Charitable Funds, producing in all approximately £4,800 per annum. After deduction of a small sum to provide for the insurance and upkeep of five chancels and for various payments to the vicars of Leake, Whaplode and Whaplode Drove for church expenses and for the poor and for the Receivers' salary and expenses, the income for each year is divided in round figures into seven equal parts, of which two are paid to Oakham School, two to Uppingham School and the remaining three to certain aged poor in Rutland. The charity is managed by a body of governors.
Lady Ann Harington's Charity was founded by an indenture dated 1 November 1617, and is regulated by a scheme of the Charity Commissioners dated 2 November 1915, which appoints a body of trustees consisting of the vicar of Oakham All Saints (ex officio) and four trustees appointed by the Urban District Council of Oakham. The income, consisting of a rent-charge of £32, is distributed in varying amounts among 80 poor persons primarily of Oakham Lordshold.
Robert Towell, by his will dated 29 January 1721, gave a sum of money to the poor of Lord's liberty in Oakham for 10 poor widows as the minister and churchwardens should think fit. The charity is lost.
Bread Money.—A sum of £50 was given by a person unknown to purchase bread for the poor of Oakham. The only document in respect of the gift is a promissory note dated 25 March 1771 signed by Mary Davie for payment of £50 with interest at 4 per cent. The charity is lost.
Cramp's Charity, date of foundation unknown. (fn. 461) The sum of £20 is understood to have been given by a person named Cramp for the annual benefit of poor widows of Oakham. The endowment now consists of a yearly payment of £1 from the churchwardens.
The charity of Henry Foster is comprised in in- dentures of lease and release dated respectively 19 and 20 August 1692. The endowment consists of a yearly sum of £10 payable by the trustees of the general charity of Henry Foster.
These charities are administered by a body of 5 trustees. The income of Foster's charity, now about £950, one-tenth of which is applied in apprenticing poor children, and the remaining charities are applied for the general benefit of the poor.
Warburton's Gift, founded about 1731 by the will of the Rev. John Warburton, consists of a rentcharge of 10s. per annum arising out of a close of land called Burley Bridge. The income is distributed to the poor by an Alms Committee.
Church Estate. The origin of this charity is unknown. The trustees are the vicar and churchwardens of Oakham, appointed by an order of the Charity Commissioners dated 19 April 1882. The endowment consists of lands containing 3 a. 2 r. and £220 6s. 4d. 2½ per cent. Consolidated stock held by the official trustees, producing about £19 18s. per annum, which is applied towards the maintenance of the services and fabric of the church.
Thomas Watkin (in memory of Thomas and Mary Watkin), by his will proved at Birmingham on 7 March 1905, bequeathed the sum of £10 to the trustees of the parish church of Langham, the income to be applied to the fund for the poor at Christmas. The endowment of the charity now consists of £11 1s. 8d. 2½ per cent. Consolidated stock with the official trustees, producing 5s. 4d. per annum, which is distributed among the poor by an Alms Committee.
The Victoria Hall (formerly the Agricultural Hall) is comprised in an indenture dated 15 October 1858 and regulated by a scheme of the Charity Commissioners of 15 August 1899 as varied by a scheme of 12 February 1915. There are 15 trustees, nine being co-optative, 3 appointed by the Rutland County Council and 3 by the Urban District Council of Oakham. The hall is let for various purposes and the rent, approximately £250 per annum, is applied towards the upkeep of the hall.
Henry Foster, by his will dated 26 August 1692, devised several lands and hereditaments lying in Swineshead, Lincolnshire, Sewsterne, Leicestershire, and Thistleton, Rutland, to his trustees upon trust that any two or more of them with the consent and approbation of the justices of the peace of the county should apply the rents as follows: (a) To the churchwardens and overseers of Oakham and Westminster Fee £10 per annum for apprenticing fatherless children born in the parish or otherwise for the use of the poor; (b) to the vicars of Empingham and Greetham £10 per annum each as augmentation to the vicarages; (c) directed the minister, churchwardens and overseers of Thistleton, Greetham, Exton, Langham and Empingham to appoint a schoolmaster for each of the respective parishes to teach poor children in the English Bible and Catechism, and to each of the schoolmasters and their successors he gave the sum of £10 per annum: and in the case of no schoolmaster being employed the money to be expended in clothing and apprenticing poor children. By a codicil dated 5 June 1700 the testator gave several other lands at Swineshead to the same trustees and directed that out of the rents £10 per annum should be paid to the vicars of Whissendine and Ketton and the balance employed in making good the several sums of £10 mentioned in his will. The property belonging to the charity has been sold and the endowment now consists of £5,286 2s. 6d. 2½ per cent. Consols and £23,824 10s. 8d. 3½ per cent. Conversion Stock producing in dividends about £966 per annum. The charity is administered in accordance with the original trusts, it appearing, however, from the recent accounts that the sums of £10 per annum have been substituted by the larger figure of £93 per annum, due apparently to the increase in the total income.
The Rutland Prison Charity, formerly that proportion of the Prison Charity of Rebecca Hussey allotted to the Rutland County Gaol, is regulated by a scheme of the Charity Commissioners dated 3 July 1891. The endowment consists of a sum of £211 2s. 10d. 5 per cent. War Stock producing in dividends £10 11s. 2d. per annum. The income is paid over to the Leicestershire and Rutland Discharged Prisoners' Aid Society by the visiting committee of the prison at Leicester, who are the trustees.