The historic market town of Oakham (county town of Rutland), probably took its name from a local Saxon lord named 'Occa'. The town church dates from the 12th-c and features some fine medieval carvings and unusual nave capitals. It shares its churchyard with Oakham's 16th-c private School. One of the largest independent co-educational schools in the country, with around 1000 pupils. The school was founded by Archdeacon Robert Johnson, in 1584, along with Uppingham School (located just a few miles away).

Oakham Market Place
Oakham Market Place and Buttercross © TAB

The history of Oakham is told in the Rutland County Museum, located just on the edge of town, on the road to Uppingham. Across from the Museum is the Catmose - previously the hunting lodge of the Noel family, which now houses Rutland County Council. In the town's attractive market place is a well-preserved octagonal buttercross, complete with an unusual five-hole stocks, that once used to sell dairy produce. In the same square is the old town pump, which lies opposite the gateway to the castle. All that remains of medieval Oakham Castle, is a 12th-c banqueting hall, now used as a courtroom. On the eastern edge of the town is the largest man-made lake in Britain, Rutland Water, almost as large as Windermere.

Content by Steve B

Places of Interest to Visit in Oakham

Oakham Castle

Oakham CastleAll that survives of this 12th-c medieval fortified manor house is the Great Hall, one of the best examples of Norman domestic architecture in England. Built by Walkelin de Ferrers, circa 1180-90. Partial walls, earthworks and the remains of an earlier motte can be seen in the grounds. The Great Hall contains medieval sculptures plus a very unique collection of over 200 large ceremonial horse shoes - donated over the centuries by monarchs and peers visiting the lord of the manor.

It was used mainly as an Assize court, up until 1970, and is now occasionally used as a Coroner's or Crown Court. The hall is also licensed for Civil Marriages.

Opening times: Mon-Sat 10.30-5, Sun 2-4 (closed B.H.) Admission Free
Location: Market Place, Oakham, Leicestershire LE15 6DT - Tel: 01572 757952

Rutland County Museum

The museum of local history and rural county life is housed in building once used as an indoor riding school, built in 1796 by the 'Noels' for their volunteer cavalry regiment, the Rutland Fencibles. It contains exhibits of agricultural vehicles and machinery, plus details of local archaeology and cultural life dating back to prehistoric times.

Opening times: Mon-Sat 10.30-5, Sun 2-4 (closed B.H.) Admission Free
Location: Catmose Park Rd, Oakham, Leicestershire LE15 6HW - Tel: 01572 758440

Map of Oakham

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