England’s Smallest County has lots of Quite Interesting facts.
- Rutland’s area is 151 square miles; North to South is 16.3 miles and East to West is 16.53 miles.
- Rutland was reinstated as a county in 1997 after being absorbed into Leicestershire in 1974.
- Rutland Water is the UK’s largest man made lake, similar in size to Lake Windermere in the Lake District.
- Rutland residents are known as ‘Raddlemen’.
- Peers of the realm who pass through Oakham for the first time must give a horseshoe to the Lord of the Manor. This unique custom started over 500 years ago and still continues today. Over 200 horseshoes are displayed in Oakham Castle (which is actually a Great Hall). The oldest surviving horseshoe is said to have been given by Edward IV in about 1470.
- In Rutland, all horseshoes are hung with their tips at the bottom, which some people consider to be upside down and bad luck. There are several reasons given for hanging them this way including, so that the devil cannot make a nest in the bottom of the horseshoe and so that luck falls from the horseshoe and is bestowed on those that walk beneath it.
- Oakham Castle is the oldest English court building that has remained in continuous use, with trials taking place there as early as 1229.
- In the 17th Century, Rutland was home to England’s smallest man, Sir Jeffrey Hudson, who was 18 inches tall (45 cms) and was presented to Queen Henrietta Maria in a pie. Sir Jeffrey lead an exciting and adventurous life that included being feted by the Royal Court, killing a man in a duel, being captured by Barbary pirates & spending 25 years as a slave in North Africa before being rescued and returned to home to England.
- There is a Duke and Duchess of Rutland who reside in Belvoir Castle in Leicestershire