Oakham Rutland Family History Guide

Status: Ancient Parish

Parish church: All Saints

Parish registers begin:

  • Parish registers: 1564
  • Bishop’s Transcripts: 1707

Nonconformists include: Baptist, Society of Friends, Independent, and Wesleyan Methodist

Adjacent Parishes

  • Knossington
  • Manton
  • Burley
  • Braunston
  • Langham
  • Martinsthorpe
  • Egleton
  • Hambleton
  • Brooke
  • Cold Overton

[su_gmap address="Oakham Rutland" zoom="11"]

Historical Descriptions

The Imperial Gazetteer of England & Wales 1870

OAKHAM, a town, a parish, a district, and a sokeor hundred, in Rutland. The town stands on an affluent of the river Gwash, on the Syston and Peterborough railway, at the terminus of a branch of the Melton-Mowbray canal, in the fertile vale of Catmose, 2¼ miles E of the boundary with Leicestershire, and 96 NNW of London. It belonged to Editha, the queen of Edward the Confessor; went afterwards to the Crown; was held at Domesday, under the Crown, by the Mauleverers; and passed to successively the Newburghs, the Ferrerses, the Mortimers, the Bohuns, the De Veres, the Staffords, the Cromwells, the Villierses, and the Finches. A castle was built at it by Walkelin de Ferrers; and the hall of it still stands in tolerable preservation, and is used for the public business of the town, and for county courts, quarter sessions, and assizes. Every peer of the realm, on first passing near the castle, requires to give to it a shoe from a foot of one of his horses, or to pay a fine for declining; and many shoes so given including four from respectively Queen Elizabeth, the late Duke of York, George IV., and the Princess Victoria are either nailed on the castle-gate, or placed within the building. The town now comprises the manor of Oakham-Lordship, belonging to G. Finch, Esq., and the manor of Oakham Deanshold, belonging to the Dean and Chapter of Westminster; it has annual courts-leet for the former manor, and triennial ones for the latter; it is a polling-place and the place of election for the county; it presents a clean, well-built and much improved appearance, about one-third of it consisting of recent edifices, and the rest undergoing rapid substitution of new houses for old ones; and it has a head post-office, a railway station with telegraph, two banking offices, two chief inns, a market cross, a police station, the county-jail, an agricultural hall, subscription reading-rooms, a church, five dissenting chapels, a free grammar school, a national school, a dispensary, two hospitals or alms-houses, a workhouse, and charities, inclusive of school and hospital, £3,152. The county jail stands in an airy situation, close to the town; was built in 1810, at a cost of £10,000; is enclosed by a boundary-wall, 22 feet high; is entered by a Doric door-way, with side-lodges; and has capacity for 71 male and 6 female prisoners. The Agricultural hall stands in High-street; is a handsome stone structure, with large and lofty rooms; and contains a newsroom, and a good library. The church is later English; was restored in 1858-9, at a cost of £6,086; comprises nave, aisles, transepts, and chancel, with tower and lofty spire; had formerly a chantry and three guilds; and contains new carved screens, and some ancient monuments. The dissenting chapels are Independent, Calvinist, Baptist, Quaker, and Wesleyan; and the Independent one was built in 1861, and is in the early English style. A new cemetery was opened on the N side of the town, in 1858; comprises about 4½acres; and has two handsome mortuary chapels, connected by an open corridor, surmounted by a square tower with light lofty spire, and erected at a cost of about £3,000. The grammar school was founded about 1584, by Archdeacon Johnson; gives gratuitous education to poor boys; holds 38 exhibitions of from £16 to £40 at various colleges; and, together with an hospital on the same foundation, has an endowed income of £2,923. The hospital connected with it was designed for 100 poor inmates, but is now occupied by the schoolmasters and boarders; and the designs of it are carried out by giving £10 a year to each of 100 poor persons at their own dwellings. St. John's hospital was founded, in the time of Richard II., by Walter Dalby; was re-founded, in the time of Elizabeth, by Archdeacon Johnson; serves for 20 aged persons; and has an endowed income of £181. The dispensary is in High-street, was erected in 1832, and is a commodious brick building. The work-house stands in Ashwell-road; has accommodation for167 persons; and, at the census of 1861, had 71 inmates. A weekly market, for butter and general commodities, is held on Saturday; another weekly market, chiefly for corn and cattle, is held on Monday; fairs of old standing are held on 15 March, 16 May, and 9 Sept; and fairs of recent origin, toll free for cattle, are held on 14 Jan., 11 Feb., 13 March, 7 April, 5 May, 2 June, 14 July, 11 Aug., 8 Sept., 13 Oct., 3 Nov., and 8 Dec. There are two extensive breweries; and the knitting of fancy hosiery is carried on by females. Geoffrey Hudson, the famous dwarf of the time of Charles I., was a native. Pop. of the town, in 1851, 2, 800; in 1861, 2, 948. Houses, 634.

The parish contains also the village and manor of Barleythorpe, and the hamlet of Gunthorpe. Acres, 3,130. Real property, £12,739; of which £94 are in gas-works. Pop. in 1851, 3,031; in 1861, 2,959. Houses, 636. The chief landowners are the Earl of Gainsborough, Lord Aveland, the Hon. H. Lowther, and George Finch, Esq. Barleythorpe Hall, a modern stone mansion in the Tudor style, is the seat of the Hon. H. Lowther. The living is a vicarage, united with the p. curacies of Egleton, Langham, and Brooke, in the diocese of Peterborough. Value, £1,000. Patron, G. Finch, Esq. The district contains also the parishes of Teigh, Market-Overton, Thistleton, Stretton, Greetham, Cottesmore, Burley, Exton, Horn, Tickencote, Empingham, Whitwell, Normanton, Edith-Weston, Lyndon, Manton, Hambleton, Egleton, Langham, Ashwell, Whissendine, Braunston, Brooke, Martinsthorpe, Cold Overton, and Knossington the two last electorally in Leicester and the extra-parochial tract of Leigh Field Forest. Acres, 56,030. Poor-rates in 1863, £6,207. Pop. in 1851, 11,553; in 1861, 11,112. Houses, 2,405. Marriages in 1863, 84; births, 365, of which 22 were illegitimate; deaths, 269, of which 94 were at ages under 5 years, and 8 at ages above 85. Marriages in the ten years 1851-60, 845; births, 3,448; deaths, 2,122. The places of worship, in 1851, were 28 of the Church of England, with 6,423 sittings; 2 of Independents, with 270 s.; 4 of Baptists, with 1,030 s.; 10 of Wesleyan Methodists, with 1,132 s.; and 1 of Primitive Methodists, with 150 s. The schools were 22 public day schools, with 1,050 scholars; 32 private day schools, with 622 s.; and 30 Sunday schools, with 1,582 s. The soke or hundred contains only eight parishes. Acres, 18,225. Pop. in 1851, 5,080; in 1861, 4,990. Houses, 1,102.

Source: The Imperial Gazetteer of England & Wales [Wilson, John M]. A. Fullarton & Co. N. d. c. [1870-72].

Parish Records

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England, Rutland Parish Registers, 1538-1991

England Births and Christenings, 1538-1975

England Deaths and Burials, 1538-1991

England Marriages, 1538–1973 

England and Wales Birth Registration Index, 1837-2008

England and Wales Death Registration Index 1837-2007

England and Wales Marriage Registration Index, 1837-2005

England and Wales Non-Conformist Record Indexes (RG4-8), 1588-1977

Great Britain Deaths and Burials, 1778-1988

Great Britain Marriages, 1797-1988

Great Britain, Births and Baptisms, 1571-1977

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England and Wales National Register, 1939

Probate and Court Records

England and Wales, National Index of Wills and Administrations, 1858-1957

Military Records

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United Kingdom, Chelsea Pensioners' Service Records, 1760-1913

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County: Rutlandshire
Civil Registration District: Oakham
Probate Court: Court of the Bishop of Peterborough (Episcopal Consistory)
Diocese: Peterborough
Rural Deanery: Rutland
Poor Law Union: Oakham
Hundred: Oakham Soke
Province: Canterbury