Alternative names: Okeham
Other places in the parish include: Oakham Lordship, Oakham Lordshold, Oakham Deanshold with Barleythorpe, Gunthorpe, Flitteris Park, and Barleythorpe.
Parish church: All Saints
Parish registers begin:
- Parish registers: 1564
- Bishop’s Transcripts: 1707
Nonconformists include: Baptist, Calvinist, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Independent/Congregational, Protestant Dissenters, Society of Friends/Quaker, and Wesleyan Methodist.
- Knossington, Leicestershire
- Cold Overton, Leicestershire
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].
A Topographical Dictionary of England 1848
OAKHAM, or Okeham (All Saints), a market-town and parish, and the head of a union, in the soke of Oakham, county of Rutland, of which it is the chief town, 95 miles (N. N. W.) from London; containing 2726 inhabitants, of whom 1902 are in the Lordshold, with Leigh-Fields extra-parochial, and 824 in the Deanshold, with Barleythorpe chapelry and Gunthorpe township. This place is situated in the luxuriant vale of Catmose, so called from the woods with which it abounded (Coed-maes) signifying in the British language a woody plain); and is supposed to have derived its name from the oaks that formerly grew in the vicinity. A castle was erected here soon after the Norman Conquest by Walkelin de Ferrers; in relation to which the following singular custom still prevails: every peer of the realm, on first passing through the town, is compelled to give a shoe from the foot of one of his horses, or, in commutation, a sum of money for the purchase of a horse-shoe, to be nailed upon the castle-gate or placed in some part of the building. Affixed to the castle are many ancient horse-shoes, of which the oldest with a date is of the time of Elizabeth, and is very large and curiously worked and gilt; there are one of bronze and or molu, of George IV. when Prince Regent, one of the late Duke of York, and one of Her present Majesty when princess. Richard II. having advanced Edward, son of the Duke of York, to the earldom of Rutland, assigned to him this castle, which in the reign of Henry VIII. was the baronial seat of Thomas, Lord Cromwell. The hall of the ancient building yet remains, and the assizes are held and public business is transacted in it; the other parts are in ruins.
The houses of the town are amply provided with water, and the air is remarkably salubrious. The inhabitants formerly enjoyed the staple of wool, and many French merchants settled in Oakham, of whose descendants several may still be traced here. A manufactory was established some years since, chiefly for weaving silk shag for covering hats. The town possesses the advantage of a canal to Melton-Mowbray, in Leicestershire, by which coal is brought from Derbyshire, and corn sent to Manchester and Liverpool: the Syston and Peterborough railway, also, completed in 1847, passes by Oakham. The market, which is well supplied with corn, is on Monday; and a market for butchers’ meat is held on Saturday. The fairs are on March 15th, May 6th, Sept. 9th, under the original charters, and on Feb. 4th, April 9th, June 2nd, July 16th, August 13th, Oct. 15th, Nov. 19th, and Dec. 15th, as established within the last half century; they are principally for the sale of cattle. Courts leet are held annually by the lord of the castle for the manor of Lordshold, and triennially by the Dean of Westminster for the Deanshold, for the election of parochial and other officers. The assizes and quarter-sessions for the county, and the election of knights of the shire, take place in the town. The powers of the county debt-court of Oakham, established in 1847, extend over the registration-district of Oakham, and part of that of Billesden. The common gaol and house of correction for the county is a commodious edifice.
The parish comprises 2902a. 2r. 11p. The Living is a vicarage, with the livings of Brooke and Langham annexed, valued in the king’s books at £28. 3. 1½.; net income, £918; patron, George Finch, Esq.; appropriators, the Dean and Chapter of Westminster. The tithes, with some exceptions, were commuted for land and a money payment in 1820. The church is a spacious and elegant structure of various dates, but chiefly in the later English style, with a fine tower surmounted by a lofty spire. At Egleton is a chapel of ease; and there are places of worship in the town for Baptists, the Society of Friends, Independents, and Wesleyans. The free grammar school was founded about 1584, by Robert Johnson, Archdeacon of Leicester, who established a similar school at Uppingham. These schools, to each of which an hospital is annexed, were incorporated by Queen Elizabeth, who endowed them with certain alienated ecclesiastical property now producing an income of more than £3000 per annum, and placed them under the control of 24 governors, including the Bishops of London and Peterborough, the Deans of Westminster and Peterborough, the Archdeacon of Northampton, and the Masters of Trinity and St. John’s Colleges, Cambridge. Belonging to them are, 20 exhibitions of £40 per annum each, tenable for seven years, to any of the colleges of Oxford or Cambridge; four scholarships of £24 per annum each, in Emmanuel College, Cambridge; four of £20 per annum each, in Sidney-Sussex College; four of £20 per annum each, in Clare Hall; and four of £16 each, in St. John’s College; all founded by Archdeacon Johnson. Two exhibitions, likewise, of £40 per annum each, were founded by the family of Lovett, for the sons of graduated clergymen, who have been for three years in the school of Grantham, or, these failing, of Oakham. In the hospitals were originally 28 aged men; there are now 100 hospital poor, who receive each £10 per annum at their own dwellings, the buildings of both hospitals being occupied by the schoolmasters for the accommodation of boarders.
The hospital of St. John and St. Anne, originally instituted about the 22nd of Richard II., by Walter Dalby, for two chaplains and twelve aged men, and of which the revenue at the Dissolution was £12. 12. 11., was refounded by Archdeacon Johnson, who increased the endowment. Twenty aged men now receive each £6 per annum at their own dwellings; the warden has £15, and the subwarden £10. The buildings of the hospital have fallen to decay, with the exception of a house for the warden, in which the subwarden at present resides, a chapel, and four separate tenements under one roof. A national school, established in 1816, is supported by subscription; and there are several bequests for distribution among the indigent generally. The poor-law union of Oakham comprises 30 parishes or places, 28 of which are in the county of Rutland, and two in that of Leicester, the whole containing a population of 11,218. Geoffrey Hudson, the dwarf, only three feet nine inches in height, was a native of Oakham.
Source: A Topographical Dictionary of England by Samuel Lewis 1848
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Civil Registration District: Oakham
Probate Court: Court of the Bishop of Peterborough (Episcopal Consistory)
Rural Deanery: Rutland
Poor Law Union: Oakham
Hundred: Oakham Soke