Tuesday, 30 April 2013

The Built Heritage

Cottesmore is the largest village in Rutland but this has not always been the case. It enlarged in the late 19th century but gained its pre-eminence with the advent of the RAF in the late 1930s and subsequent development after the Second World War.  It has continued to expand and the RAF/army camp could be said to dominate the village in geographical and population terms. However the direct impact on the village would appear to be relatively modest with little intrusion on daily life. In terms of historical records of the 16th and 19th centuries many of the other villages such as Ashwell, Empingham and Exton were mentioned more frequently.

Of the village itself, like many villages, its physical bearing is dominated by the Church which can be seen from all corners of the village and has a reassuring presence, particularly at night when it is lit up. The Church, St Nicholas, is a grade II* listed building and dates from the 12th century although much has been added since. Another notable building is the Sun Inn dating from  xxxx .

The village can be described in three major sectors; the core including the church and the pub, the area between Rogues lane and the Army camp, and the development just off the Ashwell Rd. Here we are concentrating on the village core as this is where the historic development has taken place.

Within the village there are 27 listed structures most of which are domestic buildings. Nearly all of them date from the 18th and 19th centuries, the major exception being St Nicholas, as mentioned above.  There are also a few notable buildings that are not listed but are thought to be of importance for the village. They are the old Rectory, just behind the Church and the Anchorage on Main Street.

Cottesmore Religious Houses.[1]

Wesleyan Methodists
Methodists were meeting in Cottesmore as early as 1810 when they met in the house of Richard Cramp. It was registered on the 23rd of March with Richard and his wife each giving their mark.

There were Wesleyan Methodist meetings in Cottesmore  in 1851 according to the Religious Register. They met in a room of a private house with services held on Sunday evenings and fortnightly on Tuesday evenings. Average attendance was about 25. Their leader was a John Almond but the meeting seemed to ben dissolved later in the same year.

Protestant Dissenters
In 1813 a house belonging to Thomas Atkinson was registered to allow preaching. A further dwelling house belonging to William Cox was similarly registered for preaching on 1st December 1827.

Cottesmore Methodist Church (formerly Primitive Methodist Chapel)
In about 1870 the Primitive Methodist Superintendent Minister of the Oakham Circuit, Theophilus Parr, went to preach on the Green at Cottesmore. A few people turned and he announced future services. The numbers increased and he was asked to come on a Sunday. On a very busy day with events in Langham Hambleton and Oakham he managed a service in Cottesmore where he claimed 500 people attended.

The following year it is recorded That Reverend Parr asked the Quarterly Meeting that Cottesmore should be part of the Plan and 1880 a cottage was converted into a chapel with the first preacher being Mr S Pains. The chapel was situated at the top of Clatterpot Lane and is now a private welling. Lord Gainsborough, who owned much if the village and was a Roman Catholic, would not allow a Non-conformist chapel in the village centre.
By 1897 Cottesmore appears on the Primitive Methodist Preachers Plan as having services each Sunday at 2.30 pm and 6pm. There also appears to have been a service on alternative Tuesdays.

During the World War II the church was visited by American airmen from the local airbase. The chapel closed in about 1964 and became aprivate residence called ‘The Old Chapel House’.

[1] Extract from Rutland in Dissent by Pauline Colletett published by Spiegl Press Stamford

Thursday, 25 April 2013

The centre of Cottesmore 

The Cottesmore Hunt and the Village

The Cottesmore Hunt is 350 years old and many claim it is the oldest in England. During that time its ownership, kennels and coverage has varied considerably but it has always been centred in Cottesmore area. For many people over the centuries it was the most important event in the social calendar. For others it hardly appeared on the horizon. Now days if you Google Cottesmore the two main results are the Cottesmore Hunt and RAF Cottesmore.  It covers the county of Rutland and parts of west Lincolnshire and east Leicestershire. Until the 1980s, the Cottesmore hunted Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. Since then, it has hunted three days a week (with some bye-days) and currently hunts Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday

The Cottesmore Hunt began in the 17th century when Viscount Lowther brought a pack of hounds from Lowther Castle in Westmorland to Fineshade Abbey in East Northamptonshire.
The Lowthers had family connections in the area and wished to hunt forests of Rockingham. The Lowther family were to prove instrumental in the Cottesmore Hunt's later development, but they sold their pack in 1695 to Mr Thomas Noel on behalf of the Earl of Gainsborough. Noel was the agent managing the Gainsborough estates in the area of Cottesmore and Exton.

Hounds were moved between three different kennels, including Cottesmore, each season. The Gainsborough family withdrew from this joint Hunt in 1732 and took 25 couple of hounds that began to hunt the country later known as the Cottesmore.

Sir William Lowther bought the pack from the Gainsboroughs and hunted the Cottesmore country from 1788 until 1802 when he became Viscount Lowther, later elevated to Earl of Lonsdale in 1807. The Cottesmore pack was purchased from the new Viscount Lowther in 1802 by Sir Gilbert Heathcote of Normanton Park, ancestor of the Earls of Ancaster but after only four years, William Lowther, the new Earl Lonsdale, resumed his Mastership and continued for another 35 years. . It was the hey-day of Victorian foxhunting, with increasing numbers of visitors flocking from all over Britain and overseas to hunt in the Shires.

Foxhunting in Leicestershire and Rutland became exceedingly fashionable and relatively expensive compared with “provincial” Hunt. Many visitors took rented hunting boxes in Leicestershire and Rutland. The Cottesmore benefited from a growing number of wealthy newcomers who enjoyed living near Oakham and Uppingham and purchased properties for permanent residence. The Cottesmore was known to be “more residential” than its neighbour, the Quorn.

The Hunt grew and prospered. From 1891and  ladies as well as gentlemen were expected to pay subscriptions. St George Lonsdale died and was succeeded by his brother Hugh Lonsdale, who was to became known as “The Yellow Earl” which derived from the colour of his servants' livery and his carriages and became the colours of the AA which he helped found.. 

New kennels and stables were built by the Ashwell cross-roads on the disused Oakham-to-Melton canal. They were built to accommodate 100 couple of hounds, 50 horses, and housed most of the Hunt staff of some 40 grooms and kennelmen. The range of buildings on a spacious site was completed by the builder, Mr Hollis of Cottesmore, in 1889. the Hunt acquired new premises and 40 acres of land by the Cottesmore road at Ashwell, and built a new range of kennels and stables

This information of the visitors residences and the building of the new kennels indicated the economic importance of the Hunt to Cottesmore and the surrounding area. Mr Hollis  is of course part of the Hollis family that still lives in the village.
In the 20th century Sir Henry Tate was an active member of the Hunt (part of the Tate dynasty) and was one of the many well-off families who now weekended in the area either in their own home(second) or with friends.

The Hunt was also responsible for helping our exports, when Hounds from the pack were bred to hunt coyotes in Kentucky as the local hounds were considered not to be fast or strong enough.

The Cottesmore Hunt took on the responsibility for running what was then the Hedgecutting and Ploughing Match Competition from a subcommittee (with a Mr W Hollis of Cottesmore) of the Rutland  Agricultural Society in 1926 and at Braunston in 1930 and it was said that over 31 miles of hedge was laid in the Cottesmore country that year. The annual event was abandoned in 1939 until after the War. The Society then resumed with a ploughing match at Ashwell in 1946 with the next hedgecutting function taking place in March 1948. The one-day competitions continued until 1973.This was an interesting way of keeping the hegdes in trim and providing a ’social’ benefit. 

One downside during this period was the acquisition of land in, 1936, for the new RAF Base just to the East of Cottesmore. No doubt the local huntsmen complained, although I understand they used to have the Hunt Ball at the Base, but I expect the foxes were happier. I wonder if any foxes were ever caught on the Base? Similarly from a little earlier but through to the 1950s the quarrying must have had a considerable impact on the area. These two changes would, I would think have given the Hunt some considerable thought and a change in their hunting patterns,