Press Release December 2016 Researching Rutland	Registered Charity No 700273 Rutland Local History & Record Society
Rutland’s history under the spotlight in Rutland Record 36 – from an Alpine jade axe to a seventeenth century sundial This year’s issue of the Rutland Local History & Record Society’s annual journal, Rutland Record, has just been published. It covers a wide range of subjects, from the discovery of a remarkable prehistoric stone axe to a study of Vale of Catmose villages. In 2015, Stewart Carter was going for a walk at Martinsthorpe when he picked up part of a stone axe and brought it to the Rutland County Museum for identification. Here he met Tim Clough, the museum’s former curator who has studied stone axes for many years. Tim recognised that it was something unusual and arranged for it to be sent to an excited Alison Sheridan at Scotland’s National Museum in Edinburgh. From there it went for non-destructive analysis to a specialist laboratory in France where it was confirmed that it was made of a particular type of rock, jadeitite, which had been obtained by Neolithic craftsman from the Mont Viso massif in the Alpine mountains of north-west Italy. Tim Clough said, ‘There are only about 120 Alpine axes known from Britain, and this is a first for Rutland – not only that, but this one is of a particular type which is known from Germany and France but which has only one other parallel in Britain. These beautiful axes are real works of art’. Alison Sheridan and her French colleagues Pierre Pétrequin and Michel Errera give a full account of this exceptional find. First, though, Robert Ovens, the Society’s vice-chairman, who has a special interest in clocks and timepieces, contributes a well-illustrated study of an early seventeenth-century sundial which he shows was originally made for Ridlington church by Isaack Symmes. He identifies Symmes as a leading goldsmith and clock and watchmaker who worked in London and, as an inscription shows, must have been commissioned to make the dial by Sir William Bulstrode, a former Sheriff of Rutland who also served for many years as one of the county’s two members of parliament. Robert illustrates other sundials and watches made by Isaack Symmes. The next main article in this issue by Bridget Wells-Furby turns to the medieval history of Rutland, specifically that of Belton and its association with the Blount family who held the manor from the late thirteenth century until 1557. Bridget is able to clarify the probable descent of the manor through succeeding generations of the Blount family and its place in their estates through a close analysis of surviving documents. Michael Hinman then provides a social study of six villages in the Vale of Catmose – Ashwell, Barrow, Burley, Cottesmore, Market Overton and Teigh – through the eighteenth century, showing how their population rose and fell, and how families moved in or out of these villages, or indeed stayed put. The issue closes with an account of artefacts recorded with the Portable Antiquities Scheme in Rutland by Wendy Scott and, as usual, reports on the activities of record offices and local societies with an interest in the history and archaeology of the county. The Society’s Honorary Editor, Tim Clough, said, ‘Once again, we are grateful for the expertise of contributors with a special interest in Rutland’s long and varied history. Rutland Record, which has full colour illustrations for the first time, is free to members, and we encourage anyone with an interest of Rutland’s past to come and join us – full information about our activities is given on our website. Copies of the new publications can be obtained as usual from the Rutland Local History & Record Society at the Rutland County Museum for £5.75 (plus £2.00 p&p), via local bookshops, or on-line. ISBN-13: 978-0-907464-56-3. For further information, please contact: Tim Clough, Honorary Editor, RLHRS, Rutland County Museum, Catmose Street, Oakham, Rutland, LE15 6HW, or e-mail.