The latest issue of the Rutland Local History and Record Society’s annual publication, the Rutland Record, has just appeared. Its contents range from evidence for the possible presence of Neanderthals in Rutland 40,000 years ago to a review of Oakham School’s masters and ushers, taking in Edward Thring’s approach to adolescent boyhood at Uppingham School and the photographic pioneer Fox Talbot’s associations with Rutland along the way.Ten years ago archaeologists carrying out pre-development work at Glaston chanced upon an amazing discovery, evidence for a hyena den on what was then an open landscape ridge, with very early flint tools identified by
specialists as typical of those used by Neanderthal humans. Alongside these were the bones of spotted hyena, wolverine, wild horse and woolly rhinoceros. John Thomas and Lynden Cooper from University of Leicester Archaeological Services describe the finds as of international importance and one of the most significant finds locally in recent years, and their article is illustrated with reconstruction paintings of the contemporary environment by artist Jayne Brayne.Next, Paul Reeve tells us of William Henry Fox Talbot’s little known associations with Rutland. Family connections brought him to Burley on the Hill as a boy, and he spent a year being tutored by the Rev Thomas Kaye Bonney, rector of Normanton, before going up to Cambridge. Best known for his photographic research, Fox Talbot was in fact a true polymath, as is shown by his surviving correspondence which includes many letters written to, from or about Rutland.The remaining two articles are both connected with Rutland’s famous Archdeacon Johnson foundations of Uppingham and Oakham Schools. For the latter, Brian Needham, the school’s honorary historian, seeks to establish a firm sequence of masters and ushers from 1584 onwards and gives biographical summaries for each of them. For the former, Malcolm Tozer, himself once a master at Uppingham, pens an account of the way in which Edward Thring, the school’s great Victorian headmaster, dealt with the challenges faced by adolescent boys as they approached manhood through an emphasis on Christian moral values.Tim Clough, the Society’s honorary editor, said, ‘Once again, we have been able to harness the expertise of contributors with a special interest in aspects of Rutland’s long and varied history, and the latest issue of Rutland Record, which is included in our membership subscription, contains articles covering the widest range of periods and subjects.’As usual, the issue concludes with notes on a great variety of archaeological and historical work, including building surveys, in Rutland during the previous year, with reports from the museums, record offices and societies whose interests and responsibilities cover the county’s heritage. One of the most striking finds is a complete Bronze Age pot from a burial site at Barleythorpe.Rutland Record 32 is published in the context of continuing cuts to public funding and very real threats to the protection of our heritage. The Editorial points to some hopeful signs such as the current project to improve the facilities and environment of Oakham Castle, Rutland’s most important ancient monument, but draws attention to the adverse affect these cuts are having especially on the region’s archive services.Copies of the new publication can be obtained as usual from the Rutland Local History & Record Society at the Rutland County Museum for £4.50 (plus £1.25 p&p), via local bookshops, or on-line via GENfair. ISBN-13: 978-0-907464-49-5.For further information, please contact: Tim Clough, Honorary Editor, RLHRS, Rutland County Museum, Catmose Street, Oakham, Rutland, LE15 6HW, or tel 01572 722316, or e-mail the editor.