Rutland Entries in Return of Owners of Land 18739th May 2010The Rutland Local History and Record Society published the latest in its series of Occasional Publications at its Annual General Meeting held at the Rutland County Museum on Thursday 13th May. In Who Owned Rutland in 1873? Rutland Entries in Return of Owners of Land 1873, the author, Tim Clough, transcribes all 564 entries in the Rutland section, supplies notes about many of the individuals concerned, and discusses what the Return can tell us about Rutland towards the end of the nineteenth century.In the early 1870s there were serious social concerns that too much land in Britain was in the hands of too few
major landowners, and Parliament carried out a survey to settle the matter. The result was the publication of the Return of Owners of Land 1873 in two massive volumes. The survey lists for each county all those identified as holding an acre of land or more, where they lived, how much they held, and the notional rental value. Despite errors and omissions, the Return is a mine of information about the people of each county, and Rutland is no exception. We learn who the county’s landowners were, where they came from – many lived outside the county – and what they did.In the case of Rutland, there were four principal landowners, the Earl of Gainsborough of Exton with over 15,000 acres in the county, Lord Aveland (later Earl of Ancaster) of Normanton Park with 13,600, the Marquess of Exeter of Burleigh House with 10,700, and G H Finch of Burley-on-the-Hill with just over 9,000. Between them they owned over half the county. Twelve others owned more than 1,000 acres, leaving just 25% of the county divided between the remaining 1,400 owners, of whom 861 had less than 1 acre and so do not appear individually.Tim Clough said, ‘Even though the Return records details of only some 2.5% of the county’s total population at the time, it does afford a fascinating view of the landowning element of its society, and can be used alongside other sources such as Census returns, trade directories and parish records to build up the wider picture. It really is a very useful document and of great interest to the local and family historian.’There are special sections on the parish of Lyddington and on an intriguing mystery concerning a group of minor landowners with strong associations with Chipping Campden in Gloucestershire, but apparently holding small plots of land in Whissendine. The author, Tim Clough, was Curator of the Rutland County Museum and Oakham Castle from 1974 to 2002 and is the Rutland Local History & Record Society’s Honorary Editor. He has written and edited many books and articles on archaeology, local history and numismatics, and is a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of London. His long association with the county of Rutland has left him with a keen interest in and appreciation of the county’s rich heritage, and he continues to delve into its past and to research its history.Who Owned Rutland in 1873? is priced at £7.50, plus £1.50 postage & packing, and can be obtained from the Rutland Local History & Record Society at the Rutland County Museum, Oakham, from Friday 14th May. For further information please contact Tim Clough by e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.