Oakham Castle, in the heart of the quaint market town of Oakham, stands as a remarkable vestige of Norman architecture and a repository of English legal history. More than just a fortress, it offers a window into the socio-political life of medieval England.
Architectural Marvel of the Normans
Constructed in the late 12th century, Oakham Castle is renowned for being one of the best examples of domestic Norman architecture in Europe.
This Norman hall has stood the test of time, preserving the essence of its era with remarkable integrity. The structure is noted for its distinctive Norman arches and a rare, intact octagonal nave – elements that speak of a time when craftsmanship was as much about grandeur as utility.
Among the unique traditions that Oakham Castle preserves is the collection of horseshoes. It is customary for visiting royalty and peers to present a horseshoe to the Lord of the Manor of Oakham.
This peculiar tradition has left the castle walls adorned with over 200 horseshoes, the oldest dating back to the 15th century.
This custom has transformed the Great Hall into a living museum of heraldry and a gallery of noble patronage.
A Garden of Serenity
Encircling the castle is a serene garden, an oasis of calm contrasting with the robust stone of the historical structure.
The meticulously manicured lawns and vibrant flower beds offer a slice of tranquility and are often the setting for outdoor performances, community events, and a preferred spot for locals and tourists to unwind.
Preservation and Accessibility
The castle’s recent restoration projects have been sensitively undertaken, ensuring that its historical integrity remains unspoiled while making it accessible to a modern audience.
Facilities have been updated to welcome all visitors, including those with mobility needs, ensuring the continuation of its legacy as a place of learning and discovery.
Oakham Castle’s allure lies in its ability to remain relevant. It is not just a static monument but a dynamic space that has adapted through the ages.
It represents the narrative of Rutland and England’s lineage, a tale of power, tradition, and community.
Address – Castle Grounds Market Place, Oakham, LE15 6DR
Telephone – 01572 757578
Website – https://www.oakhamcastle.org