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Was for more than seven centuries a tiny county, some 17 miles across, and only one‐fortieth the size of Yorkshire. It had no clear geographical definition but was pleasant, gentle, wooded countryside, hunted from the 1720s by the Cottesmore. There were only two towns, Oakham, the county town, and Uppingham, famous for their schools, founded in 1584.

It had not acquired county status by the time of the Norman Conquest, but was given as their personal property to successive queens. When John granted it to Isabella in 1204, it was described as a county, and at the end of the century was given two knights of the shire, like the other counties. By the Local Government Act of 1972 the county was merged with Leicestershire, though a vigorous protest movement continued. The protestors triumphed in 1997 when Rutland was restored as a unitary authority.

Subjects: British History.

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