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Hambleton Village History

Hambleton History
Hambleton has a long history which goes back to before the Domesday Book. The area used to be in three parts: Upper, Middle and Lower (or Nether) Hambleton. In 1976 the flooding of the lower land - to create Rutland Water as a water source for Peterborough and its surrounding area - left just Upper Hambleton and part of Middle Hambleton, now just known as 'Hambleton'.

It is thought that Hambleton was at one time the capital of the Anglo Saxon kings in Rutland. The village lies close to what had been the meeting place of old administrative districts, known as 'wapentakes'. It was one of the three large estates - Hambleton, Oakham and Ridlington - which together would have formed the wapentake of Martinsley. The Domesday Book records from 1086 show the village to have had an estimated population of 750; with 3 priests; 3churches; a mill and 45 ploughs at work (though the figures probably include the dependencies). Later Hambleton had a weekly market and annual fair.

Nether Hambleton (known as the 'lost village'), is now under Rutland Water, and has been shown by excavation to have once been a sizeable medieval settlement. All that remains of of Middle Hambleton are the 'Old Hall' (Jacobean: built in 1611, now situated just at the water's edge), and some dwellings on the lower slope. Sitting on top of the hill is the twelfth Century church of St. Andrew (originally probably The Saxon 'St. Audrey'), with its low broach-spire, and original Norman doorway. Restored elaborately in the nineteenth Century, the church has fine stained glass windows, mostly by J Egan (1895-1900); the 16th Century 'Priest's House' may be seen below the church; Hambleton Hall (1881-now an hotel), used to be the Victorian home of Mrs Astley-Cooper, a friend of Noel Coward - who wrote 'Hay Fever' whilst a guest there; a public house, The Finch's Arms; the 'estate cottages' of 1892 include the old Post Office (now closed), and an unusual art-nouveaux clock. Hambleton now has about sixty houses, both straddling the hilltop, the hill below the church and the lower road.
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