Friday, October 09, 2009

The horseshoes of Oakham Castle

We have seen the exterior of Oakham Castle: this is its remarkable interior.

As the Rutland County Council website explains:

240 horseshoes hang on the walls of the Great Hall. These represent the unique custom that every peer of the realm must give a horseshoe to the lord of the manor on their first visit to Oakham. The custom has been followed for at least 500 years and probably dates back to the 12th century.

The oldest surviving horseshoe is said to have been given by Edward IV in about 1470. The most recent were given by HRH The Princess Royal in 1999, HRH The Prince of Wales in 2003 and HRH Princess Alexandra 2005.

The Edward IV horseshoe is the large plain one in the photograph. Another interesting shoe in the Hall is the one donated by Princess Alexandrina Victoria in 1835, two years before she ascended the throne as Queen Victoria.

Rutland custom demands that the shoes are hung upside down. Apparently if you hang a shoe the right way up the Devil makes a home in it.

Lord Bonkers adds: And you may have a perfectly good terrier singed getting him out.

1 comment:

Martin Brookes @oakhamuk said...

recent addition