Status Unitary
Ceremonial county
Origin Historic
Region East Midlands
- Total
- Admin. council
Ranked 45th
382 km²
Ranked 118th
Admin HQ Oakham
ISO 3166-2 GB-RUT
ONS code 00FP
- Total (2004 est.)
- Density
- Admin. council
Ranked 47th
93 / km²
Ranked 348th
Ethnicity 98.1% White

Rutland County Council
Executive Conservative
Members of Parliament

Alan Duncan



Oakham Castle
Oakham Castle

Rutland is traditionally England's smallest county and is bounded on the west and north by Leicestershire, northeast by Lincolnshire, and southeast by Northamptonshire.

Its greatest length north to south is only 18 miles, greatest breadth east to west, 17 miles. It is the smallest (in terms of population) normal unitary authority in mainland England (only the City of London is smaller), and is 348th of the 354 districts in terms of population.

The two principal towns are Oakham, the county town, and Uppingham. At the centre of the county is a large reservoir, Rutland Water, with a similar surface area to Lake Windermere, which is an important nature reserve, serving as an overwintering site for wildfowl and a breeding site for Ospreys. The town of Stamford is just over the border in a protruding part of Lincolnshire.

The highest point of the county is Cold Overton Park at 646 ft. (197 m).

The county's small size led ex-Monty Python man, Eric Idle to name his "solo" series Rutland Weekend Television. The most successful spin-off of this is The Rutles which mentions Rutland frequently as an in-joke. The castle in Oakham is little more than an old Great Hall, but features a large collection of horse-shoes. These have been presented over the years by royalty, and some are significantly more elaborate than others.

The Ruddles brewery was Langham's biggest industry until about 1985.

Rutland's older cottages are built from white limestone and many have roofs of Collyweston slate. The county used to supply iron ore to Corby steel works but these quarries closed in the 1960s. Agriculture thrives with much wheat farming on the rich soil. Tourism continues to grow.


The north-western part of the county was recorded as Rutland, a detached part of Nottinghamshire, in the Domesday Book; the south-eastern part as the wapentake of Wicelsea in Northamptonshire. It was first mentioned as a separate county in 1159, but as late as the 14th century it was referred to as the 'Soke of Rutland'. Historically it was also known as Rutlandshire, but in recent times only the shorter name is common.

By the 19th century it was divided into the hundreds of Alstoe, East, Martinsley, Oakham and Wrandike. In 1894 it was divided into three rural districts, Oakham Rural District, Uppingham Rural District and Ketton Rural District. Oakham was split out from Oakham Rural District in 1911 as an urban district.

The four district councils were abolished, and the administrative county was made a non-metropolitan district of Leicestershire in the local government reorganisation of 1974. It was restored to top-level authority status by popular demand on 1 April 1997, as part of the local government reform. There are 26 county councillors representing 16 wards.

Towns and villages

Places of interest



This is a chart of trend of regional gross value added of the non-metropolitan county of Leicestershire and Rutland at current basic prices published (pp.240-253) by Office for National Statistics with figures in millions of British Pounds Sterling.

Year Regional Gross Value Added4 Agriculture1 Industry2 Services3
1995 6,666 145 2,763 3,758
2000 7,813 112 2,861 4,840
2003 9,509 142 3,045 6,321

Note 1: includes hunting and forestry

Note 2: includes energy and construction

Note 3: includes financial intermediation services indirectly measured

Note 4: Components may not sum to totals due to rounding


Following Iraq's invasion and annexation of Kuwait in August 1990, The Independent featured a cartoon with the sign 'Rutland: Twinned with Kuwait'.


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