Rutland welcomes His Royal Highness The Duke Of Gloucester
Date Published: 20 November 2019
His Royal Highness The Duke of Gloucester visited Rutland today, carrying out a number of engagements including the official unveiling of a rare Anglo-Saxon artefact to mark the 50th anniversary of Rutland County Museum.
On The Duke’s second official visit to Rutland, His Royal Highness travelled to four separate venues in the County Town of Oakham, accompanied by Lord-Lieutenant Dr Sarah Furness.
The tour began with a visit to Rutland County Showground, where The Duke was greeted by High Sheriff Margaret Miles before meeting pupils from nearby English Martyrs and Cottesmore academies to learn how Rutland Agricultural Society supports young children to get involved with farming activities.
While at the Showground, His Royal Highness was also invited to meet representatives from Oakham Rugby Club, as well as speaking to volunteers from Rutland’s First Responders – a group trained in the use of defibrillators and other potentially life-saving medical treatments.
The first leg of the visit ended with an exhibition match by Rutland Primary Schools’ Tag Rugby Team. The team includes children from seven local schools and recently won the 10th International Tag Rugby Tournament hosted at Twickenham.
“It was an honour and a privilege to welcome His Royal Highness to Rutland Showground. We’re incredibly proud to be at the centre of our local community, providing a venue for Rutland’s annual County Show, sport and other large-scale events. We also provide a space for smaller groups and organisations who play a vital role in bringing people together. I very much hope His Royal Highness enjoyed his visit to Rutland.” David Wood, Chairman of the Rutland Agricultural Society
From Rutland Showground, His Royal Highness travelled a short distance to The King Centre in Barleythorpe. The site of a former sixth form college, The King Centre is now home to some of Rutland’s most innovative local businesses and generated more than £14million for the local economy last year – two per cent of all goods and services in the county.
His Royal Highness met with a number of local businesses based at The King Centre before travelling to Oakham Castle to view extensive restoration work funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund and Rutland County Council. The Duke was also shown the ceremonial horse shoe that was hung to commemorate his first Royal visit to Rutland in 1977 – a tradition observed by Royalty and nobility dating right back to the 15th Century.
The day’s final engagement saw His Royal Highness as the guest of honour at a special ceremony marking the 50th anniversary of Rutland County Museum.
After meeting representatives from the Rutland Local History & Records Society and The Friends of Rutland Museum, The Duke was given a guided tour, including exhibits such as the rare New Drop Gallows, the Exton Gun and ‘Don’t Drown Our County’ – a hugely successful community project charting the complete history of Rutland Water.
The highlight of the visit to Rutland County Museum was the official unveiling of an extremely rare Anglo-Saxon gold buckle. The buckle is only the fourth such item to have been discovered in England and was unearthed during a metal detecting rally in Rutland in 2016. It dates back to the late-6th to early-7th century AD and was secured thanks to grant funding from Arts Council England, the Victoria & Albert Museum, The Headley Trust, Art Fund, Friends of Rutland County Museum and Wulfingas 450-550 Society.
“It’s really important for local museums to acquire artefacts that are discovered in their local area. It gives them a sense of place and helps communities understand that their town or county has a historical importance they might not otherwise have known about. The V&A will always do its best to support the purchase of local museum finds and acquisitions where a good case has been made and the object is going to be made available to the public. That’s why we’re happy to support Rutland County Museum – because it provides good public access and has a really good programme of activities for its visitors.” Julia Brettell, National Programmes Manager at the Victoria & Albert Museum
“Today’s visit has been a wonderful occasion for Rutland, showcasing our county’s deep sense of community, its thriving local businesses and its rich history. The very best of Rutland has been on show throughout the day. Whether it was educators and volunteers at the Showground, innovative businesses creating jobs and prosperity at The King Centre or dedicated custodians of Rutland’s treasured past at the Castle and Museum, the one thing that has shone through at each of today’s engagements has been the genuine pride that people have to be connected with Rutland. I’m so pleased that His Royal Highness was able to see this first-hand and I would like to thank him for his visit.” Dr Sarah Furness, Lord-Lieutenant of Rutland
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