For more than 60 years, these premises were the Royal British Legion, having been acquired in the late 1940s from Captain Noel Newton. Newton served in the army during World War I with the rank of captain, then major – and was awarded the Military Cross. He was later a member of Rutland County Council. The premises are built onto a surviving part of The Limes – a grand house named after the tall trees in its walled garden.
Prints and text about those that helped victims of war.
The text reads: The building you are now in has associations with the Royal British Legion, and the Red Cross. It housed the Oakham branch of the British Legion for around 60 years. It was also the site of a large house known as The Limes, which in the early 1900s, was the home of Joan Bigges, who started the local Woman’s Institute, and was also a mainstay of the Red Cross in this area.
The British Legion was formed on 15 May 1921, to care for war veterans and their families. The First World War left 725,000 men dead and 1.75 million injured. When it ended there were two million unemployed. In the face of government inaction. Lancastrian Lance Bombardier Tom Lister began a movement that led to the formation of The British Legion. The first ever Poppy Appeal was held in 1921, with the first Poppy Day on 11 November 1921.
It was a Swiss businessman Henry Dunant, who proposed the creation of national volunteer relief societies trained to provide neutral and impartial medical help in timed of war. The International Committee of the Red Cross was established in Geneva in 1863, and the original Geneva Convention as adopted in 1864.
In 1905 the British National Society for Aid to the Sick and Wounded in War (founded in 1870) became the British Red Cross. In 1909 the Voluntary Aid Scheme was introduced, to create Voluntary Aid Detachments (VADs) in every English county to support territorial medical forces in times of war.
Illustrations and text about Titus Oates.
The text reads: Titus Oates was born in Oakham in 1649. Oates went into the church but was ordered to leave after he was accused of blasphemy while under the influence of alcohol. He became a Chaplain in the Royal Navy, but was dismissed for ‘engaging in a homosexual act’.
In 1678, in an attempt to revive his fortunes, Oates revealed a ‘Popish Plot’ – a Catholic plan to murder Charles II and put his Catholic brother James on the throne, to be followed by the killing of thousands of Protestants.
He was believed largely because his claim fanned a popular discontent – unemployment was rife, and Catholic were a ready-made scapegoat. He was also a confident and persuasive public speaker. Several innocent people were executed, whilst Oates was highly praised. Parliament gave him a state apartment in Whitehall, and a huge annual allowance.
It took until 1685 before it was found that Oates had made it up. He was arrested, found guilty of perjury and imprisoned for life. He was pilloried and pelted by passers-by and condemned to be regularly whipped. He was released from prison in 1688 by William III and given a sum of £10 a week. He married in 1693, became a Baptist and died in relative obscurity on July 12, 1705.
Far left: Titus Oates in the Pillory, 1685
Left: Titus Oates in 1679
Right: Titus Oates offering the Pope a foolscap 1679
Above: Oates being whipped through London.
A photograph of the Leicestershire Yeomanry, 1914.
Shortly before the Cavalry Regiment started for France. Captain Noel Newton is seated, second left.
A print and text about Lord Minimus.
The text reads: Jeffery Hudson was born in Oakham in n1619. He was only 18 inches tall until he was 30 years of age. Then he started to grow again but he never exceeded 3 feet 6 inches (106cm). He was considered one of the ’wonders of the age’ because of his extreme but well-proportioned smallness.
His family were all typical size. His father was keeper of the baiting bulls for George Villiers. Duke of Buckingham. Lady Katherine Manners, the Duke’s wife, took the nine year-old Jeffery into her household, where he wore silks, and had two servants.
At a lavish banquet for King Charles and Queen Henrietta Maria, Jeffery appeared from a pie placed before the Queen dressed in a miniature suit of armour. The Queen was delighted and the Duke and Duchess offered Hudson to her as a gift.
He fought with the Royalists in the English Civil War and fled with the Queen to France, but was expelled from her court when he killed a man in a duel. He was captured by Barabay pirates and spent 25 years as a slave in North Africa before being ransomed back to England in around 1669.
He lived in Oakham for several years, then returned to London during the feverish period of the Popish Plot, set on by fellow Oakham native Titus Oates. As a Catholic, Hudson was imprisoned. He was released in 1880, two years before his death. He was buried in an unmarked Catholic paupers’ grave.
Above: Sir Jeffery Hudson and Queen Henrietta Maria, by Anthony van Dyck, 1633
Right: Sir Jeffery Hudson in a parody of the famous equestrian portrait of King Charles I.
External photograph of the building – main entrance.
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