A category for tourist destinations and place of other interest which are not really businesses.
It was the family seat of the family of Sir James Harington and later the Noel family, Earls of Gainsborough for almost four hundred years. An earlier mansion burnt down in 1810 and is now a ruin which has grand gables and beautiful chimneys like many Elizabethan houses. The ruins are on Historic England's Heritage at Risk Register.
The present Exton Hall was built in the 19th century close to the ruins of the original house. In 1869 a Roman Catholic chapel, dedicated to St Thomas of Canterbury was added, to a design by Charles Alban Buckler. The hall was used by elements of the U.S. Army Air Force during World War II. The hall is still in regular use as the private home of Henry Noel, Viscount Campden, and his family. The hall is not normally open to the public, though it is available for a limited number of exclusive private weddings.
The hall is one of the many stately homes in Britain associated with the Legend of the Mistletoe Bough.
In the park is Fort Henry, a pleasure-house built in 1788 in the elegant Gothick style which overlooks lakes formed by the North Brook.
There is an extensive description of the parkland surrounding the hall in its own English Heritage listing. The park is extensive, and spreads across the parishes of Exton, Cottesmore, Greetham and Horn.
In 1948 Anthony Noel, 5th Earl of Gainsborough granted the United Steel Companies a lease to quarry ironstone in the Park. Sundew, the world's largest walking dragline, worked the land from 1957 until 1974 when mining ceased. Sundew then slowly walked to Corby. Material was moved by a standard-gauge railway with a loop of nine miles and a link to the exchange sidings at what is now Rutland Railway Museum's site to the West of Cottesmore Village. The railway was mostly operated by Yorkshire Engine Company steam and diesel locomotives, Yorkshire Engine Company being a United Steel Companies subsidiary.
Normanton Church in Rutland is owned and operated by Anglian Water, from where details of wedding options are available using the contact details below.
The medieval St Matthews Church was built for the Earl of Ancaster on the foundations of a building dating back to the 14th century. It was later rebuilt in a classical style in the 18th century when the Heathcote Baronets created their estate in Rutland and used the parish church as their private chapel. In 1920 the aristocrat family relocated and the church was abandoned until Rutland Water was created in the 1970s.
Due to the growing population in the area, the need for a water reservoir became obvious. The Gwash Valley in Rutland was chosen as the most suitable location for a new reservoir in the Midlands. The locals protested against the church being demolished and it was decided that it would only be partially submerged underwater.
The lower level of the deconsecrated church was filled with rubble and concrete and a new floor was created. A causeway and an embankment were created to make the building accessible from the shore of Rutland Water. The outcome was one of the most iconic churches in the UK, seemingly floating above the waterline.
The impressive classical church we see today is the result of numerous changes over the decades. The medieval tower was replaced in 1826 with a Corinthian style one and a portico was also added. The nave and chancel were replaced during renovations in 1964. All the alterations and enhancements have transformed Normanton Church into a unique sanctuary and one of the best-hidden attractions in the UK.
The church now serves as a beautiful and unique wedding venue in Rutland. The dramatic classical features of the building in combination with the stunning views of Rutland Water make for a memorable wedding setting.
Although deconsecrated and only hosting civil ceremonies, couples can still experience a church wedding at Normanton Church. The marriage ceremony can be performed at either end of the church, with both presenting beautiful backdrops for gorgeous wedding photographs.
Visit our Weddings at Normanton Church page for more information on our wedding package, bookings and open days.
Pack a picnic and your bucket and spade and head to Rutland Water beach. Located at Rutland Water’s North Shore, Rutland Water beach provides 140 metres of sandy shoreline and a 2,800m2 area for you to paddle and swim in.
The Anglian Water Birdwatching Centre is the gateway to the Egleton Nature Reserve, which makes up the larger part of Rutland Water Nature Reserve. A network of lagoons and wetlands, joined by meadows, hedgerows and woodlands, every inch of this beautiful place is bursting with wildlife.
Home to the Rutland Bird Fair