The Great Hall of Oakham Castle is free to enjoy and is the finest surviving example of Norman domestic architecture in Europe, displaying fascinating collection of decorative horseshoes given by visiting royalty over hundreds of years.
It was built between 1180 and 1190. The surviving structure is the impressive Great Hall of the Castle, where banquets and courts would have been held. Due to its small size, Oakham Castle does not represent the traditional image of a castle. However, what is now called Oakham Castle was originally the Great Hall of a much larger fortified manor house. This had many of the traditional features of a castle such as a curtain wall, a gatehouse and a drawbridge with iron chains. There is also historical and archaeological evidence to suggest that Oakham Castle possessed towers at strategic points along the walls as well as a moat.
Oakham itself is worth an explore has been the home to a number of famous people through history. But perhaps the most locally famous among them is Sir Jeffrey Hudson, known as “The Smallest Man in the Smallest County.” At 18 inches (until growing to three foot, nine inches at the age of thirty) Hudson’s party trick was to hide in enormous pies at royal banquets in the county and jump out of them. Such a trick made him the favourite of The Duke of Buckingham during a banquet at Burley on the Hill. He earned a place in the royal court, becoming Sir Jeffrey Hudson. However, his glory was not to last. After duel in the court, Sir Jeffrey was disgraced and sent to live out the rest of his days in Oakham. He died in 1682, but his house remains in Oakham, just next to the level crossing.