The End of an Era
The Noel family came to Rutland in 1533 when Andrew Noel was appointed King's feodary. He was three times
the Sheriff of Rutland and in 1553, its MP. His son Andrew became prominent in Rutland affairs and it was he
who bought the Manor of Langham in 1600.
His grandson Edward, 1st Baron Noel of Ridlington, succeeded to the title of Viscount Campden and to the
Exton Estate, in the right of his wife Juliana and thus Langham began its association with the Exton Estate.
(In 1682 Edward was created Earl of Gainsborough though the title died out in 1798 on the death of the 6th
Earl who was unmarried. It was revived in 1841 for Charles Noel.)
The map of Langham dated 1624 shows the tenants of the Exton Estate at that time.
Although owned for so long by the Gainsborough Estate, Langham was not an "estate village" in the usually accepted
sense. The steward would visit the village quite frequently but, provided that matters were conducted in an orderly
manner, within the terms of their tenancies and leases, the villagers were left to run things as they chose.
Tenants whose rental was small, mainly cottagers, would pay their rents on quarter-days. The higher rents were
received by the Estate Steward in a private room at the Noel Arms on days known as Big Rent Days in July and
December. When all the individual business had been transacted in private the steward would meet the assembled
tenants in the ‘Rent Room’ for a more general meeting and to appraise the tenants of any changes likely to occur.
This was followed by lunch: cold meats, salad and pudding in summer; roast meats, vegetables and mince pies in
winter. The most renowned of the Gainsborough Estate stewards was Richard Westbrook Baker.
The Exton Estate, a large estate of good quality farmland lacked the mineral wealth which increased the
fortunes of some other landowners during the Industrial Revolution. Enormous demands for death duties in
the early 20th century resulted in part of the estate being sold, individual sales took place over a number of
years, with a major sale by auction in 1925.
The auction comprised Land and property in Langham, with lesser amounts in Braunston, Brooke Leighfield,
Manton and Ridlington.
The 1925 sale brought about great change, those who could afford it were able to buy their tenanted land
(mortgages available to those who could raise 10% of the asking price). A considerable amount of land and
property in Langham was purchased by Owen Hugh Smith, a wealthy merchant banker who had maintained a
hunting lease in Langham since the latter part of the 19th c.
Langham Village History Group ~ © 1996 - 2022
The 1925 Gainsborough Estate Sale
For further information please select from the links below: